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Steve Thornley's Drum Tuition Programme
If you are after a place on Steve's drum tuition programme starting September 2017, please click the 'Apply Now' button below.
If you would like to know more, please click here or speak to Steve directly using any of the methods here .
Injection of Royal Blood inspires Arran
9th April 2015
by Steve Thornley
Royal Blood proved the inspiration to Arran's top performance
DrumNut Best Performer 2014 Arran Birks has found himself top of the League again for his exceptional playing of the Royal Blood track Figure It Out in the round of Performance Workshops held before the Easter break.
Arran played with great accuracy and flair to score 28/30 which, along with his Quiz score of 7/10, saw him 2 points clear of Luke Brown (Arctic Monkeys/R U Mine) and Taylor Durrant (Bruno Mars & Mark Ronson/Uptown Funk) in second place.
It was also great to see Ruby Adamou continue her residency in the Top 10 with her arrangement of Uptown Funk, and it was fabulous to see Joshua Cave, Jalo Davies and Harvey Moore reach the Top 10 for the first time.
If you would like to see the Top 20 Leader Board click here. For a Quiz Answer Sheet, click here. Marked quizzes will be returned first lesson back of the Summer Term and, if you don't see yourself on the Leader Board, ask Steve to see the full version of the League Table in your lesson.
Third time lucky for Louis
9th April 2015
by drumnut.co.uk
Awards winners at Drum Awards 2014
It was a definitely a case of 'third time lucky' for Louis Macara at Drum Awards 2014, recently held at Pizza Express, Arundel.
After narrowly missing out to Arran Birks in 2012 and Jenny Melia in 2013, Louis was finally crowned 'Most Improved' for completing a whopping 20 Goals in the 2013/2014 academic year. He won a £50 voucher from award sponsor DrumWright as his prize and, of course, the coveted glass trophy, inscribed with his achievement.
Congratulations also go to Alex Melia in 2nd Place, who wins a £25 DrumWright voucher, and Liam Cottingham in 3rd place, who is awarded with a £10 DrumWright voucher.
It was also a brilliant night for top drumnut Arran Birks who, after being crowned 'Most Improved' in 2012, was awarded 'Best Performer 2014' for his 84 Performance Workshop points. He wins a pair of tickets to any UK gig of his choice.
Three times winner of the Best Performer trophy, Edd Pronger, had to settle for 2nd place this time, narrowly beating first year drumnut scholar, Ben Dean, into third.
Term Awards for presented to Josh Whittington, for the brilliant work he did in the Summer holidays on tracks by Linkin Park; Alice Saunders for overcoming 'stage fright' and regularly playing to packed audiences at her church; and George Dobson, now at Durham University, but linked up to the Awards Ceremony in Arundel by the powers of modern technology, for gaining 2 A*s and 1 A at A-Level whilst, at the same time, polling a Merit for his RockSchool Grade 5.
Steve said: "Drum Awards is one of my favourite evenings of the drumnut calendar as it is my opportunity to reward my students for all the hours they have put in over the year. I'm very lucky: all my students choose to learn to play drums rather than being told they have to learn, as might be the case with Maths or French. However, that doesn't count for much when faced with a tricky fill, or struggling to play a section of a song in time with the backing-track. Ultimately, there comes a time when you have to be prepared to graft, and all these students are demonstrating that desire and passion in lessons with me, and in their practice-time at home."
Now, with only one term remaining in this academic year, drumnuts are fast turning their attention to Drum Awards 2015. If you would like to see how you are doing for the race to be crowned 'Best Performer', click here. For the race to be Steve's 'Most Improved', click here. Only the Top 10 places are shown - if you don't see yourself here, ask Steve to see where you are in your next drum lesson.
Drum Awards 2014 winners were as follows:
Autumn Term Award
Presented to Josh Whittington - for the brilliant work he did in the summer holidays on tracks by the band Linkin Park. He receives a £10 drumnut.co.uk shop evoucher as his prize.
Spring Term Award
Presented to Alice Saunders - for overcoming 'stage fright' to play in front of a 'proper' audience in church for the first time. She receives a £10 drumnut.co.uk shop evoucher as her prize.
Summer Term Award
Presented to George Dobson - for, as well as achieving straight As at A-Level, and securing his first choice place at Durham University, achieved Merit at Grade 5 in drum kit. He receives a £10 drumnut.co.uk shop evoucher as his prize.
'Most Improved' Award
1st Place - Presented to Louis Macara for completing 20 Goals. He receives the 'Drum Awards 2014 Most Improved' trophy and a £50 DrumWright voucher as his prize.
2nd Place - Presented to Alex Melia for completing 16 Goals. He receives a £25 DrumWright voucher as his prize.
3rd Place - Presented to Liam Cottingham for completing 14 Goals. He receives a £10 DrumWright voucher as his prize.
