Instructor Profiles

Neill Ettridge – Director & Principal – DrumLab Group

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The DrumLab group of Drums Training studios is headed-up and run by one of South Africa’s leading drummers, Neill Ettridge.
Neill is considered to be one the country’s most influential drummers, with a a work profile that covers every corner of the SA Music Industry; as house band member for the popular Idols TV series 1-6 and drummer for SA’s most iconic band, Mango Groove, to record and live dates with many of the country’s most prolific artists as
well as numerous Orchestral, Corporate, TV and Radio commercial engagements.
Neill has also undertaken many international tours to Germany, Italy, France, USA, Australia and New Zealand, Russia, Poland, Hungary & Czechoslovakia with the likes of the Soweto String Quartet, top SA/USA vocalist, Joseph Clarke, The JHB Male Voice Choir and Mango Groove. Amongst other notable engagements, Neill was invited along with three other musical luminaries in South Africa, to perform at the Moscow Conservatory and the Gdansk Jazz Festival alongside the John McLaughlin group, as well as representing South Africa with Mango Groove at the historical hand-over of Hong Kong back to China.

On his teaching philosophy, Neill adds; “My aim with the DrumLab was a to fill a long-standing void in the music eduction arena, especially in the field of Drums & Percussion, to source the very best people in their field, and to place an emphasis on correct and sequential learning, within a series of world-class progressive programs to cater to aspirant drummers of all ages and levels – at affordable prices and in the very best & most comfortable studio environments you are likely to find”

 

Keith Marisheni – Instructor – DrumLab 1 Fourways

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After only seven years on the South African music scene, Keith has already shared the stage with well-known names like Johnny Clegg, Mango Groove, Freshlyground, Elvis Blue, Loyiso Bala, Gang of Instrumentals and the Electric Pops Orchestra. In addition, he is a familiar face at corporate gigs where he performs with corporate bands Sticky Triggers, Swing City, Jazzmatix, Phatcoffee, Garth Taylor, to name only a few. Keith is a member of Idols winner, Lloyd Cele’s band and held down the Drums chair at the 17th annual South African Music Awards in 2011.

Keith also possesses wonderful communicative skills for teaching and is now sharing his considerable talent to show students the way forward at DrumLab 1 Fourways

 

Jason Dick – Instructor – DrumLab 1 & 2 Fourways / Rivonia

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Jason is our newest and youngest member of the Drumlab team. Having started as a student with us, Jason’s commitment, dedication and achievements were evident in every aspect of his studies and these attributes have now deservedly extended in to a full-time teaching position at our studios.

Jason has gone on to be a tremendously popular and effective teacher, both in the Junior and Intermediate programmes. His performance profiles include Drums for the band Last Chance Seattle & top Afrikaans artist, Talana Vuuren.

 

Zechariah Jordaan – Instructor – DrumLab 1 & 2 Fourways / Rivonia

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Zech started playing drums at the age of 11. He continued to pursue this passion throughout his formative years at Junior as well as High School through the Johannesburg National School of the Arts, where he majored in Drums and studied Contemporary Music & Jazz.
After graduating, Zech joined several very successful music collaborations and toured the world playing with top SA bands and solo artists. He maintains an active portfolio of Drumming work to this day.
Zech started his teaching career in 2010 with a small independent Music school in Johannesburg, teaching Classical Guitar and Drums. He joined the DrumLab team in 2017 and has made an inspiring impression on all his DrumLab students.
Zech also possesses an enviable talent for Music composition and has several commissions for various Television & Film projects.

