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.
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 (School of Music Coordinator)
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.
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 (Rookie Minds Counsellor)
Karolyn is a Mental Health professional based in Glasgow. She has extensive experience providing counselling in primary schools within Glasgow City Council. She has experience working with: bereavement, anxiety, loss, separation, attachment and many more areas of mental health. Starting her career as a nursery nurse Karolyn gained her post graduate diploma in person centred counselling from Strathclyde University. Through her experiences of working with both adults and children it became clear that her passion was working in early intervention within mental health.
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
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)
Lewis Deacon (Drum Tutor)
Lewis is a percussionist with 15 years of experience behind a drumset. He grew up playing the drums with his church worship band and playing the snare drum in his local Boys Brigade pipe band becoming their youngest drum major ever at the age of 14. He is heavily involved in the Glasgow music scene and has been performing around Glasgow and the rest of the UK in various bands for a decade. Lewis believes music education is incredibly important for young children to develop self-confidence and creativity and hopes to pass these these skills onto his students.
Pete Crowder (Guitar Tutor)
Pete studied electric guitar at RNCM in Manchester back in 2011 and then taught in Manchester for a few years. During this time he played with various groups including function work with pop/funk bands and a duo jazz outfit, and also wrote and recorded original music as part of a songwriting collective. Pete moved up to Glasgow in 2017 to study audio production at The SAE Institute and so now also records and produces a variety of music.
John Morton (Keys Tutor)
John is a composer, arranger, pianist, guitarist, bassist, ukuleleist and clarinettist. He has been playing music since the age of Seven and has several qualifications in music including an Honours Degree in Creative Sound Production from Abertay University, a Diploma in Music And Audio Technology and grades for all previously listed instruments. He also has played/performed in many different orchestras and wind bands as well as rock bands. Music is incredibly important to John and he has been teaching musical instrument tuition and theory for well over a decade and continues to learn new instruments and pick up new skills and techniques on modern instruments and for composing on the latest hardware/software.
Dave Jamieson (Keys Tutor)
With 25 years of experience, Dave is well versed with all aspects of the piano. From the age of 6 listening to the TV and radio and emulating the music on an old organ, to gaining grade 8 with distinction in piano at 15, Dave has diversified his playing skills and range of music playing classical, contemporary and Scottish folk music. Dave was an organist in the Scottish Episcopal Church for over 10 years further enhancing his style and ability. Now the focus is on passing his wealth of experience onto the next generation of budding Mozart’s and Elton Johns.
Nathanial Haas (Guitar Tutor)
Nathaniel has been playing music for almost 20 years. He started off learning guitar at 7, then picked up double bass and euphonium at his primary school. Then, in high school started playing in Perth, Youth Orchestra (on double bass) along with the brass band and wind band at after school activities. His brass teacher also asked him to play for Buckhaven & Methil Brass as he was the conductor for said band, that he played with up until the end of high school. After high school, he went to study pop music, with guitar, for a year at Perth College for an HNC and still went to Perth Youth Orchestra and the school brass band to help out. Since Nathaniel did a lot of orchestral work with his double bass, he claimed a spot at Edinburgh College’s, The Music Box to study classical music with double bass as his main instrument. Since he now studied in Edinburgh, he joined Edinburgh Youth Orchestra and Scottish Opera Connect in Glasgow that he did for the 2 years he did his HND at Edinburgh. One of the groups at Edinburgh college was a folk group, which then led on to him and a few others in his course starting a folk band called It & Them, who played together for 3 years. After the two years at Edinburgh, Nathaniel got the opportunity to go on tour with the Palestine Youth Orchestra, where they toured the UK, starting in Perth and ending in London. One other band, he used to play in was The Tinderbox Orchestra, that he played bass guitar and double in for 7 years, played countless gigs and released an album with, until a couple of years ago when he started a band called Trading Glances. This thankfully takes us up to now, where he teaches guitar at Rookie Rockstars and writes music for his band Trading Glances and his solo project Crossing The Water.
