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A collage of Backbone Drum School's drum students. The collage features various drum students of all ages and genders, all holding drum sticks and playing on both electric and acoustic drum kits in Perth, Western Australia


Backbone Drum School was started in early 2019 with its founder Jack Nelson teaching out of his spare bedroom in Bedford. What began as casually teaching a handful of students a couple times a week has now grown into Perth's only drum-centric music school with multiple studio rooms, operating 7-days a week. 

Backbone was created with the intention of leading by example. Our goal as drum teachers and music educators is to show students first hand what is achievable with the instrument both on and off the stage. We show this through our involvement in the Perth music scene; where we put theoretical concepts to the test in real life musical scenarios. This allows us to provide our students with tried and tested knowledge, in addition to insightful tips and tricks that can only be earned through genuine experience.  

We are true drummers before anything else, and we can't wait to show you why we love this instrument so much.



Our Drum Teaches
Jack Nelson playing drums with Perth band Scream Mountain

Jack Nelson

(Founder / Director)

Music has been an important part of Jack's life from a very young age. He started piano lessons and music theory education when he was just 3 years old and has been constantly involved in music ever since. Jack also has experience playing other instruments such as the saxophone and guitar, and has been playing the drums since 2011. Growing up, some of Jack's biggest influences and role models in life were his music teachers; Jose Tabios, Lex Von L. Sumayo, and Gordon Jansen. They showed him first hand the incredible difference that a good teacher can have on your life, and were the inspiration for him to become a drum teacher. Thanks to them, Jack’s made it his goal in life to have the same positive impact on the lives of others, as they had on him; not only as a drum teacher, but also as a mentor and role model. Music is undoubtedly Jack's greatest passion in life, as well as a creative outlet. Through music, he's learned to express his creativity in countless different ways and has learned the value of discipline and hard work. Jack's learned to apply these skills to all aspects of his life including his university studies, his own personal growth and development, as well as his bands and drum lessons. These skills have also taught Jack a strong work ethic and have provided him with a positive and determined mindset which he applies to everything he undertakes. Jack won’t just teach his students to be outstanding drummers and musicians, he’ll ensure that they have the tools and systems in place to harness their own unique style and creativity behind the drum kit. As a young drummer, Jack can relate well to both children and adults. Lessons will be fun and engaging. You’ll find drumming and learning music theory enjoyable and fulfilling as you develop your skills, and grow as a musician. You can find Jack playing at live music venues around Perth with his band; Pincer+ (Greyscale Records), Closed Off! (Loudmouth Records), or Scream Mountain.

Perth drummer Vincent Douglas-Smith playing the drums at a concert in Perth, Western Australia

Vincent Douglas-Smith

Vincent has a true passion for drumming and teaching. He began playing the drums at a young age and has been honing his craft ever since. His love for music and drumming was discovered early in life, and after his first drum lesson at the age of 5, he continued to take lessons throughout primary school and high school. In high school, he studied Music and Composition and started learning the piano and saxophone at the age of 11. His knowledge of music theory is extensive, and he applies this knowledge to his drumming and teaching. He has experience drumming in multiple bands of various genres, such as jazz, indie rock, pop, shoegaze, and even orchestral. He enjoys exploring genres from all around the world, including Africa, India, and South America, and is always excited to share his knowledge with his students. Although a multi-instrumentalist, Vincent will always be a drummer at heart. He found his love for teaching by directing ensembles and providing individual lessons straight out of high school. He understands the positive effects that drumming and music can have on various aspects of one's life and wants others to experience these benefits while being given the resources to progress, improve, and find their own voice on the drum set. He recognizes the importance of improvisation and drumming as a creative outlet. Vincent has played in many different bands, gigging around Perth since the age of 16, and has even contributed to a few records. He believes there is nothing more powerful than playing in a band with your friends. Vincent understands that drumming and music are extremely beneficial for the mind and connect us to one another as members within a community. He not only appreciates the spiritual aspect of drumming but also acknowledges how learning an instrument can improve various other aspects of our lives, such as focus, memory, abstract thinking, reasoning, and many more. With his extensive experience, knowledge, and passion for drumming and teaching, he is excited to share his skills and help students of all levels and ages reach their full potential.

