top of page

Escola de Bateria Rio
Past student stories

Fiona Hay - 2016 Course

I have been interested in Brazilian music and culture for years and always wanted to the opportunity to go to Rio to play, dance, watch music and soak up the culture and was waiting for the right opportunity to come along and this seemed to be it. I’d been to JPs workshops before and knew that he is a great teacher, is great craic and has lots of contacts in the Rio music scene so felt pretty sure that he would organize a great trip. I wasn’t wrong!

I was really excited about the trip but slightly nervous about the course as I haven’t been playing for all that long but my mind was really put at ease after our first workshop where I felt I was challenged but not out of my depth, which was how I felt for the rest of the course. This was due to the amazing tutors and their ability to cater to each player’s ability and break things down. There were lots of tutors in each workshop to make sure everyone’s needs were being met. It really boosted my confidence.

I loved the opportunity to play different styles of Brazilian music and understand more about different styles of samba. I particularly loved learned about the Roda de Samba style, which I’ve developed a keen interest in since. The course was so inspirational, I really left feeling buzzing with inspiration and keen to find out more about the styles I’d been playing.

Fiona dancing at Rio Maracatu

My favourite day was when we went to the Casa do Jongo in Serrinha. It was really magical. I didn’t know anything about Jongo music and to see this oasis of calm and love and music in the heart of the favela was a really beautiful experience, we were made to feel so welcome and it was wonderful to learn the songs, rhythms and dances. I remember thinking that there was just no way that I could have experienced this as a tourist without being on the course.

As a dancer, it was really amazing for JP to organise to have dance tutors along to the workshops on a couple of the days.  I got the chance to dance samba at Mangueira and maracatu at Rio Maracatu, which was awesome for me.

Everything was really well organized and ran really smoothly, Gabriel, a Rio musician and assistant producer of the course was amazing and really helpful with everything to do with the course and also out with the course, with brilliant recommendations for live music and places to go at night and at the weekend. I saw so much amazing music while I was there, I went out every night to see something different and it was brilliant to have recommendations from local people in the music scene there.

I stayed an extra week and took lots more drumming and dance classes through contacts I had made on the course, the highlight being a chocalho lesson on Flamengo beach.

It really was the trip of a lifetime, I left completely inspired, brimming with confidence, with lots of new friends from lots of different countries and with amazing memories.

bottom of page