We’ve produced over 120 videos looking at songs included in our Rock & Pop syllabus, fronted by a range of professional session musicians. The videos are designed to help teachers and students with specific techniques and can be seen on our website and YouTube channel. Meet the musicians who have lent their expertise to talk about and demonstrate these techniques in the videos.
Andee Price – Bass. Andee Price graduated from Canterbury Christchurch University in 2004 and has worked as a freelance bassist ever since. She’s played for a number of theatre shows and with a range of jazz artists. Andee has also played with 80’s punk icon Toyah Wilcox as well as Keith James. She is currently working on a second album with her own trio Scarlett Rae & The Cherry Reds and is Musical Director for Venus Nights – a collective of female blues artists raising money for women’s charities.
Andee’s advice: “Listen to as many great players as you can and try to emulate their style. Go and see people play live and watch what they do to achieve the sound you aspire to. Play music with others and in as many different styles as possible, as this will give you the best experience and make you a well-rounded musician. You never stop learning in music – always aspire to be better than you are, but try to enjoy the process and be proud of where you already are on the journey.”
Andrew Tolman – Bass. Andrew started playing bass at school when he was 13 years old. He attended Leeds College of Music, before studying jazz and contemporary music at the Royal Academy of Music. Andrew works as a session musician, playing with numerous diverse artists. He has recorded a classical album with singer Alfie Boe and has played live with artists such as The Emotions, Leon Ware, Ben E King and Jo Harman.
Andrew’s advice: “Listen to as much music as possible, in a wide variety of genres. Also, think of the positive aspects when listening to the music; even music you don’t like can have important and interesting characteristics to learn from. Try and copy what you hear and never forget that its hard work and practice that make a great player, not talent.”
Brendan Reilly – Vocals. Brendan Reilly is a singer-songwriter of jazz, soul, pop and dance music. After studying at the L.A. High School for the Arts and the Manhattan School of Music, he relocated to London. Brendan has toured the world working with artists such as Basement Jaxx, Rita Ora, and Laura Mvula. He’s also sung on many radio and TV adverts, and has released his own music which has been heard on Jazz FM, BBC Radio 2, film soundtracks, and even monthly at London’s finest jazz clubs.
Brendan’s advice: “The key to success in the music business is to know your strengths, stay true to what you love about music, and always strive to learn and grow!”
Danielle McGinley – Keyboards. Danielle started learning the piano at the age of four. She attended Tech Music School where she gained her BMuS in contemporary performance, specialising in keyboards. Danielle now works full time in the pop/rock scene, mainly on live gigs, tours and studio sessions. She has worked with various artists including Duke Dumont, Cher Lloyd, Tinchy Stryder, A*M*E, MNEK, Lucy Spraggan, Cheryl Baker and Shane Richie.
Danielle’s advice: “Follow your passion and delve as deep as you can into it. People can see passion from a mile off – it’s infectious and they want to be around it.”
George Double – Drums. George is a Rock & Pop examiner and worked on our Rock & Pop books. He began playing drums aged 11, and reached the national finals of the Daily Telegraph’s Young Jazz ’89 competition. George read music at the University of Nottingham and has played and recorded with Marc Almond, Jack Jones, Ruthie Henshall and Kym Mazelle, among others. He has performed in the West End and toured with a number of shows. He is also active as a freelancer on the British jazz circuit.
George’s advice: “Try to develop wide listening habits, and be as versatile as possible when it comes to your familiarity with different styles.”
Hannah de Koster – Drums. Hannah was brought up in a very musical family, with band equipment always set up in her lounge, and friends and family coming over for jams. She knew the drum kit was for her from the age of 11 years old and had lessons until she was 21. Hannah obtained a degree in jazz drumming at Massey University in New Zealand, and her most memorable teacher was Frank Gibson JR. Hannah now plays in a wide variety of bands in London, including metal, punk and jazz bands.
Hannah’s advice: “If you want to learn, it’s important to listen to other drummers’ individual styles, mimic them and then create your own.”
Iain Mackenzie – Vocals. Iain Mackenzie is a professional singer and voice coach. He studied jazz vocals and piano at Leeds College of Music and The Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Iain performs with his own band as well as the BBC and RTE Big Band. He is the principle male vocalist for the Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Orchestra, and is leader of the iTones, the Ronnie Scott’s vocal group. Iain records for TV and film soundtracks and adverts, and has performed with Sandie Shaw, Joss Stone and Susan Boyle.
Iain’s advice: “Be true to yourself; don’t try to copy other artists, embrace how their music can influence yours.”
Kelly Appleton – Guitar. Kelly was schooled at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood, L.A., where she studied under some of the world’s best guitarists. Kelly first stepped onto a tour bus at a young age, to complete a summer festival tour across the UK and Europe, as guitarist for Tricky. Kelly has also worked on TV shows, playing guitar in the live house band for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Superstars as well as on The Graham Norton Show and The Voice.
Kelly’s advice: “When it comes to practicing, try and get into a daily routine, even if it’s just 20 minutes of focused practice a day, you will quickly start to see an improvement. Give yourself goals and make sure your routine is geared towards reaching them. Make sure you’re always pushing yourself to learn new things but also allow time to play songs you already know, and just enjoy your instrument.”
Matt McDonough – Drums. Matt started drumming at school at the age of 14 and later studied jazz at Trinity College of Music. He landed a world tour aged 20 and has worked with various big bands, rock bands, pop artists and producers, both live and in the studio. He has also played in various West End and touring shows, and also records drums for artists and producers at his own recording studio in London.
Matt’s advice: “Always practice with a click/metronome. Never get into the habit of speeding up just because you think you know something well. Stop the metronome and increase the tempo by 2-5 BPM until you’ve mastered the exercise/fill/groove at that speed. This will ensure your internal timing is nurtured from an early stage.”
Paola Vera – Vocals. Paola has been singing for as long as she can remember and it’s something she’s always loved. She started out singing in choirs and then became the singer for the school jazz band at around 15. Not long after that, she started doing her first professional gigs with different bands on the local jazz circuit. Paola studied jazz singing at Trinity College of Music and then completed a Masters in jazz performance and composition at The Royal Academy of Music.
Paola’s advice: “Just keep going. You never know where an opportunity will come from and often it’s from the most unlikely source.”
Tim Sandiford – Bass and Guitar. Tim first started playing guitar after his dad showed him a few a chords when he was little. He started taking lessons when he was 11 and since then all he ever wanted to be was a musician. Tim has played with a number of artists such as Dizzee Rascal, Girls Aloud, Cody ChesnuTT, Sister Sledge and Mika. He has also played on tracks for Kanye West, Pro Green, Rizzle Kicks and Ministry Of Sound, and has played with artists on the main stages at Glastonbury and Reading.
Tim’s advice: “Work hard, always try to be nice and remember why you’re there. Not everything will be as you want it to be, but the artists who are truly great make it all worthwhile!”