 

Nicolas McCreadie – Teacher – DrumLab 1, 2 & 3 Fourways / Rivonia / Woodmead

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Nick started playing drums at the age of 6 Years old, By 15 he was studying his craft full-time at The Campus of Performing Arts in Johannesburg. Whilst Studying and achieving various awards at this institution, such as Student of The year 2009, Nicholas shared the stage with many different acts around South Africa, performing at numerous corporate events as well as popular festivals such as The Grahamstown Jazz Festival.
In 2012, Nick auditioned & landed the drummers chair for an Australian production company, Showtime Australia. He toured internationally for two years to the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Dubai performing The Michael Jackson Show, Abba and Whitney Houston Showcases to sold-out theaters, stadiums and arenas.
On his return to SA, Nick quickly reestablished his reputation as an outstanding player and teacher alike, and after a period teaching drums in high schools across Johannesburg, was invited by Neill Ettridge to join the DrumLab team and head-up the exciting new facility in Glendower, near Edenvale.

 

Fred Helliwell – Teacher – DrumLab 3 Woodmead

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Freddie has established himself as a real playing force in past few years and brings this enthusiasm and vitality to bear in his Drums teaching. Fred has performed with the likes of Frankie Fire & Better Off Blind most recently, and regular features on festivals such as Inniebos, KKNK, Oppi Koppi & Kreef Fees. He also regularly works on album productions for producers Darryl Torr, Ludwig Bouwer and Fred Den Hartog, amongst others.

As with the all the faculty, Freddie is well-versed with the all the study and curriculum options offered by DrumLab and has attained top grades on same during his own tenure as a past student.

 

Nelis Du Plessis – Teacher – DrumLab 1, 2 & 3 Fourways / Rivonia / Woodmead

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Nelis started playing Drums at age 15. After initially being self-taught, at age 17 he enrolled at COPA and attained N6 performance certificate in Performance. Subsequently, between 2008-2014, Nelis went on to lecture & COPA in Pretoria, obtaining OBE certification and working as a registered assessor over that time, in addition to his professional performance commitments.

Nelis has an extensive Drumming profile, which include DVD, Radio, TV & Live performances with the likes of original SA bands, The Centerfolds, My Beter Helfde, Ardé, Mauritius & Liezel Marshall Band, along with various Jazz and Blues outfits – Deep Blue C, Elrine Louise and SAMA award winning Gospel group, The Plain Truth, as well as Light of The Nations. He has also featured in numerous Barnyard Theatre Productions; Hollywood Rocks, Glory Days 99 Hits & Bieber and Buddies, to name a few.

Nelis’ philosophy on playing Drums extends equally to his take on teaching the instrument; “I am a professional drummer and teacher who specialises in Rock, Jazz & Pop music and Live performance. My instrument is my voice and an extension of my personality. I am really passionate about what I do and always perform with confidence”

 

Po-Chung Chen – Teacher – DrumLab 1 & 2 Fourways / Rivonia

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Originally from Taipei, Taiwan, Po-Chung has since established himself as a major playing force on the SA live music scene, holding down the drum chair with Adventure Man and Rob May, among other freelance engagements.
In addition to his steadily-growing playing profile, Po enjoys a great reputation as a drums teacher, and his affable, lively personality always assures that even much younger students feel totally at-ease in lessons.
As with all the DrumLab faculty, Po-Chung always goes that extra mile ensure success with each and every one of his students, and approaches each learning challenge uniquely.

 

Shaun James – Teacher – DrumLab 1 & 2 Fourways / Rivonia

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Although Shaun originates from a film production & direction background, with many accolades to his name, his drumming credentials are equally laudable, as his student base at Fourways will testify to.

As a medal winner of the Trinity Grade 8 Drums Exam in 2011, Shaun has gone on to even greater achievements and brings this considerable skill set and personality to all the student sessions taking place at DrumLab 4 in Fourways.

Shaun is adept at many styles of Music and equally skilled in technique and reading. He also has a great affinity with students of all ages and experience levels, from beginner to advanced – and a real passion to see folks succeed!

 

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Neill Ettridge concludes; “This team of exceptional and committed individuals, each uniquely gifted but with a common goal and set of programmes to hone the drumming skills of each and every student they work with, ensures that DrumLab has no parallel in the Drums training arena.”