Artists in Schools Directory

   

Eric 'The Fish' Paton

Artist's Narrative

Eric 'The Fish' Paton Eric Paton 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!

Availability

Upon request.
This artist is based in Columbus. Travel charges may apply for schools outside of the area.

Programs Available

Multicultural Drumming Assembly (Grade levels K-12)
This multicultural assembly will introduce taiko, the festival drumming of Japan; the Afro-Caribbean hand-drumming of Cuba, Haiti or Puerto Rico; and Samba from Brazil. Taiko, brought to Japan by Chinese Buddhist monks, was made famous by the Kodo drummers of Sado Island. The folkloric music of the Caribbean Islands and Brazil was greatly influenced by Africa during the colonial period.

Students and teachers participating in this interactive presentation will experience the culture surrounding these musics through language and song.
Activity Options:
Multicultural Drumming Assembly
  • Duration: 50 min.
  • Fees: $395/ $545 for two back-to-back; plus mileage ($.55/mile) if outside of Franklin County
  • Requirements: 25 chairs, water, microphone
    Space Requirement: if assembly is to take place in the gym, artist prefers the long wall of the room; specific space requirements can be discussed directly with artist after booking.
    *Special Requirements - artist requests eight to ten students to assist with set-up; artist arrives 45 minutes prior to start time
Multicultural Drumming Assembly plus 2 performers
  • Duration: 50 min.
  • Fees: $595; plus mileage ($.55/mile) if outside of Franklin County
  • Requirements: 25 chairs, water, microphone
    Space Requirement: if assembly is to take place in the gym, artist prefers the long wall of the room; specific space requirements can be discussed directly with artist after booking.
    *Special Requirements - artist requests eight to ten students to assist with set-up; artist arrives 45 minutes prior to start time

Yumbambe: Salsa Assembly (Grade levels K-12)
This assembly will introduce students to the popular music of the Caribbean and South America. Yumbambé's performances include merengue of the Dominican Republic; salsa from Cuba; cumbia from Colombia; and bomba from Puerto Rico, interjecting historical and cultural context, language and dance along with the sounds of fiery brass and thundering percussion. This high energy, multicultural assembly will surely bring the audience to its feet.
Activity Options:
Yumbambe: Salsa Assembly
  • Duration: 60 min.
  • Fees: $995; plus mileage ($.55/mile) if outside of Franklin County
  • Requirements: 5 chairs, (1) outlet @ 20 amps near performance venue, water for 15
    Space Requirement: band requires 20' x 16' area
    Sound engineer requires access to performance venue 90-120 minutes prior to start time

Brazilian Percussion - Samba Workshop (Grade levels K-12)
During Carnaval, samba becomes the rhythmic anthem of Brazil. This dynamic musical style, steeped in traditions of Africa and those uniquely Brazilian, will introduce students to instruments like the tambourim, chocalho (shaker), reco-reco, surdo, and caixa (snare drum). Students will practice the call and response technique as they learn these intricate rhythms and learn to watch for musical and visual queues.
Activity Options:
Brazilian Samba Carnival Workshop
  • Duration: 50 min.
  • Fees: $200/ $300 for two back-to-back; plus mileage ($.55/mile) if outside of Franklin County
  • Requirements: Max 50 students

Japanese Drumming - Taiko Workshop (Grade levels K-12)
This interactive workshop explores taiko, the festival drumming of Japan, and provides students of all ages the opportunity to participate on traditional taiko and practice drums. Taiko, steeped in the history of Japan, is a dynamic and athletic form of percussion, and appears theatrical, utilizing martial arts in its choreography. Students will enjoy learning traditional movements and rhythms as they explore playing taiko, and will be introduced to some basic Japanese language and culture.

For festivals and other events with an itinerant audience, please select the second option below.

Schools that want a presentation-style program rather than a small-group workshop should select the Taiko Assembly option below. The assembly program includes two additional performers.
Activity Options:
Japanese Taiko Drumming Workshop
  • Duration: 50 min.
  • Fees: $200/ $300 for two back-to-back; plus mileage ($.55/mile) if outside of Franklin County
  • Requirements: 25 chairs, water, microphone
    25 - 30 students ideal
    Space Requirement: workshop designed for a large space (i.e. - half of an empty gymnasium)
    *Special Requirements - artist requests eight to ten students to assist with set-up; artist arrives 45 minutes prior to start time
Taiko Assembly plus 2 performers
  • Duration: 50 min.
  • Fees: $595; plus instrument pick-up fee ($41.80), plus mileage ($.55/mile) if outside of Franklin County
  • Requirements: Space Requirement: if assembly is to take place in the gym, artist prefers the long wall of the room; specific space requirements can be discussed directly with artist after booking.
    *Special Requirements - artist requests eight to ten students to assist with set-up; artist arrives 45 minutes prior to start time
Japanese Taiko Drumming Workshop - For Festivals
  • Duration: 50 min.
  • Fees: $295/ $420 for two back-to-back; plus mileage ($.55/mile) if outside of Franklin County

Caribbean - Hand Drumming Workshop (Grade levels K-12)
For up to 50 participants. Artist will supply instruments for all participants.

Students and teachers alike will enjoy participating in hand drumming, exploring the conga drums of Cuba; the Niyabingue drumming of Jamaica; and dance rhythms of Haiti and Puerto Rico. Participants will learn about the different drums from the various countries along with their cultural roots. The sounds of each instrument will also be explored and basic hand drumming techniques will be introduced.
Activity Options:
Caribbean - Hand Drumming Workshop
  • Duration: 50 min.
  • Fees: $400 for one or two back-to-back/ $500 for three back-to-back; plus mileage ($.55/mile) if outside of Franklin County
  • Requirements: Max 50 students. Armless chairs for all participants, water.

Recreational Drumming/Drum Circle (Grade levels K-12)

The drum circle is a group rhythmic activity designed so that all involved are able to contribute at their own ability. Recreational drumming encourages participants to practice cooperation and communication without words as well as explore concepts of composition and improvisation in a relaxed, non-competitive setting. Hands-on learning for both the student and teacher takes place through observation, imitation, and participation. Artist will supply instruments for all participants.

For festivals and other events with an itinerant audience, please select the 'Festival' option below. Festival workshops require an assistant instructor (included in fee).

Activity Options:
Recreational Drumming/Drum Circle - For Festivals
  • Duration: 90 min.
  • Fees: $575; plus mileage ($.55/mile) if outside of Franklin County
Recreational Drumming/Drum Circle
  • Duration: 90 min.
  • Fees: $400; plus mileage ($.55/mile) if outside of Franklin County
  • Requirements: 25 - 50 student and teacher participants.
    Armless chairs for all participants, water, microphone
    Space requirement: chairs should be set-up in a large circle - ideally in a space equal to half a gymnasium

Residency (Grade levels K-12)
Multi-day residencies are custom designed for each school. A residency may be an intensive learning experience for a select group of students, or it may be an opportunity for all of your school's students to participate in one of the artist's workshops. The artist will work with you to create a program that meets your needs.
Activity Options:
Residency
  • Fees: $1,000/ 2 days, $1,400/ 3 days, $1,750/ 4 days, $2,000/ 5 days