Teaching

Grant is a passionate, experienced harmonica teacher. He continues to share his love of the instrument with students from the ages of 5 to 75 (and beyond), in both individual and group settings.

Grant has been a featured harmonica instructor at:

  • John Gindick’s Harmonica Jam Camp
  • Centrum’s Country Blues Festival, in Port Townsend, Washington
  • The Augusta Heritage Center’s Blues Week in Elkins, West Virginia
  • The Telluride Acoustic Blues Camp in Telluride, Colorado
  • Euroblues Blues Week in Northampton, England
  • Joe Filisko’s Teach-In at SPAH

Grant is highly skilled at teaching the harmonica. He is able to de-mystify the harmonica and music in general for square-one beginners, helping them move down their musical path. For more experienced players, he is quickly able to hear where they are and what they need to do to improve. Grant is known for his ability to help very player improve their tone and, through the art of improvisation, to help them find their own unique musical voice.

Teaching kids how to play the harmonica is something Grant greatly enjoys as well. Over the course of a few years, while at a school in Seattle, Grant had well over two hundred kids from kindergarten to 5th grade playing in class sized harmonica bands. The number of kids wanting to perform quickly exceeded the opportunities the school’s calendar offered so Grant looked around the city for places to play.

He took the young harmonicists to nursing homes and hospitals and eventually had his fourth graders play America The Beautiful at a minor- league baseball game. The next year, the same kids played America The Beautiful and O Canada at a semi-pro hockey game in front of 2.000 plus fans. The normally rowdy hockey crowd was silenced immediately by the kid’s playing and roared their approval after the last note was sounded. Though scared beyond words beforehand, the kids left the ice several feet off the ground.

Grant teaches individual and group lessons in the Seattle area. He is also available for lessons via Skype and Facetime.

Please e-mail him at gdermody@yahoo.com to set up a lesson or for further information

Student Testimonials

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“Grant is a player’s player and a teacher’s teacher.  His personalized teaching elevated this beginner’s playing to the next level.  I soon returned to learn how to teach others.  In doing so, Grant provided both information and inspiration.”

Rob Thomas

“I hope to be a student for life as there seems to be no limit to the growth potential with Grant as my teacher. I highly recommend that if you want to learn the harmonica or get better on the harmonica then Grant is your man. ”

Weldon Follis

“As a teacher he has the rare insight to understand his student’s connection to the harmonica, then helps guide that connection to undreamed of levels. Grant is the kind of instructor that makes this journey a joyous adventure. In short, if you’re serious about harp, check Grant out. Get ready to understand and play the harmonica in ways you won’t believe!”

Jeff Brown

Patrick Johnson - Student Testimonial (May 2016)

I had the great good fortune to begin regular study with Grant about a year ago.  I’ve been amazed at my progress in that relatively short period of time, which I attribute to Grant’s ability as a teacher at least as much as to my own efforts as his student.  Grant is an outstanding performer and a masterful musical stylist; but he’s also a very competent and effective teacher, which is a rare combination in my experience.  At each lesson, he meets you where you happen to be and precisely zeroes in on what you need to practice to be able to move your playing forward.  He also has the ability to explain relevant music theory in a way that’s understandable and applicable to the music you’re working on.  And he’s something of a walking encyclopedia of Blues Harmonica.  There are amazing players out there who unfortunately have difficulty teaching, and master teachers whose own playing is only so-so, but Grant does it all!    If you want to learn authentic blues harp – in multiple playing styles – from a master teacher/player/stylist – who will do nothing but encourage you to develop your own excellent style and expression, and then show you how to do it – he’s your Guy.  Oh, and as a bonus, he’s one of the warmest, kindest souls you’ll ever meet.

Neil Harmon - Student Testimonial (June 2016)

If you are looking for a harmonica teacher I wholeheartedly recommend Grant Dermody. Grant is not only an amazing player of many different styles, he’s a gifted teacher who knows his subject inside and out. His teaching style is relaxed, patient, supportive and focused on the goals of the student. He encourages progress without being pushy. I have enjoyed every lesson I’ve had with him even when I’ve felt unprepared. I’ve been studying with him for seven months and have made steady and substantial progress despite not practicing as much as I should, but Grant is unconcerned with “should’s” and accepts what “is”. I can foresee studying with him well into the future. Grant quite obviously loves the harmonica, music and teaching and on top of that he’s a real nice guy.

Michelle LeFree - Student Testimonial

The Real Thang!!

