Andrew Hewitt, dubbed as "Australia's most inspirational drummer", is a world renowned drummer, drum kit educator, drum circle and percussion workshop facilitator, radio/podcast presenter, motivational speaker and disability advocate.
He was born with Cerebral Palsy, which restricts movement in his arms and legs, which forces him to use a wheelchair. This has made drumming a very serious challenge. Despite this, Andrew has been working successfully all over Australia, and internationally for over 20 years.
In March 2013, while in the USA, Andrew travelled to New York to form a new global organisation of which he on the board of directors. Can-Do Musos was established to support musicians living with the challenge of a disability from all over the world.
Andrew's obsession with drumming all started in 1980 when his parents got him a drum kit for Christmas thinking it would be a good form of physical exercise. Over the years as Andrew grew, he could never participate in schools sports or any other physical activities, drums became his major passion.
Andrew played in his first band in North-West Tasmania in the late 80s. Moved to Melbourne in 1992, and then Sydney in 2001.
He was determined to never let his disability stop him from achieving a much greater success.
Over 40 years later, Andrew is still hard at it.
Andrew travels regularly performing and hosting drum and percussion workshops all over Australia. Past performances have included: Australia's Ultimate Drummers' Weekend 2009 (with Mike Mignogna and Dom Famularo), Roland V-Drum Festival Sydney 2010, Adelaide Fringe Festival and various other disability arts festivals, conferences and expos.
In 2004 and 2005, Andrew was part of Club Wild Dance Party events at the Sydney Opera House. These were disability friendly dance party events organised by Wild @ Heart Community Arts, formerly known as Club Wild. Andrew performed a set with Melbourne band Bipolar Bears. In 2004, they had a special guest guitarist Ross Hannaford of Daddy Cool fame. The 2005 shows were in support of Guinean drummer/dancer Sidiki Conde. This was Andrew's first introduction to African drumming/djembie hand drumming.
In 2007 Andrew was the subject of "Alternatives in Music presents Andrew Hewitt", a short 15 minute mini-documentary which was released on DVD and produced by US film maker Anthony Allen. It was recorded at the Billy Hyde Drumcraft store in Sydney. The DVD recieved a 3 stars out of 5 in the December 2007 issue of Rhythm magazine from the UK.
Young Regional School of Music - February 2020
In 2008, Andrew did some solo performances and drum workshops at High Beam Global, part of the Adelaide Fringe Festival in South Australia. In August he went to Perth for Cerebral Palsy Week being hosted by Ability WA formerly The Centre for Cerebral Palsy. The week finished with Andrew playing a set with local Perth irish band The Healy's.
In October 2008, Andrew performed and held drumming workshops at the Awakenings Festival, a disability arts festival in Horsham, Victoria.
In July 2009, Andrew performed on stage with Dom Famularo and Mike Mignogna at Australia's Ultimate Drummers Weekend in Melbourne. This was hosted by Drumscene Magazine and was the initial idea behind Can-Do Musos.
In August 2010, Andrew performed at the Roland V-Drum Festival at Carraigeworks in Sydney. Highlight was the all-star jam to finish the show with Michael Schack, Karl Lewis (Savage Garden), Terapai Richmond (Whitlams), Malcolm Green (Split Enz), and Chris Whitten (Dire Straits) all jamming on Roland electronic drums and percussion.
In November 2011, Andrew was involved in a collaboration between disabled and non-disabled musicians entitled Re-Writing The Score at Orange Regional Conservatorium of Music in Central Western NSW. This was a week long residency which involved writing 10 pieces of music and performing them together at a final concert on the Friday night. This was organised by Accessible Arts NSW.
In 2012, Andrew was involved in the "Making it Real" video series for Cerebral Palsy Alliance. Andrew along with 13 other people with Cerebral Palsy, discussed topics dealing with life with CP.
Andrew runs his own drum teaching studio in Penrith in Western Sydney, where he teaches students of all abilities. He also teaches some students online via Zoom or Skype.
In March 2013, Andrew went to the United States and learnt Eddie Tuduri's TRAP program (The Rhythmic Arts Project), which is a workshop based program to teach people with disabilities to read, spell, count and use life skills using drums and percussion. He has become Australia's first TRAP facilitator, which he is starting to build clientelle for TRAP workshops around Sydney.
While in the United States, Andrew did a clinic performance sponsored by Zildjian Cymbals for other TRAP Trainees and clients of United Cerebral Palsy at the Westside Community Center in Santa Barbara, California, then travelled to New York to meet with Dom Famularo, Mike Mignogna and David Segal with a purpose to form Can-Do Musos and have lessons with Dom.
Andrew has appeared globally in publications such as Modern Drummer (USA), DRUM!, Rhythm (UK), The Black Page (Canada), Drums & Percussion Magazine (Germany) and regularly in Australia's own Drumscene magazine.
