Beginning music at the age of 6, Mia's first love of music began with watching a girl perform on the flute in school assembly. Her love of music grew through out school, picking up the saxophone later on. She adores playing in many genres, however has found a real passion for improvised music.
Mia continued her study of music at University and was award a merit based jazz music scholarship. She has studied under Australian Jazz greats such as Angela Davis, Rob Burke and Paul Williamson. She has recently moved to the Victorian College of The Arts. At The Victorian College of the Arts she has been awards, The Marion Thomas Award, The Dr Phillip Law Music Scholarship and the Lady Turner Prizes.
Mia performs regularly as part of the Melbourne Jazz Scene. She has performed with musicians such as Kristin Berardi, Paul Grabowsky, Andrea Keller and Tony Gould. She has performed as part of groups at the Melbourne International Jazz Festival and with her own group at the Melbourne Women's International Jazz Festival. She is the leader of two groups - The Mia Barham Quartet and Amber (a jazz trio) and regularly gigs with both whilst often organising projects with other musicians such as; A Tribute to Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh, The Mia Barham and Elly Blackham Sextet and Saxophones Meet Rhyhtm Section. The Mia Barham Quartet have recently released their debut album featuring nine new compositions by Mia. As described by Paul Williamson "'Earth Songs' features nine compositions by Barham that fit together as a complementary music continuum - often reminiscent of soundscapes, featuring unhurried, spacious, evocative and powerful journeys where the collective ensemble intent never wavers from keeping the essence of the music as the central objective."
Mia is further heavily invested in the Melbourne Big Band Scene, performing regularly with the Paris Cat Big Band, The Minnie Big Band, The Daryl Mckenzie Jazz Orchestra and the Jazzlab Orchestra on saxophone. She enjoys performing in a variety of other styles, performing with some pop bands and latin ensembles.
Mia was recently part of the Australian Art Orchestra's Creative Music Intensive. She was selected through a highly competitive selection process and had the opportunity to create music and learn with some of Australia's most exciting young improvising musicians.