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    Harmonikids Hohner-Sponsored Session at Coconino County Juvenile Detention Center

    22 November, 2021

    On October 7, 2021 I provided a Hohner-sponsored Harmonikids session for students at the Coconino County Juvenile Detention Center in Flagstaff, AZ. The session was a fun and successful learning experience for all. The students were entertained and taught fascinating history of the harmonica and its influence on music. Then I gave them harmonicas and taught some immediately recognizable songs which they enjoyed and expressed an interest in playing for friends and family. But notably, what most caught their attention and excited them was the roots connection between the Rap music they love and the Blues - which I illustrated by playing song examples. To their delight I taught them to play the same iconic Blues riff they heard in the songs. They found great joy in their newfound talent. Learning to rapidly and accurately play songs on their first musical instrument visibly boosted their self esteem and confidence. Supervisor Emily Lucas joined the fun session and shares her insights of what was accomplished in her thoughtful note below.

    ~ Gary Allegretto, Founding Director of Harmonikids, www.harmonikids.org


    I was the staff member supervising and participating in this group with the youth detained in the Coconino County Juvenile Detention Center. Gary did a wonderful job holding this program in our facility. I was excited to see the youth get to learn something new they haven’t learned before. It always excites them when different people can come into the facility and teach new skills. I was nervous about if the youth would get frustrated trying to learn a new skill they haven’t before, but the way Gary taught was simple and very easy to follow - enough so that the youth and I were able to both learn and have a lot fun. I think the youth really appreciated listening to the different styles of harmonica playing, I know we all really enjoyed the train song Gary had played for us. As well as the relation to harmonica riffs and background related to rap music. A lot of our youth listen to rap music and seeing that connection between rap music and the harmonica really tied their interests into the program.

    ~ Emily Lucas, Youth Care Worker II, Coconino County Juvenile Court