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Drumming Up a Passion for Rhythm Through
Every Heartbeat

07718823211

About My Business

My name is Graeme Swale. I am a qualified drum tutor and performer with 15 years of playing experience and 10 years of teaching. I played and taught in South Africa from 2008 to 2017 and started in the UK in 2019.

A man playing the drums

Biography

I was born in Johannesburg, South Africa from British parents, and I have lived there my whole life up until 2018. Although I lived in Africa, I was brought up on English music.

I have been playing the drums for more than 15 years. 


Initially, I taught myself by listening to music, watching music videos, and thrashing along to my favourite bands. I then went to a music college in Johannesburg where my mind was opened to drumming techniques and new genres. Aside from learning how to read music, I was exposed to material from some of the best drummers in the world.

That was where I started my first professional function band, which focused on playing at weddings, corporate events, and parties with very talented musicians from college.


In my third and final year of college, I knew that I wanted to learn more about the specifics and mechanics of drumming and delve into the art of drums, and there was no one in South Africa who was better to work than the highly respected Georg Voros.


Working with Georg was as motivational as it was instructive. I was able to focus on my passion for technique (Moeller method and Gladstone for hands as well as bass drum techniques, including toe-heel, heel-toe, etc.). Additionally, I developed an understanding of the fundamentals and gained the tools necessary to perform a variety of styles in any situation or setting.


I have taught drummers of all ages and levels at my own home studio and at music schools.


By focusing on technique, I started to develop a better understanding of rhythmic concepts and patterns. I have played in a variety of musical situations, including original and cover bands, duos, theatre, and concept shows. In addition, I have recorded with different genres in studios and worked with everyone from home-studio engineers to a  two-time Grammy award-winning engineer.


I have also played and written songs with number-one hit and platinum-selling artists. I also performed at pubs and international music festivals. Coming from a diverse and multi-cultural country like South Africa, I know that being versatile is the key.

Teaching Background

Once I had finished college, Georg took me under his wing and mentored me in the art of effective teaching. I started teaching younger students aged 3-12 at Georg's Johannesburg-based drum school. I taught children how to read music, develop the independence to play the drums, and fuelled their passion for the challenges and rewards of playing this wonderful instrument.


I eventually started looking after the older and more advanced students whenever Georg was on tour or running Rockschool exams around the world, working on the higher music grades (up to level 4) and teaching more advanced techniques.


Along with my best mates, I started my own music and drama school based in the east of Johannesburg. We held performance workshops at a few local schools, and I taught students of all ages and skill levels at our home-based studio.

Live Performance/Session and Studio Experience

I started in a high school band playing punk rock originals and covers with two of my best mates. We played at friends’ birthday parties, setting up our own sound, and entered a few ‘battle of the bands’ events.


I joined a rock band towards the end of high school and jammed to hard rock in a band with my dad's mate and at some old school music events. This was the first time I learned and adapted parts to original music and had my first recording experience.

Once I was in college, I started a corporate band with some fellow students and gifted musicians. We had a professional approach and went to every gig and rehearsal well prepared.


I also joined a concept group consisting of one drummer and a bassist who played with five keyboardists and performed contemporary and crossover instrumental world music. Additionally, I played at the renowned Super Bowl arena at Sun City, South Africa.


In my final year of college, I joined Wake to Wonder, a band based in the Vaal Triangle, south of Johannesburg. We recorded an album and an extended play (EP), and we approached our original music as if we were getting paid. I had the freedom to be as creative and artistic as I wanted to be. 


We shared the stage with award-winning local and international bands, played at local and international festivals, and wrote the theme song for the ADAC GT Masters motocross event in Germany. We collaborated with the late multi-platinum artist Mandoza, and our last single made it into the Billboard chart on one of South Africa's premium radio stations.


With the vocalist from Wake to Wonder, we formed a duo act under the name of Boycott Ballad. Here, I took a drum kit and percussive role performing our own unique take on conventional covers. We played at regular pub gigs, weddings, parties, and corporate events all around South Africa as well as a couple of ferries across Europe.


We had a decent following at our regular gigs, and we even had tailored sets for our wedding and corporate events. Moreover, we once played an acoustic set in the middle of a South African wildlife resort where we performed our unique brand of music while the Bride made her way from the game truck to the altar.


The last band I was part of in South Africa was called Stewart Irving and The Reckoning, a progressive country band comprised of highly astute and esteemed professional musicians. Stewart, the lead vocalist and guitarist, boasts a worldwide number one with one of his previous musical acts. He also has a good following and reputation in the music industry.


The rest of the band was made up of the late, great Peps Cotumaccio (musical director and keyboard maestro), Sez Adamson (the sweet pedal steel and lead guitar), and Mike Pepper (the rhythmic glue).


We recorded with two-time Grammy-winning engineer John Lindemann at his studio in Johannesburg and worked with the winner and runner-up of Idols (South Africa’s Pop idols) as co-lead vocalists. Additionally, we performed as headliners around South Africa at festivals, clubs, and pubs (having regular gigs at Johannesburg’s oldest pub, a renowned live music venue).

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