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Percussion Play

Jay Gagne

Jay Gagne ('23) reflects on life as a drummer

by Violet Czech (Honors '26)

Jazz and metal drummer Jay Gagne (’23) recently graduated from Westminster University with a music studies degree. At Westminster, he played in a few ensembles, including the jazz band. Jay has played drums since he was a child and is striving to maintain music as an integral part of his life, both by taking gigs (sometimes at Westminster events) and creating his own music.

Getting started

“I kind of always knew I was a drummer when I was a kid. I would hit things a lot. I had a real love for music, but it wasn't until I was about 9 or 10 that I asked my parents to start giving me lessons, and I joined the school band in elementary school. 

I was diagnosed with ADHD pretty young and, originally, my parents didn't want me playing the drums because they said drums were bad for people with ADHD. But I think it turned out to be really beneficial for me because playing the drums gave me something to work towards and to love.”


“There are too many to name all of them. I have been influenced by so many musicians, especially because I grew up right when YouTube was starting to become a thing. But I will say one of the first people to inspire me, and one of the first times I knew I wanted to play drums, was when my dad took me to see Paul McCartney when he was playing at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

I wasn’t even really a Beatles fan. I was just a kid, but my dad took me to see the show, and the drummer who played with Paul McCartney was Abe Laboriel Jr. He’s incredible.”

Vision of the future 

“I just want to be able to play drums and have that work for me, and I don’t want to lose my passion. I would be OK with having different jobs if I still get to play drums, because for me, drumming isn’t just my vision of success: it’s also therapeutic—it keeps me alive.” 

Advice for would-be musicians

“It takes a lifetime to learn an instrument—the sooner you start, the longer it takes. Don’t become obsessed with ‘perfecting yourself’ as a musician. If you keep practicing, you will be better in the future, no matter what.”

Currently listening to: Melvins

Listen to Jay: on Spotify, Apple Music, and wherever you stream music under “Jay Gagne” and “Blind Magus”



About the Westminster Review

The Westminster Review is Westminster University’s bi-annual alumni magazine that is distributed to alumni and community members. Each issue aims to keep alumni updated on campus current events and highlights the accomplishments of current students, professors, and Westminster alum.