Drummers Odyssey 2018

Drummers Odyssey camp

Drummers Odyssey 2018

Drummers Odyssey Camp 2018 has been and gone and what an amazing event it was! Seeing all of those people eager and giddy at the prospect of earning from three master educators and players in Pete Cater, Pete Riley and Emanuelle Caplette was great to see.

We brought together the photos that were taken over the weekend and have put them together on this page for everyone to see. You can see how much fun people were having and that was one of the best things about it. Seeing people spill out of the rooms after having their brains. forearms and consciousnesses melted by the teachers and saying it was the best thing they'd done. Excitedly swapping stories with each othe about the particular class they'd just been in and generally hanging out.

We also wanted to say congratulations to AJ Rousell for putting this all together. He worked tirelessly to ensure that everyone had a good time, got goodies from amazing companies and made sure everything ran the way it should have done.

Mark Lilley nominated on Music Radar

Svalbard Band Mark Lilley

Chuffed to see Svalbard’s drummer nominated for Best New Drummer 2018 on Music Radar. We’ve always thought of his technique, musicality and emotion as being up there with the best players around at the moment.

If you can, go a vote for him here: https://www.musicradar.com/news/who-is-the-best-new-drummer-of-2018

How to play Superstition

Stanley Randolph Superstition

Everyone thinks they know how to play Superstition right? It’s a four on the floor beat with some weird hihat stuff right? WRONG! There is some serious subtlety to this groove that, when you play it right, opens up a whole world of joy to the players around you.

Check this viedo and see how close you get. (I didn’t get anywhere near!)

Pete Riley – Drummer’s Odyssey Teachers Profile

Pete Riley drummer

Pete Riley has been a rising force in drums for the past 20 years. His explosive technique and ability to switch hands and feet with apparent ease is the reason why he has been asked to play for the likes of Guthrie Govan, Phil Hilbourne and Republica.

Recently he retired as tutor at ACM, where, for the past 21 years, he has given students the benefit of seeing his incredible technical prowess up close and shown them first hand what it takes to be a session drummer.

Come and learn up close with one of the best drummers in the UK, you won't regret it!

Emmanuelle Caplette – Drummer’s Odyssey Teachers Profile

Emmanuelle Caplette drummer

Emmanuelle Caplette has risen to fame in her native Canada, winning Office Franco Québécois Pour La Jeunesse whilst at college and opened the Montreal Jazz festival the following year! She has now played at major music events all over the world (Musikmesse, Uk Drum Show 2017, Switzerland Drum Festival), toured with Andy Summers as part of his Circa Zero band and also appeared on Late Night With Seth Meyers and performed a 24 snare drum solo!

She is currently endorsed by Sabian, Sonor, Vic Firth and Evans and has some of the most amazing practice pad rudiment videos I've seen on Youtube!

At the Drummer's Odyssey Camp 2018, at Firebird Studios, you'll be learning up close with Emmanuelle and getting to see why she is seen as one of the leading drum educators in the world right now.

Pete Cater – Drummer’s Odyssey Teacher Profile

Drummers Odyssey - Pete Cater

“We played Leverkusen, Germany one day. Steve Smith was on before us, and Billy Cobham immediately afterwards. Luckily I don’t get scared easily”

To say that Pete Cater is firmly established legend of the UK music scene, would be a trite thing to say. He is quite simply one of the best drummers to come from these shores.

Having worked his way to sharing a stage with Steve Gadd, Ian Palmer and Steve White at the World's Greatest Drummer show in 2015, he has shown time and again why he was the only Brit voted into the top 5 jazz drummers in the world by Rhythm magazine.

At the Drummers Odyssey camp, here at Firebird Studios, you'll be getting un paralleled access to a jazz great, with a maximum of 8 other people in the room with you at the same time. It will take your playing to a new level and possibly give you a greater appreciation of what it takes to be a top level Jazz drummer.

Drummer’s Odyssey camp 2018

Drummers Odyssey camp

Coming to Firebird Studios in October, our resident drum teacher AJ Rousell has put together the very first drum camp in Bristol. Twenty four lucky drummers will have a chance to study with some of the world's premiere drummers.

He's also teamed up with several great drum and percussion manufacturers to provide great goodie bags for everyone who attends. Brands including Hardcase, Vic Firth, Evans, Protection Racket, Vater, Code, Cosmic Ears are already involved, with more being announced all the time.

You do not get the chance to study with teachers like this very often and in our humble opinion, you'd be mad not to come along and get an intense learning experience that will take your playing to a new level!

THE DRUMMER'S ODYSSEY CAMP is an intensive weekend of drumming education, hosted in Bristol (UK) on the 27th & 28th of October 2018. Each year will see a different Trio of incredible drummers being brought to TDOC, who will give inspiration, education and guidance for all attendees who are looking to push their drumming.

The line up for TDOC 2018 features:

Emmanuelle Caplette drummer

Emmanuelle Caplette

  • Judge for 'Hit like a Girl' Competition,
  • Main Stage artist at UK Drum Show 2017,
  • Guest Drummer for 'Late with Seth Myers',
  • Internationally renowned educator, highly in demand session drummer.

