By Hugh John

Yamaha Music School and Warwickshire County Music Service (CMS) recently celebrated their newly formed alliance with a bash at Ashlawn School in Rugby (left). Though whether ‘bash’ does justice, sonically, to a group drum lesson involving more than 200 Ashlawn students, tutors and percussion groups is debatable!

The group lesson was led by Troy Miller, composer, university lecturer and a working musician who has played with the likes of Amy Winehouse, Mark Ronson and Daniel Merriweather. The 200 or so students learning drums and percussion in Warwickshire schools was set to dramatically increase when the new drum studio, kitted out by the music industry giant and intended to serve Ashlawn and the local community, opened at the end of January.

The music gear – drumpads and amplifiers – purchased by Warwickshire is being used by seven local teachers for lessons employing the Yamaha method. And drawing on Yamaha’s heritage with both traditional and electronic music equipment, the Ashlawn Drum Centre will feature a mix of live and electronic kits as well as digital practice pads that can be used with headphones.

The Drum Encounters course, (available from age eight upwards) offers an “encyclopedic knowledge of drum patterns, styles and fills and teaches all the rudiments required to prepare players at all levels of experience for any drumming situation using a variety of modern materials”, said Andrew Atkins, director of the Warwickshire service, enthusiastically describing the December get-together as “a memorable and inspiring day for all concerned”.

“Group teaching for percussion students is more of a challenge than for other instruments," he added. "Using Yamaha’s Drum Encounters course has proved to be a much more effective and efficient method of teaching."

It is a view endorsed by Nigel Burrows, head of Yamaha Music Schools who described the decision by Warwickshire CMS to adopt Drum Encounters and Yamaha teaching materials as “a pivotal and defining moment in the history of Yamaha Music Schools". "We look forward to extending this arrangement to other county music services in the country,” he added

NAMM 2010

The NAMM music product show, held annually every January in California saw the launch (or more accurately, the relaunch) of Yamaha’s CP piano range. Oldies will remember the the CP70 and CP80 stage pianos which were in production from the mid 1970s to late 1980s. Yamaha has announced three new CP pianos, the flagship CP1 (pictured) and the CP5 and CD50

You can watch a demo of the CP1 below:


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