He was also acknowledged for his teaching in Dom Famularo's Worldwide Drum Teacher List in Modern Drummer magazine.
In 2014, Andrew was nominated for the prestigious "Australian Of The Year" award. Even though he didn't make it to the finals, he thinks it was still a huge honor to be nominiated.
In January 2015, Andrew had a return visit to the USA and presented on a panel Can-Do Musos, music and disability with Dom Famularo, David Segal, Mike Mignogna, Joe Hardy, Dean Zimmer, and Mark Goffeney in the HOT Zone at The NAMM Show in Anaheim, California where he discussed his music, passion and the inadequacies of the music industry for when it comes to people with a disability.
November 2015, Andrew attended a training seminar to learn the HolyOAKE Drum Beat program.
In December 2015, Can-Do Musos launched CAN-DO MUSOS TV edited, produced and hosted by Andrew. This is an online tv show which showcases musicians living with a disability from all over the world.
Andrew with his wife Jennifer, returned to the USA once again in January 2016 to help present Can-Do Musos at The NAMM Show 2016. While there, Andrew also participated along with 400 others at the Remo NAMM Drum Circle, which was hosted by the legendary Arthur Hull. He also did a photo shoot for Vic Firth drumsticks, which has led to Andrew's own aritst page on the Vic Firth website.
In July 2016, Andrew completed Arthur Hull Village Music Circles training program being held in Sydney.
In December 2016, Andrew was subject of a nationwide news story for International Day for People with a Disability. The story showed on the hour on ABC TV news and was heard on ABC Radio Australia.
In January 2017, Andrew was amongst a group of 12 musicians from 4 countries who opened the 2017 Winter NAMM Show for Can-Do Musos on Center Stage in Anaheim, California.
In May 2017, Andrew was invited to present via Skype at the Music No Borders disability arts forum in St Petersburg Russia.
In September 2017, Andrew was interviewed once again for ABC-TV for their Lateline show. The story was featuring website Have Wheelchair Will Travel, and Andrew was interviewed about being a touring musician in a wheelchair.
In October 2017, Andrew was part of a Berlin & Australia Arts Exchange for Arts Access Australia in Berlin, Germany. While in Berlin, Andrew presented, performed and hosted a drum circle at Meeting Place, a disability arts conference at Podewil.
While he was there, together with Can-Do Musos, Rich Millan and the staff at Dr Paradiddles Wonder Drumporium, a drum school in Berlin, he co-hosted a 3 Australian drummer clinic in the Sky Live lounge at Just Music Berlin. Andrew also did a short impromptu jam with Australian bucket drummers, Todd James and Geriant Morton otherwise known as Buck-It at Alexanderplatz, a shopping/transport precinct in the middle of Berlin. He was also interviewed for German drum magazine Drums & Percussion.
In 2019 Andrew returned to the NAMM Show in the USA to perform with Can-Do Musos on the Arena Plaza Stage at the Anaheim Convention Centre.
In November 2021, Andrew was part of a collaboration recording of the hit from England Dan & Jon Ford Coley "Love Is The Answer" featuring Can-Do Musos from New York, Colorado, Perth and Sydney, Australia and South Korea. This was a joint project between Can-Do Musos, and South Korean disability arts organisation ArtWeCan.
The NAMM Show - Anaheim, California - January 2017
Andrew's playing style is very much based on 70s rock, with a bit of a touch of new groove style rock thrown in for good measure. His influences are as follows:-
Andrew's career highlights:-
Just Music Drum Clinic - Berlin, Germany - October 2017
The NAMM Show - Anaheim, California - January 2019
Main Drum Kit:
Pearl Reference Series - Granite Sparkle
14x12" Floor Tom
20x18" Bass Drum
Pearl 14x5" Sensitone Snare
Pearl 14x5" Export Wooden Snare
Ludwig 14x5" 1966 Supraphonic Snare
Sonor 10x5" Snare
Red Rock Drums Australia 14x6.5" Tasmanian Blackwood Snare
14" A Rock HiHats (1985)
16" S Trash Crash
17" A Custom Fast Crash
10" FX Trashformer
6" Small Zil Bel
18” K Cluster Crash
20" A Zildjian Medium Ride (70s made in Canada)
19" K Custom Hybrid Crash
10" S Mini HiHats
18" Impulse China (1989)
Andrew also has a Pearl EXX Export kit that he uses for teaching and some smaller gigs.
Rhythm Lids (Bucket Drums)
Round Sound Shapes
Andrew is an internationally endorsed artist for Pearl Drums, Zildjian Cymbals, Remo Drum Heads and Vic Firth drumsticks. Andrew is an International Endorsed Drum Circle Facilitator for Remo. Check out his page on the Remo Website. He is also a member of the Vic Firth education program through Vic Firth USA.
To assist with his physical challenges behind the drum set, Andrew uses Roland V-Drum pads and drum triggers.
Read what others have been saying about Andrew...
