Testimonial from Gary Marsh

RE: Level 1 Foundation Course

My objective was to become a better player in our community samba band, and at the very beginning of the course Raz explained that we could go back to our bands and help them to develop.

In fact that is exactly what happened, and I am now one of the leaders of our band. I am indeed a better player as a result, but in unexpected ways, I can now play other instruments in the batucada, and I have a better understanding how rhythms fit together and the importance of this. This is quite different from just being given another groove to play.

I have enjoyed the course so much I really could not say how you could improve the structure, content, level, teaching style. Everything else is insignificant.

The next level? I have already booked for it, but I don’t know enough about it to judge whether this course has prepared me for it. I expect it will – I trust Raz and it’s all down to whether I am practicing enough. The excellent course notes contain nearly 200 items, so what do I practice?

I have made 7 daily practice plans that contain the exercises and rudiments only, and I guess I do nearly an hour a day. Its
definitely working! What seemed hopelessly beyond me is now proving tobe possible. I meet up with some friends every month to practice the grooves and have fun with these (and the rum).

What I enjoyed most was –

  • Listening to a fellow student (who really struggled) hold a rhythm together at the end of the last module
  • A whole week immersed in the subject!
  • Hearing some of Raz’s former students just jamming together on the first weekend of the course
  • Practicing and playing with fellow students, all of them dead keen, quite a different atmosphere from the community band environment
  • I can’t believe I am going to say this – singing!

I hope to perform in a small Cuban Brazilian group eventually, as well as continuing with the community samba.
Gary Marsh, Guernsey

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