Dave Brackenridge (Founder, CEO)
Dave wrote the original Rookie Rockstars programme with a view to positively impact young people all over the UK. Dave had a tough time at school, having been severely bullied for a number of years. He wanted to seize the opportunity to help children understand that they are all special, they should have confidence in themselves, that they should never give up and to always remember that bullying is not right! His energetic, fun songs have helped teach these positive messages to approx ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND school pupils across the country. On the back of the success of the programme Dave has written a second programme for schools and opened our very own School of Music which currently has two campuses in Kirkintilloch and Cumbernauld respectively. He also added a Mental Health Counselling service in 2018 which is growing at an incredible rate. He is passionate and focussed about continuing to grow the charity and helping as many young people as he can! Dave has pretty solid musical credentials too having toured worldwide with his band before starting the Rookie Rockstars Programme.
Sara Danson (General Manager)
Sara has been involved with many charities over a number of years. Yorkhill Children’s Charity, MediCinema, Homestart Glasgow North, Noah’s ark Children’s Hospital for Wales and Ronald MacDonald House have all benefited from her experience over the past number of years. Having joined initially as a volunteer her talents were noticed early on which saw her offered a key role within the organisation. She now manages the office and its staff as well as working closely with schools to ensure the smooth delivery of the Rookie Rockstars Programme.
Ela Brackenridge (School of Music Coordinator)
As you can see by looking through our staff list, Dave’s family have been a massive support to him in getting Rookie Rockstars off the ground and getting it to where it is today. In fact in order to actually see Dave (who works a lot!) his wife Ela has decided to officially join the staff team to help out with admin for both the schools programme and our school of music.
Kristin Kudeva (Media & Administration)
Kristin is currently a media student by day and an important part of our team by night. She has previously been involved with charities such as Glasgow Sport and her freelance work has been focused on creating media content, filming and editing promotional videos.
Kristin has a passion for video-making and advertising and views Rookie Rockstars’ programme as an inspiring project where she could enhance her skills. She is also the first face you will see when you attend our School of music in Kirkintilloch and your first contact on the phone for all of our Music schools after 3pm.
Emma Husband (Music School & Funding Manager)
Emma started out with Rookie Rockstars as a Fundraising Coordinator. She has now taken on the management of our music schools. With a background in psychology she understand first-hand the significance of the cause we are passionate about. Having worked with many non-profit organisations, charity is very close to her heart. From teaching English in Sri Lanka to jumping out of planes for the Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice, she has done a lot of mad things for the cause.
Sylwia Wojcik (Bookkeeper)
Sylwia has joined Rookie Rockstars recently and will try her best to help to keep the books right. Sylwia has BA in Accounting from the University of the West of Scotland and also MA in Economics and Organization of Enterprises from the Radom Technical University. She is a mum to Jakub, loves reading books and eating healthy.
Beth Pritchard (Community Outreach Coordinator)
Beth is passionate about improving the mental health of children. Over the past few years, whilst bringing up her two young boys, she has volunteered with several organisations where her roles have included classroom assistant, treasurer, waitress, toddler group leader and helper at children’s holiday clubs. Beth also has a love of music and has performed in choirs since she was 8. Beth has several years of administrative experience which she is looking forward to using at Rookie Rockstars and Rookie Minds to help them provide the best possible service to children and schools in the area
Steph Lindsay (Charity Shop Manager)
Glyn Harris (Community Outreach Worker)
Glyn has had a long and successful career in the music business from playing to teaching and even selling musical instruments. He still performs regularly however he wanted to get involved with Rookie Rockstars having seen how worth while the project is. We are glad he did.
Abbi Hewitt (Community Outreach Worker)
Abbi joined Rookie Rockstars in February 2019. She is a singer and has lots of experience working with young people through youth groups and childminding. She is a musician and plays regularly in different Churches and has taught music to young people one to one. She is very passionate about the messages Rookie Rockstars promote and is extremely happy to be a part of such a positive programme.
Liam Sutherland (Community Outreach Worker)
Liam became interested in music in his early teens, initially starting on drums but moving onto guitar when he began writing his own songs. Liam studied music and audio technology at Stowe College, completing ABRSM Grade 8 in Guitar in 2012. Liam has found himself on many different career paths from working with Glasgow council to working in the marine and offshore industries, all whilst pursuing music and playing in a variety of bands in his spare time. He is now looking forward to bringing his many years of music expertise to his new role at Rookie Rockstars.
