Our theme this term is Folk Song of Great Britain (KS1) and Jazz & Blues (KS2), with some great new pieces for our harmonauts to enjoy, and some old favourites. Learning folk repertoire is a great way to learn traditional note patterns and song structures. Jazz and Blues are the gateway to a wealth of modern music, including Pop, Indie and Rock. While we work on our study pieces, we will also investigate our musical element topic, which is structure.
KS1 players will be working on Buttered Peas, Shepherd’s Hey, Skye Boat Song and Whiskey In The Jar. These are great examples of the British and Irish folks tradition. KS2 players will be working on I Want Candy while investigating 12 bar blues structure Music Library.
What is structure? If the notes we play are the building bricks of music, and musical elements such as tempo, dynamics and pitch are the cement, then structure is our architectural plan. Musical structure is also called musical form. And just as a house is made up of rooms, so there are sections to every piece of music. Sometimes there are lots of rooms, sometimes there are just one or two. KS1 players will learn about the AB form of folk music, while KS2 will investigate 12 bar blues structure, clave rhythm, and blues scales.
Slide notes, push-pull notes, jump notes and repeat notes are our core movements on the harmonica. Children will be encouraged to identify and use these in their playing. We will also keep an eye on posture and how we hold the harmonica; there is a conventional way of using both hands, which facilitates further technical skills. KS2 children will develop their note-bending skills, cross-harp and blues scale abilities.
Children are encouraged to improvise at home using our Harp Academy’s popular backing tracks. They can also compose and email us their own songs while exploring our structure theme.
Children are encouraged to identify and talk about structure in songs or music they personally enjoy, and how this adds to the character of a piece of music.
To help children develop an understanding of structure, including a music quiz and worksheets, click here.
Performance is a powerful device for building self-identity and a sense of worth. Unfortunately our remaining performance opportunities this Summer have been postponed owing to the Corona Virus, but we hope to reconvene at later this year at the National Harmonica Festival (October) and Royal Alex Children’s Hospital (December).
Waking Up Wendell – April Stevens
This is a really funny book, with some crazy characters and noises. We particularly enjoyed Henry Hobart Whittlespoon who lives at No.5 Fish Street. What do you think his favourite musical instrument might be, and why does he have a book by his bed called The Blues?
A perfect bedtime story book, children and parents will really enjoy reading this together. Waking Up Wendell is published by Schwartz Wade books (ISBN 978-0-375-83621-3). Illustrations by Tad Hills (illustrator of Duck & Goose books). Buy at Amazon UK
The Cello of Mr.O – Jane Cutler
We absolutely adore this book! In a war-torn city, a little girl struggles with many emotions. Her father is away fighting, there is no heating oil, and food is scarce.
Each afternoon, in full view of snipers and amidst the bomb bursts, Mr.O sits in the square and plays his Cello. Until one day a shell destroys his instrument. Undaunted, he returns to play tunes on his harmonica. Through Mr.O’s music, the little girl learns to confront fear and build courage. The Cello of Mr.O is published by Dutton Children’s Books (ISBN 0-525-46119-1) and illustrated by Greg Crouch. Buy at Amazon UK