We are hugely excited to announce that RSL are welcoming two new Honorary Fellows into the fold. Please give a big round of (virtual) applause to Francis Seriau and Robert Burns!

That’s right folks, we’re joined by another two music industry success stories, but these two are particularly poignant during this time of celebrating our 30th anniversary. Be sure to keep reading to find out why…

Francis Seriau (DPhil -FRSA)

Creative, passionate and successful educator, music entrepreneur and mentor, Francis has been a leading and pioneering voice in contemporary music education for 30 years.

He founded the first contemporary music school in the UK, the world-renowned Tech Music Schools based in London. Starting with Drumtech in 1983 followed by Vocaltech, Keyboartech and Guitar-X. He crucially helped provide the bridge between vocational music training, academia and the music industry.

His ground-breaking approach attracted students and musicians from over 50 different countries as well as some of the biggest names in music. Among them: Bill Bruford of Yes, Pick Withers of Dire Straits, Rat Scabies of The Damned, Phil Selway of Radiohead, Jason Cooper of The Cure, Nathan Curran of Basement Jaxx, Jed Lynch of Peter Gabriel, Nick Avory of The Kinks, Elliott Fyfe of George Benson, Mark Roberts of Massive Attack, Tom Meadows of Kylie Minogue, and many more…

We can all agree that this is one hell of a track record!

Francis received an honorary doctorate in recognition of his outstanding contribution to music education and was made a Fellow by the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA).

In June 2010, Seriau sold Tech Music Schools and has since dedicated his work to inspiring and empowering others. Francis now shares his knowledge and experience, coaching entrepreneurs in the creative industries, as well as musicians, helping them take their career and business to a new level.

Francis was also involved in creating the first EVER Rockschool syllabi, so he’s undoubtedly been a very special part of the Rockschool journey. Francis, we’re thrilled to have you on board as an Honorary Fellow.

Dr. Robert Burns Ph.D

Dr. Robert Burns Ph.D is an Honorary Associate Professor of Music at the University of Otago. He began his career as a professional musician as a teenager in the early 1970s and he performed as a touring and recording bass guitarist for American soul artists such as Sam and Dave, Isaac Hayes, The Stylistics, and Edwin Starr. In 1979, he was invited to perform in the rock opera, Tommy, by its composer, Pete Townsend of The Who. Robert became a ‘first-call’ session bass guitarist in the 1980s and played on several television and film soundtracks, including Not The Nine O’Clock News, Three Of A Kind, The Lenny Henry Show, Alas Smith and Jones, Red Dwarf, Blackadder, Mr. Bean, A Perfect Spy, 2.4 Children, and French and Saunders.

Robert also performed on two world tours as musical director for Eric Burdon of The Animals between 1982 and 1987, as well as working for Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Anderson of Abba and Sir Tim Rice. Between 1989 and 1996, Robert performed and recorded with David Gilmour (Pink Floyd), James Burton (Elvis Presley), Bob Weston (Fleetwood Mac), Clem Clempson (Colosseum), Neil Hubbard (Roxy Music), Snowy White (Thin Lizzy) and Albert Lee (Everly Brothers). Robert toured and also recorded for Jerry Donahue (Joan Armatrading, Fairport Convention) on his solo album, Neck of The Wood.

Having been Head of Studies at Basstech, Drumtech and Guitar Institute at the London College of Music from 1995 as well as a contributor to the formation of Rockschool grade exams as principal examiner for bass guitar, Robert moved to New Zealand in 2001. From that date, he lectured in music at the University of Otago, becoming Head of Music in 2015. He has also published in many academic works, book chapters, and journals. He was awarded his PhD in 2008 and his first monograph, Transforming Folk: Innovation and Tradition in English Folk–Rock, was published by Manchester University Press in 2012.

We are honoured to have Rob as part of the RSL Fellowship line-up.

Keep your eyes peeled as we’ll be releasing the full interview with Francis and Rob very soon, but in the meantime, you can check out the other incredible Fellows, including Muyiwa Olarewaju, Shereece Storrod and Fraser T Smith.