Daniel Kennedy

Daniel Kennedy

There's nothing remotely average about Daniel Kennedy's average working week. The Sydney-based Ara Music Arts graduate and professional drummer performs between five and seven gigs a week, ranging from New Orleans hip hop brass music to 1940s big band music and Ethiopian psychedelic jazz.

When he's not performing, he's tutoring. He teaches drums at three Sydney schools and has just started his own teaching school in a warehouse space.

Daniel's journey to becoming a professional musician started at high school, where he says music was the only subject he really enjoyed. "My music teacher was very encouraging and three other students in a rock band I was in were all going to jazz school. It sounded good so it was a no-brainer."

Daniel says Ara was a great place to study music. "You surround yourself with music and other musicians. Basically it was full immersion in all areas of music which I probably wouldn't have had the focus or self-discipline to do at that age. It forced me to be a musician which is exactly what I wanted."

For Daniel, strengths of the programme included the one-to-one tuition and ensemble playing. "The one-on-one tuition was a way for tutors to focus on areas that needed work from your performance the week before. That's something you just don't get if you simply take lessons because the tutor wouldn't normally see you perform with a band."

Sydney has been fantastic for Daniel's career "It's a big city with a huge and thriving music scene. Almost every week I get to play with a musician that I haven't previously met and they're almost always a great player. It really keeps me on my toes and makes me want to play as well as I can. I'm not a flashy drummer by any means but I play tastefully and play my parts right. As a freelance musician it's about getting lots of different jobs all the time, playing many different styles of music and learning the music well, having a good attitude and being easy to get along with."

On top of his busy performing schedule, regular tutoring and drumming school venture, Daniel is planning a tour of Australia to promote his Ethiopian psychedelic jazz band's new album.

"I feel like there's so much to experience here and I'm determined to get the most out of it."