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TGerman

 

Posts: 119
Joined: Nov. 27 2005
 

Dennis Koster 

What is everyones opinion of Dennis Koster? I am thinking of taking lessons from him as my last teacher didn't work out that well, or if you know of any other teachers in New York I will contact them as well.

Thanks,
Todd
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 1 2006 12:33:53
 
cavaliotis

 

Posts: 94
Joined: Dec. 12 2005
From: GREECE

RE: Dennis Koster (in reply to TGerman

Todd

I happen to have a personal opinion of Dennis Koster so here it is

5 years ago when I lived in New York I decided to meet with him and take lessons from him
I ended up seeing him twice and that was it
1. he charges way too much ($60-$70 at that time)
2. he is not a flamenco - undoubtedly he is a very good guitar player but not a flamenco
3. the flamenco music that he plays is way outdated (not that I do not enjoy some of it but nothing modern)
4. we had a lesson at 6:00 and I had to get to Manhattan from Long Island
I got there at 5:50 and he had me wait outside the house for ten minutes until he finished his previous lesson
5. the second time I got there he told me a little secret: the one hour lesson was not really an one hour lesson .... it was a 45 minutes lesson ("it is an academic hour") ... he would check at his watch every 10 minutes during the lesson
6. he thinks way too much of himself (he made sure that I see all the pictures of him with Mario Escudero and Sabicas)
7. He had a concert a month later at Carnigie Hall and from the first time I saw him he said that he would expect me to buy at least two tickets
and
8. they say that eyes are the mirror of the soul and in my opinion his eyes say bad, nasty things

of course all these are my personal opinion

If on the other hand you enjoy that much of traditional flamenco there is a guy in Long Island that teaches .... His name is Joe Sherri

http://www.joesherri.com/

I had 7-8 lessons with him when I was starting of with flamenco and I can asure you he is a very good musician (traditional too if you enjoy that kind of flamenco)
I had also seen him play at a flamenco jam in Brooklin i think and he could definitely play

If you need more info about flamenco in New York (I know people and places because I lived there for seven years) you can email me at gcavaliotis@eurolife.gr and leave me a phone to call you....
ps. I will not be able to get the email before Monday because that is my work and now is Friday afternoon here in Greece and I am going home for the weekend


Best Regards
George Cavaliotis
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 1 2006 14:18:12
 
koella

Posts: 2194
Joined: Sep. 10 2005
From: holland

RE: Dennis Koster (in reply to TGerman

I never heard of this Dennis Koster. But is he that good, playing in Carnegie Hall and all. ?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 1 2006 17:00:23

ToddK

 

Posts: 2960
Joined: Dec. 6 2004
 

RE: Dennis Koster (in reply to TGerman

He was a friend of my Dad's teacher, Carlos Ramos. (carlos was a monster
guitarist)

Dennis has alot of instructional materials out there, and i imagine
he makes his living mainly doing that.

He's a "very good" player. He's definatly not a "Great player".

How he got the Carnegie Hall gig i have no idea.

I have his album, Flamenco Classico, and its basically second rate
Sabicas stuff. (pieces that sound sorta like Sabicas', but not very interesting,
and with quite poor technique)
Think Paco Pena, but missing one or two fingers.

I'll upload a few samples if some of you really want to hear Dennis.
But you're not missing much.

_____________________________

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 1 2006 17:23:52
 
koella

Posts: 2194
Joined: Sep. 10 2005
From: holland

RE: Dennis Koster (in reply to ToddK

Yes upload some. I would love to hear it.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 1 2006 17:49:48
 
TGerman

 

Posts: 119
Joined: Nov. 27 2005
 

RE: Dennis Koster (in reply to ToddK

Thanks Todd, it sounds like you can take him or leave him.

Yeah, I had kind of made up my mind in not going to him but I thought I might hear something good about him here that would change my mind. I had spoken to him and he rubbed me the wrong way for some reason.

Though I like and respect traditional stuff and want to learn it I also want a teacher that's up on more modern artists and be willing to teach it.