'Best Performer' Award
1st Place - Presented to Arran Birks for accumulating 84 points. He receives the Drum Awards 2014 'Best Performer' trophy and a pair of tickets to any UK gig to the value of £50 as his prize.
2nd Place - Presented to Edd Pronger for accumulating 83 points. He receives a £25 drumnut.co.uk shop eVoucher as his prize and beats Ben into third place on the basis of the difficulty of the pieces chosen.
3rd Place - Presented to Ben Dean for also accumulating 83 points. He receives a pair of drum sticks as his prize.
Click here to see all the photos from the evening.
drumnut Joe makes the Grade
9th April 2015
by drumnut.co.uk
Joe Dunsford achieves Distinction at Grade 1
More success for drumnuts across the Country as Joe Dunsford, who attends Midhurst Rother College and has lessons with Steve at home, has just texted in to say he was awarded a Distinction for his Grade 1.
Getting 95% in any exam is a brilliant achievement and will give Joe a big lift ahead of tackling his Grade 3.
More details to follow but, in the meantime, if you think you would like to start a graded examination course, speak to Steve in your next lesson and he'll explain the hoops you need to jump through.
Steve's Fastest Drummer 2015
9th April 2015
by Steve Thornley
Edd Pronger is Steve's Fastest Drummer 2015
After much wailing and nashing of drumsticks back in February and March, I am delighted to announce the winner of my annual Fastest Drummer Competition as Edd Pronger with an amazing 716 strokes in one minute.
Winner of the Sprint Competition was Louis Macara, who played a blistering 100 strokes in 7.4 seconds.
For Edd, this is the fourth major drumnut trophy to come his way after winning Best Performer in 2008, 2009 and 2012. He had been working hard to break through the pain barrier which everyone encounters in this endurance test and he now hopes to reach the magic 800 Club over the next few Drumometer Days.
Click here for the Endurance Top 10
Click here for the Sprint Top 10
3-way Tie at Top of Performance Workshop Leader Board
4th January 2015
by drumnut.co.uk
Nico & Vinz inspired Louis to top spot
Three drumnuts: Ben Dean, Joe Dunsford and Louis Macara, shared a 3-way tie at the top of the Leader Board for the round of Performance Workshops held before Christmas.
In the case of a tie, the drumnut with the highest Performance score wins the CD. As all 3 achieved the same score of 27 out of 30, Steve then looked at the relative difficulty of the songs chosen. Louis just shaded it with his arrangement of the Nico & Vinz track Am I Wrong? so he wins his choice of CD. Congratulations to all three of you for your excellent performances.
There were also notable performances from Alfie Edwards, Lewie Turner and Josh Whittington who each scored 28 out of 30 in their Workshops.
If you would like to see the Top 20 Leader Board click here. For a Quiz Answer Sheet, click here. Marked quizzes will be returned first lesson back next week and, if you don't see yourself on the Leader Board, ask Steve to see the full version in your lesson.
Luke achieves top mark in Grade exam
4th January 2015
by Steve Thornley
Luke Brown achieves Distinction at Grade 1
Great news came into the drumnut office just before Christmas.
Luke Brown, who attends Worthing High School achieved a Distinction at Grade 1 with an incredible 96%! RockSchool Examiner Glen Capra only docked Luke 2 marks out of 60 for his three pieces remarking: "Today's programme was superb, both musically and technically."
Steve said: "A great start for Luke on his graded exam journey. What has impressed me most is the way Luke is incorporating his new found reading and writing skills into his understanding of pieces he enjoys playing by bands such as Arctic Monkeys. It is this practical application of new skills which will help him most with his deeper understanding of the art of drum kit playing."
Luke now hopes to go on and swiftly tackle Grade 3 to build on this award. I'm sure all drumnuts will join me in sending Luke hearty congratulations.
Alice overcomes performance nerves
3rd February 2014
by Steve Thornley
Alice playing at Church on Sunday
I was delighted to receive this photo from Heather Saunders, Alice's Mum. Alice (pictured far left) has been learning with me for just over three years at The Angmering School, West Sussex and, in the early stages, suffered hugely from Stage Fright - an extreme version of that nervousness we all feel when performing in front of others.
Alice has been working incredibly hard to build up her confidence by attending the end-of-term Performance Workshops, with steadily increasing numbers in the audience, all giving their positive feedback. Alice took all this on board to improve her performance skills and tackle harder songs.
Now she has taken her performing to the next level by playing in front of an audience outside of school in her Church. Speaking of her achievement, Heather said: "We thought she could start off with just doing one song, but she did the lot brilliantly and was SO pleased with herself!"
I'm sure all drumnuts will join me in sending hearty congratulations to Alice. And if you suffer from nerves when you perform, just try to take that energy into producing magic the next time you are on stage, just like Alice did on Sunday.
