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Artists at school


Patrick Graham

Performing arts


Patrick Graham

Canadian multi-percussionist Patrick Graham blends tradition, experimentation, composition and improvisation in an exceptionally versatile approach that blurs boundaries. His cross-cultural percussion style reflects his training in Western classical and contemporary music and his extensive explorations of Mediterranean, Irish, South Indian, and Japanese rhythms, including studies with teachers Pierre Béluse (Montréal), Glen Velez (New York), Carlo Rizzo (Grenoble), Trichy Sankaran (Toronto), and Taichi Ozaki (Tokyo). As a creator of projects such as the duo GaPa with Ganesh Anandan, and as a collaborator with groups such as Autorickshaw, Small World Project, On Ensemble, and La Nef, the artist's unique sound reflects his experience in multiple genres of music and his profound fascination with the power of rhythm. Patrick Graham has released his solo CD Rheō.

Proposed approach and type of activities

Rhythm Around Us

As a musician fascinated with the power of rhythm, and as someone who has spent much of his life devoted to studying an enormous diversity of rhythms, Mr. Graham is always excited to open up an awareness of this subject in students. His objective is to encourage the discovery of rhythm, not only in a musical context, but also through an active awareness of the rhythms found in the world around us. He enjoys engaging his students in rhythmic vocalizations, clapping and walking exercises, a simple but highly effective way to demystify and enjoy rhythm. He bases these exercises primarily on his studies in South Indian Karnatak music, a style of music that employs a sophisticated form of rhythmic solfege (mnemonic paradigms). The rhythms are first learned by vocal repetition, and can then be endlessly modified or applied to various instruments. Seemingly complex patterns become instantly accessible when they are learned with the voice. This body connection is an important and fun step in discovering rhythm.

Rhythm can also be explored through musical instruments, and percussion is the ideal gateway for most students. Drawing on his training in multiple styles of drumming, he enjoys presenting and teaching a broad cross-section of percussion instruments to his students. He regularly performs, records and teaches a wide variety of percussion instruments: hand drums, such as the cajon, a Peruvian box-drum, tambourines, such as the riqq, an Arabic tambourine, cymbals, gongs, numerous shakers and wind chimes, the Japanese festival drum called the katsugi-okedo, as well as a multiple-percussion installation that allows him to play a whole collection of these instruments at once. Finally, he is also interested in underscoring the construction of these instruments to his students, in order that they understand that how an instrument is built and which materials are used determine how we play it and what sounds and rhythms it can make.

Examples of activities

  • A question-and-answer segment to generate ideas about the rhythmic nature of the world around us (i.e. mechanical rhythms, rhythmic cycles in nature, etc.)
  • Simple listening exercises, the 'bouncing ball' rhythm, feeling or hearing the body's heartbeat or pulse.
  • Rhythm games, using vocalization, rhythmic walking exercises and clapping to emphasize the rhythmic sense inherent in all human beings.
  • Discussion and hands-on exploration of exotic and 'homemade' percussion instruments such as frame-drums and tambourines, various shakers and bells, cymbals and gongs, festival drums and a cross-cultural multiple-percussion installation.
  • Long-term project: Formation of a percussion ensemble using instruments made by the students from recycled items and 'found-sounds' (ex. Bottles, shakers, bowls, keys, buckets, etc.).

Special conditions

For information

Patrick Graham
Phone : 514 603-1934
Fax : 514 603-1934
Email :

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