Telephone: 07599 561 514
HarpsCool is a unique and independent Music Service dedicated to teaching the diatonic HARMONICA and was by set up Ben Hewlett in 1995. HarpsCool stems from Ben's passion about sharing music in general, the harmonica in particular, and his powerful desire to share the fun of playing such an amazing instrument.
"Ben started working with groups of children in our school last year and the impact has been fantastic. The harmonica groups are mixed age groups, with boys and girls working together from a wide variety of backgrounds. All the children are engaged and motivated by the high quality harmonica lessons and within a very short time were keen to show off their newly acquired skills by playing to the whole school in assemblies. A brilliant way to get children interested in learning a musical instrument. Harmonicas have been a real success in our school!" - Laurence Pitt, Head Teacher at Ashley Down Junior School
Currently HarpsCool teaches over 500 students a week aged 4 - 14 with seven tutors in 24 Bristol and South Gloucester schools with more starting in East Sussex. HarpsCool is growing gently and strongly.
Each tutor is not only an experienced qualified teacher, an active musician, a harmonica player, has enhanced CRB certification, and is also in continual professional development of their musical and teaching skills. HarpsCool tutors and management meet regularly to train, compare notes, share ideas, work on teaching strategies, and to socialise.
One-day Harmonica workshops
HarpsCool offers amazing one-day workshops with performance for children of any age group throughout the UK. As professional harmonica teachers and performers, we uses our passion for music and supportive approach to change people’s lives!
In a typical day we provide 2/2.5 hours of tuition before lunch and the same after lunch followed by a 5/10 minute performance to which parents are invited.
First we demonstrate what you can do on a harmonica and look briefly at the origin and design development of it’s 5,000 year lifespan, often with children learning how to make sounds on the original harmonica – the blade of grass! This can be in assembly or class by class.
Children are then given an age specific harmonica and shown how to make some simple music, some rhythms and scales and then taught how to play the Blues! We learn to write a Blues story and play Muddy Waters’ Hoochie Coochie Man.
Next we learn some Blues Brothers style pieces. We learn how to play a solo using the microphone and how to be the ‘backing band’ playing the parts of the horn section. At the same time we work out groovy dance routines to go with the funky music.
Another option for KS1 children is to have a simpler plan and a separate performance based around some groovy Nursery Rhymes.
Usually we are given a room or the school hall and different groups come for tuition during the day accompanied by their class teacher.
Groups are whole classes of about 30 of half classes of around 15. Each session is about 45 minutes long.
We are offering participants free access to HarpsCool website’s huge resource of teaching materials for limited period after the workshop.
Fees – HarpsCool charges £60 per hour with a minimum booking of 3 hours to cover travel time and expenses within a 60 mile radius of Bristol. Venues further away are by arrangement – the only difference is travel costs.
HarpsCool provides instruments for children to play on the day and to take home with them. The cost depends which type chosen - typical cost is £6 per instrument.
HarpsCool – where children have fun learning music
Learn to play tunes, scales, rhythms, chords – and the Blues on the harmonica
All ages and ablities
Instruments provided at extremely low cost
Taught by the UK’s only full time harmonica tutor
Certificate of Teaching ABRSM
Certified Community Music Workshop leader (Goldsmiths University)
Public Liability Insurance
Harmonica teaching experience started in 1995
For many years we have provided team building sessions for adults using the harmonica – we call it BluesJamFactory.com – have a look at the video on the home page to see what happens!
Blues Jam Factory is an interactive and dynamic team building workshop which challenges participants to unite to learn a new skill – playing and performing the blues harmonica. You can even use it to train your teachers to deliver harmonica lessons at your school.
Ben Hewlett, professional harmonica teacher and performer, uses an enthusiastic and supportive approach to lead the delegates on an enjoyable journey from sampling the earliest instruments to performing as a unified ‘Blues Band’
Key Inset Benefits
Develops Learning Strategies and Thinking Skills
Motivates and Energises
Blues Jam Factory – Harmonising People through Music
We have two ways of teaching harmonica:
1. Small groups (peripatetic teaching)
This is the 'normal' music service type of traditional lesson. It is a weekly lesson lasting about 30 minutes and is in groups of about 5. We teach 30 lessons a year.
We start by doing a 20 minute demonstration (WITHOUT COST OR OBLIGATION) in a whole school assembly after which we hand out leaflets to interested parties.
If nobody is interested we just walk away knowing they have had a fascinating assembly. If we have more than ten people who want to start we find a time to suit and organise a starting date.
IT MUST BE DURING THE SCHOOL DAY, NOT IN THE LUNCHBREAK (we can't sustain interest) AND NOT AFTER SCHOOL (children forget and go home) unless it's a proper organised 'After school club'.
We then send a letter to parents, deal with all admin and fee collection, organise the schedule and start teaching.
We do all the admin and just ask your office staff to inform us of any outings, theatre trips etc, and to hold any payments that come in. We do ask parents to send fees to us via standing order or by post but it often ends up in the school office whatever we say! We might occasionally ask you to hand out letters for us via the registers.
2. Whole class groups
With WHOLE CLASS groups we usually do a 45 minute session once a week (most weeks) for a given period. It is very flexible and can be tailored to suit you.
Some schools have a permament Year 3 session where we teach one class for 45 minutes and then the other for 45 minutes.
Some prefer a 10 week input for years 3 and 4. One school booked us for every class to have a 45 minute lesson once a week for one year.
The cost is £40/hour for which we will invoice you.
Typically we will give you one harmonica and one hour-long CD/Book per child. The cost is £10 per child which some schools recover from parents donations, and some just absorb.
We are happy to offer you either or both.
The HarpsCool mission is:
• to introduce children to music using the harmonica.
• to provide a thoroughly excellent experience for everyone involved - children, schools, parents, our teachers and the community
• to provide an excellent grounding in music incorporating repertoire (tunes), improvisation, performance, research, reading music, and composition
• to make a positive difference to each child's life
• to make a positive difference to schools, parents, our teachers and the greater community
• to grow HarpsCool slowly and strongly
• to leave the world better than we found it
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