Jenny scoops top Awards
19th January 2014
by drumnut.co.uk
Awards winners at Drum Awards 2013
Jenny Melia became the first drumnut student in 10 years of Drum Awards history to scoop both top awards at the ceremony held at Pizza Express, Arundel. She was crowned 'Most Improved' and 'Best Performer' in the two hotly contested categories and won 2 tickets to any UK gig and a £50 DrumWright voucher as her prizes.
The award winners were as follows:
Autumn Term Award
Presented to Corey Pilcher for the drumming work on his Music GCSE. He receives a £10 drumnut.co.uk shop evoucher as his prize.
Spring Term Award
Presented to Arran Birks for his Distinction at RockSchool Grade 1. He receives a £10 drumnut.co.uk shop evoucher as his prize.
Summer Term Award
Presented to George Dobson for his work on the Focus Album American Idiot by Green Day. He receives a £10 drumnut.co.uk shop evoucher as his prize.
'Most Improved' Award
1st Place - Presented to Jenny Melia for completing 25 Goals. She receives the 'Drum Awards 2013 Most Improved' trophy and a £50 DrumWright voucher as her prize.
2nd Place - Presented to Louis Macara for completing 21 Goals. He receives a £25 DrumWright voucher as his prize.
3rd Place - Presented to Alfie Edwards for completing 20 Goals. He receives a £10 DrumWright voucher as his prize.
'Best Performer' Award
1st Place - Presented to Jenny Melia for accumulating 85 points. She receives the Drum Awards 2013 'Best Performer' trophy and a pair of tickets to any UK gig to the value of £50 as her prize.
2nd Place - Presented to Luke Brown for accumulating 84 points. He receives a £25 drumnut.co.uk shop eVoucher as his prize and beats Joe into second place on the basis of the difficulty of the pieces chosen.
3rd Place - Presented to Alfie Edwards for completing 20 Goals. He receives a £10 DrumWright voucher as his prize.
3rd Place - Presented to Joe Dunsford for also accumulating 84 points. He receives a pair of drum sticks as his prize.
A fabulous evening was had by all awards winners and their family and friends and our thanks go to our hosts, Pizza Express, Arundel, for looking after us so well and to DrumWright who, once again, sponsored the Most Improved Award.
Edd Pronger flies close to the sun - and survives!
5th January 2014
by Steve Thornley
Edd played Icarus by Bastille
Thank you to all those students who put in such a fantastic effort in the first Performance Workshop of the new academic year. I was very impressed with the preparation and attention to detail so many of you demonstrated and I was also encouraged by the way many of the debutants dealt with their inevitable nerves.
Once the marks for the Performance and Quiz elements were added together, Edd Pronger and George Dobson were the clear winners. Edd wins the CD as he scored more in his performance. Commenting on his performance of Bastille's Icarus at the time, I said: "You picked up the energy in the track and carried it off superbly with your drum kit interpretation. Tempo and feel were excellent, your use of both floor toms smart and the addition of hi-hat pedal added a nice flavour to the choruses." George also displayed an admirable grasp of his chosen song, Holiday by Green Day.
Other notable performances included current 'Best Performer' Jenny Melia's Blues Song from First Steps which scored 29 out of 30; Louis Macara's performance of Treasure by Bruno Mars, Arran Birk's performance of Tick Tick Boom by The Hives, Josh Whittington's performance of Linkin Park's New Divide, and Will Radley-Smith's rendition of Lonely Boy by The Black Keys, all of which were awarded 28 out of 30. A special mention also to Ryan Porter who achieved that rarest of feats, a perfect 10 out of 10 in the Quiz - see, it is possible!
If you would like to see an Answer Sheet for the Quiz, click here.
If you would like to see the Top 20 of the Performance Workshop League Table click here.
The next round of Performance Workshops is during the last week of the Spring Term. If you didn't do too well last time, please make sure you are fully prepared for the next Workshop. Remember: "Amateurs practise until they get it right. Professionals practise until they don't get it wrong!" Be a professional in your next performance and practise it to the max. Why not start right now?
Online Survey Results
6th November 2013
by drumnut.co.uk
Online Survey
Thank you to all parents and students who took the time to complete our online survey at the end of last term. Your feedback is invaluable and we are already using it to improve our service to you. We received some lovely comments and useful suggestions. Here is a brief summary of the main points:
100% of respondents thought we communicated effectively. Some parents suggested that it would be useful if we could send a text message to highlight short-notice lesson changes so we are putting the systems in place to give you this option after Christmas.
Both parents and students are aware that practice needs to be improved. Steve is working on some exciting new challenges to encourage students to engage with their practice more effectively.
All respondents thought Steve's Drum Tuition represented good value for money. 83% thought he provided 10/10 quality tuition: the other 17% gave him 9/10!
