Shaun Neethling



Starting in live performance at a very young age with his first “commercial” performance at age 12, he learned and practised multiple instruments through out, as well as performing as a DJ/MC in Cape Town and later in Johannesburg.

Joined the SA Navy 1993 where he served as a drummer/percussionist in the Senior staff band.

Notable gigs performed after his Navy service include being hired as a drummer for productions “50 Something”, “60 Something”, “Solid Gold” tribute theatre shows as well as support band for Uriah Heap and Deep Purple(1995).

Following this, Shaun started studio session work with bands which introduced him to studio life and work, this led him to producing singles on albums and EPs. Singles progressed into producing albums for artists he worked with this led him to start producing albums for artists upon request as a bona fide producer.

During this time he started scouting for and nurturing up and coming talent, and ultimately supporting the artists in terms of studio productions and live gig/ touring support (N.I.P) producing over 45 projects/albums over a 6 year period.

He was then hired by Svenmusic & African Space as technical venue manager overseeing all technical matters relating to gear/equipment involved including logistics and operation at the week long KKNK music festival in Oudtshoorn, R.S.A.

In June 2009 he was hired as a musician (bass-guitarist) and pre-production for big productions(shows) Rock the Beat & Rock 2 the Beat, Hip to be Hot and The Reel Thing based in 2 casinos in Johannesburg.

Since moving to Scotland he has achieved a BSc Music Technology degree to back up and underpin his practical experience while continuing as a versatile instrumentalist

What are some of your favourite teaching techniques?

I generally look at what level and experience my respective student has and take it from there. I feel a strong point or an advantage I have is that I have been active for a long time, I have played various styles on various instruments with many different people so I am able to sum up, in part, very quickly where they are in their development. I use my experience to help students make progress and when they do the student starts to believe in their own ability and in return mine so they then engage fully with fire and drive. 

What advice would you offer to beginner drummers?

Listen to as much music as you can, play as much as you can and have as much fun as you can! With a maxim that stole from a fellow drummer.. “never practice when you play, never play when you practice”

What kind of music do you like to play?

I enjoy playing a wide variety of music, I always have as you can always learn from that of which we do not know.

How have you found your experience of teaching at the Riverside Academy?

It’s been a really great experience for me, I find it very satisfying when I see those little faces light up as they come in and see the drums, but more so the first time they say they can’t play something or the “i’ll never be able to play that” scenario and 10min later I have them play it.

Also loads and loads of credit needs to go to Riverside Academy –  We have an awesome support network of guys and gals that keep the admin office and our practice rooms going, for example, first contact with people taking bookings, sorting out queries and shuffling the diary to accommodate everyone, making sure the instruments and gear are in the correct rooms and spaces but also managing the tutors effectively.

No one is a number here and everyone is unique from our staff to our students – in short a comprehensive network of music crazy/loving people! It’s a really awesome place to work!

What sort of experience do you have playing drums? 

I have been playing drums since the age of 5, from then on played a lot in a church/gospel setting. I started playing commercially for the first time around 12 years of age, from there I played various gigs and styles of music…

I joined the South African Navy Band as a percussionist doing duty in marching/parade bands for official government engagement, for example, playing for various diplomats and heads of state all over the country, the heads of our and international armed forces. I also did various corporate functions( Including Shirley Bassey’s visit to South Africa). 

After leaving the S.A. Navy Senior Staff band at the end of 1994 I supported Deep Purple in at the Three Arts Theatre and joined a show band as a residency for about a year travelling across South Africa.

In 1996 I moved from Cape Town to Johannesburg, over the next 14 years I played thousands of gigs on various instruments, produced, recorded and played drums and bass in sessions – then went on tour supporting the albums from these sessions.

I moved to the UK, Scotland in January 2010, but went back to South Africa for a 13 month run of 3 different productions produced by Mezzoforte Productions as a bassist and percussionist. Moved back October 2011 where I performed with various bands in and around Glasgow. I did various festivals notable West Yorkshire Blues and Jazz Festival in Hebdon Bridge, as well as the equivalent festival ‘Bell Rock Blues’ in Arbroath, as well as the Blues festival in Callander.

Since studying, and now working, at Riverside I have played on and produced many artists and albums including Dylan John Thomas and Brian Rawson Band.

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