Eric Graham

Age: 14
Years playing: 6

I have been teaching Eric for several years at my home studio. His dedication to drumming is inspirational! At every lesson, he comes in prepared and eager to learn. So, presenting without further ado, the first student spotlight…


Are you playing in a band?
High school jazz band. Sometimes I jam with people but not enough of my friends play instruments.

How often do you practice?
I try to practice at least once a day sometimes for an hour, sometimes for five minutes.

What are you currently practicing?
P. 38 of Progressive Steps to Syncopation with Snare drum, hihat, and bass drum alternating on the top line, with the jazz ride pattern. Whole lotta love by Led Zeppelin. And Endure by Tommy Igoe.

Favorite drummers?
My favorite drummers are Art Blakey, Jojo Mayer, Philly Joe Jones, Max Roach, Steve Smith, Chad Smith, Bill Bruford, Dave Weckl, Thomas Lang and more.

Favorite bands/musicians?
My favorite bands are The Beatles, The Cat Empire, Yes, Led Zeppelin, Fleet Foxes, Dave Matthews Band, Damian Marley, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Mahavishnu Orchestra, and Radiohead.

Why do you like playing drums?
I like playing drums because first of all it is fun. I like hitting things. And I like how they are so important to a group because a lot of the time without them, the group doesn’t sound complete. I like being able to create music and just getting better at my instrument. Also because there is so many different things you can do on the drums, if you watch Mr. Hihat, it’s an amazing solo all done on the hihat, there is never ending possibilities to instruments.

Tell people a bit about your gear/setup…
I have a Yamaha Rydeen Jazz drumset that I won at a Billy Cobham clinic a couple years ago. Cymbal-wise it has 13″ hihats, 20″ ride, 16″ crash, 18″ Chinese, and a 10″ splash cymbal. All of these are Sabian Xs20’s. In terms of drums I have a 13″ snare, an 18″ bass, and my toms are 10″, 12″, and 13″. I have Jack Dejohnette sticks. I also have a DW 4000 double bass pedal. And that’s about it in terms of gear. My setup is pretty much the same as any others except my ride is on the left because I am left-handed. I have a cajete on the left too with a wood block on it.

Any advice or suggestions for other drummers?
My advice for other drummers is first, if something is really hard and it feels like you can’t do it, just keep trying, because at some point you’ll be able to do it, maybe not that day but if you just keep practicing you can do it. Sometimes going slower works. Also writing it out if it is some sort of cross rhythm that takes multiple bars to start again. And in some cases you might just be doing something that is not up to your level yet so just put it aside and practice different things that will help to improve whatever needs working on. A metronome will always help too, you can use it to increase your ability to keep time, and you can use it to help slowly bring up your speed on what you’re working on. You should try to learn another instrument as it will give you more of a different perspective on things, and will help you to understand what other musicians are going through. Listen to many different genres of music as it will give you even more of a different view on drums and will change the way you sound. Join big bands around your area because they are always fun and get you playing music you wouldn’t normally listen to. Lastly go to as many drum clinics and get as many books and DVD’s as possible because the more info you have, the better!

Other comments/ideas/thoughts?
Choosing to play a musical instrument is a great choice because it teaches a lot more things than just music, discipline, cooperation, perseverance and many more. It’s just great to be able to have fun playing with other people as that’s what it’s all about. And you should get lessons with Bryan if you aren’t already because he’s a great teacher!
(Editors note: I did not pay him to say that)