Beyond the Classroom: How Trinity Guided My Musical and Teaching Career

Beyond the Classroom: How Trinity Guided My Musical and Teaching Career

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BY: Guest Writer
10 July 2024


At Trinity we are lucky to have Trinity Champion Centres which inspire existing and potential centres by sharing their practice and advocating for Trinity College London qualifications in their communities and beyond. In today's blog we hear from Trinity Champion Centre Bob’s Drums Lessons and his journey from a student learning Trinity repertoire to a seasoned educator in the vibrant music scene in Dumfries. 

I was first introduced to Trinity back when I was a young drummer by my first drum teacher Richard James. I never actually sat any exams, but we worked through all the material in the books right up to Grade 8 level and then I went off to music college.  

I reached a point in my career after graduating from Berklee and working professionally on cruise ships where I felt ready to start teaching. I started Bob’s Drum Lessons and decided to start delivering Trinity qualifications. I wanted to offer my students the opportunity to take the exams with me. 

 I spent a fair amount of time on Trinity’s website browsing the material, I purchased all of the digital books available from Rock & Pop to the Classical and Jazz series and used them on my iPad. While browsing I found the page about becoming a registered digital exam centre, this sounded exactly like what I was looking for since I’d already had a few students take the digital exams. 

My students love progressing through the books and exams. The younger students are always asking 'what colour is the next book?!' I did not realise the vibrant colours would have such an impact on students!  

 As well as offering exams for students of Bob’s Drum Lessons, students of other teachers can also take their exams with me. I offer all digital graded exams from Initial to Grade 8 both Rock & Pop as well as Classical and Jazz. 

As a teacher running a business, I love the fact I can get my students started by getting a Trinity book directly from me in their lesson. We progress through all the songs and when/if they want to do the exam, we pick the three songs for their performance and do the exam in the same room, on the same kit where they get the lessons. This familiarity helps them to perform at their best, but nerves still kick in of course!  

Last year I put on the first Dumfries Drum Day event featuring some of Scotland’s top drummers and educators. Dumfries is a rural region in the southwest of Scotland which often gets overlooked by touring bands but has a thriving music and arts scene. Many of my students got the chance to play on stage with a live band for the first time which was awesome to see. The band learned the songs from the Trinity syllabus which helped keep rehearsal times manageable. The event is running again this September with the addition of exhibitors - including Trinity.  

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Photos courtesy of Bob Irving and Bobs Drums Lessons

You can find more about drum lessons and exams with Bob’s Drum Lessons at and about the Dumfries Drum Day event at      

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