Chairman of 2nd and 9th Asia Pacific Harmonica Festival – Mr Chong Ah Kow (eng)








mong the big musical instrument family members, most are of hundreds and thousands year’s history old, harmonica is just a young kid of not even 200 years old. However, this little harmonica has now grown and become so fashionable that it is seen in every urban and rural corner. It is used as a simple musical tool for entertainment, communication and friendship networking. There is hearsay: `Little harmonica builds friendship and fosters world peace’. How was harmonica first born? It was told that in an early morning of 1821 spring, a young village girl in Germany was playing with her mother’s comb in front of their house. After some moment of playing, she creatively placed two small sheets of paper on both flat sides of the comb and began to have some new fun by blowing towards the new combination. The blowing action created some special sound that sounded melodious. This melodious sound caught the attention of a musician named Christen Friedrich Ludwig Buschman who was just happened to be walking pass her place. For curiosity of wanting to know how the melodious sound was created, he approached the young girl to allow him for a look at her creation comb. After a thorough viewing, he then understood the real physics fact. Upon returning home, the young girl’s comb triggered him to have a new type of musical instrument. He then also combined the physical principle idea of two other ancient musical instruments, the Chinese `Shen’ and the Roman flute and ultimately invented the world first harmonica made from ivory. In 1827, Trossingen County in Germany where the world biggest harmonica manufacturer Hohner is located began producing this musical instrument. During December 15 of 1965, Astronaut Walter M. Schirra Jr. played the music of `Jingle bell’ with a harmonica model Hohner Little Mini and 6 little bell drums during the space journey of the spaceship sending the `Gemini 6’ satellite to orbit. This created the first history of playing musical instruments in space. Again the same music was played with the two same musical instruments the second time in December of 1972 during the `Apollo’ spaceship orbiting journey to the moon. Not long before in the night of 21st of June this year, during the space exploration journey by China Shengzhou spacecraft, Astronaut Liu Wang dedicated harmonica music through space communication system to convey his love message to his family in conjunction with his wife birthday.

Harmonica besides being a good tool for entertainment, friendship communication and world peace fostering, it could also serve to help revitalizing school education. For instance, When Hangzhou DaoMao Lane Primary School was first commenced; its standard one class attracted only a small number of 19 pupils. But after 10 years of development, many parents from other areas began rushing their children to study here as it had gained to become a prominent school with the help of harmonica. Now practically all pupils can master playing of harmonica. In 2000, the school harmonica group won a Silver medal in 3APHF. In 2008, the school became the host to the 7APHF; and thereafter the China biggest harmonica museum, Hangzhou Harmonica Museum was then built inside the campus. Besides DaoMao School, the ZhiCai School in XingTong County of Hangzhou JiaXing Tong District is also applying the similar education strategy of introducing harmonica music in the school syllabus. ZhiCai School has during 2000 listing in its school objective statement: `Build high morality student through the creation and cultivation of high living standard, healthy culture, quality classroom and teachers’. Harmonica music is now a compulsory component of the music lesson. `Everybody can play harmonica’ is now the school unique feature. As a harmonica musician who has much experience in harmonica music performances, teaching and promotions, I have found playing harmonica music indeed is a good healthcare exercise. Recently I began forming some classes on healthcare through harmonica playing. The unique mode of playing by blowing and sucking air systematically through this musical instrument has indeed enhanced the lung energy leading to good breathing system and ultimately reaching healthy life. In addition to healthcare, the harmonica can also serve to entertain. The harmonica is a light, small and easy musical instrument that comes with beautiful musical tone. It has somehow become part of our life, entertainment, education, healthcare and many other areas. After having many passed great successes of APHF, harmonica music is now blooming to harmonize the world peace. On behalf of the organizing body, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody for their strong support and assistance in making this 9APHF a great success.

(To know more about Mr.Chong, visit

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