Testimonials

Aside from a brilliant Beginner and Intermediate student drummer / percussionist programme, DrumLab also features and entirely vocational-based study programme, for aspirant professionals, or existing professional drummers looking to hone their skills in certain aspects of their playing, such a reading & chart interpretation, Jazz & Latin studies, practical technique application and advanced coordination.

Throughout its tenure as one the most established and and respected Drum Training institutes in South Africa, DrumLab has had the honour of developing some of the country’s most established and respected players, who now hold down top positions in the industry.

Below, are some testimonials and reflections from just a few of the drum students, past and present who have taken that next step and have accomplished their dreams….

Marguerite Swart

IMG02298-20120304-1709-small-16Neill was my drumming mentor/teacher for almost 4 years. During which time he supported me to achieve a Second Grade 8 qualification as well as support with my Level 6 Performance Licentiate. I found Neill to be an excellent administrator, mentor and teacher. He inspired me to maximize my potential and always had challenging material ready in an instant, when required.

Needless to say, he is not only one of the best teachers in the industry, but also one of South Africa’s top drummers. For lessons at DrumLab I traveled 120Km each time for a lesson to experience his acumen. Thanks Neill for assisting me on my drumming Journey

 

Vinnie Henrico

photo-small-19I still recall, back in ’95, when I just started my music studies at TUT. The excitement, when we were informed that for the next 3 years, we will be taught how to play drums, by the the one and only top session player, Neill Ettridge himself.

Not knowing what to expect, a nervous first-year drum student entered the studio on that very first day. Tattoos, pony tail, torn jeans, doped eyes, and a burger-stained shirt, was the pre-conceived idea with which my mind drew a picture of this in-demand musician.

Instead, I was met with a smile, sharp British humor, and a neatly dressed individual, who played the living daylights out of most other drummers I have ever seen!! I left that class feeling a little depressed, with the realization that I actually knew very little about my instrument of choice.

At the end of my first year however, I was selected for the seat in the “pristine” TUT Big Band ensemble, which involved some serious chops and reading skills. In my second year, I was able to stand in for Neill himself, playing some serious Salsa in THE LATIN FIRE BAND, where I was not only the youngster, but also the only non-pro musician….and still only a student…..

Today, I have recorded on more than one thousand albums, worked with most directors and artists, and still loving every moment. All thanks to Mr Ettridge.

With motivation, perseverance, and every now-and-again words such as “yeah, you are right Vinnie, your brushwork sucks”, Neill had the ability to hone young talent into a musical individual, that turned out to be the best that he can possibly be.

Studying the drums under somebody like Neill, thats works the industry as a performing and recording drummer, in any and every musical genre possible, should be considered a privilege, and should be grabbed with both hands.

Frankly, if you are serious about playing the drums, I cannot think of an alternative option.

 

Bruce Wallace

Photo 2011-09-29, 9 23 50 AM-small-21I have had the privilege of being taught by Neill Ettridge during the crucial years of my development, when I was studying at Pretoria Technicon’s Light Music Course.

Neil has the rare ability and willingness to impart valuable information to Students, not to mention incredible playing skills to demonstrate and inspire you. I am very grateful for the time I spent with Neill.

 

Keith Marisheni

image-small-26“If you’re gonna learn something; do it properly.”

These words were said to me on my very first day at Drumlab Studios.

I went in there as a young guy looking for the next cool drum-fill because I had just reached a creative, technical threshold, but I came out inspired, polished, reading, certified, and working. Apart from the great coffee, Drumlab provided quality education/syllabus in various styles and genres alongside a fully equipped, state of the art studio, and through the mentorship of Drumlab Founder, Neill Ettridge, I gained experience as a session drummer, studio and stage performer.

It didn’t end with just drumming lessons, though, because Drumlab went the extra mile of getting me work and as a result of that, the people I work with today are somewhat linked to that boost… I’m forever grateful for the friendships, the opportunities and the inspiration to create.

 

Emma Williams

(2012 Trinity Medal Winner)

IMG_0067-small-28Having lessons with Neill Ettridge at Drumlab changed my life! Literally. His constant guidance and inspiration are what caused me to decide that I wanted to pursue drums as a career. And with his help, I’m now here at Berklee!

I couldn’t recommend a better teacher. As someone not only teaching but also gigging in the real world, he provides invaluable advice and inside tips. His teaching is clear, methodical and ordered but also full of fun and vibrancy. He really challenged me and made me work hard, and I can’t thank him enough for it! As for the Drumlab facilities, they are professional and comfortable – the perfect mixture of classroom and recording studio.

