LINCOLNVILLE—Emmit Dayhoof is 18 with an exciting future ahead of him.
Like so many high school seniors, he’s now easing into that pleasant lull that comes after finals are over and the graduation caps have been flung in the air. There’s nothing more to worry about other than a summer job and hanging out with friends. It’s time to just savor the last summer in the Midcoast before he heads off this fall to St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York.
Recently, Midcoast Music Academy named Emmit “June Student of the Month.” He studied under the guidance of instructors Drew Weber and Thomas Ulichny, who stated, “Over the (almost) decade, I’ve known and worked with him, he’s progressed into a top echelon drummer and is the definition of a true musician’s musician.”
Full disclosure, I’ve known this kid since he was a baby. As a boy, he was always a little bit shy, but it was easy to get a smile out of him. Today, it’s even easier; his confidence has grown both personally and musically as a drummer—even with stage fright.
“It’s a lot easier for a drummer to hide behind a drum kit in the back when you’re first starting out,” he said. “I’d always put my stands up really high. I haven’t done a lot of performances, but I’ve done enough where I’d just focus on communicating with the band to make the best music we can make.”
As his parents tell it, Emmit was always a percussive child.
“I was always tapping on the dinner table with my fingers, driving my family crazy,” he said. “Or I’d just sort of chant, trying to be on-beat, which is why I ended up picking drums when it came to playing music.”
For the last nine years, he has honed his drumming skills with Midcoast Music Academy (MCMA) in private lessons, summer camps, ensembles, and recitals. He’s even mentored younger drummers.
Asked who he admires, he credits Peter Erskine, an American jazz drummer who was a member of the jazz fusion groups Weather Report and Steps Ahead.
“He’s just known for holding crazy, fast tempos for 10 to 11 minutes at a time,” said Emmit. “Those songs are all jazz pieces and he’s holding 240 beats per minute, which is really tough. There are a lot of things about drums that are hard, but holding that one pattern for so long and having the stamina to keep going is probably one of the hardest thing.”
Even though Emmit has played numerous times in the high school jazz band performances, amazingly, in all four years of high school, he never found his own band to play with.
“Yeah, it’s weird, it’s like kids just don’t form bands anymore,” he said.
That’s something he’s hoping will change when he goes to St. Lawrence, which is 90 minutes away from Toronto, where there are a lot of jazz clubs and cafés.
“I’m hoping to just sit in at some of these clubs and get to know people, and maybe join a band once I get there.”
Having grown up in Maine, he loves loves the outdoors: camping, swimming, and fishing. He’s interested in becoming an environmental engineer and according to him, the outdoor program at St. Lawrence is excellent.
Watch the embedded videos to see how Emmit explains the fundamentals of drumming and then goes into a full improvised riff.
I’m not going to wax Dr. Suess in “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” but once this kid gets into a college band, he’s going to slay it.
Hail To The Rad Kids is series that highlights Midcoast teens with artistic or musical talent.
Kay Stephens can be reached at email@example.com