Gypsy Jazz is one of the niches of Jazz I have been exploring with great fascination and delight. I love the dynamism of the Gypsy Jazz performance and the energetic specificity of the Gypsy Jazz guitars, Gypsy Jazz guitar picks and Gypsy Jazz guitar strings to make the mechanical bits become the encompassing human whole.
Gypsy Jazz is a whole ecosystem unto itself and that’s why I decided to try to find an online teacher to help me quickly navigate the rules and the peculiarities of the Gypsy Jazz performance method.
I was lucky to discover Yaakov Hoter’s outstanding Gypsy Jazz School teaching portal where you can learn with him in universal private lessons you download. Yaakov is based in Israel, but due to the wonder of the internets, you can study with him right in your living room, in your own time, at your own will. The beauty of web teaching is in its inherent asynchronous learning systems.
I purchased several lessons from Yaakov’s school and I like them a lot. Each lesson is bundled with a PDF file to enhance the teaching. After paying, you download a large Flash file from his website and then you can watch the lesson over and over again on your computer forever. Unlike the Jimmy Bruno Guitar Workshop, with Yaakov, you only pay once for each lesson. There is no membership fee. You own what you buy.
The greatest gift of Yaakov’s teaching is his immense patience with you as a new learner of the Gypsy Jazz style. He somehow inherently knows how slow to go and we get to play along with him in real time. Yaakov’s lessons are lengthy. I have five or six lessons in hand and they are all at least 40 minutes in length. That is a tremendous amount of teaching for the price paid per minute of learning. The average downloaded file size of each lesson is 500MB. You definitely feel you are getting great value for your dollar!
Unfortunately, I do not yet have a Gypsy Jazz guitar in hand — not even a generic acoustic guitar! — so I’ve been trying to learn the style on my Gibson L5 and on my Sadowsky Bruno without much success. Gypsy Jazz guitar/picks/strings are specifically built to take a thumping La Pompe — so I’m basically an observer of all things Gypsy Jazz until I can get my hands on a proper guitar.
Yaakov Hoter is an immense talent and a gentle and patient teacher. You enjoy learning from him. You always want to play more by purchasing the next lesson in sequence. I cannot wait until the day I can fully join the Gypsy Jazz Movement with my own guitar because I know that’s one place I truly belong. Until then, I study with Yaakov as best I can and I do my utmost to memorize the form and imitate his fine style.