Pete Cater

  • Voted one of the top 5 jazz drummers in Modern Drummer Magazine Poll 2015
  • Band Leader for 'The Pete Cater Big Band', Main Stage artist at London Drum Show 2016 & 2018.
Pete Cater jazz drums
Pete Riley drummer

Pete Riley

  • Main contributor for Rhythm Magazine,
  • Head of drums at the Academy of Contemporary Music,
  • Highly sought after Session Drummer (Guthrie Govan & Republica)


On the 27th/28th October, students will receive a 2 hour session with each tutor on both the Saturday and Sunday. Resulting in 12 hours worth of lessons, within intimate groups of 8 students max.  There is a buffet lunch provided on both days, and also a Camp Goodie Bag for each attendee.

Drummers Odyssey Goody bag


Price for the whole weekend is £330, which works out at less than £30/hour with teachers that would typically charge double for a private lesson!

To book a place, fill in your details on the booking form below:

Practicing Tips for Parents

Alun teaching guitar

We’ve had lots of parents come to us and ask how to get their children to practice when they’re at home, so we asked the teachers what they thought and they gave us the ideas below.


  1. Start with a basic stretch.
  2. Warm up with mountain climbing exercise or a scale if you’ve done those in your lessons – one time as slowly as possible without wobbling and then a second time as quickly as possible. Repeat each twice.
  3. Continue to work through study book Abracadabra Violin…
  4. Aim to practice at least three times a week for around ten minutes each time
  5. Refer to your practice notebooks for specific practise tips from Mike and if you don’t yet have one, bring a notebook to your next lesson


  1. Regular shorter practice sessions are better than cramming everything into one day! Your fingers need to play the keys often to keep them agile, and you’ll find it much easier to memorise pieces by doing little but often.
  2. Always start with a short warm up. This could be scales, exercises, or playing a piece you’re already really comfortable with. It will help warm up your fingers and give you focus for the rest of your practice.
  3. Break up pieces into small sections, but don’t just stick to the parts you’re best at! Make sure you spend plenty of time on the sections you’re not comfortable with, then slowly put it all together until you have the entire piece.
  4. It’s important to be relaxed when playing any instrument. Make sure you have a comfortable sitting position, and that your wrists are loose and flexible. The more relaxed you can be, the longer you can play for!
  5. Have fun! Remember, music is as much about what you want to play as anything else. Feel free to experiment, write your own songs, and try to figure out your favourite songs.​


  1. TAKE IT SLOW! There is no rush to get something, it takes as long as it takes. If you rush and try and play something to fast to early then you’ll most likely learn it wrong. take it nice and slow until it feels comfortable, then start speeding it up slowly.
  2. ALWAYS REMEMBER THE STUFF YOU COULDN’T DO AND NOW CAN. It can be so easy to become frustrated when something is difficult, but a good tip is to always remember that the stuff you now find easy was difficult as one point! The fact you are struggling with something shows you are pushing yourself. Stay patient and remember how at one point, the easy stuff was difficult!
  3. WRITE DOWN PROGRESS. If you are practicing a specific drum beat that is tricky, after each practice write how hard you found it on a scale of 1-10. Nothing keeps your motivation more than seeing a drum beat getting easier infant of your eyes. Even if its only a number less each time you practice.
  4. GET YOUR PARENTS TO QUIZ YOU. Give you parents three names of drum beats and see if you can play them when you are asked. To make this harder, let you parents decide whether you play them fast or slow, and then for a number of bars! Make a game out of it!
  5. QUALITY NOT QUANTITY – aim for a 20-minute practice session a few times a week and spend 5 mins: recapping previous exercises, 10 mins: practice new material, 5 minutes just playing what feels comfortable and what is fun!


  1. Ensure you can confidently read chord diagrams. Sit down with The Complete Guitar Player and test yourself by attempting to work out a chord that you haven’t yet learnt from the diagram. If you struggle with this, this means we need to go over it in class a few more times. Once you can do this, learning new chords becomes easy and leads us onto the next phase, which is:
  2. Memorising the chords. Being able to learn chords from the diagrams is great, but it will only get you so far! There’s no use in trying to learn whole songs if you constantly have to look back at chord diagrams. Each time you learn a chord: strum it, look at it paying particular attention to what it looks like and its shape, and say the name of the chord aloud to yourself. Repeat this three times, then put your hand on your leg and count to ten. Try to remember the chord shape, and repeat the process.
  3. Changing chords. Practice one chord change repeatedly (eg D to E). Pay particular attention to what each finger does, and whether all fingers need to move or be lifted from the string. With some chord changes, not all fingers need to move and just realising this can make changing chords much easier. If you’re confused by this, let Alun know in lessons and he can go over it again slowly.
  4. Have at least 2 x 15 minute practice sessions a week. If you’re really keen, 15 minutes a day and you’ll make serious progress!
  5. If you can, LISTEN to the songs we’re learning (if you have internet access, try Spotify or YouTube). That way you’ll get a better sense of how it’s meant to sound, and you can even play along.

Term 6 is underway!

Saturday Music Club Logo

This is just a quick post to say that Term 6 starts tomorrow for Saturday Music Club. It's an 8 week term so will cost £60 per child and will end on 21st July.

For those of you who didn't know, we run a music school every Saturday with children of all ages learning guitar, keyboards, drums and violin in small groups. If you'd like to know more about it then please click on the button below.

See you all tomorrow!

Bristol venues helped by Agent of Change law

We’re so happy to hear that the Agent of Change law has been brought into the National Planing Policy Framework meaning that developers can’t move into an area where a music venue is, build flats and then get the music venue to pickup the cost of soundproofing further to avoid complaints from flat owners living in the new development.
It’s great news for live music venues like the Thekla, Fiddlers and more around the city.