Neil MacDougall (Sound Engineer)
Neil went to college to study performance drums & popular music and uni to study music composition, performance and popular music study. But his experience in music and his skills were made and honed as a live performer for the last 14 years or so. He has Recorded, Toured & played all over the country and around the world with over 30 acts, artists and bands of all sorts of genres. When he’s not gigging he runs his own studio for recording, production and composition of music and drumming the company is called ‘Nautilus Studio Productions’. His passion is playing drums, making music and showing others they can do it to!
Elaine Martin (Rookie Minds Counsellor)
Elaine is a qualified Cognitive Behavioural Therapist (CBT) and a Certified Practitioner of Therapeutic Play, working with young people, children and adults experiencing a range of mental health issues. Elaine is based in our Centre in Kirkintilloch, providing therapy to children and teenagers. From an extensive career in business, Elaine also supports the increasing number of schools that use our Rookie Minds service to provide much-needed counselling to their young people. She is driven by a strong belief in early intervention and making therapeutic support available to everyone in need regardless of their background or means so spends a lot of her professional life working with charities which offer free counselling services.
Verity Grant (Rookie Minds Counsellor)
Verity has come from a background of support work with Deafblind UK and volunteered as a counsellor with Mind working with both adults and young people. She is also fluent in British Sign Language and undertakes online counselling with Deaf4Deaf, a service for deaf people with mental health issues.
Verity is a qualified Psychotherapist with an integrative approach which she gained from Staffordshire University in Stoke-on-Trent, England. She has experience working with anxiety and depression, loss, disability, suicidal thoughts, abuse, family, school and relationship issues. Verity is excited to be working with Rookie Mind and is passionate about working with people mental health.
Karolyn Morrison (Supervision Counsellor)
Kerri Pierce (Rookie Minds Counsellor)
Kerri is a qualified Counsellor/Psychotherapist who has experience working with a variety of client groups. Kerri is passionate about supporting the development of positive emotional and mental well-being in children and young people, and has experience of working with a wide range of issues.
Prior to qualifying as a counsellor, Kerri worked in the charity sector with young adults with learning disabilities, looked after children and as a Project Coordinator within a mental health centre.
Kerri originally studied Music at University and still enjoys singing, playing music and going to gigs. She is excited to be able to work for an organisation with an inclusive approach that recognises the huge role music can play in the lives of children and young people.
Ann Crawford (Rookie Minds Counsellor)
It was working in a women’s training centre that encouraged Anne to pursue a career in counselling in 2007. Many of the women had experienced early childhood trauma, neglect and negative relationships, which had led to bad experiences in school. Gaining a Diploma in Counselling from Edinburgh University Anne worked with adults who had experienced childhood sexual abuse and women experiencing post-natal depression. It was the understanding that many of the issues that adults brought to counselling stemmed for their early years that was the catalyst for Anne to begin working with children. Starting out as a Volunteer Counsellor with Place2Be in 2011 Anne then went on to become a School Project Manager working in two primary schools in Glasgow’s east end, supporting children, parents and staff. She is delighted to be part of the Rookie Minds team.
Robyn Ross (Rookie Minds Counsellor)
Robyn is a fully qualified counsellor based in the Glasgow area. She recently relocated to Scotland from the United States, where she worked as a bilingual (Spanish/English) therapist in the New York City area for many years. Robyn holds a master’s degree in clinical social work from Barry University in Miami, Florida and carries licensure to practice independent psychotherapy in New York State and Florida. With experience working with children through older adults, Robyn specialises in a variety of areas including trauma, depression, anxiety, bereavement, attachment issues, family separation and the LGBTQ community. Robyn is a dedicated mental health professional who is passionate about helping others, and she looks forward to further developing her career here in Scotland. Robyn currently holds membership in BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy).
School of Music Staff
Calum Borthwick (Guitar Tutor)
Calum developed a love for music and guitar at an early age, which would lead him to a successful career as both a performer and a teacher. He began his formal studies at Strathclyde University’s BA Applied music course before moving to the United States to study at the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music, where he earned a Masters in Classical Guitar performance.
Calum has performed as a soloist and in various ensembles across Europe and the United States, in recent years as one half of his award-winning guitar duo, Derelict Hands. In addition to his work as a classical musician, he has continued his passion for rock and heavy music by playing and recording guitar and keyboards in various bands. He is also an enthusiastic teacher who loves to share his passion for music with his students, and to see them develop and grow throughout their time learning with him.
Tommy Gorman (Guitar Tutor)
Tommy is a guitarist and songwriter based in Glasgow. He is an experienced performer, having participated in professional productions in venues such as The O2 ABC, The Beacon and numerous other venues across Scotland. Through studying Music at West College Scotland where he gained top marks, as well as spending a year on the BA Applied music course at the UHI, Tommy became proficient in a variety of styles – from funk/jazz fusion to rock and punk. In addition to performing, Tommy has gained experience in a number of areas of the music business: From organising and promoting concerts to working as an audio-engineer/producer from his home studio.
