Calling all Junior and Youth Harmonica Players

Your chance to shine!

The UK’s International Harmonica Festival 2017 takes place 28th-29th October, in Bristol (UK). There are workshops and trade stands to enjoy, and on Saturday 28th October the annual music competition takes place, with dedicated sections for Junior players (7-11 yrs) and Youth players (12-15 yrs).

Some young players have already chosen their pieces and entered the competition online, but there is plenty of time for you to do the same, and you have all summer to practise! Simply choose a song you’ve enjoyed learning (one you could perform for two to three minutes), or something completely new, and the National Harmonica League (NHL) team will help you bring it all together. There are separate categories for chromatic and diatonic harmonicas, and sections for the different styles of music chosen.

The cost involved is one Under 18 day ticket and one Under 18 competition entry, which comes to £18.00 (GBP). Mum’s, Dad’s and immediate family can accompany competition entrants free of charge as chaperones and supporters. Full details and tickets are online at the National Harmonica League website here. Once you’ve bought your ticket, you can submit the details of your competition piece here.

When The Saints Go Marching In

I want to be in that number

It’s time to learn some traditional jazz on the harmonica! Here’s a song that everybody will recognise. It’s called When The Saints Go Marching In. But that’s a long name, so we’ll shorten it to The Saints.

The Saints was originally an American gospel hymn that was played and sung quite slowly. But when the Jazz Bands of New Orleans got hold of it, they made it swing and they played it hot!

Listen to

At funerals in New Orleans, a marching jazz band sometimes accompanies a coffin through the city, playing in a slow and sombre mood on the way to the cemetry. Coming home however, the band jumps into Dixieland tempo, which is happy and bouncy. Let’s look at the tab and learn how to play things Dixieland Jazz style. (more…)

Little Leap Forward

Little Leap ForwardA children’s harmonica classic

Here’s a wonderful, true story that features a boy called Little Leap Forward. He plays a special Chinese musical instrument called the Bawu. It looks just like a bamboo flute (sometimes it’s called a folk clarinet) but there’s a secret hidden in the mouthpiece. It has a single metal reed, which means the Bawu is actually related to the harmonica. With finger holes along the shaft, it plays like a harmonica and a flute all in one.

There are levels of interest in this story for all ages and you can watch the introductory video below; a Bawu is played on the soundtrack. For this and more books featuring the harmonica, visit our Reading Library pages. You’ll find them in our harmonica stories menu. Join us in the rest of this post, where you’ll find a video about Little Leap Forward and a traditional Chinese children’s tune for your harmonica, Zhao Peng You. (more…)

Meet Me On The Corner

Hey Mr Dream Seller

If you’re a regular visitor to Toot Suite, you will probably remember our feature on Josh Cooper, the UK’s Player Of The Year in 2012. If you’re new to Toot Suite and missed it, you can catch up here.

Well Josh has been busy again this year. He took part in the UK National Harmonica League’s annual festival in Bristol once again, this time competing in two separate categories. And that’s not all… (more…)

Naa-na na-naa-na! Horrid Henry Harping

How to be a cheeky monkey

You know that noise kids make when they poke their tongues out in the playground? You know the one; it’s in the Horrid Henry TV theme tune…

Listen to

Well, we can do it on the harmonica! The important key skill to learn is sliding between notes to make things easier to play. We’re letting the harmonica do the hard work for us!


Waking Up Wendell by April Stevens

Waking Up Wendell by April Stevens

Here’s a great bedtime story book for Pre-School, Reception and Key Stage 1 children (3-7 years).

Wendell Willamore lives at number 10 Fish Street. Each morning his neighbours are woken by lots of different noises.

Early in the morning, a bird begins to sing at No.1 Fish Street, waking the man next door and his dog, and before long, as one noise leads to another, everyone on the street is awake. (more…)