Harmonicas for Health
Harmonicas for Health: Music to Maximize the Lungs

Harmonicas for Health®
Music to Maximize the Lungs

The COPD Foundation is proud to offer the first nationwide harmonica program created especially for individuals with COPD and other chronic lung conditions. The original program was developed and launched due with the generous support of ACM Lifting Lives, the charitable arm of the Academy of Country Music in 2016. Since then, it has been used in several wellness programs, pulmonary rehabilitation programs, and community centers.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increase in the number of virtual pulmonary rehabilitation programs and online support for those living with chronic lung conditions. To help you meet the needs of your community, we created a virtual Harmonicas for Health course. This virtual program contains everything you need to facilitate the program in an online fashion. We offer video lessons, slides, lesson plans, and helpful hints to make your experience a great one. Email harmonicasforhealth@copdfoundation.org to learn more.

If you are an individual with COPD or another chronic lung disease, the COPD Foundation COPD360music Harmonicas for Health program can help you:

  • Learn how to have better control of your breathing
  • Exercise the muscles that help pull air in and push air out of the lungs
  • Strengthen abdominal muscles for a more effective cough
  • Boost self-confidence, relieve stress
  • Socialize with others and have fun
  • Experience these reported benefits: decreased shortness of breath, increased sputum mobilization and increased quality of life.

A small study at Baylor University Medical Center1 demonstrated the potential of the H4H program to improve health of individuals who participated in the program.

You do not have to be an expert player or have any musical experience to benefit from playing the harmonica. You can take a harmonica anywhere. It’s lightweight and easy to carry. Making music with a harmonica can help you feel better overall, and it is a lot of fun! Click on the images below to view the photo gallery.

H4H Nashville pilot
H4H SF pilot 1
H4H SF pilot 2
H4H SF pilot 3

The COPD Foundation Players of Harmonicas for Health

The COPD Foundation Players of Harmonicas for Health

Jane Martin, BA, LRT, CRT, introduces the COPD Foundation’s Players of Harmonicas for Health at the 2020 Virtual "Circle of Friends" Celebration.

Harmonicas for Health Background

Harmonica playing for individuals with COPD and other chronic lung diseases has been in existence for some time. Harmonica materials and methods, however, have most often been inconsistent and piecemeal. There are few, if any simple training materials for starting and managing a harmonica program, no central locations for lung health professionals to consult with one another about harmonica therapy, and no pre-packaged starter kits. Programs are often dependent on a single leader such as a respiratory therapist or other health care professional. If the leader goes on to another job or quits as leader, the program is usually discontinued.

The COPD360music - Harmonicas for Health program changes this by providing training materials and a start-up kit that will allow you, a pulmonary rehabilitation staff member and/or breathing support group leader to offer an effective, engaging, and sustainable harmonica program. In addition, we will help establish a solid network of harmonica group leaders to facilitate an exchange of information and peer support.

Harmonicas for Health – Instructional Video

COPD Foundation | Harmonicas for Health Instructional Video

Are you interested in the Harmonicas for Health program, but don’t know how to get started? Watch this video for a brief demonstration of how to play the harmonica.


To order a Harmonicas for Health kit, please visit our online catalogue.

Harmonicas for Health Leader Kit:plus

  • Basic model harmonica
  • Welcome letter and instructions
  • "Play Harmonica Today!” book with DVD and audio CD
  • Player’s manual (includes easy-to-read information on lung anatomy, COPD, breathing techniques and more)
  • Binder Inserts cards
  • Curriculum guides
    • Breathing Support Group
    • Pulmonary Rehab education
  • $50.00 / shipping not included

Harmonicas for Health Players Kit:plus

  • Basic Model Harmonica
  • Player’s manual (includes easy-to-read information on lung anatomy, COPD, breathing techniques and more)
  • $20.00 / shipping not included

Harmonicas for Health Starter Kit:plus

  • 1 Harmonicas for Health Leader kit
  • 15 Harmonicas for Health Player kits
  • $350.00 / shipping not included

Play-Along Archives

Are you looking for more songs to play or are you interested in playing with a group? The COPD Foundation hosts a free online event, called a Play-Along, every few months. These are informal opportunities to learn new music, meet new people, and have a good time – all while doing something that can benefit your health. These events will be announced in our newsletters and on our social media pages.

Did you miss a play-along, or just want to practice the songs we learned? Below are the slides from past events. If you have any questions, email harmonicasforhealth@copdfoundation.org

Play-Along Archivesplus

We gratefully acknowledge the contributions of many health care professionals in the development of the COPD360music Harmonicas for Health™ Program. Their expertise and experience were invaluable in this project.

We are also grateful to more than 40 individuals impacted by COPD, their family members and caregivers for their enthusiastic participation in the Harmonicas for Health pilots. Their feedback helped make this a great and complete program.

For information about implementing Harmonicas for Health in your institution’s program, please email harmonicasforhealth@copdfoundation.org.

Want to support Harmonicas for Health? Donate Here!

Resources and Support

The COPD Foundation offers resources such as COPD360social, an online community where you can connect with patients, caregivers and health care providers and ask questions, share your experiences and receive and provide support.

  1. Hart MK, Stewardson E, Jamil AK, Tecson KM, Millard MW. Usefulness of harmonica playing to improve outcomes in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Proc (Bayl Univ Med Cent). 2020;33(2):178-182. Published 2020 Jan 6. doi:10.1080/08998280.2019.1704135