My Formative Years
Music runs in my family (sort of). My uncle is a great guitarist and my aunt is a professional violinist. As such, music has been around my family in some form or other since I was born. However, I tried quite a few instruments before deciding that drums and percussion were my thing!
I started formally playing drums when I was eight years old. I actually started a year or so earlier, stacking magazines on the dining room table, badgering my parents for a set of sticks to play with and practice. I started playing with Mike Creech and Andy Leask (of the Moeller Method) at Berkshire Maestros with my best drumming buddy Alex Goodyear (a brilliant jazz drummer) and never really looked back.
The following sections provide some highlights of the music I've been involved in and that have shaped the way I play today, and why I teach. Having been taught by so many inspirational and brilliant teachers I love putting something back into the community.
I would also say, whatever you do, always make time for music, to listen to it, to play it, and most of all perform it. Doesn't matter how good you are, there is something truly inspirational about music.
Berkshire Youth Percussion
Rock Workshops, Garage Bands
I studied at the Reading Music Centre (RMC) for several years, playing kit, tuned, Latin and hand percussion for the following ensembles:
- Holst Senior Brass band.
- Senior Percussion Ensemble.
- Reading Music Centre Concert Band.
- Berkshire Youth Percussion Ensemble.
These ensembles play a mixture of Latin, jazz, soul and classical genres. We performed at various functions around the county and through the holidays. This included overseas performance and as part of this I toured the Rhineland, Germany in July 2013.
I was invited to join the Berkshire Youth Percussion Ensemble (BYPE) in 2011. Its members included advanced Academy students taken from all the Berkshire Maestros Centres across the county. We performed in various styles including world music based pieces with a strong percussion component performing across the south east of England.
In addition to my drumming lessons in 2004 I joined a rock band at the Reading Music Centre Rock Workshop. We rehearsed regularly, arranging and playing cover versions of rock and pop songs. As part of this we performed regularly at end of term concerts both for parents and at RMC Open Days as well.
Over the years I played numerous covers from various groups including Nirvana, Jet, Reef, Velvet Revolver etc. In addition to the time I spent at the Reading Maestros Music Centre I also performed at my school's concerts, as well as being the House Band Drummer for the last two school productions of Hairspray and We Will Rock You.
Whilst performing for various ensembles and at Rock Workshop I also formed and played in a couple of garage bands, Torn Between and Regen, made up of various friends from school. A great time was had by all, culminating in a number of local gigs. It was these that introduced me to the wider music scene in Reading and led ultimately to playing with Black Emerald when I was 16. But that is another story.
The Academy of Contemporary Music
I joined the Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM) in Guildford initially to do a diploma in Music Performance, but quickly followed that up with a degree course, achieving a BMus (2:1) in 2016. The course covered not just performance, but music theory, lighting, performance management, intellectual property and licensing, contracts and so much more.
I was taught by some amazing people, such as:
- Frank Tontoh (Amy Winehouse, Brother Strutt)
- Pete Reilly (Guthrie Govan)
- Joe Yoshida
- John Duff
I also got to perform on a regular basis, with both my own band (Black Emerald) but also bands formed as part of the course. The video of CACITBH is from the end of my first year showcase at ACM and gives a sense of the performance environment at ACM. We were required to set up a band with other students, practice and perform as well as manage production and lighting.