About Us – A History of HarpsCool

HarpsCool started out in the late 90s with Ben Hewlett being invited to teach harmonica at Dulwich College. A very impressive start, we think you’ll agree.

Ben started playing harmonica in the mid 80′s and studied first with Paul Lamb, and then with Brendan Power who introduced him to teaching. Wasn’t he lucky  – now these guys are the most respected players in the UK – google them to see why!

Brendan asked Ben to take over his evening class teaching harmonica in London. He did that and then realised it was a long time since  he had studied trumpet at school so needed to brush up on his music skills and aquire some teaching skills before anyone found out.

The right course came up at Goldsmiths University of London, so from 1993 to 1995 he studied (Community Music Workshop Skills) there and taught his evening classes at The City Literary Institute, The Working Men’s College, and for Hammersmith Council, plus a blues band workshop or sometimes two.

Are you busy? We’ll tell you the whole story.

Then he left London returning to his native Bristol, and started teaching harmonica at Red Maids School, St Ursula’s, and Colston Girls School. He also ran two harmonica evening courses and a blues band workshop each week at the Folk House. After a year or so he added some state schools having joined Bristol and BaNES Music Services.

Pretty soon he was working five days a week and getting exhausted without earning enough so decided to go independent around 2001 and took on a group of new schools.

Once again he was soon working five days a week and getting exhausted again and getting a little ticked off with Twinkle Twinkle little star!

Luckily two ex-students approached Ben and asked if they could do some teaching so he trained them up and handed over some schools to them and took on some more to keep himself busy.

Pretty soon he was working five days a week again taking on and training more prospective teachers.

All this time he has also been busy doing other things like writing cd/books, running workshops, attending and running festivals, playing in bands, teaching and performing on Cruise Ships from Cape Town to Barbados and all points east and west!

Having topped 600 students, 10 teachers and 40 schools at times and made some classic mistakes along the way he realised he needed a Management Team to help run HarpsCool and to help it grow it organically.

The plan is to introduce more people to playing the harmonica by taking on more schools and more teachers and to increase the fun!