Laurence’s biography


Laurence BiographyLaurence has been teaching music to children and adults for 15 years since studying drum kit and percussion at Trinity College of Music in Greenwich. Whilst at Trinity he was nominated for the TCM Gold Medal Award, graduating with 1st Class Honours in 2008. At college he learned percussion and drums with Kevin Nutty (BBC Symphony Orchestra), Mick Doran (English National Opera), Dave Wickens (Kirk Lightsey, Bobby Wellins), Roger Beaujolais (Vibraphonic, Roger Beaujolais Quintet), Gillian McDonagh (Royal Philharmonic Orchestra) and Salah Dawson Miller (3Mustaphas3, Justin Adams).

After leaving college Laurence’s love of rhythm inspired him to travel to Ghana in 2009, where he learnt with master-drummers Daniel Asare in Accra and Sadiq Addey in Kokrobite. In 2011 he travelled to Senegal to learn with Yatma Thiam (Viviane N’dour, Pap Diouf), and Guinea to study with Bangaly Kounbasa and Lamine Camara before returning once again to Ghana. In 2018, Laurence revisited Guinea on another study trip, this time taking members of his Drum Africa class for a drumming and dance cultural holiday. While there he received lessons from the master djembefolas Kader Sylla (from Conakry) and Bangaly Kounbasa (from Boké).

In December 2012, Laurence spent time in Rio de Janeiro learning samba and performing alongside members of Monobloco. In early 2015 Laurence returned to Brazil, travelling this time to Recife and Olinda in the north-east, where he studied maracatu drumming and took part in the famous Olinda carnaval.

Later in 2015 Laurence visited the Cook Islands in the Pacific Ocean, and studied local drumming with members of the Rarotongan music and dance community.

Since graduating, Laurence has also studied in London with Barak Schmool (Django Bates, F-ire collective), a well-respected saxophonist, percussionist and World music expert, and performs alongside Barak in his band Rhythms of the City.

As a teacher

Having travelled and studied music extensively in many different countries, Laurence has witnessed teaching methods in many musically accomplished cultures. This wide breadth of knowledge informs his unique teaching style, which is based on a “pure music” learning approach.

Laurence has taught music in primary schools since 2008, and in 2012 he launched the AMS Project(African Music School), which provides wider opportunities music tuition in primary schools for ages 5-11. The project, taught by Laurence, runs in London primary schools with great success, producing highly acclaimed performances in African percussion at the Royal Festival Hall foyer, Southwark Cathedral and school carnivals in Bermondsey and Sloane Square.

Laurence ROTC

Laurence runs African drumming classes for adults on Tuesday evenings in Greenwich. The classes have run since 2010, with drop-in classes open to beginner and intermediate drummers.

Laurence has given talks and training for other music teachers, appearing as a speaker at Music and Drama Education Expo 2017 on how to teach ‘African Drumming the African Way’. His original and insightful ideas on music tuition have gained recognition in the teaching community.

As a musician

Laurence is also an accomplished performing musician, currently playing with his bands The Marks to Prove It (formerly Hornman), an alt-pop band with whom he plays drum kit, and TalkingDRUM, which performs traditional African, Cuban and Brazilian drumming and song. He also freelances as a percussionist and drummer of all styles.