Self-taught from a young age, Tommy started teaching because he knows it can be difficult to learn about something as complicated as music without a little help and is passionate about guiding students to reach their full potential as musicians by equipping them with all of the knowledge, skills and confidence to succeed.
Dario Palazzo (Guitar Tutor)
Dario is guitar tutor for our Cumbernauld Music School. Having graduated with a BMus (Hons) Music Performance degree from Kingston University, London, Dario has been involved in many musical endeavours including performing with many singer-songwriters across Scotland, working with various function bands, his main band being Studio Wedding Band, as well as performing regularly with folk-fusion band Eriska. Highlights in performance include performing at festivals around Scotland such as Celtic Connections, ButeFest and Piping Live, TV appearances on STV and BBC, performing for the cast of Still Game and Scottish band The Bluebells, as well as taking part in Festival 2018 as part of the European Championships in Glasgow.
Tomi Spasevski (Drum Tutor)
Tomi hails from Croatia where he has earned a Master’s Degree learning classical percussion from such greats as Božidar Rebić, Ivana Bilić and Igor Lešnik at the University of Zagreb, Music Academy. He has performed with quite a few established orchestras and ensembles at home and internationally and has thought percussion and drum set for six years, principally at Pavao Markovac music school in Zagreb. In his spare time he likes to record some of his favorite tunes for his YouTube channel. Music holds a special place in his heart and he continues to specialize in drum set and electric guitar.
Chris Kenny (Keys Tutor)
Chris is currently a full time student studying a Bachelor of music degree at Edinburgh Napier university. From starting out on classical piano in 2007 to now performing with various synthesisers, keyboards and software, He has developed a large number of skills over the years as a musician, sound designer and producer. As well as having performed in many parts of the UK and in Europe as keyboardist with Ignite Music he regularly works with many other artists both for recordings sessions and in live performance from classical orchestras to rock bands to the Christian music scene, giving him hands on experience in several genres.
Fraser Brand (Guitar Tutor)
Fraser’s love of music has been around since a very young age. He holds a BA Hons in Commercial Music and was trained as a classical vocalist by Dr. Agnes Hoey M.B.E. of the Glasgow Youth Choir. He has worked in various studios and venues throughout his career, namely, the Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow Fruitmarket, Oran Mor and Gleneagles Hotel. He is continuing his successful career here with us at Rookie Rockstars teaching vocals and guitar.
Andrew Power Whitelaw (Guitar Tutor)
Andrew Power Whitelaw is a care worker and psychology graduate based in Glasgow, and will soon be starting a masters course in counselling and psychotherapy as he wants to one day be a counsellor. He started learning classical guitar at the age of 8 and has since been involved in band performances, busking, and open mic evenings in different cities across Scotland. Andrew is now a confident guitar player, bass guitar player, and singer. His main aim as a tutor is to enable young musicians to gain confidence in their instrument so that they can get the most enjoyment out of it; after all, for Andrew music is all about having fun.
Crystalla Sergiou (Keys Tutor)
I am a classically trained Singer, Pianist and Composer, with an advanced level in Piano, Singing and Music Theory. Currently, I am a student at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland studying Music, specialising in Composition. I have been involved in many musical performances such as, choral, local concerts, musicals and charity events. My versatility allows me to explore many different genres of music including Classical, Musical Theatre, Jazz, Pop and Contemporary. I have also been involved in many music groups, choirs, and collaborative practices, and I am currently a chorus member of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. I often have the role of musical director and have experience in teaching piano, singing and music theory. There is nothing more enjoyable than watching your students grow and helping them enhance their musical abilities and individual styles. Leaving my home country Cyprus, I have moved to Scotland for my studies at the Conservatoire, and I have showcased my work at the Plug Festival 2018, The Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2018, and have recently just completed an orchestral piece, which was performed by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, premiered in a show called ‘Last Futures’. I am loving Glasgow and the colourful, cultural vibe of the city, and am very keen to contribute to its musical brilliance.
Hannah McKay (Drums Tutor)
Hannah has been playing drums, recording and performing live for around 17 years. As a self taught drummer, Hannah was a member of a signed all girl band for 10 years that took her all over the UK and parts of Europe, appearing at major festivals such as Download, T in the Park and TRNSMT. She has shared stages with the likes of Black Star Riders, Black Stone Cherry, Thunder, Europe, Ash and Airbourne as well as appearances on Scottish TV and Radio 2.
