In this episode I talk with Tommy Emmerton, on both Instagram and Twitter as @tommyemmerton, who is currently the guitarist on The Book of Mormon in the West End and also the BBC Big Band.


Within the West End Tommy has also held chairs on The Rocky Horror Show, Fame, Jersey Boys and Hair as well as playing on many others over the years. He has played live with many amazing artists including Katherine Jenkins and Al Jarreau and plays in studios for sessions around London.


Tommy is also involved with a project called ‘Albert Snoid’ with drummer Pete Zeldman (who used to play with Steve Vai) which we do talk about in this episode and also has a blog called ‘Pretty, Mental Music’ which is about ‘getting stuff done’! There is some amazing stuff on there and you can check it out at

Tommy has a wealth of experience across many parts of the music industry and we touch on several of these during our chat but also drive deep into Tommy’s take on practice and explains some amazing tips that anyone can use straight away.

In this episode we talk about:

  • How to be productive with your time

  • A musician’s life on the road

  • The theatre industry today and advice for getting involved

  • Learning your craft as a musician

  • And much, much more

TOMMY EMMERTON - Guitarist, Practice Techniques and Commitment - Episode 5
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Show Notes:

00:00 – Tommy’s background

05:00 – The meaning of ‘session musicians’ these days

08:45 – Remote recording

10:30 – Silverscreen sessions at Angel

13:00 – Library music

14:00 – Tommy’s outlook on gear

16:10 – Priorities of use of time

17:00 – Studying and moving to London

22:10 – Tommy’s Blog and productivity

24:20 – Practice techniques

32:00 – The hard side of practice and playing music

36:00 – Productivity and habituation

41:10 – Tommy’s current practice example

46:00 – Tommy’s polyrhythmic project with Pete

51:00 – Tommy’s College education and musical education

58:00 – College work ethic

59:45 – Putting in the work at an early age/ practice time vs. life

1:02:00 – Barrage Tour

1:05:00 – Life on the road

1:11:00 – Leaving College, student to professional

1:12:30 – Playing musicals and learning the craft

1:15:30 – The theatre industry

1:20:30 – Working in the West End depping vs. chairs

1:21:30 – Networking

1:23:00 – Skills of show playing

1:26:10 – Recording and listening back to yourself

1:30:00 – Advice for players aspiring to the West End

1:33:00 – Networking

1:35:20 – Your personality as a player

1:36:30 – NYJO

1:37:50 – Depping on touring shows

1:39:00 – Recommended Gear

1:44:00 – Recommended Listening

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