How did the harmonica get its name?

How did the harmonica get its name?

The answer is, it was a name first used by US Founding Father, Inventor and Scientist Benjamin Franklin in 1762. He was an avid inventor – false teeth, lightning conductors, odometers and bifocal lenses to name but a few of his inventions. He also took the habit of rubbing a wine glass rim with a wet finger to make a ringing sound, and invented a new musical instrument. It was of a series of glass bowls in a shallow case of water, that could be turned by a handle… (more…)

Freaky Harmonica Fact (Or Fiction?)

It’s the law to learn harmonica at school in Belgium

Sofie aged 8 years came home from School recently and announced to everyone that she’d found the most fabulously freaky harmonica fact in the whole world.

According to the book 1001 Cool Freaky Facts,  if she was living in Belgium, Sofie told us she would have to learn the harmonica at school, or else she’d be breaking the law! (more…)

Harmonica elephant

Nelly the Elephant packed her trunk

When we organise musical demonstrations in schools, we tell children they just need two things to play the harmonica. One is the ability to breathe in. The other is the ability to breathe out. It’s that simple.

So that’s breathe in. And breathe out. Breathe in. And breathe out. Come on, even an elephant can do it!

Harmonica Heroes For Key Stage 1

The Z Factor

We all know about the X Factor, but have you ever heard of the Z factor? That’s the name of a programme from CBeebies ZingZillas. It features lead singer Zak playing his favourite instrument, the harmonica! 

Zak also introduces us to his friend Philip Achille who plays harmonica. Together they perform Do A, Do A, Do A Duet with the band. Click this link and choose The Z Factor video clip to hear the song. Now, all this talk of ZingZillas started us thinking. Are there any more children’s harmonica heroes out there? Let’s see what we discovered… (more…)

Can You Swallow A Harmonica?

Can you swallow a harmonica?

This is a question we are always asked when we demonstrate harmonica to groups of children. Especially when they see the smallest harmonica in the world – the Hohner Little Lady.

Technically the answer to this question is yes; although we don’t recommend it and it’s not something we’d ever attempt.

Let’s see what happens when Laurel and Hardy try to out-smart each other on their harmonicas. Stan fools around on a toy trumpet first, then finds his 10 hole harmonica. But can you spot Ollie’s 4 hole Hohner Little Lady half way through? Where do you think it ends up? Remember – please don’t try this yourself!

Fastest Harmonica Player In The World

World’s fastest harmonica player

With 103 notes in twenty seconds (or 285bpm), the Guinness World Record for fastest harmonica player is held by Nicky Shane of Santa Barbara, California, USA.

The record was monitored at SRS studios in Santa Barbara on the 8th of September 2005 and the melody played was When The Saints Come Marching In. Perhaps that should be When The Saints Come Sprinting In.

Nicky is a former stand up comedian who more recently has become a leading exponent of heavy metal harmonica. Turn the volume on your computer way down, move all pets to another room and check out Nicky in the following video clip. We present The Star Spangled Banner

Rock and Roll! Ask a grown up about a guitarist called Jimi Hendrix who played the same tune at a festival called Woodstock in the 1960s!