BLUES HARMONICA TEACHERS:
for private lessons, a select list of the very best

 

The video lessons, tabs, and other materials on this website will assist you greatly in learning the basics of blues harmonica and upping whatever game you've already got going on.  If you've landed on this page thanks to a Google search for the phrase "harmonica teachers," I urge you to take a look at the "virtual teacher" materials I offer.   You might check out the following three pages:

Modern Blues Harmonica homepage

Modern Blues Harmonica FOR BEGINNERS

Modern Blues Harmonica store (complete list of instructional videos and tabs)

But no internet site, no matter how good and inexpensive the materials it offers, can take you all the way.  Live performance situations--jam sessions, gigs, gathering with fellow players--are a crucial part of the learning process.  And, if you're determined to excel, a flesh-and-blood teacher, although expensive, is an extremely good investment of time and money

All blues harmonica teachers are NOT created equal.  The best teachers offer a rare combination:  they can really play and they can really teach.  They have extensive professional experience as players, they know how to make the right (i.e., deep, full, tradition-rich) sounds, but they also have a gift for communicating their musical knowledge to developing players in one-on-one settings.  When they come face to face with a new student, their experience with hundreds of previous students lets them quickly size up the situation.  They can hear where you're coming from.  Like Zen masters, they're able to meet you where you are and give you exactly what you need, which isn't necessarily what you THINK you need.  A good teacher may sometimes be forced to hurt your feelings by speaking frankly, and accurately, about where your game needs work.  But good teachers--the teachers on this list--also know how to inspire.  That sort of inspiration is priceless. 

NOTE:  This list of teachers isn't meant to be comprehensive.  You can find other, longer lists of blues harmonica teachers by googling "harmonica teacher."  This list is meant to be exclusive, in fact.  These are player/teachers who I am willing personally to vouch for.  In the world of blues harp, the personal recommendation counts for a lot.  (I am not actively seeking to add to this list; I will contact YOU if I'm interested in adding you.)

Personal instruction doesn't come cheap.  The teachers here generally charge $50-100 an hour.  But you'll be amazed at the difference that even a couple of lessons can make in how you approach the instrument and in the quality of sounds that you're able to extract from it.  Some of these teachers also offer group lessons:  a cheaper alternative.  A few of them give Skype lessons, using digital technologies to bring their interactive teaching methods to your doorstep via your laptop. 

For the time being, I am only listing teachers in North America--with one exception for my good friend Ben Bouman in Holland.  I simply don't know enough about harmonica teachers in other parts of the world.

 

NEW YORK / NEW JERSEY:

            Dennis Gruenling

            [individual, group, and Skype lessons]

            http://badassharmonica.com/blues-harmonica-lessons/

 

PHILADELPHIA:

            Seth Holzman

            [Individual and group lessons]

             610-642-7985

             zepharpo@aol.com

 

BOSTON:

            Annie Raines

            http://www.paulandannie.com

 

            Jerry Portnoy

            (508) 385-5105

            jerry@harpmaster.com

 

PITTSBURGH

              Clint Hoover

            [in-person and Skype; blues and jazz, including chromatic]

            http://www.clinthoover.com/instruction-learn-harmonica-lessons.htm

 

CHICAGO:

            Joe Filisko

           [Individual and group lessons]

            http://www.filisko.com/Teacher.html

 

            Howard Levy

            sitemail@levyland.com

 

DARIEN, GA (between Savannah & Jacksonville FL)

            Larry "Iceman" Eisenberg

            321-287-3327

            IcemanLE@aol.com

 

OXFORD, MISSISSPPI (80 miles southeast of Memphis):

            Adam Gussow 

            [I offer private lessons on an one-off basis for students/players passing through the region, but I don't teach by phone or Skype.]

            asgussow@aol.com

 

AUSTIN:

            Jimi Lee

            JimiLee@JimiLeeBand.com

 

           Michael Rubin

           [individual, group, Skype, and telephone lessons]

           http://www.michaelrubinharmonica.com

           512-619-0761

 

HOUSTON:

          Sonny Boy Terry

          sbt@houstonharmonicalessons.com

          713.822.0437

 

DENVER:

            Ronnie Shellist

            www.harmonica123.com

 

SEATTLE:

           Grant Dermody

           [individual, group, and Skype lessons]

           gdermody@yahoo.com

 

SAN FRANCISCO / EAST BAY:

           Winslow Yerxa

           winslowyerxa@yahoo.com

 

          Michael Peloquin

          [in-person and Skype]

          peloquinharp@hotmail.com

 

SAN JOSE, CA:

            David Barrett

            [Individual and group lessons]

            http://www.harmonicamasterclass.com/lessons.htm

 

SACRAMENTO, CA and “THE ROAD”:

            Rick Estrin

           [Intermediate/advanced students ONLY.  Also available for workshops.]

            http://www.rickestrin.com/contact.html

            For a clip of Rick in action as a teacher:  www.filmbaby.com/films/3717

 

LOS ANGELES: 

              David Herzhaft

               [blues and jazz]

             david@harmonicaskype.com [visit www.harmonicaskype.com]

           (760) 820-4500

 

KAUAI, HAWAI'I:

            J. P. Allen

            [all levels, with a special focus on beginners; in-person and intimate "vacation intensives"]  

            contact JP:  http://www.harmonica.com/contact

 

HOLLAND:

            Ben Bouman

            fitgo@freeler.nl