School Of The Blues Review – June 9th 2014
School of the Blues Review by Victor Cozart
Some years ago after a long hiatus from playing harmonica, I stumbled across an ad for the Harmonica Masterclass put on by Dave Barrett of the School of the Blues. I purchased a few keys of harmonica, enrolled in the Masterclass and met Dave at the event. Humbled in amazement and realizing I never really knew anything about the harmonica or the structure of music I asked David for help and became a student at the School of the Blues. With just a few years of study, I could never have imagined seeing myself in the position I am in today. I am not famous, I haven't hit the "Big Time" and I'm not sharing the stage with all of my harmonica heroes' but, I am living what I consider the greatest possible human life experience available to anyone, I credit the school for accelerating my music learning process and complimenting my desired lifestyle. It's exciting to study this incredible instrument, it's sometimes hard work, sometimes discouraging, most times takes diligence, a hell of a lot of fun and the rewards are indescribable.
The School of the Blues offered me many unseen advantages that otherwise might not have availed themselves through alternative lesson courses. Dave has a system of harmonica education that got to the heart of where I wanted to be, playing the blues harmonica, soon. Through the school I have met and become friends with countless local blues artists, bonded with other students, and connected with many music industry professionals that have helped direct my music career in the direction I wanted to go. The school runs a public student jam session every month which I had the pleasure of being the "Front Man" for the house band. The Jam helped me to overcome that horrible stage fright feeling and set me up to learn how to "Play Well With Others". Sometimes "hopping on one foot" so to speak, I learned to roll with the groove, trust my training, and understand the structure of blues music; how to start, how to end, when to play and more importantly when not to play. Each Jam included a facilitated instruction by one of the mentoring staff explaining all sorts of professional playing etiquette information, In my case, I have been able to avoid many embarrassing amateur moments by understanding "How Things Work". It's easy for me to recognize other musicians who haven't received this type of education. I'm constantly in a position to help.
The school connected me with other students eager to venture out and together we formed a band. We booked gigs and leaned heavily on our instructors from the school to bring us along quickly, and some of us still do. It worked pretty darn well. Now, with over 250 gigs in the last 3 years, I play a lot, I really like playing a lot. Our first CD carried us for a while and I am now in the studio working feverishly to get the second CD out. Some of the bands members have changed and this is how it should be. We all mature musically at a different pace. The gigs continue to get better (fun and money too) and the bands fan base continues to grow. None of this, in my opinion, would have been possible to achieve so quickly if I hadn't been introduced to the school and took advantage of Dave's accelerated learning system.
"Experience teaches thoroughly yet her course of instruction devours men's years so the value of her lessons diminishes with the time necessary to acquire her special wisdom".
Musically, time is not on my side. I started my formal harmonica education at the age of 48 and I am so grateful for the system of instruction taught at the School of the Blues. With modern technology and the systematic approach taught by the school, I am convinced I could have never advanced so quickly without the schools programs. It's difficult for me to say in a few words enough about the great benefit I have received as a result of my training through the school.
Do yourself a favor, make every note count, know what notes to play when and how to play them and establish a foundation for music discovery with formalized training through the School of the Blues.
Thank you David for your time and patience, your incite and understanding. I look forward to seeing you around the campus.