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Welcome to Drumming Greats Online Study.


This week we will be focusing on Mike Dolbear:


Mike Dolbear is one of my favourite drummers and the most influential drummer of our time.


"Mike has been a professional drummer for over 30 years having studied with some of the greatest teachers including Kenny Clare, Max Abrams and Bob Armstrong. He has worked in a variety of musical situations, including studio, TV, musical theatre, backing cabaret covers bands." (ref:

What I want you to do, study Mike Dolbear, and write a 1 page essay on Mike and his career 


Questions you need to think about.

  • How has Mike Dolbear changed the drumming community
  • What part did Mike Dolbear play in the Olympics Games in London 2012
  • Is Mike noted for a particular style of music.

Write up your study and bring in to lesson in two weeks time.


Remember that inspiration does not come from just sitting reading music, we need to study the greats in order to understand, ourselves how to be great.


I was fortunate enough to be able to ask Mike a question this week.


Q: Mike, we are using you to study in our Drumming Greats series. 1 issue we have is rehearsal time due to noise restrictions, How do you carry out your rehearsal if you do not have access to a drum kit 


A: “Drumming great wow ! Thats an honour - as you may know I co-ordinated, taught and auditioned the 1000 drummers for the opening ceremony for the Olympics, 60% were drummers and 40% were not, I taught them in a series of vocalisation (melody lines made up of words so they would remember them). Its so important for all drummers to be able to sing rhythms to really get it in their head so if they have not got a kit to play on I would say...

1: always sing out the rhythms you are playing

2: adapt - many years ago budding drummers didn't have drums or electronic kits they hit what ever they could, its all about a repetitive  motion to get rhythms and movements into our muscle memory so hit anything (not each other) !”






Mike Dolbear

By Matthew Thomas aged 9

Mike has been a professional drummer for over 30 years!!!  Now that’s a long time to be a ‘professional’ drummer, don’t you agree?

Michael Hutchinson is my drum teacher and Mike Dolbear’s teachers were Kenny Clare, Max Abrams and last but not least Bob Armstrong.   3 drum teachers, I only have onebut he is really good.

Mike and a group of his, started a competition, its called young drummer of the year, and I myself would  absolutely love to enter this when I’m older. The winner this year is Euan Leslie.

Mike has also been on BBC, ITV and CBBC.  Furthermore he is very good on You Tube, not just on TV.  His videos are very well prepared and interesting to watch.

Over 18 years ago he set up a teaching studio and taught students there.  Moreover he was asked in 2011 to audition and teach 1000 student drummers, which he did in2012 for the Olympic opening ceremony.

Mike wrote a book called Rhythms and Fills, it became the most biggest selling tutor book in Europe.

My opinion about Mike Dolbear is he has enhanced the drum environment with all of  the things he has done for 30 years and I am glad he has done this.

Tom Histon Age 12

Mike writes a monthly blog on his website and other UK online magazines.  He Has a forum on his website where he discusses issues with people.

He introduced the idea of online lessons and drummers being able to share there ideas with other drummers.  In May 2014 mike Launced three new drum tuition hubs, they are located around the UK, he is hoping to expand to europe in the future.

For the opening ceromony of the London 2012 Olypic games, the arobic director wanted drummers to feature throughout the ceremony, Mike Dolbear was one of three drummers who had to audition and train 1000 drummers.

Jacob Birmingham age 16

Mike Dolbear – Professional Drummer Report

Mike Dolbear, who has been drumming for over 30 years, and has greatly contributed to many projects and events, including musicals and avenues.  He has set up a teaching studio and tutored others to drum for 18 years, looked over the annual Young Drummer of the Year competition with his team, and has ran the Ultimate Drumming Experience advanced drum-course for 6 years.

Playing Style and Genre Style

While Mike has shown that he can play plenty of different styles, he plays in (and seems more enthusiastic in) the Jazz genre, in which the high and low volumes played in that style are used to make his music more ranged.

He holds his sticks tightly at the base when making double strokes (traditional and matched) and uses mostly his wrist to push the quick movement.

His high-to-medium-tempo fills during his solos make use of all of the drums and cymbals around the kit, making his music non-restricted. He also seems likely to create a metronome of some kind, usually with the hi-hat, which also adds a small background addition to the solo.

Helping in the 2012 Olympics:

To help with the training of over one-thousand volunteering drummers who played during 2012’s Olympic Games, Mike was given the task of coordinating each of the drummers in November 2011, as asked by Ralph Salmins.

During the auditioning of the drummers in 100-person batches, Mike thought that there was a low standard on what the drums meant as set by the organisation committee. When the amount of people qualified started dropping over the 3-day period, Rick Smith stepped in to help, and more auditions and advertising for possible drummers was suggested by Mike. He mainly taught his auditioners the vocalisation method (linking certain rudiments and playing patterns to words/pitches) to the drummers so that the rhythms they play in the song can be easily remembered.


Laia Slater Age 6


 Mike Dolbear

How has Mike Dolbear Changed the Drumming Community?

In 1999 Mike made a website.  It was huge and it bought all the drumming community together.  In 2004 Mike and his team made a ‘Young Drummer of the Year competition.

What part did Mike Dolbear play in the Olympic Games in London 2012?

Mike auditioned and then taught 1000 people to drum in the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics.  Some were already drummers but most were not.

Is Mike noted for a particular style of music?

Mike trained with the Jazz drummer Kenny Clare and Max Abrams.   Jazz is also mentioned more on Mike’s website.


Beth Fraser Age 12

Mike Dolbear

Olympic Games.

Mike was part of the 2012 Olympic Games he held the auditions for the drummers, there was one thousand drummer in the opening ceremony. He auditioned 1500 people it the period of three days. Mike said “the hardest job on the night was keeping everyone calm and if you were on TV you would be forgotten in five minutes.” Didyou know that 60% were drummers and 40% were not.

Changed the drumming community.

Mike has changed the drumming community by bringing them together in the year 2000 he opened his website called with the hope that it would encourage drummer all over the world to come together.

Information on Mike Dolbear.

Mike has been a professional drummer for 30 years he has worked with some of the biggest teachers such as Kenny Clare, Max Abrams and Bob Armstrong. He has worked with a variety of different musical genre including TV, musical theatre, backing cabaret cover bands and in the studio.

Mike Dolbear wrote a book (which is a best seller drum tutorial book in Europe) that is called “Rhythm and Fills.”  Which is sold in over 100 countries and has been translated into eight languages

Michael is such a fan girl to Mike Dolbear !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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