Pritish A R’s virtuosity on the drums could be unparalleled. At just 10 years of age, he completed the highest grade exam in the Trinity College of London, Grade 8, for drums in 2020. A year later, in December 2021, he created a Guinness World Record for the title “Most drumbeats in a minute using drumsticks” by playing 2,370 beats in a minute (more on that later).
Both these feats came in the past two years at a time when the pandemic cast a shadow on the world. But the Sydney-based Year 6 student of St Francis Catholic College, Edmondson Park, says the COVID-19 global pandemic was a “blessing in disguise and had a positive impact” in his music learning journey.
“Due to the cessation of my other activities such as swimming, martial arts and remote learning from school, I was able to dedicate more practice time to my music and had the opportunity to take additional lessons from my music teachers. Thanks to innovation of technology and high-speed internet, my classes went uninterrupted online,” he says.
Pritish took to the drums when he was all of five years old. Music, in his family’s history, he says is limited to “listening to music”. He reckons it was his mother Aarthi who realised his natural aptitude to music. “She always reminds me that I moved actively in her womb whenever she listened to music and I used to always make sounds with my toys when I was little.”
When he was in Kindergarten, Pritish recalls jumping into a bus filled with musical instruments. It was a music bus program and he went straight for the drum kit, picked up the sticks and started playing. “The loudness of the toms and the use of all my limbs connected me with the kit, I don’t like to keep my limbs idle and that’s the start of my music journey with drums,” he says.
Since then, his parents enrolled him in private lessons. Backed by weekly classes and daily practise sessions, Pritish was able to learn the art and actively improve his skills to play drums. Over the last seven years, he has had opportunity to learn from five different teachers. “They helped me pick up different perspectives of drumming and assisted my learning curve,” he says.
In December 2020, Pritish completed the highest grade exam from the prestigious Trinity college of London, Grade 8 for drums. The following year in 2021, he created a Guinness records for the most drumbeats in a minute using drumsticks is 2,370.
Radiance is a quality Pritish exudes on his social media—Instagram, YouTube and Facebook—where you can get to see his many performance videos. Inspired by music, Pritish’s interests have exploded and he is expanding his skills more broadly learning other percussion instruments (Mirudhangam), keyboard and also Carnatic music. In conversation with the young drumming sensation Pritish A R.
Let’s start with your Guinness world record first. How special of an experience was that for you?
I started working on fast drumming technique since April 2021, and have been practising for almost seven months to get most number of beats. I incorporated various methods in my practice to improve my muscle strength, which assisted me to improve my speed.
The whole experience was very special for me. In the last eight months, I learned a number of new things and mainly this journey re-emphasised the impact of practice. On the day of the attempt, seeing the setup and taking my throne to start the attempt, the butterflies tickled through my stomach. It was a thrilling experience, and when the minute was over, I was super excited to hear I got to 2370 beats. Finally, I had a sigh of relief with a huge smile on my face. It was a remarkable experience, something to cherish forever.
What kind of a drum did you first start with as a child? How did you progress from there?
I started playing with a beginner electric drumkit and I practised with that for many years. In my private classes sometimes, I get to play acoustic drums, and the natural sound from the kit are always pleasant and the feel of the skins of the kit while playing is an amazing feeling.
Over the years, I progressed well with my drumming style and techniques and I realised it’s time to move on to my own acoustic drum kit. Couple of years before, my parents gifted me professional drum kit and since then I have been playing majority in my acoustic kit, and practice with my electric kit every day in the morning before going to school.
I believe strongly in practicing, and I have heard constantly from parents, teachers and other professional artists that you have to keep practising. I practice for couple of hours every day and on the weekends for six hours.
Who is your inspiration or drumming influences?
Generally my teachers are my influencers and they inspire me to work hard as well play cool stuff in drums. My teacher Sridhar, who is based in Chennai, India, is a great influencer. He is one of the greatest and talented drummers and coincidently, is a Guinness record holder himself, and a catalyst for me to push through and try new stuffs.
Do you have a favourite drummer?
I don’t have a favourite drummer as such, but more broadly have a favourite musician. Not a surprise, it’s world-renowned Oscar award winner A R Rahman. I grew up listening to his music and I am always lost in his creations.
Now that you have got Trinity grade 8 certificate and created a Guinness record, is there any aspect of drumming you would like to focus on now?
I wanted to focus on improving my techniques, applying different styles played in other percussion instruments to reproduce similar music in drum kit, and cool stick tricks. Other than drumming, I focus on other percussion instruments like Mirudhangam, Bongo, keyboard and Carnatic music.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I will be growing my skills holistically in music and you can expect me to feature in playing variety of musical instruments and release my own creations. My vision is to become a world-renowned musician and not just stop short at playing only drums.
Any upcoming projects from you we should be keeping an eye out for?
I have a vision to achieve more and have plans to knock off the list below:
- Fire Drumming
- Playing multi Instruments together
- Win titles in renowned talent shows
- Exploring more music from different parts of the world
- Release my own creations