Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions. If there’s anything we haven’t covered here, please get in touch using the details on our contact page and we’ll be happy to help!

Parents' FAQs (14)

How much are lessons?

Lessons cost between £14.95 and £17.95 per month. The price varies slightly because we are guided by what the Head Teacher feels is appropriate at their particular school. It also depends on whether the lessons happen during the school day, after school or at lunchtime (we charge less for after school and lunchtime clubs as the group size is bigger.)

Payment is in monthly instalments and paid in advance – preferably by standing order. 

For this your child will receive an average of 3 lessons per month. We teach 33 lessons during each school year.  Schools operate for 39 weeks each year, so there will be 6 weeks when we don’t teach. You will be able to see the exact dates for your school once you are registered and logged in. * Note that the dates can change from time to time if need be.

Ongoing Payment:

PLEASE NOTE THAT PAYMENT MUST BE IN ADVANCE. IF NO PAYMENT IS RECEIVED BY THE 20TH OF ANY GIVEN MONTH WE ASSUME IT MEANS YOU DON’T WISH TO CONTINUE WITH LESSONS IN THE FOLLOWING MONTH.

PLEASE GET IN TOUCH IF THAT’S NOT THE CASE AND WE’LL BE DELIGHTED TO REINSTATE LESSONS AND WELCOME YOUR CHILD BACK.

How do I add numbers and arrows to my child’s music?

To learn how to do this click here and follow the instructions at the bottom.

How do I register?

To register, click ‘New? Register here’, which is located in the top right corner, underneath the picture.

Choose a username, email, password (as you would for any other website), and make a note of them.

Put in the secret word, which is on the first page of your child’s mission book (in their pack) and on the ‘Starter letter’ we sent when your child started with us.

Put in the other details requested

Check the T&C box

Press next

Press the ‘finish’ button and you’re done.

The site will send you a confirmation email.

Now you can log in to see the dates of the lessons and your child’s teacher’s profile, download music and books for free and watch videos.

How do I download a book to my computer or tablet?

Go to the Music/Video/Books tab and choose Music Books.

Click the book you want, then click the blue ‘Download (book title)’ right under the picture of the book.

You will get a .zip file downloaded called (book title).zip which will go to wherever your downloads normally go. Locate this file and ‘unzip’ it to get the PDF of the book and the sound files (mp3s).

To “unzip” your download on a Windows PC, right-click on the file, and select “Extract All…”. On a Mac, you should just be able to double-click on the file. To view the PDF files, you will need the free Adobe Reader software.

What if I’m using a tablet or a smartphone?

Our download packs are always delivered as zip files. You will need an app to open these on your device. We recommend Winzip, which is free for Apple and Android devices. Apple users could also try iZip or UnlimDL free from the app store.

How does my child start having harmonica lessons?

Just press the ‘big red button’ at the top of the homepage and we’ll send you some more information.

Your child is very welcome to join us at any time – we love new faces!

They will have a lovely new hobby and lots of new friends all over the world within the ‘Harmonica Community’

Where do I get my starter pack and extra or replacement harmonicas?

Go to the ’Shop’ or call Peter Smith on 01594 841545.

Orders are sent on a ‘next day, first class post’ basis, but please allow enough time to get your order when starting lessons.

How do I pay for lessons?

Payment is by monthly standing order. We will tell you the monthly fee so that you can set this up. If this is impossible you can do a manual monthly payment. However, you will need to remember each month – we don’t send reminders and a lack of payment could be taken as ‘lessons no longer required’

Pay direct to – ACCOUNT: 7091 6713, CO-OP BANK, SORT CODE: 08-92-50. Alternatively, pay via Paypal using ‘bristolpayments@harpscool’. Please add your child’s name and school for reference.

Additional Options

PLEASE NOTE THAT IF NO PAYMENT IS RECEIVED BY THE 20TH OF ANY MONTH WE ASSUME IT MEANS YOU DON’T WISH TO CONTINUE WITH LESSONS IN THE FOLLOWING MONTH.

PLEASE GET IN TOUCH IF THAT’S NOT THE CASE AND WE’LL BE DELIGHTED TO REINSTATE LESSONS AND WELCOME YOUR CHILD BACK.

Starter packs or extra harmonicas should be ordered from the ‘Shop’, or you can call Peter Smith on 01594 841545. Orders are sent out on a ‘next day, first class post’ basis, but please allow enough time to get your order when starting lessons. 

Why are the monthly instalments the same each month when the number of lessons varies?

