Testimonial from Andrew Urmston

Raz has taught me in a number of contexts over several years: personally as an attendee at an OVM workshop; as part of a workshop at a samba encontro; and as a tutor working specifically with Suffolk School of Samba (with which I was both Band Leader and Musiucal Director).

On each occasion, Raz has proved himself one of the most adept, knowledgeable and ‘in-tune’ tutors I have come across in the UK (and that includes many established tutors). Raz’s knowledge and understanding of Afro-Brazilian and Afro-Cuban percussive music is enormous, and coupled with his natural and gentle teaching style allows for those studying to get to grips with not only the mechanics of the music, but with the intent, motivation and history behind it.

Raz is very able to pitch his teaching to the level and skills of the participants and responds to how well they respond (or not!) and changes his approach to compensate. As a consequence, I personally have always come away from a session led by him with something new, either technique, style or understanding irrespective of the level at which Raz has taught.

In preparation for a workshop (when working with Suffolk School of Samba) Raz has always prepared a selection of topics beforehand dependent on what I have needed him to achieve and agreed beforehand. Initially, this will be dependent on the levels of the participants, whether we want to study/learn new pieces or styles, or want to focus on particular techniques. From this, he has listened and suggested things, allowing him to put the depth necessary on the study.

Following workshops, Raz has always ensured supporting material is available (notation primarily) such that the is continuity in his teaching after the event. In this, Raz is ‘free’ with his knowledge which is a quality to be admired.

In summary, Raz is a very professional, capable and knowledgeable tutor who provides quality teaching pitched directly at the abilities of those studying. He prepares and delivers consistently and is flexible enough to ensure an enjoyable experience for attendees irrespective of their starting point.
Andrew Urmston, Ipswich

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