Joseph’s story

Name: Joseph Sheppard
Age: 11
Location: United Kingdom
Trinity qualification: Grade 8 Rock & Pop Guitar (merit)

School of Rock star Joseph Sheppard has been performing since he was very young. He tells us about the work he has put in so far to achieve such impressive success at such a young age.

“I used to have a little toy guitar when I was little, and I used to ‘fake play’ it. My mum asked if I wanted guitar lessons and I just got really into it.”

Before long, his teacher suggested he start preparing for a Trinity graded exam. He Joseph enjoyed the songs he learned to play and feels that he grasped a very good understanding of music theory and reading in the process.

“Doing the Trinity grades really helped my playing. I’ve done a lot of practising to get to where I am, like hours and hours and hours! The certificates are in my room framed.”

After honing his live performance skills with Christmas light switch on appearances and performances at local charity events, Joseph saw an audition opportunity on social media, and decided to go for the part of guitarist Zack in the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical tour of School of Rock.

“Learning the songs in the exam definitely improved my skill to be able to learn the different solos I had to learn in School of Rock. Having a Grade 8 in Guitar was a nice thing to have on the CV too!”

After a long, tough audition process Joseph was offered the part and is now on tour, working with some of the best young musicians in the country. TV appearances followed, including reaching the semi-final of The Voice Kids, performing with his band in an episode of the CBBC kids programme Andy and the Oddsocks, and playing in front of an audience of 13,000 for The National Lotteries Big Night of Musicals, which aired nationally on BBC One.

His parents are so proud of his success. ‘To have the self-belief to go out in front of an audience at such a young age is simply incredible’. Joseph developed his musical craft through the Trinity College syllabus, which has not just encouraged his musical ability, but also his confidence.”

Now Joseph is turning his attentions to song writing, with a few songs already under his belt.

“I like to improvise on solos especially, and to know the background of the what the scales are made up of helped me maybe do them a different way when I do a solo! ”

Not content with mastering one instrument, Joseph’s already making plans to develop his piano and keyboard skills.

“I’ve also been starting to learn piano as well, and I want to start getting some Trinity grades on that as well, which would be really cool! I think after School of Rock I’d like to get in a band and start properly writing my own stuff.”


Joseph Sheppard is young guitarist who is currently starring as Zack in the UK musical tour of School of Rock by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Joseph started preparing for Trinity exams at the age of 8 and recently achieved a merit at Grade 8 Rock & Pop Guitar aged 11.

Find out more about Trinity Rock & Pop exams
More Trinity success stories


Keep in touch

Make sure you don’t miss the latest news from Trinity College London. Sign up for email updates about your subject area.

Back to top