Westmead drummer Andrew Hewitt hopes to go to NAMM Show in California

Beats his own drum: Andrew Hewitt has been dubbed by his teachers and international musicians he's worked with as Australia's most inspirational drummer. "It all started because of my perseverance and dedication to my craft and doing what I was always told I couldn't do." Picture: Isabella Lettini

Beats his own drum: Andrew Hewitt has been dubbed by his teachers and international musicians he's worked with as Australia's most inspirational drummer. "It all started because of my perseverance and dedication to my craft and doing what I was always told I couldn't do." Picture: Isabella Lettini

THE word "can't" isn't in Westmead drummer Andrew Hewitt's vocabulary.

On stage, he looks like just another musician.

It's not until afterwards people realise he's in a wheelchair and has cerebral palsy.

"My parents gave me a drum kit when I was 10 because I was never able to play sport," he said.

"It drove my parents mad.

"Now, my drum room at home resembles a music store."

Mr Hewitt is a founding member of Can-Do Musos, an organisation established in New York in 2013 to give musicians with a disability a voice.

Its website features 200 musicians from 22 countries from bedroom players to full-time touring professionals.

"It's about giving people with disability an opportunity and changing people's perceptions," Mr Hewitt said.

"I do it for people I believe deserve the same chances that I have had."

He also runs disability programs that teach reading, spelling, maths and basic life skills using hand drums and percussion.

"Everyone has the right to be able to express themselves musically.

"I have always told my students, if it won't work one way . . . we find another.

"The word CAN'T stays outside my studio door."

Mr Hewitt has been playing in bands since he was a 19-year-old.

"It's been a tough battle," he said.

"Acceptance has always been a tough one, especially in the music industry, where if you look a little different, you don't get the gig.

"I have been lucky, have played with some really understanding musos but then again I have had my let-downs, too.

"People need to stop feeling sorry for a musician with a disability.

"We are in it for the same reasons as everyone else."

A fund-raising page is to help Mr Hewitt and his wife Jen get to the NAMM Show in California in January.

It's an international music trades show and conference, where he hopes to raise awareness about Can-Do Musos.

More than $1000 has been raised towards the $5000 target.

People who donate go into a draw to win a prize pack from Australian rock band The Living End.

Details: drummerstix.com.au/donate.php.

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