Harmon (they/them) holds a bachelor’s degree with a focus in guitar performance from UC Santa Cruz. They were raised by musical parents, one a former concert promoter, and the other a children’s sing-a-long teacher. Harmon performs regularly with their jazz-punk band Blood Honey. They teach ukulele and guitar to students as young as five years old. Lessons with Harmon help students develop a passion for music in a fun and energetic way.
What age were you when you first started taking music lessons?
Tell us about an early music lessons experience that helped shape you as a musician or teacher:
I remember my instructor in college telling me that the only way to continue being a musician was to stick it out with an advanced degree (threatening that otherwise I’d end up the manager of a grocery store — as if that was some awful fate). This clarified in me an intense desire to prove that every path to a life in music (no matter how deep or cursory) is inherently valid. I swore in that moment that I’d help people along their own path and never belittle them for how they chose to walk it.
What are your favorite bands or musicians?
The Mountain Goats (with their direct and potent lyricism, and their adamant delivery), The White Stripes (with their ability to yield huge amounts of variety and style from simple parts), Radiohead (with their exploration of what is musically possible in a pop/rock context), Charles Mingus (with his ability to take a group of musicians and have them perform virtuosic feats as a group – not just as individuals), Kendrick Lamar (with his blending of styles and reference points to create a landscape of poetry and power), and St. Vincent (for opening up what is possible on guitar without ever really leaving the pocket).
Do you have a highlight of your music career so far that you would like to share?
Back when I lived in California we had begun to play out, and though our Californian career was brief we got to play the same venue twice, and on the second time I received one of the best compliments of my musical life: the venue owner liked to introduce each local band before they went on and he simply said about us, “Wow, this is Blood Honey… you have to see it to believe it.”
Describe your ideal student.
My ideal student would be one who is creative in spirit but may have difficulty focusing and being disciplined enough to actualize any of their ideas. Other than that I thoroughly enjoy the eager explorer who is excited to jump from style to style to see what all is out there in the musical world. The bright-eyed, the bushy-tailed, and the perhaps-a-little-lost.
Describe what your students should expect in their first few music lessons.
Depending on their technical skill level upon entry, I usually try and discover with the student what they might be interested in learning. If they are totally fresh to the instrument we’d start with some basic functioning skills and simple songs, but I usually like to orient the student to their own interests as soon as possible. If the student is unsure of what they like, we keep to the basics and then begin to explore, and I try to create a well-rounded learning environment for them to grow in.
Why did you want to become a music teacher?
I love playing music, I love teaching, and honestly it’s that simple. Beyond that I get really excited when I feel like I’ve helped someone discover a passion or realize a vision of their own. That may not be the most grounded or fully-detailed of reasons, but that’s all it takes to make me want to do this for the rest of my life.