On 12th May 2012, Erik Stams starred as a guest performer for our first Masterclass. Erik was born and raised in New York and has over 20 years’ experience as a musician and educator. He is currently head of Drums at the Tech Music Schools, London, writes monthly articles for Rhythm Magazine and has also appeared in the BBC television Programme ‘Play it again’ teaching Aled Jones how to play drums. Erik opened the show with a fantastic drum solo (see video clip) and then went on to discuss the importance of having awareness of time keeping. Erik started off by teaching simple note values and how to apply them to the kit and then gradually progressed to more challenging concepts involving polyrhythms, and playing different sticking patterns to different note values. He also demonstrated how to create different feels by taking a bass drum pattern and applying different hand patterns and accents to it. Erik had a challenge on his hands as there was a very wide spectrum of students in the room – some students were just starting out and others had been playing for years. There was also a wide range of ages, however Erik did not disappoint the 100 students that showed up!