Drumming to a new beat

2015-09-16 06:00
Gavin Hughes in his favourite position - behind the drums.
 Photo: supplied

Gavin Hughes in his favourite position - behind the drums. Photo: supplied

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“WHATEVER you do, make sure you have a passion for it, focus, seize the moment and just have fun.” These are the words of acclaimed drummer and tutor, Gavin Hughes.

It is a motto Hughes lives by. “So many people are taking out of our community. We need to start putting back into it. My heart is to empower and motivate the youth of today so they can motivate and empower the youth of tomorrow. Instead of pointing fingers, we should be mentoring and giving back,” said Hughes.

Through the years, he has done just that. Today there are professional drummers trained by him scattered all over the world, including the United Kingdom, New Zealand, the United States and Canada. “I have had the privilege of training Dylan van der Linde [Toti]. Van der Linde started drumming at the age of 12 and has just finished­ the Barnyard circuit where he has been for the past four years. “Kyle Keagen, played with the band Explosion­, and Bryn Scott [Toti] plays for the band Jordi. He is on the South African circuit. Brendon Meintjies plays with the band We were Archers.”

Hughes is still on the rock ‘n’ roll circuit and plays with bands. He established Double Beat Drumming Studio 10 years ago. His goal was to establish a school and home-base of drumming and musical interest locally and to extend down the South Coast to Margate­, although he has moved extensively beyond this area.

He now aims to set up and develop community centres, ensuring ongoing community development and cultural heritage. He also holds educational workshops and seminars and wants to conduct theatrical, performing and music productions for job creation­.

He teaches at Kuswag Skool in the music department and has a studio at Sweetwaters Church Youth Centre where he teaches students from school age to pensioners. His students graduate through the Trinity College­ of London and he currently has six top graders­.

For pre-schoolers, Hughes and his daughter Bronwyn conduct “Happy drums”, an extramural­ activity at five local pre-schools. In future it will also be offered as part of a school project in some primary schools.

“It has been an incredible journey. This is my second year drumming. I thought I could never play drums, but discovered I have a natural talent,” said Bronwyn. Hughes said it has been wonderful to teach his granddaughter, who already says she wants to be a drumming tutor.

As part of giving back, Hughes wants to provide music in one-on-one mentorship programmes as an alternative to drugs. He has established an anti-drug campaign with local authorities and goes into rural areas to train and equip. He is currently involved in training-up students from Malvern and already an influx of pupils are flowing in.

His ultimate goal is to establish a visual arts and education centre in Amanzimtoti

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