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…)

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!

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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…)

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to you!

If it’s your birthday today, you’re probably wondering how we knew. Well actually we didn’t. But since you’re here, many happy returns and we hope you have a lovely day! Go ahead and click the green button.

When other people know you have a harmonica, there’s a good chance that one day you’ll be asked to play the Happy Birthday song. But why wait to be asked? It also makes a lovely surprise! So let’s learn to play it on a 10 hole harp…

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Harpsichords and Harmonicas

“My son would like to learn the Harpsichord”

From time to time we hear from parents who are eager for their children to learn the Harpsichord. Which is nice.

Here is a Harpsichord. It’s a keyboard instrument from the Renaissance and Baroque period of the 1700-1800’s. It was very fashionable in its day. As were powdered wigs and knee britches.

While there is a Harpsichord Society in the UK, we find that parents are normally confusing a Harpsichord with the short name for the harmonica – the harp or mouth harp. Here is a picture of our harp. It’s a member of the reed instrument family.

It wasn’t around when the Harpsichord was popular, but you could try wearing a wig and knee britches when you play it. Why not investigate inside the harmonica, how a harmonica is made, different types of harmonica, or the harmonica’s closest relatives?