There were some fabulous suggestions from students and parents to do with social networking, posting video and playing publicly in bands. Be assured that we have taken these on board and discuss them regularly. However, your privacy and security are uppermost in our minds and we are treading this minefield as carefully as we can. Watch out for some exciting new developments in the coming months, all designed to make learning with Steve as exciting and rewarding as possible.
Finally, names have been drawn out of the hat and we can announce that Alfie Edwards, has won a £10 drumnut voucher and Ms Greenhalf will receive the £15 M&S voucher. Congratulations to you both, your vouchers are on their way to you now!
Top Grades for Max and Tom
24th August 2013
by drumnut.co.uk
Tom achieved 93% in his Grade 3
Two of Steve's students who took graded examinations last term have learnt their results with both receiving Distinctions for their efforts.
Tom Bryant (pictured right at Drum Awards 2012) scored a 93% Distinction in his Grade 3 and Max Etheridge also received a distinction for his Grade 1.
Speaking of Tom's performance, the RockSchool examiner commented on his "...assured performance with all details spot-on, and a good sound achieved on the kit."
Steve added: "What fabulous news for these two talented young men and nothing short of what they deserve. By achieving such a high grading for their respective exams they can have huge confidence and the assurance to go on and achieve even greater things." Indeed, this is what they plan to do with Tom studying Music Technology at A-Level and Max embarking on a music course at the Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford.
I'm sure all drumnuts join Steve in wishing them well. If you would like to start on a graded examination course this year, speak to Steve in your first lesson back in September.
Summer Term Drumometer Competition
Max Wins The Race
18th July 2013
by Steve Thornley
Max Etheridge tops the Drumometer League Table
Now that everyone has had their turn on the Drumometer, I am delighted to annouce Max Etheridge as the eventual winner of the Endurance Competition with an outstanding new Personal Best of 760 strokes per minute. He beat Edd Pronger, who also polled a new Personal Best score of 745, into second place by just 15 strokes.
There were also notable performances from Josh Bourne, Tom Bryant, Andrew Cross, Chandler Dagg, Ewan Greenhalf, Daniel Kavanagh, Louis Macara, Jack Travis and Josh Whittington who all achieved new PBs. Hearty congratulations also go to Toby McIlroy who scored a highly respectable 595 on his first ever run on the machine that turns so many hardened drummers into quivering wrecks.
If you would like to see a League Table of the Top 20 Endurance scores, click here.
The Sprint Competition, where you have to play 100 strokes as fast as you can, was also hotly contested. Josh Bourne came top with a brilliant 7.0 seconds beating Jack Travis by just one tenth of a second. The trouble many students have with the Sprint Competition is avoiding buzz beats: each of the 100 strokes has to be a clean, bouncing stroke. If you struggle with this, look at your stick-holding technique and see if you can improve this area of your playing.
The League Table of the Top 20 Sprinters can be found here. If you don't see yourself in either of the tables, ask Steve to see where you came so you can feel inspired and get motivated to climb the league when Drumometer Day returns in October.
Ryan shows that practice pays
7th April 2013
by drumnut.co.uk
Ryan Porter wins Spring Term Performance Workshop
In only his second Performance Workshop, Ryan Porter came top in the latest of these eagerly anticipated sessions. Not only did Ryan score the highest combined Performance (29/30) and Quiz (8/10) score, but he also composed the drum part himself.
Basing his performance on the Rock & Pop Song from Steve's book First Steps, Ryan wrote his own basic groove, tricky fill and variation and played it with great fluency to top a marvellous term's work. There were other notable Workshop performances from Luke Brown, Joe Dunsford, Max Etheridge and 2012's Best Performer, Edd Pronger. A Top 20 League Table can be found here.
Steve played Taylor Swift's Red and demonstrated some memorable drumming from Aaron Sterling. If you would like to know more about this fine Country musician, click here. You can also see an accomplished cover of the drum part to this song by Jacqueline Cassell, a brilliant drum student from the other side of the pond, here. Finally, if you would like to see the Answer Sheet for the Performance Workshop Quiz, click here. Congratulations to Jack Travis who was the only student to get a perfect 10 out of 10 in the Quiz.
The final Performance Workshop of the academic year is during the week commencing Monday 22nd July. Put this date in your diary/planner now so you can work towards your next fabulous performance.
The Race to Drum Awards 2013
7th April 2013
by drumnut.co.uk
Edd Pronger - Best Perfomer 2012
The race for 2 major annual drumnut awards is very much on after a Spring Term of marvellous achievement from Steve's students. Drum Awards 2013, to be held in September, will celebrate the work of those students who have pushed themselves to great things on their chosen instrument and, now that we are two-thirds of the way through the year, drumnut thought it might be a helpful time to look at the state of play thus far.
'Best Performer 2013' will be the student who accumulates the most performance (not quiz) points in the Performance Workshops during the academic year. You can see the current Top 20 by clicking here.
