Teaching Plan

Autumn 2023

Theme
Our theme this term is Country Music. We have some great new pieces for our harmonauts to enjoy and some old favourites. Repertoire includes songs by Charlie McCoy, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, John Denver and Bruce Robison, as well as classics such as Streets of Laredo, Buffalo Gals, Cotton Eye Joe, Ghost Riders in the Sky, Ashokan Farewell. We’ll also be working on repertoire for seasonal playbacks later this term.

Younger players in Reception and Y1 can continue work on pieces in Harp Academy Book 1, which are accompanied by musical backing tracks in a variety of styles from Country, Reggae and Rock, to Waltzes and Morris. KS2 players can also work on favourite pieces and composition to compliment personal interest and school projects.

Musical Element
What is texture? It’s how we layer sound to make it more exciting. Examples are harmonica, chords, rounds and mash ups. We will explore all these during our lessons and complete our Texture worksheets.

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.

Composition
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 texture theme.

Research
Children will learn to identify texture while listening to music. They will be encouraged to apply this to songs on the radio, TV and film, as well as pieces from our our music library.

Activities
To help children develop an understanding of texture, we have worksheets and additional information in the Musical Elements section of our music Key Stage library.

Performance
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. Details will be advertised to you as and when these events are planned to take place.

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