Interview with Meshem Jackson: A Pro’s Life Playing Drums

Dive into the beats of playing drums with Meshem Jackson! Learn from his journey, playing drums tips, and get inspired. Master playing drums with Meshem's insights.

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Unveiling the Rhythmic Path: Playing Drums with Meshem Jackson

Meshem Jackson has been a cornerstone in the Central Oregon music scene since 1986, weaving his rhythmic expertise into the fabric of local bands, Company Grand and Fair Trade Boogie Band. Beyond performances, Meshem’s passion for playing drums extends into shaping future generations as the percussion department chair at the Cascade School of Music in Bend.

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The Rhythmic Journey: An Interview with Meshem Jackson

Q: How did your adventure with playing drums begin?

“My journey began around the age of nine, and it transformed when a friend of my parents gifted me my first drum set. That initial encounter with the drum set sparked for my lifelong passion for playing drums.”

Q: What vital lesson did jazz band teach you?

“Jazz band is where I really got more of an education. The number one thing, it taught me is how to play with others and listening with intention. Is also where I learned to read drum notation, they put sheet music in front of me, and I could understand the basic rhythms of it, but this was drum set notation, so I had to figure it out by listening with intention and playing. These skills, I consider, are key for anyone diving into playing drums, and interested in becoming a better drums player.”

Q: Can you share how you navigated from learning in school to playing in bands? “My path took a turn when I responded to a Craigslist ad posted by a band that needed a drummer. That first band experience opened doors to numerous opportunities. The key to getting noticed is simply to play, start with just one band. Play everywhere and before you know it people will start noticing you. That’s how I found myself juggling with up to six bands at one time.”

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring drummers?

“Just jump on some drums and feel the music. It might sound strange, but there’s immense value in just listening to music and tapping along. Above all, stay inspired and keep playing, no matter your skill level.”

Interview with Meshem Jackson: A Pro’s Life Playing Drums

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Technical Tips for New Drummers

Start With Listening: Meshem emphasizes the importance of developing a good ear. Listening attentively to music teaches you rhythm and helps you intuitively understand playing drums.

Embrace Collaboration: Learning to play drums is not just about the instrument; it’s about being part of a musical conversation. Playing with others enhances your rhythmic sensibility and teamwork skills.

Read and Understand Notation: While daunting at first, drum set notation is your roadmap. Meshem learned by matching what he heard to what he saw on the page—a testament to the synergy of listening and reading, when learning how to play drums.

Dive Into Diverse Genres: Meshem’s extensive experience across jazz, rock, funk, R&B, and more showcases the value of versatility. Exploring various genres enriches your playing style and adaptability.

Stay Inspired and Play: Perhaps the most profound advice Meshem offers is to keep playing, no matter what. Even when progress seems slow, every moment behind the drum set and playing is a step forward in your musical journey.


Meshem Jackson’s story is a beacon for those venturing into playing drums. From his early days in school bands to his influential role as an educator, his journey underscores the power of passion, perseverance, and the joy of rhythm. For aspiring drummers, Meshem’s insights offer a foundation not just for playing drums, but for a lifelong engagement with music that transcends barriers and brings people together. Remember, in the world of drums, your passion is the rhythm that drives your journey. Let Meshem Jackson inspire you to pick up the sticks, play drums and discover where the beat takes you.

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Get ready to take your drumming to the next level. Get expert tips on coordination, drumming techniques, improvisation and more in the post titled “Charting Your Drumming Journey”. / Written by: Raul Rodrigues: CEO of Drumap, Drummer, Music School Director and Mariano Steimberg: Drum Professor at Berklee College of Music, Valencia Campus.

Learn more about Meshem Jackson on his site and Instagram

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