'Most Improved 2013' will be the student who completes the most Goals during the Academic Year. You can see the current Top 20 by clicking here.
If you don't see yourself in either of these tables, ask Steve to see where you currently lie in your next drum lesson, and work extra hard to catch up and get yourself in the running. More details of Drum Awards 2013 will be posted here at half-term.
Pictured: Edd Pronger receives his Best Performer Award at Drum Awards 2012 from Matt Bicker, drummer in The Bottom Line.
Arran celebrates RockSchool success
31st March 2013
by drumnut.co.uk
Arran celebrates his Grade 1 success
Arran Birks has topped a tremendous year's work by achieving Distinction at RockSchool Grade 1 with a score of 94%.
Arran, 'Most Improved' student at Drum Awards 2012 in September, has waltzed through Steve's beginner's tutor First Steps in a little over a year, to set himself up for a graded examination entry. He played set pieces Crescent City Voodoo and Justin Time from the RockSchool syllabus and Coldplay's Yellow as a Free Choice Piece in his exam. The examiner said of Arran's playing: "You played with excellent kit balance and your sticking and foot-work were precise. You were truly synchronised today - well done."
Steve added: "Arran is a bright new student who matches his enthusiasm for playing drums with an excellent practice-ethic at home. This all came together nicely in this graded examination and is just-reward for the attention to detail Arran has demonstrated in his playing."
If you would like to know more about taking RockSchool grades, talk to Steve about the skills you need to master to achieve this goal.
Steve's Fastest Drummer 2013 on Twitter
25th February 2013
by drumnut.co.uk
Official drumnut twitter feed starts on 1st March 2013
Those drumnuts keen on Twitter, and those not yet signed-up who like to keep in touch with drum-related news, will no-doubt be interested to learn that we are launching an official twitter feed on Friday 1st March.
And the first official announcement will be the winner of the Steve's Fastest Drummer competition held in the final week before the half-term break!
Steve will also announce all 'Drummer of the Week' winners on Twitter @DrumnutOfficial before being published to this website, and will also try to keep all followers up to date with drumnut-related news as it streams into the drumnut office. To sign-up, simply hit the 'Follow' button below.
Abu takes top spot in Performance Workshop
13th January 2013
by drumnut.co.uk
Abu collects top spot by a single point
A close result in the first Drum Performance Workshop of the 2012/2013 Academic Year crowned Abu Abi King of the Performers by a single point. His faultless performance of the Funk Song from First Steps coupled with a strong Quiz score saw him beat Will Radley-Smith and Jenny Melia with a total score of 37/40.
Abu has worked hard to gain greater accuracy in his performances recently and his focused work did the trick as he scored a perfect 30/30. Abu wins his choice of CD as his prize.
In joint second place were Will Radley-Smith and Jenny Melia. Will, who peformed at Drum Awards 2012 and was also 'Most Improved' at Drum Awards 2011, played his own interpretaion of the Muse track Panic Station and did so with great confidence, scoring 29/30. Jenny, for whom this was her first Performance Workshop experience, set an incredibly high standard for herself by scoring a perfect 30/30 for her playing of the Queen classic We Will Rock You.. On top of this, she only scored one point less than winner, Abu, in her Quiz. An outstanding effort.
A full League Table of the Top 20 places, and an answer-sheet for the Quiz can be found by logging into your profile and clicking the links which are revealed on this story.
Drumming stars shine at Drum Awards 2012
19th September 2012
by drumnut.co.uk
Drum Awards 2012 winners
Steve's young drumming stars shone brightly at Drum Awards 2012 on Sunday 9th September. The Awards night, now in its 9th year and held at Leconfield Hall in Petworth for the first time, mixed the presentation of awards with live performances from 8 of Steve's students: 4 soloists and 4 bands.
First up on stage was Nick Amoui who, with his school friend Arthur on electric guitar and vocals, together known as The Shapeshifters, entertained the encouraging audience with their take on the YourFavouriteMartian track 'Alien Unplugged'. Next up was Will Radley-Smith who chose to play the tricky song 'New Born' by Muse which he did with great composure. Will Cross followed powerfully with the White Stripes track 'Seven Nation Army' before Tom Bryant show-cased his new band Paperback Punches featuring his friend Jack on vocals & guitar. They played a strong pairing of Red Hot Chilli Peppers' 'Can't Stop' followed by the lesser-known track 'Sixteen Saltines' by Jack White. They are clearly developing a great understanding with strong grooves at the heart of everything they play.
Max Etheridge confidently strode to the stage to show everyone his keen ear for detail with his playing of the Nickelback song 'RockStar' before Corey Pilcher and his band The Missing Piece with Styn on vocals & electric guitar, Sam on bass and Ben on electric guitar, delighted the audience with their medley of tracks by Arctic Monkeys and Kings of Leon. George Dobson was then at his exuberant best with his playing of 'Dirty Little Secret' by All American Rejects before The Bottom Line, featuring ex-student Matt Bicker along with Callum on electric guitar and Max on bass closed the show with some of their own material.
