Dee Schmidt teaches harmonica in the San Fernando Valley and surrounding areas. His mission is to share the gifts that he was fortunate to have learned from his mentors with others that have a similar passion and eagerness to learn.
Born and raised in California, Doug Schmidt (better known as “Dee”) started his musical journey started playing the drums. When he was 13 years old, he just happened to be purchasing some sticks at a local drum shop that also happened to sell harmonicas. At that time, the owner of the store was playing a record of Little Walter — and from the first time Dee heard the harmonica being played like that, he was instantly drawn to the instrument. It was the raw and aggressive “tenor like” horn phrasing that had him hooked. It then became Dee’s personal mission to uncover the mystery of how this small, yet humble instrument was capable of producing such a powerful, yet sophisticated tone. Eventually, Dee studied formally with Hollywood’s TV, Radio and Motion Picture harmonica legend and “go-to” guy, David McKelvey. After intensive study with Dave, he influenced Dee to take his playing to the next level and encouraged him to hit the streets of South Central Los Angeles. Taking action on the advice from his long time teacher, Dee started playing in the South Central ghetto clubs of Los Angeles in the early 1990s. From day one, he was hooked on the love and compassion not only from the other musicians, but from the audience, as well. There was a sound and feeling that resonated throughout those walls — unlike anything he had ever heard, felt or experienced before. It was pure magic! And he was bit by the “South Central Sound!” It wasn’t long before Dee was learning about the dynamics of tone, volume and sensitivity — what the other musicians in the community affectionately referred to as “Groove Grease.” Because of Dee’s presence within the South Central music scene, he eventually crossed paths with another legend harmonica player, one who, in prior years, had an enormous impact there. It was none other than the distinguished harmonica master, William Clarke. Eventually, Bill became a mentor to Dee, not only in music, but in life as well.
Today, Dee collaborates with musicians of all genres and can regularly be seen at various clubs performing on stage. “It has truly been a blessing playing with some of the most celebrated musicians — both past and present.” In his spare time, Dee also enjoys reading, real estate and photography.