A room full of local music students and musicians learned from renowned drummer Peter Erskine during a Saturday afternoon workshop at The Oxford Hotel in downtown Bend.

Erskine led the free music education workshop between performances with the Peter Erskine New Trio on Friday and Saturday nights as part of the Jazz at The Oxford series. He taught the crowd about the rhythm of drumming.

“The most important job of a drummer, at least in my opinion, is that we provide rhythmic information to the band,” he told the crowd.

The workshop is part of the Jazz at The Oxford series, which features a variety of artists each year. Past performers in the series have taught their different styles of music at the workshops. Some are more interactive and play music with the students who show up, while others, like Erskine, offer stories and performances.

Erskine, a professor at University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music, is comfortable leading a class. He shared stories Saturday about drumming for the jazz/rock band Steely Dan and creating the music for the Austin Powers movies. Throughout his career, Erskine’s music has appeared on 600 albums, and he’s won two Grammy Awards.

Workshop organizer Georges Bouhey, a professional musician and music teacher, said the workshops have grown from just students to a mix of community members and musicians.

“It’s all kinds of people. All ages,” Bouhey said. “Some have never touched an instrument, but they are all interested.”

Sisters resident Erin Borla brought her son, Frankie, 7, to the Saturday workshop.

Frankie, who carried a pair of drumsticks just in case he had the chance to play, has been taking drum lessons for the past two years.

“I just like hearing the drums,” he said.

Borla, a trustee on the Roundhouse Foundation that supports arts and culture in Central Oregon, said taking her son to the workshop is a good way for him to see how professionals approach their craft.

For a young drummer, Borla is impressed with her son’s growing talent.

“He actually has some rhythm,” she said.

— Reporter: 541-617-7820, kspurr@bendbulletin.com

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