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Ten Things You Didn't Know About Dundee Drum Academy

posted 8 Jun 2018, 06:48 by Chris Morris   [ updated 8 Jun 2018, 06:49 ]
On Saturday 23rd June, Dundee Drum Academy will be hosting our 2018 Summer Concert, and this marks our tenth performance event for pupils. To celebrate this, I thought I'd write a little special blog with ten interesting points about Dundee Drum Academy that you may not have known. So here we go!

1. Dundee Drum Academy has two birthdays (sort of).

The first lesson taught under the name "Dundee Drum Academy" took place on Tuesday 15th February 2011, and this date is sometimes adopted as Dundee Drum Academy's birthday. However, the name was created and insurances bought on Christmas Day 2010. Either of these dates could be thought of as Dundee Drum Academy's birthday, for me personally, I tend to think of the date of the first lesson as the real one.

2. Three percussion tutors have taught lessons as part of Dundee Drum Academy.

Although Dundee Drum Academy is generally the teaching practice where I base my own lessons, two other tutors have also taught lessons at Dundee Drum Academy; in 2011 my good friend Jennifer Gill stepped in to teach some lessons while I was volunteering in India, and on two occasions another friend Gregor Christie has taught some lessons as part of his music studies at UHI.

3. No Dundee Drum Academy pupil has ever failed any form of music exam or audition.

This is something I'm very proud of - over the years my pupils have taken part in many graded exams (from Grades 1-8), school exams and applied for music courses from Dundee to London, and so far each and every individual has been successful. This is partly down to my own policy of making sure a pupil is more than ready for an exam before telling them to apply, but mostly down to the sheer hard work and determination of the pupils themselves. Well done, and long may this continue!

4. There have been a total of 142 individual performances by over 50 people at events so far.

Performances have of course largely been on drum kit, but over the years we've also seen performances on xylophone, guitar, djembe and of course, snare drum solos. Ages have ranged from VERY young (more on that in a bit) to... a bit older (I won't give an estimate of how old our older performer has been, but I can tell you it wasn't me!).

5. Only one person has performed at every single event.

If you've attended any event run by Dundee Drum Academy, the one thing I can guarantee is that you have seen a cracking performance from Alexis, who has performed at every concert, and every Snare Drum Challenge. Starting out with playing something quite simple in her first concert way back in 2014, at this year's Summer Concert be prepared to be blown away by an excellent rendition of the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Californication.

6. The Snare Drum Challenge has some mystery awards.

Some students are afraid to play the drums too loudly in case they break them, to which I reply "Don't be afraid, there's a prize for accidentally breaking the drum". And there genuinely is! There are also some mystery awards for gaining a perfect score at the Snare Drum Challenge, and tying for first place. In addition to these, there are also other things students can do at the Snare Drum Challenge that would earn them an award, but these are kept secret! Only time will tell whether anyone achieves any of these... 

7. It's not just drum kit lessons that take place at Dundee Drum Academy.

Drum kit takes up the bulk of my teaching time of course, but I also spend my week teaching tuned percussion, and I even have one student who comes for djembe lessons. I can teach just about any percussion instrument, and I charge the same amount for any of these, so if you're interested, just ask! 

Bonus fact related to this: the most requested instrument I get is guitar, but I only know a few chords and I'm far away from being any sort of expert on this, so no guitar lessons at the moment unfortunately!

8. 81% of currently timetabled students started drumming before I did.

Some of them started MUCH younger. I was twelve when I started learning drums at school, and 81% of my current students have started years before then. Everyone learns at different rates however; some students who started much later than me are doing great. It all depends on how much you practise!

9. The youngest performer at an event was just three years old.

At the most recent Christmas Concert, Anders blew the audience away by performing a very tight version of Queen's We Will Rock You aged just 3! He also perhaps holds the record for the biggest round of applause at a concert, and very deservedly so! Anders will be back at the next concert too, and the progression from his last time around to now is outstanding. Certainly someone to watch out for.

10. I currently spend 34 hours per week teaching.

When Dundee Drum Academy started back in 2011, I think I may have been lucky to have been teaching for 4-5 hours per week. The progression to where I am now is down to working with some incredible people - my supportive family, the parents of the pupils, and of course the pupils themselves. Teaching drums is the best job in the world, especially when I get to work with such amazing people. So thank you to each and every person who fills my week with inspiration and excitement, and allows me to do what I love!