Hello fellow drum lovers. Welcome to my blog which details the ups, downs and occasional off-beats of the life of a session drummer and drum teacher.
In this, my first blog I’d like to tell you about a fun and rewarding week I recently spent in Cyprus working with children from two Service Children Education Schools, along with guitarist Ben Williams http://www.benpwilliams.com and Decca/Universal artist, Kristyna Myles http://www.kristynamyles.com
I took part in a two day performance workshop at each school with pupils from Year 7 through to VI Form culminating in performances to the school, and families and friends. We taught the kids to work as a band, singing and playing various instruments including guitars, bass, keys and drums and they brilliantly performed songs from Kristyna’s upcoming album, ‘Pinch Me Quick’.
We started off analyzing and learning the structure of songs and breaking the piece into learnable sections; verses and choruses, grooves and fills etc. This got the kids thinking about the structure and tempo of the piece, then, once we had the framework in place started to rehearse them as a band.
Two days is a short time (even on an intensive course) for any drummer or musician to master new technical or coordination skills so I made good use of time by getting the musicians working on vital skills that are fundamental to performing in band. We raised awareness of their key roles within the band, getting them to use their eyes and ears to help build interaction and communication between band members and last but not least ensuring they “perform”. The improvements they made as individuals and a collective over the two days was inspiring.
We also ran a one day songwriting workshop giving the kids a chance to write their own song and express themselves. I’ve got to say to all those of you who think that kids today are vacuous drones force fed on X-Factor, I can tell you, YOU’RE WRONG! (At least you’re wrong about the children of service men and women living in Cyprus!) We found them to be creative, talented and imaginative. They put their newly honed songwriting skills to work and came up with a melancholic but uplifting composition about their lives spent as Forces kids, forever on the move.
On the final night Kristyna, Ben and I performed a charity gig in support of the Dhekelia Midnight Walk, an organization that raises funds for cancer charities both in the U.K. and Cyprus.
My drum teaching varies from tuition in a private studio, to schools, to workshops and encompasses pupils from 6 to 65, but I can honestly say my time spent in Cyprus was some of the most satisfying fulfilling drum teaching and performance coaching I’ve ever done. I discovered some wonderful drumming talent and my faith is restored in the next generation – music – and drumming is safe!
Big love and thanks to Claire Thorpe for organising the whole trip and making it all happen.