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…)

Morning Has Broken

Morning Has Broken

Here’s a beautiful Springtime tune to play on the harmonica in C. It’s called Morning Has Broken and it’s been sung in schools for many years.

It became popular in 1972, when Cat Stevens took it to N0.6 in the pop charts. But the melody was originally a folk tune from Scotland. Let’s investigate some more, and then learn how to play along on the harmonica.


Silent Night (10 hole harmonica)

Silent Night

Here’s a classic Christmas tune in two parts, which sounds great performed a cappella on the harmonica (without backing music).

It was written in a village near Salzburg in Austria, where it was called Stille Nacht. Why not learn the tune and play it at School, in Church or to your family for Christmas? (more…)

One Love/People Get Ready (Part 1)

Let’s get together and feel all right

Here’s a great song to play in harmonica groups. One Love/People Get Ready was written by the great man of music and peace from Jamaica, Bob Marley.

Bob Marley’s musical style is called reggae. The reggae rhythm, or skank, uses the up-beat to create a relaxing and happy groove. We’ll be looking at this more closely in the final part of the series.

In this post we’re looking at the chorus of the song. So let’s get together and work out how a group of junior harmonica players can enjoy performing this cool instrumental. (more…)

Wimoweh Part 2 – Melodies

Near the village, the peaceful village

Welcome to part two of our African extravaganza! Last time we learned where the word Wimoweh comes from and what it means. We also learned about where the song was composed.

Now we’re going to look at how one player – a soloist – can perform the main melodies. Some parts sound slightly better on a 10 hole harmonica, others work fine on a 4 hole. Purple music is for four hole harmonicas. Orange music is for ten hole harmonicas. A number tells you which hole to play. D is draw (breath in). B is blow (breath out). We’re using harmonicas in the key of C major (more…)