You would think that living in New York I would be able to find boat loads of teachers, I mean we have everything here and in abundance, but finding a teacher is proving more difficult than it should be.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 1 2006 17:56:43
 
bernd

 

Posts: 678
Joined: Feb. 15 2004
 

RE: Dennis Koster (in reply to ToddK

I have all the Dennis Koster stuff here, bought it when it came out here (Germany) about 10 years ago. It´s mainly Sabicas - Escudero - Niño Ricardo stuff. All played very boring, could really be played better. As Todd said this is valid for his Flamenco Clásico, too. He plays clean but I always miss aire in his toque.

Saludos
Bernd

_____________________________

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 1 2006 18:31:50

ToddK

 

Posts: 2960
Joined: Dec. 6 2004
 

RE: Dennis Koster (in reply to TGerman

Here's Dennis doing some thumb work.

http://michaelk101.com/todd/toddmp3/dennis.mp3

He sounds like a student.


>

_____________________________

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 1 2006 18:52:58
 
Ron.M

Posts: 7051
Joined: Jul. 7 2003
From: Scotland

RE: Dennis Koster (in reply to ToddK

I've never heard anything by Dennis Koster before, but as you say Todd...it really sounds like a student.
Nothing different than stuff that get's uploaded here IMO.
He plays very "exacting" though (like a teacher) and probably has a lot of theoretical knowledge maybe.
That piece sounds OK for a recorded technical exercise for a pupil, but it's not any kind of professional performance, either live or on commercial recording.

George's appraisal sounded very sincere to me and I have no reason to question the impression he got....

I've no idea how old Dennis is, but from what's been said and that recording I heard...my impression would be that he's a guy who put a lot into understanding Flamenco guitar in the very early days when being able to play some of Sabicas's stuff was far out, especially when there was virtually no information about.
But the World's moved on a lot.

cheers

Ron
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 1 2006 20:08:43
 
koella

Posts: 2194
Joined: Sep. 10 2005
From: holland

RE: Dennis Koster (in reply to TGerman

Of course it's difficult to judge from this short fragment.
But I would think twice before I'd pay him 70 dollar for a 45 minute lesson.


  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 1 2006 20:13:21
 
Gummy

Posts: 495
Joined: Nov. 27 2005
From: North Carolina, USA

RE: Dennis Koster (in reply to TGerman

Seems like I remember him being referenced on my training DVD by Aaron Gilmartin. I think he studied with him and Chuck Keyser.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 1 2006 20:51:33
 
bernd

 

Posts: 678
Joined: Feb. 15 2004
 

RE: Dennis Koster (in reply to Ron.M

Hi Ron,

I really hear a difference, more aire

Saludos
Bernd

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 1 2006 23:16:56

ToddK

 

Posts: 2960
Joined: Dec. 6 2004
 

RE: Dennis Koster (in reply to koella

quote:

Of course it's difficult to judge from this short fragment.


True, but this CD is pretty much more of the same. Very drab and dull.

As you can clearly hear in the sample, he doesnt have the flamenco
thumb sound right at all. Totally classical freestroke sound.

Guitar lessons, yes. Flamenco guitar lessons, no..

_____________________________

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 1 2006 23:45:58
 
edgar884

Posts: 1975
Joined: Nov. 16 2005
 

RE: Dennis Koster (in reply to TGerman

I have his new book and it's ok, but there is just something missing from the falsetas and the way he plays them.

He has no swing or something.

_____________________________

May we find God through Flamenco instead of Angels and Demons

www.gabrieledgar.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 2 2006 0:03:46
 
ykabban

 

Posts: 251
Joined: Jan. 11 2006
 

RE: Dennis Koster (in reply to TGerman

In college, Marc Regnier would sometimes put in Koster's CD; we'd listen to him struggle through a scale and laugh our heads off. For some reason it was very funny at the time........................................ one of the instructional deals I believe.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 2 2006 1:48:57

ivan

 

