Peter Erskine

Director of Drumset Studies

Professor of Practice


Drummer, composer, and author Peter Erskine appears on over 700 albums and film scores, and has won two Grammy Awards. His discography includes fifty albums under his own name. He has played with Stan Kenton, Weather Report, Steely Dan, Steps Ahead, Maynard Ferguson, Joni Mitchell, Kenny Wheeler, Vince Mendoza, Jaco Pastorius, Freddie Hubbard, Michael Brecker, Joe Henderson and Diana Krall (among many others), and has appeared as soloist with the Los Angeles, Helsinki, Chicago, BBC Symphony, Bochum, Tokyo Metropolitan, Yomiuri Nippon, Oslo and Berlin Philharmonic orchestras. He premiered Mark-Anthony Turnage’s “Erskine — Concerto for Drumset & Orchestra” with Beethoven Orchester Bonn and performed it at the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Peter graduated from the Interlochen Arts Academy and studied at Indiana University with George Gaber.

As a composer, he has completed musical scores for King Richard II, Twelfth Night, Hamlet, Sideman, Honour, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the latter being honored by the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle with the award for Best Original Musical Score. He produces jazz recordings for his own label, Fuzzy Music, and has authored several books for Hal Leonard and Alfred Publications, including “The Drum Perspective,” “Drumset Essentials (Volumes 1, 2 and 3),” “The Erskine Method,” “Time Awareness for All Musicians,” “Essential Drum Fills,” “The Drummer’s Lifeline” and “The Musician’s Lifeline.” His autobiography No Beethoven has been released in print and audiobook formats, and his line of iOS Play-Along apps are receiving great notice. Professor Erskine received an honorary doctor of music degree from the Berklee College of Music.

Professional experience

Career Highlights:

  • Joined the Stan Kenton Orchestra at age 18 in 1972
  • After three years with Kenton, played with Maynard Ferguson for two years
  • Joined Weather Report in 1978, established longevity record for drummer in that band; won a Grammy Award for work on album 8:30, recorded five albums with group
  • Lived in New York for five years, played with Michael Brecker in Steps Ahead, John Abercrombie Trio, Marc Johnson, John Scofield, and Bill Frisell in Bass Desires
  • Numerous recordings for the ECM label, including four as leader
  • Established own label, Fuzzy Music, in Santa Monica
  • Publishes iOS Play-Along apps

Honors, Awards & Competitions:

  • Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Original Music (A Midsummer Night’s Dream)
  • Bay Area Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Original Music (Twelfth Night)
  • Modern Drummer Readers’ Poll best jazz drummer award, 10 times
  • Modern Drummer magazine Hall of Fame
  • Rhythm, Drum and Slagwerkkrant magazines awards for best jazz drummer
  • 2 Grammy Awards, 10 Grammy Award nominations


  • Three Nights in LA, with George Garzone, Alan Pasqua, Darek Oles (Fuzzy Music, 2019)
  • Dr. Um, 2016 Grammy nominee, Fuzzy Music
  • Standards, with Alan Pasqua, 2009 Grammy nominee, Fuzzy Music
  • Some Skunk Funk, Randy and Michael Brecker, et al, Grammy Award for all soloists, 2007, Telarc
  • Scorched with John Scofield and John Patitucci plus orchestra, 2005 Grammy nominee, DGG
  • Fractured Lines, double percussion concerto written by Mark-Anthony Turnage for Peter Erskine and Evelyn Glennie, Leonard Slatkin and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Chandos
  • 8:30, Weather Report, 1979 Grammy Award


  • Forest 4 the 3s (printed solo for drumset)
  • A Bird Sings (for marimba soloist & percussion ensemble)
  • Bass Desires
  • Sweet Soul
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Bulgaria


  • The Musician’s Lifeline (Alfred Publ, w/ Dave Black, 2019)
  • The Drummer’s Lifeline (Alfred Publ, w/ Dave Black, 2017)
  • No Beethoven, Fuzz/E/Books & Alfred Music, 2013
  • Essential Drum Fills, Alfred Publishing, 2008
  • Time Awareness for All Musicians, Alfred Publishing, 2005
  • The Erskine Method, Alfred Publishing, 2004
  • Drumset Essentials, Volumes 1, 2 and 3, Alfred Publishing, 2003
  • The Drum Perspective, Hal Leonard Publications, 1998
  • Drum Concepts and Techniques, Hal Leonard Publications, 1987

Academic degrees

Other academic experience:

  • Graduated from the Interlochen Arts Academy (1971)
  • Studied at Indiana University (1971-72 and 1975-76)

Studied with: George Gaber, Billy Dorn, Vic Firth, Alan Dawson, Ron Carter, Ed Soph, Stan Kenton, and Freddy Gruber

Studied with:

George Gaber, Billy Dorn, Vic Firth, Alan Dawson, Ron Carter, Ed Soph, Stan Kenton, and Freddy Gruber