Dynamically Speaking

Laughing ChildrenHarmonica Lesson Outtakes
Today in class we were working on Dynamics; how to play loudly and softly, how to change from one to the other, and the standard notation to support everything. Our first building blocks were for piano (softly), and f for forte (loudly).  ‘So what does mf mean?’ asked the teacher, expecting one of the group to remember mezzo forte, for moderately loud. Simon’s hand went up as he answered ‘Mexican fort‘.

The teacher moved on to very loud, ff, and very quiet, pp. ‘Who can remember the term for very quiet?’ asked the teacher. ‘I know, I know‘, said Charlotte, ‘it’s pea in a cinema‘. When the chuckles died down, the teacher corrected Charlotte. ‘That’ll be pianissimo Charlotte. And who can remember the full name for the keyboard instrument we talked about?’. ‘That’s easy,’ said Jake, ‘it’s piano fortnight.’

Improvisation

Boy with ballGive me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown

Improvisation is something that can be quite daunting for newcomers. Given a blank page, where does anyone start? What should they do? It can be a huge challenge and, at the outset, we need guidance.

Of course some launch into the process fearlessly, but either way, improvisation is an important foundation for confidence building, creativity and freedom of expression. In short, we’re turning a negative ‘nothing’, into a very positive ‘anything’, and learning that music is both rewarding and inclusive.

Listen to

Two of our team were teaching a KS2 group recently. It was the children’s first lesson of the term. The first HA teacher started a simple chug, or riff, on his 10 hole harmonica, while the second HA teacher punctuated this pattern with two simple chords, or vamps..

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SPECIAL OFFER – Earn 2 Free Lessons

Recommend a friend and receive 2 lessons free!
We all enjoy learning with our best friends, don’t we? Well this includes music making on the harmonica. If you have a friend who might be interested in a Free Taster Session, just ask them to click the Golden Harmonica (on the right of the screen), and register using our promotional code harmonaut. Special OfferWe’ll supply their starter harmonica and music sheet completely free. And if your friend decides to join Harp Academy for a complete term (9 further lessons), we will credit you with two free lessons. That’s all there is to it!

Evie’s Dog Song

M A X my dog is Max

We had great fun music making with Evie Peak this week. Evie’s in Reception Year and had started to write her own song at home. It’s about her pet Pug, Max. By the end of her lesson, Evie finished her tune and it goes like this..

Listen to

When we talked about Max and what he does, it helped us to make up some words for Evie’s song. You can learn to play Evie’s tune here line by line, and maybe sing along too. You can also download and print the Arrow Tab here if you need to.  (more…)

Spring Special – Eat Chocolate!

Eat chocolate, la-na-la-na-na

This fun song is the result of a songwriting project with children at All Saints CE Primary School in Horsham, West Sussex. They wanted to create something new and the theme they hit on was chocolate! It wasn’t long before the main riff was finished.

Listen to

Harp Academy teacher Ben Jones added an infectious Salsa backing track to the riff, from which a fabulous chugging section also emerged. The song can be played at any time of the year, however the theme lends itself to Easter and Christmas celebrations.

Let’s play the tune on our harmonica. The purple notes are for 4 hole harmonicas. The orange notes are for 10 hole harmonicas. The number is the hole you need to play. B is breathing out (Blow) and D is breathing in (Draw). Work through the ostinato and chug sections below, then try to play along to the complete track at the bottom of the page. The ostinato is suitable for 4 hole and 10 hole harmonica. The chug however, only works on a 10 hole harmonica. (more…)