Teaching Plan


Our theme this term is Songs From Around The WorldStudent/Teacher Choice and Song Writing. We have some great new pieces for our harmonauts to enjoy and some old favourites. While we work on our study pieces, we will investigate our musical element topic, texture, with a focus on chords, harmony and playing in rounds.

KS1 players can work on items from Book 1, which are played to a variety of musical backing tracks. KS2 players will be working on favourite pieces, songs from around the world, group composition, or repertoire to compliment personal interest and school projects.

Musical Element
What is texture? It’s the way we layer sounds to make music more interesting. This can come in the form of harmony, by adding a complimentary line to an existing melody. It can also come in the form of chords; blocks of notes that work well together. Finally, the tradition of playing in rounds. or overlaying one tune with another, is great way to learn time keeping and take part in a broader soundscape.

Technical Skills
Breath control is the foundation of playing long notes, repeated notes, and note combinations. We will work on ways to develop a deeper understanding of our breathing and how to manage it. Slide notes, push-pull notes, jump notes and repeat notes are the core movements on a 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, pentatonic and blues scale capabilities.

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 will learn to identify note and rest values in our study pieces, along with time signatures and rhythm. They will be encouraged to identify reggae and ska songs from radio, TV and film, as well as investigate the First Steps in Reggae page in our music library.

To help children develop an understanding of duration, including a music quiz and worksheets, visit the Musical Elements section of our music Key Stage library.

Performance is a powerful device for building self-identity and a sense of worth. We often perform playbacks in school assembly and school events. We also play in public with children from all our schools at the following annual events, subject to any pandemic restrictions:

• December : Royal Alex Children’s Hospital
• February : Harpin’ By The Sea international harmonica festival
• May : Brighton Festival
• July : Paddle Round The Pier beach festival

Literacy (KS1)
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

Literacy (KS2)
The Cello of Mr. O – Jane Cutler
The Cello of Mr.O IIWe 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