News by @Progress_music



Founding member of Progress

Steve is currently teaching professionally across every level of guitar, and has done so for many years. Steve has taught Guitar at Access to Music in Birmingham, The Academy of Music and Sound, Bournville Specialist Music School along with an extensive private tuition programme.  Steve is also a member of the Official Registry of Guitar tutors.

Steve has a thorough knowledge of teacher training, exam systems and available certification bodies along with a very high level of musicianship across all styles of music.

On a personal level, Steve has a successful solo project and is currently working on his second album in between touring the UK as a guitar clinician and demonstrator for Marshall Amplification, the worlds largest Amp company!

Founding member of Progress

Gary now has over 25 years of experience playing and teaching drums and has toured the UK, recorded sessions at the legendary Abbey Road Studios and has shared the stage with the likes of the Feeling, Editors, Ricky Warwick (Almighty), Richie Kotzen (Poison, Mr Big), Andrew WK, Jeff Scott-Soto (Journey), Pete Way (UFO), Stone Gods ex-The Darkness), Stuart Cable (Stereophonics), Gary Stringer (Reef), Tugg (Basement Jaxx, Lady Sovereign), Jarvis Cocker and many more.

Gary also plays drums on ‘The Life We Learned to Live’ which is the debut album from London based singer/songwriter Gary Nock. Two songs from this album have been used on major TV advertising campaigns for Mars and Microsoft.

Gary also consults for Marshall Amplification, working directly for the Natal Drums division and whilst an integral part of the set up of the company in 2010, Gary continues to develop the brand across the world.



Emily is from Kirkby-in-Ashfield within Nottinghamshire, where she began her training in performance. Subsequent to her participation in various dance schools, musicals, choirs and singing ensembles, she continued her training at Colchester Institute where she received a First Class Bachelor of Arts degree in Musical Theatre.

In between teaching Emily works as a professional performer, her experience includes educational films and session singing; her biggest achievement to date being the production of her girl band, ICING, who have performed at Strictly Come Dancing Balls, Chesney Hawkes’ birthday and various other events and venues.

Recording Studio, Producer, Engineer

Long long ago in a galaxy far away......Gary was a young 17 year old with a passion for music. He started his first band and did the usual things band did, Rehearsed, toured, played to record executives, turned down the Bon Jovi support.(BIG MISTAKE) ETC ETC. And finally, after many years realised it was not meant to be. However, the passion remained. So he went to University, achieved a BTEC, HND, and a degree in music production and decided to use the passion to help others in the studio. After teaching students at East Birmingham College, he signed to Machola Music as a song writer/producer and continued to share the passion.

That 17 year old kid is now older and wiser and is, in the words of Steve Wonder, "overjoyed" to be part of the Progress Music Academy team, helping others to realise and achieve their dreams.


Dave's involvement at Progress is true testament to our level of teaching and our dedication to student development. Dave has made his way from student to teacher through our own teacher training programme. Dave has over 10 years experience and was fortunate to begin lessons with Steve Smith (co-founder of Progress) some years ago.This relationship ultimately lead to Dave becoming an approved Progress teacher in 2010.

Adapting to the individual students' needs and learning style, Dave's aim is to develop the students as efficiently as possible whilst balancing a healthy level of fun, theory, performance and technique.


Liz has recently graduated from Birmingham Conservatoire with a BMus(Hons) degree and ABRSM and LRSM diplomas  in music performance. She has worked with many different groups including the Pheonix Theatre Company performing various shows (Oliver and Phantom of the Opera), Band Baja UK and Blatherskites Folk Fusion ensemble. Liz works with many education groups including the music service and Junior Conservatoire with a range of teaching styles from jazz, rock and classical and many more. 


Mark's passion is playing with other musicians, creating and performing music in a collaborative way. He is a member of original band Midnight Bonfires, a group which boasts shows with Jamie Cullum, Johnny Marr and The Twang, and has appeared at prestigious venues including Birmingham's Symphony Hall & Town Hall.
Mark also plays drums for The Glamophones, a vintage inspired girl group. They have featured on BBC 1, performed at some of the country's most prestigious events and were finalists at the National Vintage Awards in July 2015.
Having a passion for music in many forms, Mark has written and arranged for strings, horns and other ensembles. He has also worked as a musical director, displaying an ear for harmony as well as rhythm. Recognising the importance of passing on skills, Mark is an educator, offering lessons on the drum kit His teaching extends to music theory, ear training, musicianship, ensemble playing and percussive composition.

Bass Guitar

Dave Clarke has being playing bass for over 20 years and is one of the UK’s most in demand session players and tutors. Progress were extremely lucky to secure Dave’s tuition services in 2013. As well as playing for Alvin Stardust, 'The Really Hot Chili Peppers', Surinder Sandhu and many other projects & function bands, he also undertakes and huge amount of Depwork, Studio recording sessions, and other musical projects.

Dave is extremely versatile and accomplished in playing a wide range of musicals styles and situations. Dave is currently playing with artists such as Sarangi player, composer, fusion pioneer Surinder Sandhu (recorded 2 Albums 'Cycles & Stories' & 'The Fictionist'), Midlands blues-rock band 'Hangman' (opened up for acts such as Brian May and Whitesnake), to gigs with 'Taz' (Asian pop band 'Stereo Nation') to mention only a few