Kids’ Harmonica Class
The Woody Guthrie Folk Festival [Sidenote: Part twenty-five of our ongoing Woodyfest reviews features Joe Baxter, John Williams, and a passel of enthusiastic kids.] has provided a variety of children’s programming over the years. the festival expanded from just organizing kids’ concerts to also hosting youth workshops.
On festival Friday, Woodyfest artists Joe Baxter [Sidenote: The Oklahoma songwriter is so well-respected that in , a group of fellow musicians got together to record Tribute to the Songs of Joe Baxter, a compilation featuring covers of songs that Baxter wrote from – .] and John Williams [Sidenote: When he’s not teaching kids to play harmonica, Williams sings and plays guitar and harmonica with Gypsy Twang.] taught an introductory harmonica class at the Okfuskee County Historical Society located in downtown Okemah. A dozen children and their parents attended, seated in metal folding chairs or standing at the room’s perimeter while Baxter and Williams showed the proper harmonica grip. After the students mastered the grip, they were ready to learn
the locomotive, an inhale-exhale excercise evocative of a train racing down the tracks.
By the time this reporter was ready to move to his next assignment the class had played their first melody. All they needed was a campfire and a pot of beans to complete the scene.