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Date: Tue, 3 Sep 2002 09:38:51 -0500
From: "Jones, Dave"
Subject: RE: Rocking the Twinkle --Teaching kids harp

You were there Rick..THAT is what matters.
Who knows what will happen next time?
I have taught kids (martial arts) for almost 10 years and know how you feel!
Hang in there!

Dave

- -----Original Message-----
From: Rick Beall [mailto:ri~luesharp.org]
Sent: Sunday, September 01, 2002 11:44 AM
To: harp~arply.com
Subject: Rocking the Twinkle --Teaching kids harp



I thought I'd give everyone an update on my first experience with
teaching kids harp.

When I arrived at the tent, a problem immediately presented itself.
The promised electrical connection did not exist. I had recorded a bunch of
train sounds, and chugging tracks on cassette, but I couldn't use them. I
could not use the drum machine or scratch jog.

But I had dressed for success. I was wearing a powder blue suit, white
shirt, grey suspenders, brown two-tone wingtips, and a sunflower tie with
matching yellow carnations in my pocket

So, I stood outside the tent and performed what I imagined to be
Sonny Boy Williamson style, trying to lure people into the tent.. I played
jazz and blues when adults walked by, and "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" when
kids came by. I also just plain made up a lot of stuff.

I had brought one of those shaker eggs. It was a real nice
addition, but I hadn't practiced using it, and when I played a complex
passage, I had to just stop shaking it, 'cause otherwise I might have fallen
over.

At the end of my 2 hour shift, I had sold $3.00 worth of tickets (we
won't say what I was expected to sell), and given away 9 Johnson harps. I
gave free lessons (and harps) to two groups of kids. I was able to hold
each groups attention for about 8 minutes. In the middle of my second
lesson, a little boy raised his hand and said asked "Can I ask a question".
These were his first words. I thought I had him! "Sure," I said. "When can
we leave?" he asked. "Whenever you want," I said. All 5 kids slid off
their chairs and walked out of the tent with their shiney harmonicas
clenched in their hands.

Teaching harp to 4 - 8 year old kids in a tent at a carnival is like
trying to heard sheep on an aircraft carrier while jets are taking off.

Hey, I don't think I'm going to write a book about my teaching method,
but it was fun. I think that all the playing I had done previously with the
drum machine, really strengthened my solo playing.

When I got home, my wife chewed me out for 4 hours for wearing "my best
suit" to the carnival, but I had satisfied my inner Sonny Boy, and was
happy. It was a good day.

--Rick B
www.Bluesharp.org






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