[Harp-L] Re: Howard Levy School vs. David Barrett School?

Of course you wont learn to be a virtuoso from Howard--such stuff can't be
taught, just as blue eyes can't be taught. What you will learn is the
fundamentals of musical expression that every player, from novice to
virtuoso, must grasp in order to "skyrocket your playing." And yes, I've
indeed seen students skyrocket on Howard's site in a matter of a few months.
Beginners naturally progress the quickest, but even advanced players have
shown remarkable improvement. They've learned not just how to play notes,
but the *right* notes (let me hasten to clarify: the ones which combine
together to please the ear and stir the heart). They've also learned things
just as, if not more important, than notes themselves, such as time, rhythm,
and expression. Because each student's videos are publicly viewable online,
you can watch someones progress over time. In some cases, it's quite
dramatic. Howard will provide feedback for improvement and a week later the
student will come back having adsorbed his advice. Empirical evidence
doesn't get harder than that.

If you're comments are only based on Howard's DVD's, then I can understand
where you're coming from. Those were certainly oriented more toward the
advanced player--or prodigy. But the same judgement cannot be passed on his
school which is an entirely different affair, accessible to both the
musically inept and the musically gifted.

Maybe elite musicians like yourself wouldn't benefit from any form of proper
instruction (although as I said, there are such elite musicians on Howard's
site who have). But for those who aren't virtuosos, which is 99% of us, we
have a lot to learn. And taking lessons from the greatest diatonic harmonica
player (who's an incredible teacher to boot) is the best way to do so in my
opinion. Oh, and incidentally, if you think hanging around Howard is the
best way to learn, then you can do that as well on the site (virtually of
course). You can ask any question concerning his approach, what he listens
to, how hard he works, etc. As for the more the personal questions like how
he lives, you may be SOL, although Howard is a very forthcoming fellow :)

> Message: 6
> Date: Wed, 5 May 2010 07:08:19 -0700
> From: Buddha <groovygypsy@xxxxxxxxx>
> Subject: Re: [Harp-L] Re: Howard Levy School vs. David Barrett School?
> To: Harp L Harp L <harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx>
> Message-ID:
>        <w2g3c8737c71005050708t993f60a7r8634b7680d3bf437@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
> I think inexperienced players should enroll in both schools.  As you get
> more advanced, I think you really need to get away from ALL harmonica
> players and listen to other musicians to form your own sound.
> I had a close relationship with Howard for many years but I never took
> formal lessons from him. You can't help but learn something from Howard
> just
> by hanging around him and watching how you do things.  I've only briefly
> checked out Howard's school and while I think any and all players can
> benefit from enrollment, I don't think you will learn the things that
> Howard
> really has to offer and the things that will really help skyrocket your
> playing.
> Both Howard and Dave are great players with a lot to offer but in the end
> all they are really teaching is how to play notes. When I say notes, I'm
> lumping together theory, harmonica and general technique(note production).
> Learning to play notes is one very small part of playing music and to me,
> playing the right note isn't even the most important aspect of playing
> music.  Your audience doesn't care about about notes, what and how you are
> playing, they care about what sounds good and how you make them feel.
> I learned more about music from hanging around Howard than I ever learned
> any form of technique. His approach, what he listens to, how hard he works,
> how dedicated he is, his lifestyle, how he lives etc is all far more
> important in terms of getting somewhere with your instrument. Over the
> years
> I have met other "elite" musicians and I have noticed many similarities.
> Being good at what you do, regardless of whether or not it's the harmonica,
> has more to do with lifestyle than notes.
> That's my two cents.

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