The average number of lessons in a month is three.

There are 33 lessons a year, so we take the yearly cost and divide by 12 to calculate the monthly instalments.

The individual lesson price is the yearly cost divided by 33.

This system works however many lessons there are in the month – everything balances out.

The average number of lessons in a month is three. However, some months contain more than three lessons (generally months that contain no school holidays and/or inset days), and some contain less than three (generally months that contain school holidays and/or inset days).

At the time of leaving, if there’s a query we can double check to see how many lessons you’ve had, multiply by the individual lesson price and calculate what you should have paid in total. 

Any balance either way will be refunded to you or invoiced to you.

What happens in the lessons?

Come and see – you are welcome anytime.

You will see children having fun learning music!

You will see a calm, friendly, happy and nurturing environment, with well behaved children growing in self esteem and confidence as they learn about music and playing the harmonica.

You will see skilled teachers enjoying working with the young musicians of the future and encouraging them in a kind and dynamic way.

But don’t take our word for it, come in and see for yourself!

Why play the harmonica?

Why should children learn the harmonica?  Because it’s fun!

And also because:

  • It’s easy to play – you don’t need to use fingers (manual dexterity can be hard for young children)
  • It provides an accessible and relatively easy introduction to music
  • You can play scales and tunes over three octaves
  • You can play rhythms with chords, as well as melodies (sometimes even both at the same time!)
  • You can also play pairs of notes simultaneously using different intervals, including octaves
  • It’s cheap and fits in your pocket
  • You can play along / accompany on the piano – the harmonica equates to the white notes on the piano
  • It sounds great right out of the box
  • You can learn to play it chromatically (all the sharps and flats). Children generally don’t get to this stage so we play it modally to access C major, D minor (dorian), E minor (Phrygian), F major (Lydian), G major (mixolydian) A minor (aeolian), B minor (locrian)  
  • You can play the Blues – where it is best known
  • You hear it on adverts and tv theme tunes all the time
  • A lot of bands use the harmonica as part of their show
  • There are a thousand harmonica performances viewable for free on YouTube.

Plus it will even lead to work if you want it to; there are many people who play music in bands and who teach and write about music as a full time or part time living.

A child who starts an instrument in primary school could easily be earning a living from music aged 18 if they put their mind to it, and having musical skills is a job for life in any country.

The social aspect of learning a musical instument, the teamwork skills you learn, the sense of community you feel, the friends you make – these are all wonderful and important things.

We wouldn’t say the harmonica is necessarily better than the recorder, ocarina, ukulele or anything else, but it’s got a great deal in its favour. Alright, let’s be honest – it’s way better that all these other instruments!

The harmonica is the highest selling instrument of all – one company alone, M. Hohner, has been making 30 million harmonicas a year since the 1930s. The Chinese factories are much bigger again.

How do we get a new Mission Book? (the dog ate ours!)

You can download the mission book here. It’s free and you can print it out.

Alternatively you can buy one from the shop for £2.00 (post free)

Can my child have free lessons? Yes, but no, but…

  1. If your child has totally fallen in love with the harmonica and it’s completely unaffordable for you then we might be able to give them free harmonica lessons for a limited time. They would need to show us how much they wanted to do it and also qualify for free school dinners. Sometimes the school will help fund lessons so it’s worth asking them as well.
  2. Just click www.youtube.com/benhewlettuk and www.youtube.com/paullennonuk and there you will find lots of free video lessons from Ben.
  3. Another way to have free harmonica lessons is to type FREE HARMONICA LESSONS into Youtube or Google – there are plenty out there.

How do I cancel lessons?

Just let us know if your child wishes to stop attending lessons by contacting us using the details on the ‘contact us’ page.  All we ask is the standard one month’s notice.

Please tell us why your child wants to stop – it helps us learn. Sometimes it’s as simple as them not wanting to miss football/class/break, and we can usually rearrange the schedule if this is the case.

Finally, don’t forget to cancel your standing order.

Where on the net is there more harmonica music?

Everywhere! Although we can’t guarantee it is correct, a lot of it is good, and free.

Just google ‘Harmonica tabs’, or ‘harmonica sheet music’.

You can also take a look at:

www.harmonica.co.uk – home of the National Harmonica League (the venerable Chairman is Ben Hewlett!)

http://www.harptabs.com/songlist.php

http://www.harmonicaclub.com/harmonica_tabs.htm

http://1000harmonicatabs.com/index.html (try the index of songs)