September 18, 2014
From Mark and Diane after their 3 day Intensive with me...they came from Seattle,WA..where they had also taken some lessons with me...here is what they said abut their experience with me.
Want to Thank you and Maggie for your hospitality and good cheer while Diane and I were visiting. This was truly a great experience for us. Trying to remember all the individual details we learned and very glad we recorded everything. You certainly did take us to the next level and over the next several months we will review and improve. The metronome will now be standard in our practice for quite a while as well as working for speed. You showed us many fun rhythms but more importantly you taught us a clear path for development which is what we have been missing.
Be in touch in the future and already starting to think about an early winter return for another 3 day intensive--but for the time being we are finally on path. Just playing a bit over the weekend we were so much more focused and also very realistic about our renewed dedication.
Thanks, Mark & Diane
September 18, 2014
Recent testimonial from ongoing pupil Charles B.
I’ve been studying the conga drum with JC for just over two years and I just want to give my total thumbs-up to his approach as a teacher and percussion professional. As a Brit with musical tastes ranging from rock, funk, jazz, hip-hop (and latin music!), I came to JC professing a slightly uncertain attraction to conga drums. Without a well-defined notion of what I really wanted to learn, JC took me through the basic strokes, rhythms and rudiments, developing my knowledge and skills in Afro-Cuban music and much else besides. JC’s experience in the music biz is obviously amazing and one of the best things about learning from him (aside from the great stories) are the unique rhythms and styles he’s acquired (and invented) over the years, from hanging and playing in so many “scenes“. So if you want a proper idea of how to play alongside funk, disco and other r n b styles, this is your guy. Needless to say, he’ll also makes sure you know the essentials behind the instrument, most importantly its deep roots in African music and traditions, and its obvious dominance in Afro-Cuban music. Not only that, JC is a very attentive teacher and is well up on things like “cognitive discovery”, which emphasises learning through hearing and hands as much as through more logical processes. Learning through Skype is also a lot easier and effective than it sounds. It’s been a great experience, revealing the full potential of the instrument to me and motivating me to keep up practice and lessons
September 18, 2014
From Mark D.-Texas...
I just returned last night from a week at Jonny's intensive...
I'm already planning a time when I can go back.
No BS here, it started with JC picking me up at the airport on a Sunday evening, we had dinner at a Cuban restaurant and hit the drums the next morning... For 6+ hours a day! everyday for 5 days.
I have to admit, I thought for sure it would go down something like... He would give me an exercise, and then come back in half an hour while I worked on it. No way... He sat right next to me every hour of every day for the entire week. " sit up straight... relax your hands...breathe...Don't tap the drum, hit it...not enough wrist...get your hand off the drum...mark your time...you're too stiff...
JC is a guy who believes TEACHING is an art form, and he is good at it. He has a system, it's not random, he has thought it thru...He breaks it down so that you are doing something you understand, and you understand WHY you are doing it. A lot of guys can play, but not every guy who can play...can teach. Johnny can do both.
I really felt like it wasn't just a job for JC...he was sincerely interested in me being successful. He did everything he could do to make sure I got the most out of everyday I spent there. Many days, we worked late, no complaint, no reminder that the lesson was over... We went as long as I lasted. And, when we weren't playing, we were watching DVDs of Cuban Rumberos, or listening to Mongo or Puente from records he bought 45 years ago... Awesome
There is not enough time for me to have been able to learn as much as I learned from JC on my own. It is amazing to me that he was so willing to give me so much of what took him a lifetime to accomplish. I will be forever grateful to JC for giving me that.