is a musician, performer, and educator specializing in percussion from around the world. From the dynamic style of taiko drumming of Japan to the infectious rhythms of samba from Brazil, Paton infuses excitement and interaction into his teaching. Paton's style is highly participatory, and he actively engages students and teachers as they explore the language, history, and culture of music from around the world. Each workshop incorporates a wide variety of information and meets the fine arts-music content standard for: Historical, Cultural and Social Contexts
and Creative Expression and Communication
Paton grew up in Tokyo, Japan where he attended a Nishigahara elementary school and the Nishimachi International School representing thirty-four nationalities. He attended Capital University, Bexley, OH, and graduated with a music performance degree in 1989. Paton has been a member of the Capital University faculty since 1990, where he has taught percussion, conducted the Concert Percussion Ensemble, and founded the Ethnic Percussion Ensemble, a student performance ensemble that features the music of Cuba, Haiti, and Japan. Paton also teaches The World Music Lab
, a required course for all incoming freshman music majors that focuses on exploring the musics of the world through percussion. Paton continues to manage and perform with Yumbambe Salsa Jazz and is a former member of Arnett Howard's Creole Funk Band. Additionally, he has performed with national and international artists like Aretha Franklin, Sir Roland Hannah, Bobby Shew, and Milano La Scala (Italian National Opera).
Recent Feedback from Schools
Eric was AMAZING with our students whose ages are 3 - 6 years! Eric's instruction was geared to the age of our children. His explanations and educational information was developmentally appropriate and truly guided the child's exploration and understanding of the instruments and the cultures from which they originate.
Each child had a hands-on experience with several drums and were encouraged to explore the many ways to play and approach each drum. It was a visual, auditory, and kinesthetic DELIGHT to have a drum circle of over 50 drums surrounding the children. They "magically" sat in their places until Eric invited them to "go stand behind a drum." How did he do this??!! He is a MASTER at holding the young child's attention and sharing educational and arts information so that the children could understand!
Eric did a three day residency at my school. He was able to meet with every class individually for a drumming workshop during his visit. His rapport with kids is amazing! He not only taught them world drumming rhythms with ease, but also allowed them to improvise and express themselves individually. He gave us a unique experience and all enjoyed it very much! Students are still talking about his visit and cannot wait to have him visit again! It is hard to pinpoint which part of his visit was most beneficial - it was great on so many levels. What sticks out most is his ability to relate to and to bring out creativity in all students!
Our students were highly engaged from the moment they entered the room with Eric standing by his taiko drums in his Japanese drumming kimono. He not only is a great performer but he is an excellent listener, responding to student's questions and comments. His program does match the music, visual arts, social studies and mathematics curriculum. There are many ways to tie his program into the elementary classroom.
Identifying the most valuable aspect of his program is impossible. He taught the students a love of drums, Japanese culture, patterning and performing. He is very kind and thoughtful when working with the students. Our students on the autistic spectrum loved working with Eric. Several of our nonverbal students were giggling and smiling throughout their hands-on time with the drums. That alone, made my day.
Our music teacher prepared the students for Eric's visit with a month-long focus on drumming and patterning. She also tied in his visit by having him be the Musician of the Month on her bulletin board. With Eric's numerous instruments, the students in the small group were able to play the drums individually and in trios. The students were delighted as Eric broke the music into simple lines they could repeat back to him. He turned the lines into patterns or beats formed when saying a sentence. In other words, he used the word syllables to translate the pattern of the drumbeat. This strategy allowed students to recall the task easily. I noticed that the music teacher is continuing this strategy with the students this week.
The academic learning was right on target with our music standards but Eric's personality and dramatic delivery immediately engaged the kids. Everyone had an opportunity to play the drums, making it an amazingly memorable experience for our young people.
During drum circle time you could not tell the students apart, they all were participating, learning and having fun no matter what their physical limitations or academic labels. All were musicians and all were equal in the eyes of the musicians!
The students really enjoyed the program. We live in a small community, and I ran into many parents over the weekend who said their middle school child came home talking about the experience. The kids liked the
interaction with the drums, and enjoyed watching Mr. Paton perform.
From start to finish, Eric was first class. His introductory performance pieces were intense and invigorating. From that moment on, Eric had captured his audience. It is rare to find someone who can both perform and teach. Eric did both and did them well. His use of different kinds of drums and percussion instruments was a great tool to teach the students about our multicultural world. During load in and load out, Eric took time with my student council helpers. He was both encouraging and engaging. This was an awesome experience!