Blues Harmonica In The Schools


By Gary Allegretto
BLUES HARMONICA IN THE SCHOOLS: While in Houston, I also offered my Blues Harmonica in the Schools program to 25 seniors at Carnegie Vanguard High School. The session was organized and coordinated by the Houston Blues Society and sponsored by Hohner. The students were riveted for over an hour as I engaged their interest through live performance and insights to Blues history - followed by teaching them to effectively play four Blues songs on their Hohner donated harmonicas. They were fascinated and beamed with pride at  the speed and accuracy in which they learned to play harmonica though my method. One of the students who was particularly captivated was Nick Randall, who is also an apprentice journalist for the Houston Chronicle. He interviewed me afterward and wrote an article for the publication regarding the importance of the experience. In the article Nick relays the words of one of his classmates who says... “I pretty much had no real desire to learn about the blues before the Blues Harmonica in the Schools lesson. But afterwards, yeah I’m kind of interested in playing it and seeing how it goes.” Nick's full article can be read here.

Vanguard teacher Andrew Dewey sums it up in his appreciative letter sent to me following the session:


I want to thank you for coming out to Carnegie Vanguard High School today to teach our students about the history of the blues and also how to play the harmonica. One of the great things about teaching at CVHS is the diversity of the student body and their wide range of interests, even passions. I think you saw today the enthusiasm of the students as they watched your presentation. As a life-long fan of the blues I remember my “aha” moment in a small club in Buffalo, NY watching Robert Lockwood Jr. playing his 12 string guitar with his wife in the corner selling his album. I knew then this type of music would be in my heart always. I am confident that several of the students who witnessed you today had their own “aha” moments and are now life-long fans of the blues. This is how the music is passed from generation to generation. Thanks again for coming to our school and through education and entertainment, doing your part in keeping the blues alive.

Andrew Dewey
Teacher, AP United States History
Carnegie Vanguard High School

  ~ Gary Allegretto, Artist, Educator, and Founding Director of Harmonikids, and

Add Your Voice

No comments
Add comment

* - required field