Scott McGuigan (Guitar Tutor)
Scott attended the academy of music and sound between 2013 and 2018 where he achieved an honours degree in performance industry studies. During that time and since then he has performed in a wide variety of professional function settings as well as being a member to various creative projects. Scott has taught students since his teen years and finds inspiration in igniting other’s passion for music.
Max Welton (Guitar Tutor)
bio to follow
Emma Sommerville (Keys Tutor)
Emma has played the piano for over 15 years and studied Music at Trinity College Dublin. She then went on to do a Masters in Sound for the Moving Image at the Glasgow School of Art. She studied classical piano at the DIT Conservatory of Music and has taken part in competitions and festivals such as the Dublin International Piano Festival. She has been teaching for over 8 years now and enjoys sharing her love for music with students of all ages.
Lucy Brown (Vocal Tutor)
bio to follow
Nate Bennett (Keys Tutor)
bio to follow
Oscar Dailly (Guitar Tutor)
bio to follow
Frazer Laurie (Drum Tutor)
Frazer has been drumming for over 10 years and has played in numerous locations throughout the country with various artists and bands. Everything from punk and rock, to funk and soul, Frazer has dipped his toes in all sorts of musical genres over the years. Having started out in high school and then continuing to play the drums as a hobby, he decided to take his drumming full time as a performer, songwriter, and tutor. Frazer recently received a diploma in Music Performance and Production in the Summer of 2020. When not doing music, he always keen to get out and about to discover new places and meet new people and musicians. More recently, Frazer has created a dedicated space in which he has been organising and delivering online drum lessons, so young drummers can learn and practice from the comfort of their own homes. Constantly practising, recording, and performing, Frazer is keen to share his knowledge and experiences with other aspiring drummers and young musicians.
Aoife McGuigan (Vocal Tutor)
Aoife fell in love with singing from a very early age and quickly became a well-decorated competitor. Growing up in Dundee, Scotland, she competed in a wide range of genres including Traditional, Classical and Pop which led her to being invited into the National Youth Choir of Scotland at the age of 7. She soon ventured into Musical Theatre and has since been involved in many prestigious performances and televised events. In 2015 Aoife graduated with a BA Honours Degree in Musical Theatre from the University of the West of Scotland and went on to become a professional singing tutor and owner of wedding and special events band, Acoustic Aura. Aoife has taught over 150 students in her short career and has a 100% pass rate from students taking exams in RockSchool and London College of Music
Calais Brown (Guitar Tutor)
Calais has toured and recorded with many bands throughout the years, such as Pilot, Maggie Reilly and The Felsons. For the last five years, he played lead guitar for Albert Hammond, who has sold over 360 million records and has written for Diana Ross, Whitney Houston, The Hollies, and many more. Calais has toured around the world as well as performing at Glastonbury Festival and a Symphonic Tour with The Leipzig Orchestra. Calais lectured at Edinburgh College teaching music performance, studio recording and songwriting to students.
Eleni Konstantinidou (Keys Tutor)
Eleni comes from Greece, where she obtained her Piano Diploma at the Music College Conservatoire of Thessaloniki with Distinction (Class of A.Paschalidou). Over the years she has attended numerous piano seminars and masterclasses with well-known and respected pianists, including but not limited to: Domna Evnouchidou, Geoffrey Madge, Alan Weiss, and Daniele Petralia, Yuri Bogdanov, and Lilia Boyadjieva (Poros International Summer Piano Academy). She has always been interested in the well-being of musicians, and has taken part in different training courses such as Focus Training, Satyananda Yoga for Musicians (instr. Lola Totsiou), Somatics for Musicians (instr. Christos Noulis), and is currently training to become an Alexander Technique Teacher at the Edinburgh Alexander Training School. She has performed recitals in various cities of Greece.
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