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In December 2016, we were thrilled to welcome long-standing patron of ACM Guildford – and drummer for the Red Hot Chili Peppers – Chad Smith through the doors of ACM London for the very first time.

Using a rare day off from the Red Hot Chili Peppers UK tour, Chad visited for a masterclass held exclusively for ACM students.

The masterclass was held in partnership with Rhythm magazine, and was hosted by our Head of Creative Industry Development, Ace, who is also the guitarist in UK band Skunk Anansie. The class began with an intimate performance in the ACM London live performance room, before moving upstairs to the lecture room for a Q&A session.

Throughout the masterclass, Chad told students the story of how he got into music, and shared his advice on how they could kick-start their careers in the industry.

“You can always be better and there’s so much to learn.”
Chad Smith

Chad shared that there are no shortcuts to being good – it takes a lot of hard work. He also advised students to utilise the facilities and tutors whilst at ACM and get into bands now. He urged them to try working across all genres and styles of music, as there are great techniques to be learned from a range of different styles.

When talking about the drums, Chad told students about how he likes to play with power and confidence, and he revealed that he likes to take risks when performing. During the performance section of the masterclass, Chad wowed the audience with impeccable renditions of Red Hot Chili Peppers songs ‘Readymade’ and ‘Charlie’. This section drew to a close with a drum-off between Chad and one very lucky student.

Chad was genuinely excited to join us for the masterclass:

“This is my first time at ACM London… although I have a room named after me at ACM Guildford – the Chad Smith Room. London to me is such an important musical city and when I was growing up as a kid, the bands that I loved and the drummers that I loved the most were from England and a lot of them were from London; drummers like Keith Moon, Charlie Watts, Mitch Mitchell – so important to drumming history and for what they bring to music and how they influenced me. So it’s a real honour to be in the city and to come to a school where kids are learning to play music and drums. Just to be able to come and give back a little bit – I’m just really excited and happy to be here.”
Chad Smith

The class ended with a huge selfie of Chad and everyone at the masterclass together. Chad delivered a stand-out session which was high-energy throughout, and students left feeling thoroughly inspired and excited to have met one of their heroes.

Masterclass host Ace said the session was one of the best yet: “We’re thrilled that alongside our long-standing friends at Rhythm magazine, our patron Chad Smith treated us to a masterclass at our brand new London campus. As innovators in music industry education, it’s extremely important to us to work with inspirational figures to show our students first-hand how they can make it in the music business.”

Rhythm magazine’s Editor, Chris Burke, agreed that the masterclass partnership had been a huge success: “As one of the UK’s biggest music colleges, with great facilities, top tutors and great courses for drummers, ACM is a perfect partner for Rhythm magazine. Like ACM, we pride ourselves on our comprehensive educational content with video drum lessons from the UK’s finest tutors given away every month on the Rhythm Lessons CD.”

We’d like to thank both Chad Smith and Rhythm magazine for joining us at ACM London for this incredible masterclass – it really was amazing!

If you’d like to study drums at ACM and learn from some of the world’s best musicians like Chad, please call our Admissions Team on 01483 500 841 or visit to book a place on an ACM Open Day today.

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