Fun When You Drum! recently hosted a masterclass by world-famous drummer Dave Mattacks. Here are some quotes and articles about it:
"It was ... a privilege and I can not start to tell you how much I enjoyed it.
Dave is a top fella and I learnt so much, or I like to think that I did ... he is amazing on the drums and you just know that he is a wealth of knowledge ... I know that I could never play like that but if I could just achieve a small percentage of that I would be happy. I was trying to explain to people at work today what it was like and I think the best phrase I came up with was that 'he is a master who just feels the music' ... I couldn't think of another way to explain the feeling that I got from listening to him. I am still on a high from it ... it was amazing.
A very big thank you to you for making the day possible."
Rather than write a report of the exclusive
Fun When You Drum Steve White Masterclass, this time I have added
some pictures and comments from pupils who attended. Some of these
pupils have never attended a drum event before, let alone with one
of the world's top players! If you didn't attend this time around
then you are really missing out! Fun When You Drum has exclusive
contacts within the music industry and aims to bring them to the
local area for you to learn from and be inspired by. I have more top
drummers planned for this year which will be announced via the mailing list.
"The Steve White Event was awesome!
I learnt so much and what was even better it was so personal and close.
Thanks Very Much Gary, you were right - it was priceless and not to be
"I had a superb time! It was phenomenal
to see somebody play with such talent! Only bad comment - I DIDN'T WIN A
PRIZE!!!!!!!!!! Looking forward to another one."
"Ben loved every moment of it.
Thank you for organizing the event."
"Steve White event was fantastic!
Many thanks Gary for organizing it. I learnt loads and was totally
inspired to try and become a better drummer and can't wait for the next
one. And the most important lesson I learned from Steve....... PRACTICE!"
Steve White has played with The Who, Paul Weller,
Oasis and James Taylor. For more information, check out his website.
Mark Mondesir Drum Clinic
From the moment Mark
Mondesir takes his seat behind an unfeasibly small
hip-gig set-up and starts to play, you realise why he is
probably the greatest drummer in the UK right now. A
left-handed player sitting at a right handed
kit, Mark lays down some powerful grooves, leading
with either hand or driving things along with one
or both feet. His opening solo is packed full of
dynamics, colours (how do you get so many sounds from
such tiny drums?) and tempos.
ability is out of the top drawer. He slips in
and out of some awesome beats; slowing them
right down with amazing control and then whipping them
back up again. Mark isn't showing off - he
comes across as a very modest man. He explains
that when he swaps lead hands or moves the beat to
another part of the kit, it is simply to get the sound
and feel that he wants.
Caribbean background meant that he was introduced to a
diverse cross-section of musical genres from a very early
age. And that opened his ears to all sorts of musical
possibilities that he still enjoys exploring today.
He has an incredible ear for music and a God-given
talent for applying it to the kit.
Mark explains how much
of the techniques and patterns he plays came about simply
by hearing things he really liked, and working them out.
A great example of this is his favourite Billy Cobham
fill which he breaks down for us around the kit. He
employs the same technique when talking about
polyrhythms. Mark's incredible ability to hear
and feel the beat - no matter how awkward it feels
to us mortals - was demonstrated when he played 5/4
on the hi-hat, mixed with straight quarter notes on
the snare, and 6/8 with his feet. (I spent
so much of the evening gazing in awe at his
The best thing about a
Mark Mondesir clinic is the way that he so obviously
loves to play. At every opportunity he sits back down to
demonstrate what he is talking about. He freely admits
that he does not play any other percussion instrument
because of the excitement a drum set still holds for him.
Mark finishes with a
jaw-dropping solo based on a great little groove (shuffle
beat between two feet, traditional swing on the ride,
straight triplets on the snare try it it is
very very cool). A remarkable display by a very
accomplished musician. Tonight I witnessed a
master at work, and it was something special.
To arrange your first
lesson with Gary Marshall, click here
(Words by Mark Franklin
and edited by Richard Hamilton)
Evening of expertise -
with Dave Mattacks
When someone once asked Dave
Mattacks what was the biggest myth about fame, he
replied: Ill let you know if I get
Yet the modesty of this superb musician belies the fact that he is bound to feature somewhere in your familys record collection. DM is highly sought after as a session man,
by an inexhaustible list of Whos Who in the
world of Jazz, Rock, or Folk. Amongst many others, Dave
has played with Paul McCartney, Joan Armatrading, Chris
Rea, XTC, Elton John, Mark Knopfler, Jethro Tull, Pino
Palladino, John Donaldson, Andrew Cleyndert And, of
course, as custodian of the Fairport Convention drum
stool for many years, hes a seasoned Cropredy
Dave returned to North Oxfordshire
in November, this time to share his skills and
knowledge with Garys Fun When You Drum
Whenever Dave presents a showcase,
he tailors it to the audiences demand. He produces
a long aide-memoire of topics, and spends a couple of
minutes (sometimes a lot longer!) outlining the
intricacies that each one will lead to. Its as if
hes planning a long walk, produces an Ordnance
Survey map and asks those with him to suggest the route.