 

Shaun James

(2013 Trinity Medal Winner)

pasted-image-small-34I remember the first time I walked into Neill’s DrumLab studio. I sat in front of the drums and prepared myself for an assessment test. After a few moments of playing, Neill stopped me. I eagerly awaited his response, hoping my several years of experience would be sufficient, only to discover I was doing it all wrong!  We spent the lesson refining the basics; the kit, posture, and grip.  I never looked back. Four years later I have completed my Trinity Grade 8 exam with distinction.  Along the journey, each lesson has been filled not only with technical scrutiny, but also Neill’s cunning wit.  As I undertake the challenge of bettering myself on the drums I always keep in mind what I have truly learnt under Neill’s guidance; it is one’s attitude towards the drums that makes him /her successful, not talent. Such is life.

 

Kevin Louis

image1-small-36I did some drumming when I was at school and university, but most of what I had learned was self-taught, and by ear. I was not able to read drum sheet music (or any music for that matter). After I left university, life took over and, although I always had a hankering to drum, I did nothing about it until about 2½ years ago, when I received three lessons at DrumLab as a birthday present. I contacted Neill, and arranged to go to the the Woodmead branch. Honestly, I was thinking that I would take the three sessions and not go any further. Boy, was I wrong! I had all the lessons with Gavin, and was so hooked on drumming again, that 2 to 3 months later, I bought a drum kit, and I have been going for lessons ever since. I have progressed so much further than I ever thought possible or believed that I could, and I am currently doing Grade 5 Rock School. Gavin’s lessons are always a pleasure to attend. He goes out of his way to make the lessons interesting, fun and challenging, and I leave each lesson looking forward to doing the ‘homework’ that Gavin sets for me between each lesson, and looking forward to my next lesson. I do not think I would have progressed as far as I have progressed in a fairly short space of time if it were not for Gavin’s influence, patience, expertise and professionalism. It is really inspiring to attend lessons with someone who lives for his drumming, who actually drums in a band and has so much talent. I have no hesitation in recommending Neill, Gavin and all of the specialists at the DrumLabs to anyone who is interested in learning to drum, or who wishes to take their drumming to greater heights. Just be warned…it is addictive!

 

Justin Badenhorst

1796672_10151874948116207_1813215734_n-small-31My professional career as a drummer can be accredited to not only some of the knowledge and guidance of one of South Africa’s drumming legends, Neill Ettridge, but also the inspiration he gave me as a youngster by watching him play.

His teaching studio and educational methods made it easy to understand some of the many skills needed to execute professional music charts adequately, as well as applying the technical aspects of the drum kit to music of all genres. Later, his influence and advise also became a crucial part of being accepted to the Drummer’s Collective in NYC, and now, as a professional drummer, Neill is still a constant guide and inspiration to me.

 

Sally-Ann Howell

Drumlab Woodmead is a professionally run studio where my son Liam has been learning to play drums for the past year. Greg is my son’s teacher and through his time, patience and commitment, Liam has developed a love of drumming. Liam’s drumming continues to improve and he has developed an appreciation of music from different genres through his weekly lessons with Greg.

 

Nurit Joselowski

(12 years old)

I am loving the Drums lessons at DrumLab Glendower. I find Nick has patience for me and he is always on time. I learn a lot from him. He is a good teacher and I find I can understand him. Thanks.

 

Tinika Srikrishan

My son, Amiel (11yrs old), started drum lessons at DrumLab Woodmead 3 years ago, based on a referral by a friend. Gavin’s passion, enthusiasm and love for music is infectious and undeniable. Besides being incredibly talented, he has an engaging way to teach that has appealed to Amiel so he looks forward his weekly lesson. This is evident in my son’s steady progress. He has also been one of the most positive influences in my sons life at a time when tragedy struck our family and Amiel needed so much more. More than anything else…. Amiel has such “FUN” at drum lessons!!!!!.

I would highly recommend Gavin to anybody that wants to learn to play the drums.

 

Gareth Susman

I have been having drum lessons with Nick for just under a year at Drumlab, Glendower. Nick’s abilities as a drummer and a teacher have been truly amazing. His disposition combined with the modern studio has made it a relaxed environment for comfortable learning. His ability communicate his method/techniques to me are brilliant. Nick has made difficult concepts easy and tangible to grasp and has a real desire to see his students find their musical voice. His personable and patient nature makes him very approachable – I can honestly say that I look forward to my lesson each week and without hesitation, I strongly recommend Nick at DrumLab to anybody who has a desire to play drums.

 

Benji Dorfan

(15 Years Old)

The DrumLab Woodmead studio is nice, and Gavin is a fantastic teacher. I feel I am progressing well and his lessons area great. We play along to songs I like, as well as other great things he shows me. We always have fun while drumming.