Saturday, December 17, 2011

Community Partnerships

WUMB has recently launched two new community & campus partnership programs by piloting a Harmonica workshop for nearly three dozen students at the Dever-McCormack School in Dorchester, and with the UMass Boston GoKids Wellness program (in photo).

The workshops, which teach elementary and middle school students how to play harmonica helps to address the growing body of research which suggests that students who are exposed to music at an early age and who learn to play an instrument do better academically than do children without music education. Learning to play harmonica also has health benefits, since the required diaphragmatic breathing has shown to improve lung-functions in pediatric patients with pulmonary disease. Students were given harmonicas to use during an initial, hands-on, learn-to-play class and took them home with instructions about how to continue play.

Nationally-recognized harmonica player and singer-songwriter, Trina Hamlin (, who also teaches at the WUMB Summer Acoustic Music Week ( was brought in to help design the workshop, and to spend 75 minutes teaching the students in each class, the basics of how to play.

While a bit hesitant when they first picked up their harmonicas, the students quickly learned to play various rhythms by 'sucking' and 'blowing' the harmonica, and accompanied Trina on several songs before the sessions were over.

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