In between this feast of live music, Steve dished out a series of awards to students who impressed most during the 2011/2012 academic year. The award winners were as follows:
Autumn Term Award
Presented to Ben Mollett for his Distinction at RockSchool Grade 6. He received a £10 drumnut.co.uk shop evoucher as his prize.
Spring Term Award
Presented to George Dobson for completing RockSchool Grade 1 and 3 in consecutive terms. He receives a £10 drumnut.co.uk shop evoucher as his prize.
Summer Term Award
Presented to Corey Pilcher for scoring 96% in his RockSchool Grade 1. He receives a £10 drumnut.co.uk shop evoucher as his prize.
'Most Improved' Award
1st Place - Presented to Arran Birks for completing 27 Goals. He receives the 'Drum Awards 2012 Most Improved' trophy and a £50 DrumWright voucher as his prize.
2nd Place - Presented to Louis Macara for completing 20 Goals. He receives a £25 DrumWright voucher as his prize.
3rd Place - Presented to Daniel Richards for completing 14 Goals. He receives a £10 DrumWright voucher as his prize.
'Best Performer' Award
1st Place - Presented to Edd Pronger for accumulating 85 points. He receives the Drum Awards 2012 'Best Performer' trophy and a pair of tickets to any UK gig to the value of £50 as his prize.
2nd Place - Presented to Tom Bryant for accumulating 84 points. He receives a £25 drumnut.co.uk shop eVoucher as his prize.
3rd Place - Presented to Joe Dunsford for accumulating 83 points. He receives a pair of drum sticks as his prize.
All in all, a great evening and the thanks of Steve and drumnut.co.uk go to our hosts at Leconfield Hall for providing us with such a fantastic venue, DrumWright who, once again, sponsored the Most Improved award and SFL for providing such an amazing sound system and Sam, our engineer, on the night. Check back soon for the official photos from the evening and we look forward to seeing you at Drum Awards 2013!
Edd Top of the Mountains in Workshop
11th April 2012
by drumnut.co.uk
Biffy Clyro provided the inspiration for Edd's winning performance
The second Drum Performance Workshop of the 2011/2012 Academic Year produced a huge range of brilliant drum routines from Arctic Monkeys to Olly Murs, from One Direction to White Stripes. In First Place came Edd Pronger for his superb version of the Biffy Clyro (pictured right) track Mountains which scored 29/30. Together with his strong Quiz score of 8/10, this gave him a total of 37/40, two-and-a-half points above second placed Joel Downs who scored 34.5 in only his second Performance Workshop.
Edd is a seasoned champion in the performer stakes being twice overall winner of the Best Performer crown at the annual Drum Awards Ceremony. Commenting after Edd's winning performance in March, Steve said: "A striking and energetic performance Edd. You coped brilliantly with the 'beat short' time signature changes and made these sound effortless, like they should do. You implemented these changes in both grooves and fills with equal success." Edd wins his choice of CD as his prize.
In joint third place came Tom Bryant and Arran Birks, both scoring a creditable 34/40 for their performances of Arctic Monkeys' Florescent Adolescent and Robbie Williams' Rock DJ respectively. A full League Table of the Top 20 places can be found by logging into your drumnut profile and clicking on the links which are revealed on this item on the 'student only' home page. You'll also find model answers for the Quiz here too.
The next Performance Workshops will be during the last week of the forthcoming Summer Term, week commencing Monday 16th July. Some fortnightly home tuition students will have their Workshop the week before. Please see individual rotas for more details.
More Success in RockSchool Grades
10th April 2012
by drumnut.co.uk
George pleased with Grade 3 result
Two of Steve's brightest stars have just successfully completed RockSchool Graded examinations. Tom Bryant polled a 94% Distinction in his Grade 1 and George Dobson (pictured right) built on his Grade 1 Distinction last term, with a Grade 3 Merit this.
Speaking of his latest triumph from his home in Fittleworth, Tom said: "I was so suprised when opening the envelope from RockSchool to see I had 'passed with a distinction' and only managed to drop 6 marks out of 100. It was the biggest relief after such a nerveracking exam and it defietley motivates me to carry on to do grade 3."
If you have aspirations to tackle some RockSchool Grades in the future, have a chat to Steve in your next drum lesson and he'll explain what you need to do to embark on this series of challenges.
Jack Hamilton crowned Steve's Fastest Drummer 2012
1st April 2011
by drumnut.co.uk
Jack Hamilton on his successful run of 719
Jack Hamilton (pictured right) has been crowned Steve's Fastest Drummer of 2012 with a blistering 719 on the new computer-based Drum Count. Jack receives a Power Ball as his prize, and will have his name inscribed on the 'Drumometer Cup', currently held by two-times-winner Ollie Knights.
