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Chuck Levy

Gainesville, FL, USA

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Teaches Lessons: Online, In Person

Styles: Clawhammer and Old-Time, Minstrel (Stroke Style), Other

Levels: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

Teacher Since: 2005

Pricing: $45/hour

Listing Created: 11/15/2011
Listing Updated: 5/6/2013

More About Me

Thanks for taking a look at my teacher biography. I teach clawhammer, two-finger up-picking, and minstrel banjo, old-time fiddle, and akonting. I work hard to make sure my students have a positive experience, and really learn and progress.

I teach by ear, but provide tab. Each student is is treated individually. I tailor my approach to the student's ambitions, and skill level. I use older recordings as source material when appropriate.

I really enjoy teaching and being a part of each student's discovery of the instrument.

Here are some of my qulifications/accomplishments: Chuck Levy has earned the title of Florida's Old-Time Banjo Champ, and Old-Time Fiddle Champ, by virtue of taking the blue ribbon in state-wide competitions. Originally from Ohio, has been playing old-time music in north central Florida of the last 13 years. He is equally at home on the fiddle, the 5 and 6 string banjos (five strings plus a short string), whether fretted or fretless, playing clawhammer, 2 finger up-picking, or minstrel styles. Chuck also plays the akonting (ekonting), an African ancestor to the banjo, which he studied in The Gambia and Senegal. Chuck directs and teaches at the Suwannee Banjo Camp, and the Stephen Foster Old-Time Music Weekend, and also has taught at the Mars Hill Blue Ridge Old-Time Music Week. He is the founder and past president of the Florida Banjo Society and a past president of the Florida State Fiddlers Association. Chuck teaches fiddle and banjo in Gainesville, Florida. Chuck is a consultant and endorsed artist for Gold Tone, which designed the OT-6, a 6-string banjo, to his specifications. Chuck's writing has been featured in the Old-Time Herald and Banjo Newsletter. Chuck has two CDs on Red Dog Records; Scratching and Clawing and Banjourneys


Hi again, Chuck,
I'm impressed with your experiences & credentials! Wish
I lived in Florida so I could take lessons from you.
- alicianiel

Hi Doris,

Thanks for the kind note. I do hope we will get to meet. It looks like you have started to play recently. Do you have a teacher? How are you learning? What got you started? Tell me more!

- ChuckJo

I took my first clawhammer banjo lessons from Chuck and have taken several workshops with him since then. Not only is Chuck a very talented player but he really does KNOW HOW to teach. He has a definite grasp on how it is that people learn. In addition Chuck is very active in the promotion of Old Time Music and offers his valuable time and energy to that community. He's also a very easy guy to get along with. I highly recommend Chuck Levy as a teacher. - majikgator

Although I had for years seen and heard of Chuck Levy through the internet, I first met him in person at banjo camp last year. Because he has been one of my banjo heroes I felt intimidated, but Chuck immediately set me at ease by being so human, down to earth and easy going. During the last year at various banjo camps, I have learned a remarkable amount of music through Chuck and I haven't even had a chance to take a formal lesson! Chucks teaching style is so easy to grasp, a large portion of my new repertoire over the last year has come from him. Between camps, he has been kind enough to take the time to occasionally correspond with me via the internet and is incredibly informative when I ask a question or seek further info on a particular tune. I consider myself to be very fortunate indeed to consider Chuck Levy a mentor and friend and I look forward to the day when I can take some actual lessons from him; imagine how much more I can learn then! Thanks, Chuck, for being there to share your banjo knowledge! - Pam Monfore

I first met Chuck when I attended the Suwannee Banjo Camp in 2012 and since have taken both banjo and fiddle lessons from him. No matter what level a player a person can learn from him and I hope to take more lessons from him in the future. Being a great musician by itself isn't enough to be a good teacher. It takes much more to be able to transfer knowledge to another and Chuck is a master at both. I was a rank novice at banjo and hadn't played violin/fiddle in decades and I only wish I had taken up the instruments earlier with Chuck's guidance. You can't do better. Thanks Chuck. - David Moore

I have also posted this in the reviews portion of the Hangout, but if you have been lucky enough to stumble across Chuck's page, read on:

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.
- pcollings

I've been taking lessons with Chuck for about 8 months now. I appreciate his expertise, his flexibility, and most of all his teaching technique.

I tend to be self-critical and Chuck has taught me to focus on what I do well, instead of what I do poorly. That lesson I have been able to use in other areas of my life as well. Can't ask for more than that from your banjo teacher!

I highly recommend Chuck to anyone who is able to see him. I drive hours to take lessons with Chuck and it is so worth it. He's very generous with his time.

Thanks Chuck!
- pg60

The sessions with Chuck at the Florida Old Time Weekends and the Suwannee Banjo Camps have been invaluable. I play with local musicians of all skill levels at the St Augustine Amphitheater Farmers Market every week and we play all styles from fiddle tunes to Beatles to Country to Bluegrass to Jug Band and on.... Chuck's ideas on playing in groups have been really helpful and his ideas on venturing up the neck have opened up exciting new territory. Thanks, Chuck! - CLAWTINTHEACT

thanks chuck you are great teacher for me you push me just enough i will continue to learn a lot from you thanks again - bertozzi

thanks chuck you are great teacher for me you push me just enough i will continue to learn a lot from you thanks again - bertozzi

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