Testimonial from Tarnya Pearce

I chose to do Roots of Cuba (RoC) for several reasons: I had done other workshops with Raz and knew that his style of teaching suited me, as he is clear about what he is going to teach and presents his workshops in a very structured way. I know that when I sign up to do a Raz workshop, that they are always well thought out with clear aims and objectives.

On completion of the workshop, I always leave feeling that I got the most out of the limited amount of time that a workshop allows. In other words, he packs it full of material that is always of top quality and achievable at the level that he’s catering for.

They are very well taught. clear and presented in a way that allows one to grasp the entirety of it. He is fantastic at building up rhythms in a way that make them achievable to learn , also giving you a deep understanding of how the parts fit with eachother. even for someone who has little musical knowledge.

I’m unable to read music, but this has never been a problem as the tunes are always broken down in a way that make them accessible to everyone. Always, Raz’s classes are backed up with notation, allowing one to look over and study them in their own time.

RoC has been a once in a lifetime opportunity for me to develop my understanding, playing, and love for Cuban music over a long period of time. With each module comes a deeper understanding and I am always pleasantly surprised at how much progress the class makes every time we meet. Completing the course over a one and a half year period means that students can take the material and work on it at their own pace and level in between modules.

There are a mixtire of abilities in the group and I am amazed at how Raz manages to meet everyone’s needs. the group as a whole develops at a fast rate as do individuals. Studying in a large group provides constant encouragement and support and somehow increases the pace of learnig.

RoC is special because we are in an environment conjusive to intensive learning. I can’t imagine any other setting where I could learn at the rate that I am doing so. Raz has a way of teaching throughout the weeks that allows you to learn a great deal without it seeming like a chore or even difficult. But he keeps us on our toes and I always leave feeling uplifted , fulfilled, and inspired.

Another wonderful aspect of the course is its diversity. we are taught manyand varied styles which leaves us with a broard understanding of Cuban music and culture. Raz’s approach is wholistic and touches on the culture and traditions behind the music that we study.

Of course, RoC would not be RoC without the songs!! Somehow, Raz has given me the confidence to learn to sing.. Even in front of others!! (something that was utterly new to me and I would never have dreampt that I would enjoy singing in the way that I do now!).

It was a delight to discover that guest teachers would also come and share their passion and expertise in a particular style of Cuban music. What a pleasure and honour it is to learn from some of these artists, such as Dave Pattman, Daniela Rosselson, and Howard from Manchester.

RoC is a rounded course that offers consistent, constructed and varied teachings and Raz, with his endless patience and impeccable teaching skills, makes the ideal teacher for anyone who has a passion for the music. it has opened up my world and given me the drive to continue striving and learning. And for that, I thank OVM and RAZ!!!!
Tarnya Pearce, Brighton

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