Bobby Osborne (Guitar Tutor)
Bobby Osborne is a Scottish guitarist, composer, tutor and arranger. As a professional guitarist, Bobby has amassed a broad portfolio which includes serving as musical director and lead guitarist for Grammy-nominated jazz artist Andromeda Turre; as arranger and featured soloist in swing band Radio Pachuco and leading the modern jazz outfit The Bobby Osborne Band alongside regular theatre, studio and pit work. As a composer, he has written scores for film and museum exhibits for a variety of formats and ensembles. As a member of the band Kung Fu Academy, he released three E.P.s of original music to critical acclaim and toured throughout the country.
He earned his BA Honours degree in Music at Edinburgh Napier University, receiving the highest marks among guitarists in his year for final recitals.
With ten years experience as a music tutor, Bobby has taught all ages from 3 to 60. Before joining Rookie Rockstars he delivered lessons for The Rock Project and Falkirk Community Trust alongside working as private tutor and freelance teaching for high schools, youth clubs and summer camps. His teaching is driven by the belief that music education is increasingly important in our global world, transcending cultural divides and language barriers and serving as a vehicle for universal communication and expression.
Cameron Shaw (Keys Tutor)
Cameron teaches keys with us in both Kirkintilloch and Cumbernauld Branches. He obtained a Diploma in Higher Education of Music at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland but is currently training to study BMus in Vocal Studies in the next couple of years. Cameron is extremely passionate about music, ranging from classical music (piano, tenor voice) to more modern types of music (e.g. house & techno). In his spare time, he enjoy travelling – visiting Iceland and Amsterdam in 2019 already!. He also enjoys creating his own music, training himself using an electronic platform where he has made various types of music based on multiples genres.
Ross Whyte (Keys Tutor)
Ross is a composer, arranger and pianist. Since 2016 he has worked as one half of the Gaelic ambient electronica duo, WHYTE with singer-songwriter Alasdair Whyte. WHYTE’s debut album, ‘Fairich’, has received positive media reviews and regular national and international radio airplay. Ross also composes and arranges music for mixed choir. In 2016 he received a commission from the Gaelic choir Bùrach to write a new arrangement of the 19th-century song ‘Leis A’ Bhàta Dhubh Dharaich’. The choir performed the arrangement at the Royal National Mòd 2017 and were awarded the Sheriff MacMaster Campbell Memorial Quaich. Ross is currently working on a new album of solo piano works and the WHYTE follow-up album.
Lisa Byrne (Vocal Tutor)
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Louise Glass (Vocal Tutor)
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Mike Scott (Guitar Tutor)
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Shaun McCusker (Guitar & Drums Tutor)
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Melisa Kelly (Vocal/Guitar Tutor)
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Lewis Deacon (Drum Tutor)
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Allie Carson (Vocal Tutor)
Allie is a singer/songwriter from Glasgow. She is an experienced performer, having sung since she was three years old and attended lessons for 5 years. She has supported acts such as Stooshe, performed in many well-known venues such as the Royal Concert Hall, the SECC and the Lowry Theatre in Manchester and has appeared in productions of Grease, Camp Rock, Little Shop of Horrors and High School Musical. She has recently graduated from the Academy of Music and Sound with a 2:1 honours degree in Performance Industries and is keen to put it to good use. When Allie isn’t out performing or writing, she loves to encourage singers to utilise whatever talents they have and build confidence in others as she has not always had confidence in performing herself.
Jamie McAuley (Guitar Tutor)
Jamie is a graduate from the the Academy of Music. He is a multi instrumentalist who specialises in guitar. He has an extensive amount of performing experience and loads of enthusiasm for teaching.
Rhona Boyle (Guitar Tutor)
Rhona is a young musician who started playing guitar at the age of 8 and joined her first ceilidh band aged 10. She achieved her RGT Grade 8 Acoustic Guitar aged 15 in 2015 and received the Student Of The Year award at her music school. As a result of playing in the ceilidh band, Rhona was encouraged to take up bass guitar and fiddle and is currently working towards grade 6 violin. She has been in various Folk and Rock bands and has played festivals such as Celtic Connections and several times at The Dougie Maclean Festival. Rhona has also performed solo guitar and fiddle at G66+ Live and Mayfest. She is currently a member of The Campsie Scottish Folk Players and The Campsie Ceilidh Band, playing fiddle. Rhona also helps out in reception from time to time.
Mike Parr-Burman (Guitar/Keys Tutor)
Mike is a guitarist and sound engineer based in Glasgow. He is especially interested in improvised music, and with experience spanning rock, jazz, blues, traditional and classical, he has taught people of all ages and interests for 9 years. He holds a BMus from Newcastle University and an MSc in sound design from Edinburgh College of Art.