"Andrew is a very special person and artist! His drive and motivation is inspiring! We worked together during my trip to Australia and performed on the same stage to a full house. He is committed, enthusiastic and always willing to learn and grow! I highly recommend Andrew for any aspect of the music business and a leader....!"
Drumming's Global Ambassador
"Andrew is an amazing man, a Legend in the true sense of the word, in a world that now seems to use this word without real meaning, Andrew actually is a man of true Legendary Status, he has achieved more than most, and has never let his circumstances prevent him from doing what he sets out too, and some, a truly incredible drummer with feel and a pocket most can only hope for. The word can't or too hard are not in Andrews vocabulary. A total INSPIRATION to any one and every one. One in a zillion, a humble caring, and sincere human being of the kind one does not meet often in a life time. I am proud and honoured to call him my friend."
Drummer / Author
"Andrew is a great motivator and educator, both to those who are challenged, and to those who don't necessarily comprehend the challenges others face. His personal motivations are inspirations to others who have met him or watched one of his Presentations."
"Andrew is a professional standard musician with a disability who has put in years of hard work in his artform. Andrew impresses me with his hard work in establishing performance opportunities as well as his knowledge of and engagement with the music industry and the music business. Andrew has achieved endorsements from drum manufacturers which is a high accolade for any artist. Andrew has also played at industry days and maintains relationships with top level industry artists around the world. He has worked hard to develop his international profile, including feature articles in leading industry magazines."
Wild@heART Community Arts
"On behalf of the Leadership Forward participants, Macarthur Disability Services would like to thank you for the performance and presentation to the participants during 2011 and 2012. Your performance was uplifting and demonstrates your ability as a top drummer and musician. Your inspirational speech received great feedback from people in our leadership training program. You demonstrate great resilience, drive and passion to succeed in your goals. Congratulations and please keep on spreading the music and word of ABILITY. You rock Andrew!!!"
Community Development Coordinator
Macarthur Disability Services
"Parramatta City Council was really pleased that Andrew could perform at Council's event for the International Day of People with Disability 2011. Andrew played to several well known songs appealing to a diverse audience and was really well responded to, with people even getting up and dancing. His performance and the energy it brought livened up the event and fit perfectly with celebrating and showcasing the skills of people with disabilities."
Thank you again for your performance, and happy festive season!
Parramatta City Council
"Andrew Hewitt definitely lived up to the title of Australia's Most Inspirational Drummer, through his fantastic and impressive performances at our festival. Not only was his exceptional talent for playing the drums extremely entertaining, but it was his charming personality and positive attitude that made his attendance such a wonderful experience. Despite the issues on the day, Andrew was able to take it all in his stride and was very gracious. Andrew's supportive family team is very inspiring and we wish Andrew Hewitt all the best for the future."
Organisers of the Multicultural Eid Festival & Fair
"Thank you Andrew, on behalf of the staff of City of Canterbury Library and the kids, for running a drumming workshop during the school holidays.
You're a true professional. The kids that came were in awe of you and had a fun time. Other libraries should follow suit, especially for International Day for People with a Disability events. It wasn't even that loud!! Keep on rocking."
Aged and Disability Services Librarian
City of Canterbury Library, Campsie.
"Hi Andrew, I heard one of your 'blistering solo performances' at the 2008 High Beam Festival, and I was in awe."
PJ Rose, Artistic Director
No Strings Attached Theatre of Disability
"Dear Andrew, we all had a great time with you at Awakenings, listening to your performance and participating in your awesome drumming workshop."
Glenroy Specialist School - Melbourne
"So cool! I was busking in Horsham and by complete fluke I walked into a hall to see this guy playing Highway Star with a backing tape of just guitar, bass and keys. This guy is a monster I'm telling you. Truly awesome person."
"Hey Andrew, I really enjoyed your session at the ACPA Conference in Adelaide in March. I found it energising, inspiring and informative. Drumming could be such a great option for people with cerebral palsy. As you pointed out, it works at so many levels - as therapy, for fitness and coordination; as recreation, for good simple fun, great sounds and social opportunities; and as a potential professional pursuit. Best of luck with your plans."
Senior Occupational Therapist
Equipment and Assistive Technology Service
Cerebral Palsy Association of Western Australia
I was at your workshop. I guess what I would say is I loved your spontaneous chatty style. It really connects with people so keep it up. The combination of chat and entertainment via your drum playing provides a nice presentation balance too."
All the best
""G'day Andrew, I really enjoyed your workshop mate( 26th March 2004 ) You're an inspiration to so many people. I wish that there was more people in this world like you ! If any of you drum fans out there have'nt seen Andrew perform, get out there and check him out ! Congratulations again on the MODERN DRUMMER review : ) I expect to see you go on to bigger and greater things; all the best, Chris Brien....." "YOU ROCK""
"3 drum kits, a boat load of percussion, 20 kids pounding everything at full force..... Now that's my idea of fun!"