About David Barrett
David Barrett is the world's leading expert in blues harmonica education... blazing the way in every facet of its education for 25 years.
The Early Years
Having played saxophone and trumpet as a youth, David already had a solid musical foundation before playing the harmonica at age fourteen. At age sixteen local harmonica legend Gary Smith took David under his wing as a private student. Gary also introduced David to the local blues jam scene and invited him to participate in harmonica blowouts. By age eighteen David was studying music theory in college and started teaching harmonica at local music stores and institutes.
By age twenty David had released his first book, Building Harmonica Technique, with one of the world’s largest publishers, Mel Bay Publications. This book was the first serious blues harmonica method to be released in the market. David Barrett is now the world’s most published author of blues harmonica lesson material, with almost 70 book/CD sets and videos published.
Before BluesHarmonica.com, David was an active writer for various publications. For ten years he wrote a featured column for Blues Revue Magazine and was the editor and a writer for www.HarmonicaSessions.com. The only publication he still dedicates time to is the popular UK harmonica magazine published by the National Harmonica League.
David is the founder and head instructor of the Harmonica Masterclass Workshop. Founded in 1994, the focus of these workshops has been to make quality hands-on instruction available to the masses. Classes range in size from 20 participants to 250 participants, depending on program type and location. David also employs the top educators in the world for these workshops, such as Joe Filisko and Dennis Gruenling, as well as top artists in today’s blues harmonica music scene.
David also teaches, judges and performs at other prestigious events, such as Hohner’s World Harmonica Festival, Steve Baker’s Harmonica Masters Workshops in Trossingen, Germany and SPAH's annual harmonica convention.
Since age eighteen David has been teaching blues harmonica lessons full-time. In 2002 David founded School of the Blues in San Jose, California—the first school in the world for the specific study of blues music. David and his instructors (Guitar, Bass, Organ/Keyboard/Piano, Vocals, and Drums) teach private lessons and workshops as well as fly-in lessons. David teaches on average fifty private students a month. David was also active in working with local hospitals, teaching his Harmonica for Fun & Health classes to people with COPD (Emphysema), asthma and heart disease. His students now carry on the tradition.
Performing and Recording Artist
David is a Grammy Nominated blues harmonica player (for his work on John Lee Hooker Jr.’s album All Odds Against Me) and performs in the California Bay Area (San Francisco Blues Festival, Monterey Bay Blues Festival, etc.) and abroad (Chicago, Germany, etc.). He has been featured in Mark Hummel's Blues Harmonica Blowouts multiple times, alongside such luminaries as James Cotton, Charlie Musselwhite, Kim Wilson, Mark Hummel and many more. David has recorded four albums, Serious Fun (2003), We Are The Blues (2007), the History of the Blues Harmonica Concert (2009 - with Joe Filisko, Dennis Gruinling and Kinya Pollard) and most recently It Takes Three (2015 with Gary Smith and Aki Kumar).
David has Worked or Played with:
Charlie Musselwhite, Mark Hummel, Lee Oskar, Rod Piazza, James Harman, James Cotton, Gary Smith, Andy Just, Mark Ford, Billy Boy Arnold, Jason Ricci, Rick Estrin, Paul deLay, Jerry Portnoy, Gary Primich, Howard Levy, Magic Dick, Tom Ball, Sonny Jr., John Mayall, Annie Raines, Paul Oscher, Phil Wiggins, Brendan Power, Sam Myers, Snooky Pryor, Steve Baker, Rob Paparozzi, Dennis Gruenling, Carlos del Junco, Mitch Kashmar, John Mayall, Joe Filisko, Lazy Lester, Kim Wilson, Kenny Neal, Peter “Madcat” Ruth, Jim Liban, John Nemeth, R.J. Mischo, Rob Paparozzi, PT Gazell, Jimi Lee, Michael Peloquin, Billy Branch, Buddy Greene, Steve Guyger, Jelly Roll Johnson, Richard Sleigh, Adam Gussow, Sugar Ray Norcia, Curtis Salgado, David Waldman, Scott Dirks, Tad Robinson, Jr. Watson, Rusty Zinn, Nick Moss, Steve Freund, Johnny Cat, Billy Flynn, Kid Anderson and John Garcia.