Name: Bertie Caplan
Location: United Kingdom
Trinity qualification: Grade 7 Rock & Pop Drums
Bertie Caplan is 12-year-old musician and actor from London, who is currently playing Luke on stage in The Witches at the National Theatre, as well as appearing on our screens in the movie musical Wonka. Bertie spoke to us about his love for performing and his experiences preparing for Trinity’s Rock & Pop Drums.
We asked Bertie what interested him in music and performing.
“My dad is a drummer, and I used to copy him by drumming on the table when I was about 2 years old, I think.”
Before long Bertie picked up the drumsticks himself, and a passion was formed.
“When I started drumming, I used to be creative and have fun with it, but there was also a point where I felt I want to develop more.”
“I realised I needed to learn to read music, because that is a very helpful thing to learn, and it can help you with loads of other aspects in your life.”
Bertie and his parents looked for a teacher to help Bertie achieve his goals, and they found Gareth Siggins, a session artist and music teacher from Hertfordshire.
“Gareth is the loveliest and most brilliant drummer I've ever heard. He is a really big inspiration for me - he's taught me so well and I've learned so much from him!”
It was Gareth who suggested Bertie continue developing his drum skills by preparing for Trinity’s Rock & Pop exams, which Bertie really enjoyed doing.
“I love being able to learn a song, and then getting to that end point where you do the exam and think - I've worked so hard, and I've got to this point - it's a really good achievement!”
Bertie found that he developed his ability to improvise when preparing for his Trinity Rock & Pop drum exams.
“There are certain songs where we get to be creative and bring our own ideas into the fills. In my lessons when it gets to the fills part, and we get to choose, that's always really exciting because you never know what you're going to do!”
“I practised this one fill for Grade 3, and I actually did a different one on the day. It still worked, and I ended up really liking that fill - I love being able to be creative!”
This love for creativity has led to some incredible achievements, including a number one song on I-Tunes, him taking part in workshops with Grammy award winning artist, Jacob Collier, taking on roles on TV and films, including 2023’s “Wonka”, and on London’s West End – most recently in The Witches at the National Theatre.
We asked Bertie about the move from drumming into singing and acting.
“Acting, drama and music are different, but there are similarities in the creativity side of things, because it's all about how you use your ideas and your imagination. You can be yourself - you don't need to think about anything else.”
Bertie told us how he applies some of the techniques he picked up when learning to play the drums to other ways of performing.
“The Witches has been rehearsed in such a brilliant way, which is very similar to how I learned the drums. One thing that helps me is being able to focus more on the bits that I find hard. I still work on the easy parts but not as much.”
“That really helps me because then it's more in my muscle memory and then when we get to the exam day, or if we are filming it, I know it so well that I'm ready and able to perform at the top of my game every night.”
Bertie’s passion for music shines through when he talks about his song writing.
“Writing is my way of sort of refreshing - just being able to take all my feelings out and putting it into music.”
“I'm really fascinated by being able to use loops and sticking them all together and layering uploads and stuff - I managed to create a dance track this morning, so that was really fun!”