I could spend hours talking about selecting
cymbals Or, perhaps, I can explain more
about particular patterns that I have developed
such as when I played on Joan Armatradings The
Dave keeps running down his list
until someone in the audience ask him to elaborate
further. Wherever this takes us, Dave usually offers a
caveat at some point: Im not saying whether
thats the right way to do it or whether
itll work for you: only that Ive found that
this (technique) works well for me, so you might like to
give it a try.
Daves delivery is unassuming
hes very charming throughout, but also keen
to make sure that everyone gets the same out of him
during the evening. He makes it a rule that everyone
present is entitled to hear your question, so he
warns the audience that he wont answer
individuals specific questions after the showcase
is over. If this sounds a tad harsh, its not meant
to. Its an opportunity for you to share with,
and learn from each other, as well as from Gary and
A few years ago, Dave was asked what
he thought of drum machines and sampling. Let me
put it this way, what do you think of drums and
cymbals as played by Dave Clark or Buddy
Rich? he responded. A passion for his chosen
instrument that was clear for all of Garys pupils
to see. A captivating and inspiring evening.
Neal Wilkinson stopped by for a Masterclass to teach the students of
Fun When You Drum!
Neal is a world class session drummer, who has played with the likes of Van
Morrison and Paul McCartney. He's also played in numerous Television shows
including the X Factor, both in the UK and the USA.
Meeting the Professionals - with Crissy
Being able to play a musical instrument - any musical
instrument - is a rewarding experience in itself. And the
rewards keep coming if you keep practising. Once you have
mastered the rudiments, the real fun can start. You begin
experimenting, developing - perhaps even bending - the
rules (but you need to know the rules
first!). You start to create your own style, and musical
Of course, it really helps to have a great teacher to
encourage you. It helps even more if your teacher just
happens to have contacts with some of the finest
practitioners of your chosen instrument. And when
internationally famous musicians are happy to travel to a
quiet village in Oxfordshire to share their own
experiences (and personality) with you, thats an
opportunity you simply cannot afford to miss.
On a Sunday afternoon in May, a delightful
village hall in North Oxfordshire played host to another
of Gary Marshalls regular Fun When You Drum master
classes. With parents and siblings in tow, 45 of
Garys pupils turned up to meet one of
Britains most-respected drummers - Crissy
Crissy spent the first twenty minutes of her master
class explaining how her passion for drums developed from
a very early age - and how her drive, determination and
hard work, led to her successful professional career.
Although probably best recognised these days as the
drummer and musical director on comedian Frank
Skinners ITV chat show, Crissy has an impressive
pedigree. Introduced by her family to the local Salvation
Army Band, she quickly realised that she didnt want
to blow brass or woodwind. She wanted to bang
something. (Crissy told us that she was just four
years old when she made this life-changing
By 17, Crissy was touring Europe and the rest of the
world in Ivy Bensons all-girl big band. You might
need to ask your parents - or even grandparents! - about
Ivy Benson, who was one of the most popular musical acts
of her day. But you wont need to ask about another
musical collaboration of Crissys: in the 1960s, her
band The Beat Chicks toured as support to The Beatles.
Today, Crissy remains much in demand for session work,
for performances with The Crissy Lee Big Band, and as a
teacher around the UK, as well as in Canada and the USA.
Even before she had hit anything during her master
class, Crissys conversation was full of stories and
reminiscences that could only help to inspire anyone keen
to follow in her footsteps.
And then we heard her play. Crissys opening
demonstration captured the attention of everyone in the
room. Her powerful display of technique, musicality,
subtlety, and intricacy showed the dedication (and
practice!) needed for any aspiring pupil whos keen
to earn a living from playing drums. Seating in the hall
was set in the round, to allow pupils to
watch from close-up, and from behind the kit (pictured
Said Abbi Sanford (14, pictured below with Crissy
Lee): I learned so much! Crissy was really lovely,
answered all my questions, and gave me advice and tips
that were really easy to take on board.
(Words and pictures by Richard Hamilton)
Approximately three times a year I run drum and
percussion workshops for my students. These range from
more hands-on events to the "sit, watch and be
amazed" showcases! Recent events have included Chuck
Silverman, and my good friend, world drum legend Mark
Mondesir (below). If you would like more information
regarding these events or would like to be included on my
mailing list, drop me a line.
Latin specialist, and good friend,
Chuck Silverman (above right), drops by to give
masterclasses and lessons when he is in the UK.
Dave Mattacks visited FUN WHEN YOU DRUM! to perform a
master class. Dave has worked with such great artists as
Elton John, Jethro Tull, George Harrison and Fairport