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    Harmonikids Hohner-Sponsored Session For Troubled Youth At Cleveland White School

    13 September, 2021

    On August 9, 2021 I provided a Hohner-sponsored Harmonikids session for students at the Cleveland White School at Ferris Youth Detention Center in Wilmington Delaware. The session that day was a successful and joyful learning experience for all.

    The students were entertained and taught fascinating history after which they accurately learned to play songs on the harmonicas. I taught a couple of familiar songs like "You Are My Sunshine" and "Happy Birthday" 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. At one point I engaged one student as he enjoyed himself and entertained the class by rapping "freestyle" along with my harmonica as I played the riff to Bo Diddley’s famous hit song "I’m a Man". Then I taught all the youth to play the same riff themselves which gave them great joy, self esteem, and confidence in their newfound musical talent. Teacher Teria L. Beasley shares her insights of what was accomplished that day in her thoughtful note of thanks below.

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



    I would just like to thank you for the presentation you made today at DCYFS, Cleveland White School. The youth really enjoyed learning about the harmonica and hearing the different sounds it makes. The songs you played were familiar and enjoyable to them.  You really captured their attention and connected with them by playing a song in their genre of music. 

    We appreciate you for allowing a youth to take a part in your presentation, he was inspired and welcomed the opportunity to share his gift. We even had some youth that were excited to know you were in a movie that they had seen, and were familiar with the character that played the harmonica in that movie. We also had a couple of students who took interest in your gift and was interested enough to spend some extra time with you after your presentation to hear you share more of your experiences and how the harmonica can be more useful to them as they learn more.  

    Thank you again for coming and sharing your gift with our youth it was both inspiring and encouraging to know we have some that are interested in learning more and are eager to learn the songs that you left with them.

    Teacher Teria L. Beasley