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How To Play the Harmonica: and Other Life Lessons Paperback – August 1, 2009


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How To Play the Harmonica: and Other Life Lessons + Hohner Special 20 Harmonica, Major C + Instant Harmonica: Quick and Easy Instruction for the Beginner
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"In this little gem of a book, Barry's pastorly reassurances loosen ties, bring out inner chickens and enable nascent musicians to let rip like Dylan and the Boss, eventually moving toward pomposity-slaying licks and writing an original blues song (because you know you have one in you)." (Bookpage 2009-08-17)

From the Back Cover

the harmonica can make you more playful (which is the WHOLE POINT of this book)

"We should all stop and smell the roses, but as Sam Barry notes in this cheery and inspiring little book, stopping to make a little music is just as rewarding and much more fun-and you can do it indoors! A wonderful read." -Mitch Albom, author of For One More Day

"This book makes starting out on the harmonica fun-and makes life a little more fun, too. Harmonically yours," -Lee Oskar, world-renowned harmonicist

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

"The Evening Chorus" by Helen Humphreys
From a writer of delicate and incandescent prose, "The Evening Chorus" offers a beautiful, spare examination of the natural world and the human heart. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Gibbs Smith; 1 edition (August 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1423605705
  • ISBN-13: 978-1423605706
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #340,325 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sam Barry is editor of and a contributor to Hard Listening: The Greatest Rock Band Ever (of Authors) Tells All (Coliloquy; June, 2013), by Mitch Albom, Dave Barry, Sam Barry, Roy Blount Jr., Matt Groening, Ted Habte-Gabr, Greg Iles, Stephen King, James McBride, Roger McGuinn, Ridley Pearson, Amy Tan & Scott Turow. He is the author of How to Play the Harmonica: and Other Life Lessons and coauthored Write That Book Already! The Tough Love You Need to Get Published Now with his late wife, the author and founder of the Rock Bottom Remainders, Kathi Kamen Goldmark. In 2014 he was instrumental in getting Kathi's novel "Her Wild Oats" posthumously published by Untreed Reads.

Sam is the Author Services Liaison at Book Passage, where he heads the Path to Publishing Program, offering information, resources, and encouragement to aspiring authors. He is a contributing editor at the literary magazine Zyzzyva, serves on the board of San Francisco's literary festival, Litquake, and is a member of the literary council of the Bay Area Book Festival.

Although he has played harmonica, piano, and sung with the world's most famous mediocre rock band for many years, Sam really is a great musician. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and is the proud father of Daniel and Laura and stepfather of Tony Goldmark. You can also find Sam on Facebook, Twitter @sambarry, and Tumblr.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
5 star
81%
4 star
14%
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5%
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See all 21 customer reviews
Recommend this for anyone learning how to play any thig.
GavinT
Sam must have got some help from his brother Dave Barry, as this is a quite humerous look at having fun while learning and playing the Harmonica!
William (Tom) Parker
Sam Barry does a wonderful job at teaching the basics, giving a good laugh, and making really bad puns.
Amber

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Philip M. Barry on August 8, 2009
Format: Paperback
I'm the guy who handed Sam that Hohner harmonica back in the late 60's. It was chrome colored and bigger than the usual small harmonicas you see, and it was concave and had a nice etching. Anyway, Sam took to it like, well, a seal to the sea. I really don't think I've ever heard a better harmonica player than Sam. He is in truth prodigiously good at it. He lives it-- as the Buddha, the Bubba, (or maybe even the Dubya) might say, he is one with it. This book is going to be a fun read for you. If you're like me, a slavish servant of corporate America-- one of the minions-- (you know who you are--) you will find release and inspiration in the gentle prodding here to let go a little, give it up a little, and have a little fun. If you've ever wanted to wail along with Bonnie Raitt, or Percy Sledge, or possibly even Perry Como, here's a way you can do it and here's some know-how to get you there, blowing and drawing on your own harmonica. Let Sam teach you how to relax, breathe, and enjoy yourself musically. If you ever get to see him in action, with his SF bands or with senior brother Dave and the Rock Bottom Remainders, you will understand, this is a guy who knows how to have fun. Sam is disarming, easy like lemonade on a breezy summer day, he can make you laugh, he can make you smile... Sam is heart and soul.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Eric Brandt on August 10, 2009
Format: Paperback
Not since seeing Borrah Minevitch & His Harmonica Rascals have I laughed so much! This book delivers on it's promise to teach you how to play the harmonica, but the lion's share of the book is about learning how to play in life. Humor was definitely bred in the bones of the Barry family!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By chungking on May 5, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a surprisingly good book - among the best, if not the best, of the many books on harmonica and music practice I've bought. It deserves to be better known.

If you've made it as far as the Amazon page and reading this review ... I say, go ahead, buy the book.

If you play the harmonica, it will help. If you play some other instrument, it will also offer something(s) you can use. Even if you play not at all, the book might inspire you (or the birthday boy/girl in your life) to pick up an instrument, or offer a slightly different, more joyful, approach to your day. And it's just plain fun to read.

Thanks, Sam.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Robert Puckett on September 9, 2010
Format: Paperback
I am half way through the book and I love it! I initially bought the electronic edition and after a few pages, I knew I needed at least one print edition - for two reasons: 1) the lessons and tab charts don't show up well in the electronic edition and 2) I need one to loan to family and friends. This book is about 2 things: learning to play the harmonica and learning to play in general and getting over the "You aren't good at art/music/school/sports" pronouncements made by grown ups when we were young and squashable. Oh, wait, make that 3 things: Harmonica, Playing, Recreational Art, and Freedom. OOOOHHHH! Never mind. It is about 1 thing: I can play.

I am learning to play harmonica. Sam believes in me. So do I.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By D. Spencer on January 28, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A wonderful mix of humor and simple instructions. Much encouragement for the beginner, interspersed with down home words of wisdom.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By GavinT on November 26, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Author did a great job making this fun to read. Recommend this for anyone learning how to play any thig.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Karen Lynch on February 15, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I don't play the harmonica, and maybe never will, but after reading this book I'm fairly sure I could give it a go if I wanted to. Mostly, I read this book to learn the secret to life, and I feel the writer has conveyed that to me. I will not spoil the ending by revealing the dramatic climax, but I promise you, if you buy this book you will laugh until you are too breathless to blow a harmonica. You will also learn the secret to happiness. Sam Barry is a hilarious writer, and he is cuter than his brother.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By William (Tom) Parker on September 7, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Sam must have got some help from his brother Dave Barry, as this is a quite humerous look at having fun while learning and playing the Harmonica! (call it a Harp if you want to appear cool...)

Sam's philosophy is that learning to play can and should be be enjoyable in addition to making one a more educated, well-rounded person.
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