When he received the news that he had achieved the highest professional drumming grade, Sergio 'Drummer' Rodríguez was playing in a beach bar with his friends. "It didn't sink in at the time, but later I realised what I'd achieved and I went crazy!" the 10-year-old from Marbella explains to SUR. Sergio has become the youngest musician to achieve the highest possible drumming grade awarded in music by the prestigious London-based Trinity College, scoring an impressive 87 per cent.
Sergio wowed the examiners with three pieces and an improvisation: Jimi Hendrix's Fire, Biffy Clyro's That Golden Rule and the iconic Spirit of The Radio from legendary progressive rock band Rush and incredible drummer Neil Peart. "I was a little nervous, but they told me that I had done very well," Sergio says.
Sergio's recognition as a professional drummer is the fruit of a huge combined effort. "We placed great emphasis on the Trinity exam in every lesson," says Sergio, pupil at the Rock Factory music school in San Pedro.
There, Sergio has three hours of lessons a week with drum teacher Teo González. "We are extremely proud of him. We have watched him grow," beams González, remembering how it all started. "I saw his potential in the group sessions, and so asked to take him for an individual 30-minute lesson. This has increased to three hours a week this year."
Sergio's Rock Factory journey began just over three years ago, but his passion for drumming goes back a long way. "I started to play with drumsticks when I was three and after trying different instruments with my dad, I chose the drums because it was what I was best at."
As well as weekly lessons, Sergio practises the drums at home every day. "I've a mini studio at my grandparents' house, and I film videos for my YouTube channel there," he explains.
Now that he has achieved the highest possible drumming grade, Sergio is eager for new challenges, such as jazz. "The world of jazz is difficult, but he hopes to have reached a professional level within two years and to develop his musical tastes," says Habacuc Rodríguez, the young drummer's father.
Sergio wants to become the world's best drummer. "I want to be like Eric Moore or better," says the 10-year-old, who seems to transform as soon as he steps on stage. "I want to fill stadiums with my band."
Sergio belongs to a children's band, Devils in the Sky, made up of the young drummer and five girls, all pupils at Rock Factory. "They all passed their Trinity exams with flying colours," explains Rafa Rodríguez, head of the school and manager of the band.
It was Rodríguez who brought the children together to create the band, which has already made a name for itself outside of Andalucía. "A few weeks ago, we performed in Lleida, and it was very exciting," says the teacher, who claims that the children's band is "setting a standard in Spain, since the members have passed all of their music exams".
The band practises together every Saturday morning at the school, rehearsing for their concerts of which they have performed almost 50. "They are super young children singing and playing instruments at an incredible level. We love this element of surprise we have when we perform at a new venue," says Reyes.
After recording a single in the Abbey Road studios, the band is now writing songs to bring out in its first album next year.