A black and white photo of Jack Hill holding drum sticks as he plays the drums

Jack Hill

Jack has had a passion for drumming since he began playing at the age of 13. Taking lessons throughout high school, he pursued drumming after graduating and went on to study music at both UWA and the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA). Since then, he has been honing his craft under the tutelage of some of Australia's leading drummers, most notably Ric Eastman and Daniel Susnjar from WA, and traveling interstate to study under Mark Charters and Gordon Rytmeister. Jack's broad education on the instrument is reflected in both his performances and the lessons he gives to his own students. Jack loves all styles of drumming and has had experience playing in a range of different situations, whether it be rock shows, pop gigs, musicals, background jazz, or even with classical orchestras. He believes that the drum set is the most versatile and creative instrument you can play and loves to demonstrate all the ways in which it can be used to create music. Even though his favorite genres to play are indie-rock, neo-soul, and contemporary jazz, Jack jumps at any opportunity to perform and relishes the challenge of learning new music for a gig. Jack has had extensive session experience, playing for countless WA artists both live and in the studio. Most notably, he performed at Singapore's "Music Matters" festival and appeared on Triple J's Like a Version with Noah Dillon in 2021. Jack still frequently tours Australia on his weekends or spends time at various studios around Perth recording drums when he's home. You can hear Jack on more than 50 studio recordings with bands/artists including Noah Dillon, The Money War, Lilia, Clay Western, Xyanthe, Tasha Mitchell, Sam Carmody, and Duncan Saige. Jack has also helped many drummers reach their own musical goals. He has been teaching drums for the last 8 years to people of all ages and skill levels. Jack understands that everyone learns a little differently and knows exactly how to help his students achieve success for themselves, whether their goal is to play in a touring rock band, go on to study at WAAPA, or just have the ability to play along to songs at home. His students have ranged from ages 4 to 60, and Jack loves finding ways to make the instrument engaging and fun for anyone. Starting piano lessons at 8, Jack also has a deep understanding of music theory, something he uses to provide comprehensive music lessons to his students. He couples this with practical ear training so that his students can learn aurally from songs when written music is not available. He has found that understanding what you're playing and what those around you are playing can lead to a deeper connection with your instrument and make playing with other people even more exciting.

Perth drummer Rebecca Smith holding drum sticks sitting behind an open hi-hat performing at her band's music

Rebecca Smith

Music has always played an important role in Bec's life. Throughout her formative years, she was always intrigued by the various elements heard within songs and the craftsmanship that went into creating them. As a child, Bec learned to play the piano and began flute lessons at age 12. As a teenager, she always created beats along to the sound of indicators in cars and realized she wanted to continue pursuing music while also exploring her fascination with rhythm. In high school, Bec gained experience performing and collaborating with other musicians by participating in her school's percussion ensemble. As she got older, she joined a band and has since used this experience to expand her knowledge, skills, creativity, and confidence behind the kit. Growing up, Bec had frequently faced issues with her confidence and abilities, largely due to having learning differences from other kids. Learning the drums and performing with other musicians has made monumental differences in this regard ever since and has positively impacted her in various facets of life. Through her growth as a drummer, she has not only developed as a musician with her own unique style but also as a person who celebrates her differences and the differences in others. As a teacher, Bec is extremely empathetic, patient, and adaptable to each student's unique needs. She hopes to share her knowledge and experience with her students so that they may undergo the same positive transformations that she went through.

A black and white photo of Dan Harper form perth playing on a Yamaha drum kit

Dan Harper

Dan has been playing the drums since he was eight years old and has been extremely passionate about drumming for over 20 years. Thirteen of those years have been spent teaching at multiple schools, working with students between the ages of 5 and 65. Dan has played with over 20 bands and artists such as Georgi Kay, Matt Gresham, and Statues. Dan is currently an endorsee of Yamaha Drums Australia and plays with Shangrila, Jack Haynes and the Back Pains, and The Strange Collective. Dan lives and breathes music and drumming through and through. He believes that drumming is a holistic experience that contributes to the growth of the mind, body, and soul. Dan knows that drumming changes lives, and he hopes to impart his knowledge, wisdom, and experience to every student he comes across. Drumming is for everyone and is one of the greatest vocations anyone can take up, and the beauty of it is that it can be shared at any level, from hobbyist to professional, and everybody in between.

Perth drummer Marcus Bailey playing the drums at a peformance recital in Perth, Western Australia

Marcus Bailey

Marcus Bailey is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, songwriter, producer, and drum teacher. Currently enrolled at WAAPA University, he is pursuing a degree in contemporary music with a specialization in the drum kit. Having played the drums for about 8 years, Marcus possesses extensive knowledge of percussion and music. Trained in various genres including rock, jazz, funk, and fusion, he stands out as a highly diverse and competent drummer. As a drum teacher, Marcus aims to inspire the next generation to carry on the rich tradition of music, much like he was inspired by great musicians before him. He began teaching drums during his final year of high school and officially made it his profession at the beginning of 2023. Marcus is an active member of the local Perth band, 'SOUP,' where he contributes as a drummer and backing vocalist. Having performed at esteemed venues such as The Milk Bar, Cottesloe Carols by Candlelight, and Perth Concert Hall, Marcus is well-versed in the art of live performance. His unique musical style blends elements of jazz, rock, funk, and pop, injecting a fresh and distinctive flavor into the current music scene. Beyond his performance accomplishments, Marcus has received several awards, including his high school music award twice and the Year 12 Arts Award for outstanding performance in the arts. A deeply passionate musician, Marcus is unwavering in his pursuit of not only becoming a great musician himself but also assisting others on their musical journey.

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