Posts: 73
Joined: Oct. 6 2005
 

RE: Dennis Koster (in reply to TGerman

The 8 observations that cavaliotis wrote pretty much sums it up. I know Dennis, shared the NY flamenco guitar festival w/ him this past january and what can I say without being too harsh? As Todd said, " Guitar lessons, yes. Flamenco guitar lessons, no.." There is no duende, nor any flamenco sound. As a spanish flamenco player, it was hard to really watch and listen. I am not trying to disrespect. But please don't call it flamenco because in reality, people will get the wrong impression if they first hear flamenco played by someone like Dennis.
When my brother and our ensemble played in January w/ him in NY, we had such a great turn out that tickets had to be sold half price because of standing room only. However, I felt so bad when Dennis finished the show and many people literally walked out. If you guys know anyone that went, ask them and they will tell you. Dennis is like in love with himself and it shows in his playing...too bad there is no flamenco foundation or technique to back it up. I am sorry if I sound rude and I am not trying to be. Disculpe por favor.
Ivan Gomez
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 2 2006 2:02:33

ivan

 

Posts: 73
Joined: Oct. 6 2005
 

RE: Dennis Koster (in reply to ivan

Tgerman,
Sorry I forgot to mention that I can give you a few names in NY. I'll even give you lessons myself or my brother. I also apologize for not getting back to you a few months back about our juerga in CT. It was a hectic time for me going from NY-spain-south america. PM me if you wish and I will find you real flamencos in NY. That is a promise.
Ivan
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 2 2006 2:07:49
 
bernd

 

Posts: 678
Joined: Feb. 15 2004
 

RE: Dennis Koster (in reply to ToddK

Although his toque misses aire at all his material is quite useful. I Used it besides the methods of Juan Martín. If you have developed a little bit aire (or swing however you might call it), then you can adapt some stuff for your own playing.

Saludos
Bernd

_____________________________

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 2 2006 11:20:13
 
Gecko

Posts: 218
Joined: Jan. 2 2006
From: New Mexico

RE: Dennis Koster (in reply to TGerman

Never heard of the guy until about 2 weeks ago when Edgar mentioned him and then I stumbled across his Keys To Flamenco Guitar, Vol 1 at a very inexpensive price. I must say he (his book) has been able to explain some things to me in a way that even I can understand. I have never understood some of these things from anyone else's (beginner's) books/materials.

I will get volume 2.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 2 2006 22:00:37
 
TGerman

 

Posts: 119
Joined: Nov. 27 2005
 

RE: Dennis Koster (in reply to Gecko

quote:

I must say he (his book) has been able to explain some things to me in a way that even I can understand. I have never understood some of these things from anyone else's (beginner's) books/materials.


Such as what? If you don't mind me asking.

Todd
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 2 2006 23:58:30
 
Gecko

Posts: 218
Joined: Jan. 2 2006
From: New Mexico

RE: Dennis Koster (in reply to TGerman

quote:

ORIGINAL: TGerman

Such as what? If you don't mind me asking.

Todd


I've only had the book for less than a week, but here are the things that the book has helped me to understand better, so far:

Compas – with simple and numerous examples for common paloes.

Compas (Chording) Sequences – with many examples for common paloes.

Falsetas – what they are and how they are used in several common paloes.

The Llamada – and its use with examples for soleares and alegrias

Escobillass – use and examples

The structure of the most common paloes and a basic explanation how they differ for cante and baile.

Flamenco Terms – Spelled out phonetically so you have some idea how they are pronounced.

All of these may seem like easy, common stuff to experienced, or even intermediate players, but to a beginner, struggling to learn on their own, they can be difficult to grasp and understand. At least for me they have.

I have been using GM's and Juan Martin's materials. Both have been good for technique, but at least for me, they never explained the above in any detail, or at least in terms I could understand.

Again, I'm very pleased with Koster's book and right now, at this point in my learning, I could give a crap less if his stuff is old or new style. I seriously doubt if I would know the difference anyway. IMO his book is sort of light on technique, but I have other books for that.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 3 2006 11:50:28

Fulcanelli

 

Posts: 18
Joined: Sep. 2 2006
 

RE: Dennis Koster (in reply to TGerman

Reading the comments here, I just have to say that the purpose of Koster's books is to teach others to play. Does a new student want to be bedazzled with a display of technical prowess s/e will not achieve for years? His book is an INTRODUCTION to the flamenco style. I worked through it with a student and thought it was pretty decent.

