BIMM welcomed a hero of British drumming, Steve White, for a Masterclass at the Manchester campus. ‘Forget politicians, drummers should be running the world!’ recommended Steve, in a session that was equally fun, friendly and focused on Steve’s considerable skill and experience.
Steve started playing drums as a young child and at only 17 was taken on as drummer for Paul Weller’s band, The Style Council, going on to play on all their major recordings. Steve has also played on most of Paul Weller’s subsequent solo work. He took drumming duties for The Who at the Live 8 concert, played with Ocean Colour Scene on their recent Anniversary tour, and has stepped in for his brother Alan White playing live with Oasis.
Steve opened the session with an exhilarating demonstration of his famous drumming skills, a display that showcased his extensive grounding in both jazz and rock drumming for a wowed audience. Throughout the subsequent class Steve emphasised the importance of pursuing a musical career based on a real love of music, first and foremost. He built on his sound advice by emphasising ‘the constants that never change: focus, positivity, dedication, practice and self-discipline’.
Steve’s advice was comprehensive, showing a vast knowledge of the business and stressing the importance of self-marketing, rehearsal, commercial know-how and growing your musical skillset. His recommendations covered everything from the importance of a good web presence to getting organised to the benefits of a diverse musical knowledge.
After this comprehensive overview, the class switched to an interactive Q&A session which included practical demonstrations, showing examples of new techniques for performance and different ways to develop playing.
Steve touched on the fascinating history of drums, discussing their cultural development and illustrating with live examples of drumming styles from different cultures, including indigenous music, samba and contemporary drum and bass.
The students left the session informed and encouraged. Thomas Collins praised the “fantastic advice” they received, calling Steve’s class, “Really beneficial and well-structured,” adding, “I loved the passionate performances!”
Steve closed the Manchester Masterclass with another live performance alongside Steve Sidelnyk, this time a commissioned piece entitled ‘Zildjian’, showing a true master at work.