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The banjo reviews database is here to help educate people before they purchase an instrument. Of course, this is not meant to be a substitute for playing the instrument yourself!

6991 reviews in the archive.

Chuck Levy

Submitted by pcollings on 5/6/2013

Overall Comments

I and my 16-year-old daughter have been taking lessons from Chuck for about 18 months now. Over that time, Chuck has been not only an excellent teacher, but he has become a good friend as well. There are a few things that stand out about his style as an instructor. The first is that he is extraordinarily flexible when it comes to what he teachers. His method has been to instruct by teaching a tune (as our abilities have improved, lately it's been two tunes) in a session. What is impressive is that the tunes he teaches in any given session are very flexible -- he presents several possibilities, and, when my daughter invariably declares them lame, he casts around until he finds one she likes, and then we go with that. It is one thing to prepare in advance to teach a particular tune, but to recall an unprepared tune on the fly and then actually teach it is pretty inspiring. And we're not talking suggesting Old Molly Hare and Mississippi Sawyer and then settling on Spotted Pony; We're settling on the Virginia Reel, Pigtown Fling/Stony Point, Last Night's Fun, or Sonny's Return -- tunes that are more Celtic-y, and, by his own admission, on the edge of Chuck's comfort zone.

In reflecting on 18 months' worth of lessons, what also stands out is that Chuck has been doing far more than teaching isolated tunes; over the course of time, he has steadily introduced and taught a number of concepts and techniques -- ASPOs, galax licks, and other techniques whose difficulty and utility seem to periodically engender debate in the forums -- without making them seem particularly difficult to master. And, despite my daughter's declaration of various sample tunes being "lame," he has an excellent sense of our musical tastes and sensibilities.

Finally, he has been outstanding with my daughter, his demeanor and patience just perfect for encouraging a young player to grow as a player while recognizing the limits of her time and the state of her development, in addition to her somewhat different (compared to most clawhammer players) musical sensibilities. I feel fortunate to live in Gainesville, so that I can see him regularly. I highly recommend him.

Overall Rating: 10

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