The P Word (Practise)

How to Practise Harmonica
It’s noticeable in our weekly school sessions when children have found the time to practise at home and have the support of their grown ups. Confidence levels are high, progress is swift and lessons are fun. Central to this process is parental encouragement, good use of our website, a music diary, a well managed music kit and a specific task or performance to aim at.

Of course some harmonauts tell us they don’t have time to practise, their grown ups won’t let them, or they’ve lost their music. And there was one harmonaut whose dog ate their harmonica – we saw the evidence, complete with bite marks. But practise needn’t be a torture. Here is our take on how to make it a purposeful and enjoyable habit.

Harp Academy Website
Many of our study pieces and exercise have a support page on our website. With help from their grown ups, harmonauts can log in and navigate to the appropriate page. Here they can find click-and-copy buttons to guide them through songs line by line. There is an explanation of what makes the song or music exercise unique, a list of key skills covered and practise tracks. Wider learning items also feature, touching on music theory, general knowledge and performance preparation. (more…)

Two New Harmonica Family Members

Coldean Primary School
We are proud and delighted to welcome Coldean Primary School to our harmonica family. Richard Taylor is leading whole class harmonica each week for KS2 children as part of the the school’s PPA cover programme.

The programme provides full time staff with a fortnightly opportunity to prepare lessons, develop projects and engage in professional training, while Harp Academy adds musical enrichment to the KS2 children’s curriculum.

Saltdean Primary School
A special welcome to our brand new harmonauts at Saltdean Primary School. Lizzy will be busy leading our 10 week small group music learning programme for Reception and Key Stage 1 children. We look forward to ending the Summer Term with a short performance.

Our groups at Saltdean are led by Lizzy Carey, a multi-instrumentalist who also teaches harmonica at our neighbouring partner, Woodingdean Primary School.

Summer Term 2022 – Time to Sign Up!

Summer Term Enrolments 2022 
We very much hope you will continue to enjoy music making with us this Summer. Subscription renewals are due from 1st April if you wish to secure your place, but please note that our rates and payment options are changing this Summer.

Our termly subscription rate is now £75.00 (10 sessions) payable in advance. You can also opt to pay in two half termly instalments of £40.00 (5 sessions), payable on 1st April and 15th May respectively. We regret that we no longer offer monthly subscriptions as we are unable to sustain the level of admin this involves. If you have been paying by monthly Standing Order, please cancel this arrangement with your bank after your final Spring instalment on has been settled.

Payment transfers can be made by BACS, or through our Store (no need to log in at any stage). We can also take payments over the phone if you experience any difficulty. Further information, including our account details is available here. (more…)

Sample Lesson – The Saints

Mardi Gras Harlequin Mask iI want to be in that number

It’s time to learn some fun jazz on the harmonica and here’s a song everybody will recognise. It’s called When The Saints Go Marching In and it’s from New Orleans, The song has a long name, so we’ll call it The Saints for short.

Listen to

The Saints started life as an American gospel hymn and it was sung quite slowly. But once the Jazz Bands of New Orleans got hold of it, they soon gave it some swing! (more…)

Harmonica for 4-7 Year Olds

Would you like to include music-making on the harmonica in your Early Years setting?

Here’s Richard presenting Play Harmonica, the theme tune from Harp Academy’s early years harmonica courses for 4-7 year olds. He’s using a 4 hole easy-play Speedy harmonica (available in our Store). Set to the tune of Wind The Bobbin Up/There’s A Dinosaur, the song encourages young players to acquire the following key skills:

∙ Hole location by number – 1 2 3 4
∙ Breath control – Blow and Draw
∙ C Major Arpeggio – C E G C
∙ Musical Alphabet (with Makaton) – A B C D E F G
∙ Progression to C Major Scale – C D E F G A B C
∙ Enjoyment of Rhythm and Rhyme
∙ Follow hand signals for intonation
∙ Read and follow harmonica arrow tab notation

If you would like access to the backing track, harmonica tabs, or further details about music making on the harmonica and running weekly sessions in your Early Years setting, get in touch using the details on our Contact page. Please also visit our Early Years menu for more insight into our Pre-School harmonica activities, or our KS1 for young School Age children.