As a performer he tours nationally and internationally with the trio Taupe, and his sound design work has been exhibited as far and as wide as Chile and Portugal.
Holly Phimister (Vocals Tutor)
Holly was initially trained as a classical singer and then later learned under Dr Gillyanne Kayes in musical theatre. Dr Kayes leads seminars and workshops learning the ‘Estill Method’, this is where Holly fell in love with singing and performing. After taking a break from professional singing for a few years, Holly has now returned to performing with her function band “Midnight Drive” who have over 10 years of experience working together. Holly has a passion for teaching and building confidence in young people through singing. Holly is keen to make every student feel as confidence and passionate about singing as she is.
Aaron Brackenridge (Drum Tutor)
Fraser Wills (Drum Tutor)
Fraser is a soulful drummer based in Glasgow who has toured internationally with Harakiri, the MCSM Contemporary Vocal Ensemble, and The Human Empire. He learned his trade at McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul, Minnesota, under the guidance of internationally in-demand drum set clinician Dave Stanoch. Alongside this master technician, Fraser has learned from greats such as Paul Stueber, David Schmalenberger, Kevin Washington, Marv Dahlgren and Gordy Knudtson.
Fraser was the principal percussionist for four years at Bethlehem Baptist Church under the directorship of Dr Matthew Westerholm and served as the Assistant for Worship and Music. During his eight years as a professional, Fraser has enjoyed playing a variety of styles including neo-soul, funk, rock, pop and hip hop alongside various artists such as; Ian Everson, Ethan Yeshaya, Trevor Wiest, The Brandon Projekt, Ashley Dubose and many more incredible artists.
Beth is a cover piano tutor for Rookie Rockstars. She is currently a full time student studying the BEd Music course at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Her principle study is the piano, which she has played since the age of 6, however, she also loves to sing and can play a bit of flute!
Hannah Doherty (Vocals Tutor)
Hannah is a vocals tutor for our Kirkintilloch and Cumbernauld schools. She graduated from the Academy of Music and Sound with a 2:1 in Performance Industries. She is very passionate about performing and regularly gigs around Glasgow whether it be solo or with a wedding/cover band. Hannah also plays the guitar and attended weekly lessons for 7 years. Since graduating Hannah has found a passion for teaching and wants to boost pupils confidence to sing and perform.
Rookie Minds Youth Board
Alix is a young musician that is extremely passionate about mental health, as the chair person for the rookie minds youth board, she is developing innovative and accessible ways for mental health services to be brought to all young people. She is a member of the Police Scotland Youth Volunteers, a Health and well-being mentor for her school and has been part of the Glasgow Schools Voice Factory choir for the last 7 years. She is keen to help others and is excited to gain life experience and make a difference.
Eva is a creative young girl who is very passionate about raising awareness of mental health issues, and breaking down the stigma associated with them. Inspired by her own personal struggle with eating disorders and experiences of mental health issues within her family, she is dedicated to improving the mental health and wellbeing of the young people in her area. Eva also enjoys writing, drawing and spending time with her friends.
Rachel is a motivated student, who shows a strong interest in the movement behind the rookie minds youth board. She prides in her compassion and desire to help others, and is determined to support RMYB in every way she can. Rachel is considerate and cares deeply about her friends and family, she wants to extend this kindness to help people her age focus on bettering their mental health.
Jillian is an experienced Speech and Language Therapist. She selflessly took a year out to support Dave after he approached her and asked for help to turn the programme into what it is today. She also toured internationally with Dave’s former band. Her understanding of Music, Education and her experience in working with young folk with additional support needs, gives her a huge amount of knowledge to bring to the table!
Philip is to be frank a legend! He has a career that spans TV, Radio, Musical
Performance and Events management. He has performed in some of the biggest venues in the UK and had numerous acting roles on major soaps. He has performed with Cilla Black and interviewed some of the biggest artists in the world on various radio stations over the years! He was also part of the cast, along side Amy MacDonald for the Common Wealth Games 2014 opening ceremony.
Despite her young looks Helena is a very experienced Lawyer and we are thrilled she has agreed to lend her knowledge and advice as a member of our trustees.
Alan Gunn (IT)
We all know someone great with technology! Alan is a massive support to Rookie Rockstars with all things computer and internet related. His company Enrich IT provides our web hosting for free! He was able to secure donations from Microsoft and other software providers to help run the organisation. He is always available to provide help and advice on technology issues, ideas for our website and fixing issues. He’s even been known to run cables for our printers! A huge support.3