That’s what I can say about Grant Dermody as a blues harp player of the first order, and the reason I can enthusiastically recommend him as an instructor. The cat knows his way around a diatonic harmonica like few players I’ve met. More than that, he is uncanny in his ability to lead you to better playing, no matter what level you are at (or think you’re at). He’s a terrific person, a true gentleman, and a great teacher. I had the pleasure of studying under Grant at the Acoustic Blues Camp that’s in association with the annual Telluride Brews and Blues Festival (a fine festival in its own right, and the associated Acoustic Blues Camp is 4-days of pure joy). Grant makes some sweeping claims at the outset of his instruction, but true to his word, he makes good on all of them. Better tone, better phrasing, better comping to other’s play, better soloing, better tongue blocking; it’s a complete package that Grant offers.

Even if you’ve played many years, don’t make the mistake of thinking you know all this. Even the most accomplished blues harpers will benefit greatly by spending some time together with Grant and your harps. Singly or in groups, Grant has a knack at reaching out to individual players and tailoring a personalized course of study. I’ve studied with other great harp players, but none has had the teaching skills that Grant offers. In my experience, most great harp players teach by example, but Grant offers and can demonstrate specific steps to improve your playing. After listening for a few minutes, he can tell you things about your playing that you didn’t know yourself. And he won’t let you go away without charting a course to continue your learning experience long after your lessons are over.

The bottom line: If you are a diatonic harmonica player and get a chance to study with Grant Dermody, jump on it! You won’t regret it for one minute. I know I’m looking forward to my next opportunity”

Weldon Follis - Student Testimonial

“Grant is regarded by the international harmonica community as one of the best harmonica players in the world. This alone would draw most fans and fellow harmonica players to his website to buy his music. I would like to say a little something regarding his skills as a teacher. I came to Grant as an adult learner with almost no experience on the harmonica. I had been trying to learn to play through a children’s harmonica book, but hadn’t got past Old Susannah and Saints Go Marching In. I had read about bending notes, but after two months of trying I still couldn’t get anything close to a bent note on a harmonica. I showed up for my first lesson with Grant and was immediately made to feel at ease despite the difference in our skill levels. He asked me where I wanted to go with the harmonica and after I stated my goals we started the lesson. I was immediately impressed by his instruction and how it made the tasks associated with playing the harmonica easier than they had been when I was trying them alone and without instruction. As soon as he showed me a brief example of what the mouth does during bending notes I bent my first note on the harmonica at my first lesson!

Since this first lesson I’ve continued with lessons from Grant and the lessons have enabled me to play out at jams and open mics and now I even get paid to play at times. Through this entire learning process the lessons were artistically crafted to my needs and adapted to my skill level with a focus on tone. He even indulged and expanded on my wish to learn the circle of fifths. I hope to be a student for life as there seems to be no limit to the growth potential with Grant as my teacher. I highly recommend that if you want to learn the harmonica or get better on the harmonica then Grant is your man. Some of my friends have taken lessons from Grant on Skype or at other locations and all have a great report. ”

Jeff Brown - Student Testimonial

“I began studying harmonica with Grant about ten years ago. I had worked with books and other instructors, but something was missing; I wanted someone who could help me understand the harp and connect with it deeply. Grant and I spoke between sets at a gig at the Fiddler’s Inn. Not only was his playing incredible, but it was clear that his understanding, commitment and passion for the instrument was genuine. From the time I began lessons I have felt fortunate to be one of Grant’s students. Grant has an amazing set of skills that make him the ideal harmonica instructor. As a professional player he has “the sound” and then some. His tone and vibrato are unbelievable, his range of styles, from blues to old timey to gospel (check out his CD “Crossing That River”!) are astounding. These skills alone would make for a great instructor, but Grant brings something more. As a teacher he has the rare insight to understand his student’s connection to the harmonica, then helps guide that connection to undreamed of levels. Grant is the kind of instructor that makes this journey a joyous adventure. In short, if you’re serious about harp, check Grant out. Get ready to understand and play the harmonica in ways you won’t believe!”

Jeff Glassie - Student Testimonial (July 2006)

Grant is the perfect harmonica teacher. In addition to being an excellent player, with two fine CDs, Grant loves to teach and it shows. He has a real concern for his students and always tries to fit the lesson to the individual. I first became a student nearly ten years ago and Grant deserves a great deal of the credit in the the progress I’ve made. Simply, he’s one of the best harmonica teachers in the country.