Re: [Harp-L] Re: College music program on harmonica

*"This instrument is the foundation for a musical career...and many boys
and girls who are now learning music on the harmonica will step into the
great symphony orchestras and bands of our country some day."
**John Philip Sousa, ca.1928, United States of America
*What happened in America since Albert Hoxie's Philadelphia Harmonica Band
and the prestige that is associated with that group of 50-60 harmonica
players? ...and all of the film made with various members of Borrah
Minnevich's Harmonica Rascals? ...and then the subsequent rise of trios
like Jerry Murad's Harmonicats, The HarmoniKings, Stagg McMann Trio, and
many others?

We need a musical revival in America where the harmonica is taught in US
public schools by certified teachers in each state.  College Music
Education majors will need to have a methods class in Harmonica.

We need to promote outside of our comfort zone...get the press and other
media to run features on harmonica players...entice people to want to learn
the harmonica...want to allocate money for harmonica lessons and dedicate
time for harmonica practice...want to seek out harmonica concerts and
willing to pay admission prices for harmonica entertainment... How do we do
this?  We have SPAH, which is our largest organization to Preserve and
Advance.  Maybe SPAH can be a clearing house for information and data
collection/keeping regarding grant moneys for the arts, even apply on
behalf of harmonica artists, match up artists with arts grants/artist in
residence opportunities.  I'm just free thinking here.  Not one of us can
do it alone.  But collectively, we need to work together, pulling our
resources together, to promote our instrument back into a heightened
popularity such as mid-20th century USA, and even to the level of
popularity that the Harmonica now has in Asia.

Along these lines, I currently have a resume which I send to specifically
only to public charter schools in Pennsylvania and Ohio (where I hold
teacher certification).  Charter schools are required by each state to
provide courses in the arts.  My strategy is to promote the harmonica to
these schools on the basis that...
#1.) the cost to start up a harmonica program is lower than with a
traditional program with brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments,
#2.) the harmonica program will be well received by many, and is sure to be
successful in its first year,
#3.) more parents can afford to buy their child's instruments,
#4.) all state teaching standards and benchmarks can be taught with a
harmonica program, and
#5.) the harmonica program can be specified in a child's IEP or 504
accommodation plan -- especially for children with respiratory illnesses
and emotional disturbance.

I am still waiting to land my first interview with a charter school CEO,
but I remain optimistic.


George Miklas, Harmonica Performing Artist and
Harmonica Repair Done Right by George <>
Society for the Preservation and Advancement of the Harmonica<>

On Fri, Apr 20, 2012 at 10:32 AM, Chesper Nevins <chespernevins@xxxxxxxxx>wrote:

> Thank so much Tony for that insight.  Wow, what a big difference
> between that and North America.
> A resident composer for the harmonica orchestra?  That sounds incredible!
> The harmonica is probably a great instrument for the school level,
> being much cheaper and more portable than other band/orchestra type
> instruments.  I assume they have the traditional
> brass/woodwinds/strings/percussion ensembles in the schools as well?
> Do you have any idea of the history of this trend?  When did they
> start having this explosion of harmonica ensembles?  Why?
> I don't mean to overload you with questions - I'm just very curious.
> Jason
> On Wed, Apr 18, 2012 at 9:18 PM, Tony Eyers <tony@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> > Jason posted
> >
> >
> > "One of the things that got me thinking about this are these Harmonica
> > Orchestra videos from Asia.
> > .......
> >
> > So, what is the the story over there? Is harmonica interest in
> > general so great there that it supports University level orchestras?
> > Are these ensembles the only ones of their kind, or are there many of
> > them at all levels?"
> >
> > I've been a judge at the last two Asia Pacific Harmonica Festivals, so I
> can
> > comment here.
> >
> > The Asian countries have multiple harmonica orchestras. Many are
> associated
> > with high schools, and are of a standard you'd expect from a school band.
> > Then there are the leading harmonica orchestras. In particular, the ones
> > from Malaysia and Hong Kong are exquisitely good. The Hong Kong orchestra
> > has a resident composer, much of the activity arises from the efforts of
> the
> > Kings Harmonica Quintet members.
> >
> > Almost all of the elite players are amateurs.
> >
> > In addition to the orchestras, there are many many excellent trios (Bass,
> > Chord, Chromatic/Tremolo)
> >
> > One of the session I judged has around 20 trios, almost all excellent.
> >
> > Very few 10 hole players. The Asia Pacific harmonica festival has around
> > 2000 competitors, the 10 hole competition has less than 10 entrants.
> >
> > Tony Eyers
> > Australia
> >
> > ...everyone plays
> >

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