My name is Dylan Hilliker. I have been a PRS student for over 6 years and a drum instructor for a couple of months. Pure Rock has given me so many opportunities to develop as a musician, a teacher, and a person throughout my years of drum and guitar lessons.
I began playing drums and guitar around age 7. I picked up guitar first but it wasn’t my thing so I decided to switch full time to drums. I took lessons on and off in my home state of North Carolina. When we moved to Rochester in 2008, I was looking for a place to further my playing and my music knowledge in general. I remember hearing about Pure Rock from one of my peers and convinced my parents to sign me up for drum lessons. I started off my experience as a drum student with Ryan in the garage of his house- the birthplace of this wonderful organization. Since then, I have been in two bands: Nicklaus Drive, my middle school project, and Dystonia, my full time high school project. With Dystonia, my bandmate Kevin and I have recorded two EPs and two full length albums throughout the course of our 4 years of high school. Releasing an album is one of the most rewarding things to accomplish as a musician and Pure Rock helped me get to the point where I was comfortable enough with my playing and songwriting to take that leap. Drew, my guitar instructor, was also one of the people featured on this last album we released. Throughout the course of high school, I have played in my high school (JMHS) marching band, pep band, concert band, jazz band, concert orchestra, pit orchestra, and choir. Playing with all of these groups has helped me grasp the importance of listening and playing within the context of a group- a skill very much applicable to a rock band setting. Without my experiences as a high school musician, I would not have the skills transferable to a live band setting. This year, I decided to start a music festival for teen musicians in Rochester. The event was called ROCKchester and was held at the Wicked Moose on May 15th. Eleven bands and artists representing all high schools in Rochester shared their talents with the community for a whole day’s worth of teen music and art. To see the event go from the planning stages into a full scale festival was incredible rewarding and Ryan helped me the whole way as part of my advisory board. Pure Rock also sponsored the event and had their teen group open the festival. Without the connection to PRS, I would not have had the success I had with an event that drew over 300 people in its first year! This fall, I will be heading off to Nashville, TN to study music business at Belmont University. I would like to thank all my instructors- who are now my coworkers- for all their support and guidance throughout my journey as a musician. I plan to come home and teach in the summers and advance my career in the industry after my 4 years at Belmont. Thanks to Pure Rock Studios, I know I have the skills to succeed in whatever music industry profession I choose to pursue.