It's amazing how closely aligned some flamenco playing is to heavy metal shredding. Don't get me wrong because I like to listen to both traditional sounding flamenco, and famenco fioco. Technique engages my mind whereas what I really want from listening to a good performance is emotional response.

Maybe if I could actually play like those flamenco monsters, I'd sing a different tune, huh? LOL.

I do agree that Koster's playing is not exactly inspirational but definitely fills the need for a person just starting out, trying to get down the basics.

Some of the best players make the worst teachers. They would much rather be playing than showing others what they do.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 4 2006 14:17:25
 
RK86Now

 

Posts: 1
Joined: Nov. 9 2019
 

RE: Dennis Koster (in reply to TGerman

I’ve seen Dennis Koster perform in a small hall on the upper west side in NYC in May of 2005. At the time I had not seen anyone play flamenco style guitar before and I was impressed. A week later I was at another show at the same place, and Dennis came in and sat at my table. Before the show, I told him I saw his show and that I had both of his Keys books, and asked him how one can learn rasgueado, and he showed me. On top of a table he placed his hand facing down and one by one flicking his fingers off the table top. It cost me nothing and he was kind enough to speak to a fellow guitar player and help.

I’ve had both Keys books since 2000, when his publisher gave them to me and the company I was working for at a NAMM show. I’ve worked out many of the examples, but never fully grasped the techniques. Since then I’ve bought his Alfred book and many other books from other authors, and have tried flamenco guitar from about 2005 to 2009. I’ve been playing electric guitar since 1981. Now in 2019 I’m back to fully studying flamenco. Dennis’ books are great. The examples are great with simple to follow instructions, and the CD help immensely.

I’ve seen many flamenco shows in NYC with singers, dancers and guitar players. Mostly great performers and experience. But what Dennis has that these performers don’t, he’s got a great sound/tone and incredible technique. Most of the performers I seen play cheap Yamaha thin body acoustic electric guitars with a cutaway, and to my utmost disgust sometimes they add chorus and/or reverb fx. Cheap disgusting sounds. Listen to Dennis and you’ll hear a full sound. He’s playing the guitar. No accompaniment. All guitar. If you say he has no “aire” well that’s your opinion. Maybe you’re right, maybe you’re wrong. But I don’t think you can take away from a man who has dedicated his existence to the guitar and succeeded. He’s a professional. He’s at a level where he could charge $200 for 20 minutes for all the knowledge he has.

Unfortunately, what we have here is, like in any other case in life, a possibility of jealousy. I wonder how the “so called real” Flamenco payers with “aire” would fair in comparison to Dennis if they were forced to perform sober and alone without singers, dancers, cajon players, and drunk audiences. I wonder how their cheap Yamaha acoustic electric guitars with cutaways would fair next to Dennis’ real classical guitar. Let’s get real people. They would be naked and they would fail. My suggestion to you my fellow guitar players is that you should be lucky enough to be playing the guitar. Think Frank Zappa “Shut Up and Play Your Guitar”.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 11 2019 15:52:21
 
Ricardo

Posts: 11293
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Dennis Koster (in reply to TGerman



_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 11 2019 17:05:51
 
JasonM

Posts: 1031
Joined: Dec. 8 2005
From: Baltimore

RE: Dennis Koster (in reply to RK86Now

Total jealousy! I would pay money to see anyone go up against him without their GK Studio cutaway and a drum machine. I know I would never dare to. Long live the spirit of Sabicas!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 11 2019 20:42:28
 
mark indigo

 

Posts: 2683
Joined: Dec. 5 2007
From: UK

RE: Dennis Koster (in reply to RK86Now

quote:

I wonder how their cheap Yamaha acoustic electric guitars with cutaways would fair next to Dennis’ real classical guitar.


neither of these guitars sounds like flamenco to me...

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 12 2019 17:46:57
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