Brussels music academy wants to launch harmonica course


A music school in Brussels is expecting more interest in its proposed harmonica course following the death of legendary player Toots Thielemans this week

‘All sorts of possibilities’

The Brussels Capital Academy for Music in the Zuidpaleis plans to introduce a course in harmonica, director Bruno De Jonghe has said. The school, which teaches music to adults as well as children from the age of six, has already had several enquiries and expects renewed interest following the death this week of harmonica star Toots Thielemans.

“I’ve played the harmonica for years and I’m a huge fan of Thielemans,” De Jonghe said. “I’ve often been asked in the past if we could organise a course. I’ve always had to say no, but I’d like to change that.”

The academy has a section dealing with “jazz and light music”, which includes lessons in electric and acoustic guitar and bass, percussion, piano, flute, saxophone, voice, clarinet and keyboard. However, the harmonica is not recognised as an instrument by the part-time education system – something De Jonghe intends to rectify. He is now preparing an application to have the course recognised and subsidised.

“The harmonica offers all sorts of possibilities, including for children,” he said. “I was on the Grote Markt yesterday for the commemoration of Toots. There were a lot of older people of his own generation as well as a lot of young people. Even the young know about Toots and his harmonica.”

Photo: Ingimage