Teaching

The diatonic harmonica is perhaps the most underestimated instrument, perhaps because it's so misunderstood. Most who pick it up don't study or even know of the techniques which give a mature voice to this undervalued "toy." But once learned, it can sing with expression like any other instrument in the band.  I'd love to show you how.

My approach is to teach like I've learned: by understanding the harmonica in the same musical framework that all instruments are studied in. Knowing the notes, chords, scales, theory, and structure beneath the music, the player is empowered to tackle anything--just like any other instrument can. The harmonica need not be limited to only folk and blues, though it indeed does these timeless traditions quite well!

In an age of high tech alternatives, in-person tutelage remains the most effective way to learn. While online study options abound--ie, youtube and commercial video sites--consider this: The University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education recently did a study on massive open online courses (known as MOOCs). After examining a million users, the researchers found that, on average, only about half of those who registered for a course ever viewed a lecture, and only about 4 percent completed the courses. So to get the best results, study with a teacher incarnate!

If you're interested in unlocking the music of this amazing little instrument, please contact me about setting up a lesson. Whether you're an absolute beginner or an experienced player looking to expand your techniques, I'd be happy to share with you what I've learned from 20+ years of playing. 

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Your harmonica instruction workshop was all that I could have hoped for and more.
— Michael Cloeren, festival director of the Philadelphia Folk Fest
Each decade of my life I give myself one overall goal like starting a business and helping others with my material success. Now as I move into my 6th decade, I have chosen to learn a musical instrument—specifically the harmonica. I have started working with Ansel and boy am I pleased and excited. I hope anyone thinks of using him as I did.
— Craig Gordon, visiting professor in marketing at Lehigh University, founder of Off The Record Research
I took some harmonica lessons with Ansel last year. I wasn’t certain what to expect. And who takes harmonica lessons? Well I did and was glad. I knew that I didn’t just want to blow into the darned thing like so many others I’ve heard. And what a payoff. I got what I was looking for and more. Ansel showed me how to clearly articulate one note at a time, or a chord, whichever I wanted to do. He allowed me to see the harmonica as a real musical instrument and not just a “throw in” on a song or two. And I’m playing pretty well now. He is a gifted musician and an excellent teacher. Additionally, you couldn’t meet a nicer guy. He is warm, friendly, kind and patient. His demeanor and spirit makes it feel good to be around him. I highly recommend Ansel Barnum as both a teacher and a player.
— John Hudome, singer-songwriter