Jack's success caps a difficult year when he has twice broken bones in his arm. In the last Drumometer Day, Jack used only one hand but still scored a respectable 367. He demonstrated how important it is to maintain a practise routine with your working limbs, even if some bits of your body have broken!
Abu Ali came in second place with 707 and Edd Pronger smashed his previous Personal Best with 700, bringing him in third place.
Congratulations also go to Thomas Adams, Jack Allen-Turner, Arran Birks, Tom Bryant, Joe Dunsford, Maddy Hills, James Hoibak and Josh Whittington who all increased their Personal Bests by at least 10 percent and a particular shout-out to Morgan Day who increased his PB by more than 50 persent. A brilliant effort from all of you.
In a separate 'just for fun' competition, Josh Bourne proved the quickest sprinter by playing 100 strokes in just 6.7 seconds, pipping Jack Hamilton and Joel Downs into joint second spot on 6.9 seconds.
The next Drumometer Day is scheduled for the last week of this forthcoming half-term, week commencing Monday 28th May. Get practising your single-stroke rolls (right-left-right-left, quickly) so you can pit yourself against Drum Count and see how much you can improve on your current PB.
Here are the Top 20 scores from Steve's Fastest Drummer 2012:

1st Jack Hamilton (740)
2nd Abu Ali (707)
3rd Edd Pronger (700)
4th Corey Pilcher (680)
5th Max Etheridge (670)
6th Tom Bryant (667)
7th Will Radley-Smith (651)
8th Kai Hampton (638)
9th Josh Bourne (633)
10th Oliver Dudman (627)
11thCharlie Haines (609)
12th Connor Gosden (603)
13th Daniel Richards (592)
14th Louis Macara (581)
15th Joe Dunsford (576)
16th Joel Downs (561)
17th James Hoibak (544)
18th George Redman (515)
19th Will Cross (514)
20th Arran Birks (508)
Here is the Top 10 of improvers for Steve's Fastest Drummer 2012. The figure shows the percentage increase compared to the previous Personal Best, regardless of when this was.

1st Morgan Day (51.1)
2nd James Hoibak (39.8)
3rd Josh Whittington (33)
4th Maddy Hills (21.3)
5th Thomas Adams (17.2)
6th Joe Dunsford (14.5)
7th Arran Birks (13.6)
8th Jack Allen-Turner (11.1)
9th Tom Bryant (10.8)
10th Sean Neat (9.2)
Top marks for Steve's students in RockSchool Grades
18th August 2011
by drumnut.co.uk
RockSchool exams
On the day that A-Level examination results are published nationally, drumnut is very pleased to announce that all of Steve's drummers who took RockSchool examinations last term came through with flying colours.
Of the four students sitting exams, three achieved Distinction and one missed the top banding by an annoying 2% to finish with a well-deserved Merit.
Hearty congratulations, then, to Jack Hamilton and Katy Ellyatt who both polled Distinctions at Grade 1, Matthew West, who was credited with the same at Grade 3, and 'Steve's Fastest Drummer' Ollie Knights who achieved Merit at Grade 5. You have all done incredibly well and everyone at drumnut.co.uk is very proud of you!
If you have aspirations to tackle some RockSchool Grades in the future, have a chat to Steve in your next drum lesson and he'll explain what you need to do to embark on this series of challenges.
The Script @ Brighton Centre
4th August 2011
by Tom Bryant
Tom at The Script, Brighton Centre
As my prize for winning last year's 'Best Performer' at Drum Awards 2010, I got two tickets of my choice to any UK gig. With this opportunity I chose to see The Script at Brighton Centre on the 17th of July.
At about 6:00pm we arrived outside Brighton Centre to see the biggest queue I've ever seen, but after about 15 minutes of shuffling along we got into the arena. Our seats were great - they were really close and had an excellent view of the whole stage. The gig started at about 7:00pm with the support act 'Maverick Sabre', an Irish rapper. I know that sounds weird, but he was actually quite good! He played a few of his own songs including his well known track 'Let Me Go' and he also played a couple of classics like 'Wonderwall'.
At 9 o'clock The Script came on with an absolutly awesome performance of 'You Won't Feel a Thing' which made the crowd go crazy, it was unreal! Throughout the performance they played almost all of their songs from their two albums, but their best had to be 'For The First Time', 'The Man Who Can't Be Moved' and 'Breakeven'. Glen Power (the drummer) played awesomely, especially on the song 'This = Love' where he played a marching snare drum for the intro. The atmophere for the whole night was amazing, the lighting and backdrops were fantastic and the songs that they played sounded 10x better live, than on the CD! I definately recommend listerning to 'You Won't Feel A Thing' and 'This = Love' and check out 'Let Me Go' by Maverick Sabre, that's pretty cool aswell.
