Dave Smith started his career in the music industry working for Studios 301 (then still owned by EMI Records) as an assistant engineer in 1987. During his time with the company he had the privilege of working on sessions for artists including Noiseworks, Slim Dusty and Icehouse. He also got an enviable start to his audio education, learning from some of the best producers and engineers in the business including Peter Cobbin (now at Abbey Road) and the legendary Richard Lush who recorded a band called “The Beatles”.
After some time Dave realised engineering wasn’t the direction he wanted to go and left the company to pursue his dream of a career as a guitar player. At the time Dave had been playing for 10 years and had studied under a number of teachers including session players Ian Miller and Dennis Nattrass. He also played in several bands in venues ranging from small pubs and clubs to The Sydney Entertainment Centre. While working during the day at Phase Engineering (warranty agents for Fender, Roland, Marshall, Yamaha and others) repairing drum machines, synthesisers etc, Dave began teaching in the evenings while continuing his own guitar education and development through self-study and lessons with various teachers across a variety of genres. One teacher who had a profound influence on Dave during this period was Graham Cox - the guitar player in Geoff Harvey's band on The Ray Martin Show.
Dave began his full-time teaching career in 1990 after accepting an invitation from St. Augustine’s College in Brookvale to initiate a guitar program at the school. Within 5 months he was teaching over 60 students a week. Soon after he accepted an offer to teach guitar and bass at St. Luke’s Grammar School in Dee Why. He remained at both schools for a couple of years before leaving to focus on his private students and his own continuing musical education and training. During this time Dave began to seriously study and experiment with MIDI sequencing and music production – adding to the skills he acquired during his stint at Studios 301. He also worked as a session guitar player on several television and radio ad campaigns including Delva Shampoo, Australian Red Cross & Coca Cola. It wasn’t long before his guitar playing, composing and producing skills converged and he wrote, produced and played all the instruments on the updated jingle for Jamberoo Recreation Park. The campaign was a huge success and remained on Australian television for many years. This was the first of many projects where Dave wore all 3 hats (writer, producer and player) over the following years.
In 1995 Dave received a call from Graham Cox who had been teaching at Marist College North Shore for several years and was leaving. When the school asked him to recommend a replacement he recommended Dave who eagerly accepted on the spot – a position he held on and off for 15 years before leaving in 2009. During these years he also taught at Northern Beaches Christian School and St. Pius X College Chatswood and played in several bands around Sydney.
Today Dave runs a private teaching studio based in Terrey Hills. He has several elective music and HSC students each year and also offers preparation for AMEB CPM & Rockschool exams. Many of Dave’s former and current students perform regularly and some have gone on to record albums, tour nationally and appear on television. Although some students want to prepare for exams or tertiary study with a view to a career in the music industry, a lot of Dave’s students want to learn to play just for fun or to start a band with their friends. His students range in age from primary school children to retirees and in skill level from complete beginner to advanced.
Now in his third decade in the music industry, Dave still enjoys playing guitar and developing his overall musicianship. When he's not working Dave loves relaxing with his wife and 3 children, having Sunday BBQs and handball games, watching his beloved Sea Eagles rugby league team beat whoever they're playing and catching up on episodes of his favourite TV shows.