Don’t worry, we all forget things from time to time. You may feel disappointed, but you are still on our register and you should come along to your harmonica session just the same. Although we can’t lend you a harmonica because this may pass on germs, we do have plenty of ways you can still join in musically.
The first question to ask yourself is, when did I last see my harmonica? It might still be in your book bag, a coat pocket or in your classroom drawer. You’d be amazed how easily this can happen, so have a quick think. If it’s definitely not at school, there is still plenty we can learn and enjoy, even without a harmonica. Here’s how…
Conduct and signal
You can practice conducting our tunes using the time signature. You can also lead the group through their warm ups using our hand signals. It’s great for learning to hold a beat, thinking ahead, and keeping a group of musicians together. How are you going to count the group in, and how will you get them to stop?
Sing and act
Many of our pieces and exercises have words and actions. Remembering lyrics helps us phrase the parts we play on the harmonica and reinforces good timing. If you’re feeling shy, you can hum along. Alternatively listen to the others as they play and offer them feedback. How did they sound? Did they keep time and play the right notes? What could they change or improve?
Follow the music
Borrow a copy of the music and follow the tune with your finger. You can help show another student where they are as they play. Are we using harmonica arrow tabs, or standard notation? What does standard notation tell us that harmonica arrow tabs don’t? Can you name the symbols in the music? How about the time signature and the key signature? Are there any dynamics or tempo indicators?
If we’re teaching in the School Music Room, there may be a percussion instrument you could use. Otherwise you can use body percussion – clapping, clicking fingers, or a table top. Check with your teacher first, but timekeeping and time signatures are an important skill for all musicians to learn. What rhythms do you know? What’s the difference between a beat and a rhythm?
Ask your teacher if you can start a group songwriting project. While others work on the tune, you can contribute new ideas; think of a song title or start work on the lyrics. Next week you can help build the tune, add a harmony and other textures.
Acrostic poem and vocabulary
In every Harp Academy diary there is an Acrostic Poem page. You could work on this as a group. There’s also a word search to help build your musical vocabulary. Which words can you find? What do they mean? Discuss them with your group and your teacher.
Take a bow. Lots and lots of ways to build your musical skills without your harmonica. The important thing is you joined in, you learned new things and had fun. The next question is how we can make sure you remember your harmonica next time. Is there a grown up who can help? Is there anything else we need to do?