Percussion Programme

Study Leader: Roger Hempsall

The Percussion Programme offers tuition on timpani, tuned percussion, world music percussion and drum kit in a wide variety of styles.

In addition to 1:1 instrumental tuition and the core supporting studies of music language and aural, percussion students generally take part in two small ensembles each week, including a designated percussion group.

Workshops with visiting artists over recent years have included:

  • Jack De Johnette on drum set techniques for jazz, including mallet playing
  • Dave Weckl on how to approach studio work, film scores and jingles
  • Sebastian Rochford on composition and how to develop a percussion part from scratch
  • Sebastiaan de Krom on the history of jazz and commercial music

For further information on the Centre for Advanced Training, including on dates and content of auditions, please click on Information for Students

Percussion Team
Study Leader: Roger Hempsall
Drum kit and world percussion (congas, djembe, timbales etc)
As a professional drummer, Roger has worked with music ‘legends’ such as Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Eartha Kitt and Matt Munro, Cleo Laine and Kiki Dee, among many others. He has also worked with major jazz artists, such as Barbara Thompson, Peter King and Digby Fairweather. Since 1998 he has been a member of the North East-based jazz trio The Bicycle Thieves. Roger has many years of experience as a specialist drum and percussion tutor, being a founding member of the BMus degree team and Percussion Studies Leader at the Centre of Advanced Training. He has also delivered workshops and masterclasses at Northumbria and Sunderland universities. Over the years he has taught many of the country’s brightest percussion stars, including the jazz drummers Cheryl Alleyne (who has worked with US3 and Courtney Pine) and Seb Rochford (acclaimed as one of the most exciting new talents in jazz). His publications include Jazz Drums 1 and Jazz Drums 2 (International Music Publishers), an analysis of the playing styles of the great jazz percussionists from Baby Dodds to Steve Gadd. For many years he wrote an influential column on rhythm for Keyboard Player magazine.

Adam Sinclair: (Drum Kit, Percussion and Production) has performed and recorded in a wide range of genres, with acts such as Therapy?, The Unthanks, Nitin Sawhney, Paul Edis Sextet, RJ Thompson, Graeme Wilson Quartet, Northern Monkey Brass Band and Gerry Richardson’s Big Idea to name a few. These performances have seen Adam perform at large festivals, including Glastonbury, and some of the world’s top venues such as the O2 Arena. As well as drumming, Adam is a highly experienced recording engineer and producer, having produced many international releases which have received global radio play and TV appearances (including a high profile IKEA advertising campaign).

Alan Fearon (timpani and tuned percussion) has enjoyed a long association with Northern Sinfonia as a timpanist, percussionist, keyboard player and conductor. He is also the founder and former Chorus Master of the highly successful Northern Sinfonia Chorus. He is an Artistic Advisor to the YMP and has worked with several of its Youth Ensembles, including Young Sinfonia.

Lizzie Lowe: (Steel Pans) started playing Steel pans at the age of 12 in a local Steel band after seeing the fun her siblings had in the band. She then started teaching Steel pans as a young leader at the age of 16 and then as a trainee at Sage Gateshead from the age of 19. She has worked at Sage Gateshead from then on as a project musician and has had the chance to compete in the national Steel pan competition, ‘Panorama’ in London and once in Trinidad in 2009 for their international competition. Having recently joined a percussion group called Spark! who travel all over the world with their show she has started learning drum kit to improve her rhythmic skills and pass on these skills to all she teaches.