Overall I had a brilliant night, it was a great experience as my first proper gig and it was well worth all the hard practise! I hope I'm lucky enough to be a contender for this year's Best Performer at Drum Awards 2011, and I would love to have the opportunity to go to another fantastic gig like that again.
Jason lands top studio job
30th September 2010
by drumnut.co.uk
Jason Elliott @ British Grove
Jason Elliott, one of Steve's drum students from 1999-2005, has just landed a sound engineering post at British Grove Studios in Chiswick, London.
British Grove is the recording home of Dire Straits front-man Mark Knopfler, but the studio's reputation for fabulous recordings has also attracted some of this country's top artists from Razorlight to James Blunt. Jason has recently been involved in the recording of Duffy's latest album 'Endlessly' which is due for release on 29 November 2010. Watch this space for an interview with Jason in the spring.
When Steve Met Gadd
4th September 2010
by Steve Thornley
Steve Meets Steve
Whenever I am asked which drummers have most influenced my playing, I always parade the same masterful duo: Jeff Porcaro and Steve Gadd. Both, supreme 'feel' players: champions of groove over flashness; rulers of the kind of techniques which place them at the heart of the ensemble, in the engine-room with bass, rhythm-guitars and keys, rather than flying out at the front of the stage dangling 180bpm single-stroke foot rolls in everyone's face.
Sadly, since Jeff Porcaro died prematurely in 1992, I didn't get the chance to hear him play live. Thankfully, he was one of the most recorded session players in the 80s and so there are a host of recordings of Jeff's playing with artists like Eric Clapton, Michael Jackson (yes, that's him on tracks like Human Nature and The Girl Is Mine) and his band Toto. No-one plays a shuffle like Jeff Porcaro. Often imitated, never bettered, in my book.
Steve Gadd, another top American session player from the 1970s to the current day with artists like Paul McCartney, James Taylor, Paul Simon and his own band, Steely Dan, is still very much alive and kicking. He proved this again recently in his Mission From Gadd tour which took in dates all over the world. He originally planned to hit the UK in April but the volcanic ash cloud hovering over our airspace meant that the date had to be re-arranged for August. England's only gig was at Reading's Hexagon Theatre in the evening with a signing session at DrumWright in the afternoon.
As I tentatively approached the store, there was a long queue winding round the inside of the lower floor of the shop and spilling out onto the concourse outside. I joined the fans, catching a glimpse of my idol patiently signing all manner of sticks, CDs and posters and posing for photographs. Eventually, I had my chance to shake hands with the master: strong, paw-like mits they were, and asked him if he had chance to enjoy any of the countries he was playing in. "Once we've started the tour, we're pretty-much moving all the time" came the reply. We posed for a photograph, twice due to camera malfunction, and he insisted on looking at the result and complimented both the photo and the camera. I've met many famous people over the years and none were so amiable as Mr Gadd. An all-round nice guy!
When it came to the live show in the evening, my first impressions of the man were not dashed. I'd seen Steve play with James Taylor at The Brighton Centre a few years ago and he was superb, but didn't get a chance to show-off as he was playing with a band. Here, we had a one-man show: Steve on his kit with a camera over his shoulder and one on his foot so you could really see what was happening on a big screen.
After an opening of Steve accompanying himself singing 'Bye Bye Blackbird' with sumptuous swing-based brush work, and the Gadd-trademarked Mozambique-based groove from Paul Simon's 'Late In The Evening' and the linear intricacy of 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover, the show went into 'clinic-mode' with a question and answer session. With microphones placed on the upper and lower floors, audience members quizzed Steve on aspects of his playing and career.
And here was the most memorable part of the day for me. Steve answered a whole range of questions (some really, really stupid) with such humility and generosity. He was asked a number of times about some of the finer points of the playing he had already demonstrated for us. He could easily have just said (as I have seen so many others do) "Oh, you just do it like this" and then bamboozle us with the same jaw-dropping moves as before, but Steve, to his huge credit, slowed it all down, pulled it apart and patiently opened the door to, at least, understanding how he was doing it, even if the mastering of the skill was many practice-hours away. Even then, you would struggle to get the tiny nuances and dynamic control exactly 'Gadd-like'. But this is missing the point. Making it sound 'exactly like Steve Gadd' isn't what you should strive for and not what he was encouraging us to do. With the same spirit as that of an Indian tabla teacher, who passes his skills from one generation to the next, Gadd was doing the same thing with us in that theatre. He was trying to build us up, to appreciate what we are good at and work on the things that we're not. He wanted to inspire and enthuse the next generation. I believe he did this in spades.
They say you should never meet your heroes. I'm so glad I did on this occasion and I would recommend that all my students try to hear Steve Gadd play live if you ever get the opportunity. In the meantime, there are literally hundreds of examples of his playing out there and with the internet, it has never been easier to listen to it. Start with a Google search and go enjoy yourself!