Youth Harmonica Player of the Year 2022

Congratulations to Tom Coleman, Handcross Park School

Tom has been a Harp Academy student for several years. In 2017 he drove to the National Harmonica Festival in Bristol and entered the music competition organised by the National Harmonica League (NHL). He won first place in the melodic section that year playing Solomon Linda’s The Lion Sleeps Tonight (Wimoweh).

During two years of Covid-19 lockdown 2020-21, the NHL rebranded and is now HarmonicaUK, the nation’s central charity for all things harmonica. This year their competition was by video entry online.

Five years on from his previous entry, Tom took part once again. On this occasion he played the jazz standard Misty by Errol Garner (in the blues style of Jerry Portnoy). This is a difficult piece played in third position, with intricate draw and blow bend, control, octave playing and other advanced skills. Once again Tom was successful and has been awarded UK Youth Harmonica Player of the Year. Well don Tom!

Further great news announced at this year’s festival is the arrival of graded harmonica exam courses later this Autumn, which have been set up by Rock School (RSL) in collaboration with HarmonicaUK.  Harmonica students of all ages can now take graded exams if they wish, putting the harmonica on a par with conventional musical instruments.

When we have further information about next year’s HarmonicaUK music competition and the new RSL graded exams, we will send a bulletin to Harp  Academy parents and carers.

Behind the scenes

Harmonica lessons at Harp Academy HQ

During the long break from teaching at School, we’ve been busy refurbishing Harp Academy headquarters, and we’ve now started teaching one-to-one lessons in a live format.

The very first students to enjoy our new set up were Dylan from Goldstone, followed by his schoolmate Joe. Here’s Joe learning blues harmonica and enjoying the new set up. Dylan and Joe are both making amazing progress.

We also had a lovely visit from Chyanne and Jacob this week. They spent the afternoon checking out where our harmonicas are cleaned and repaired, where our teaching resources are created and where we store everything. They also tried out the new teaching facility where we practiced the theme music to Jurassic Park. As you can see, Chyanne took some fabulous souvenirs home afterwards!

The new teaching space has dedicated access, plenty of ventilation, space for safe distancing, and a great view across the garden. If you’d like to book a private lesson with Richard at Harp Academy HQ in Hove, send an email from the Contact page in our menu and we will get you set. We also offer online lessons using Zoom or Skype, where you can choose your preferred Harp Academy teacher.

In the meantime, we hope you’re enjoying the summer holidays and don’t forget to enter our harmonica picture postcard competition! There are some great prizes to be won. Full details are here on our home page.