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.

If you lose a music sheet provided by your harmonica teacher, you can download and print a copy from our study page. And for wet weekends, our Harp QI menu has fun activities, crazy videos and musical items of interest to explore – including the first harmonica in space. If you don’t have the subscriber log in for our protected web pages, just let us know.

Harmonica Diary
This is a key part of every harmonaut’s music kit. It’s where your harmonica teacher writes your weekly mission; a simple item to work on between lessons. There’s even space for grown ups to add comments, encouragement and queries.

Time, Space and Encouragement
Having somewhere to focus and practise without being disturbed or disturbing others is important. Little and often is also a good policy. Five minutes after school, before X-Box and TV. Five minutes before or after an evening meal. Ten minutes at the weekend in tandem with other activity time. A musical play date. They all add up.

Interaction and Support
Some parents have recorded short videos and posted these on our private Facebook page. Why not join us there for all our news and announcements? Often harmonauts ask to play what they’ve practised at the start of a session at school; their harmonica teacher will support and encourage this.

From time to time we organise informal playbacks in assembly, at school events and in public. These occasions highlight the benefit of practise and preparation, and the rewards that sharing music can bring. Harmonauts enjoy a sense of personal achievement and a boost to their self confidence, while grown ups can see the result of their support and savour the memories. Playing to friends and family at home is also a great way to develop an appetite for performance, and a harmonica can travel anywhere!

Music Kit
Finally, taking a pride in their music kit is an important foundation to every harmonaut’s learning. Music sheets organised in a folder, a music diary and pen, a clean instrument and remembering to bring these along to weekly sessions promotes a structured learning routine.