“How old is that kid?” is a refrain often heard when Ian is jamming on the drums. At only 16 years old, Ian has the skills of a seasoned drummer. Picking up his first pair of sticks at 8 years old Ian quickly took to the drums progressing from basic riffs to hard jamming rock and blues to big band and jazz. His former drum teacher, Von Baron, one of the top drummers in Honolulu, has remarked that “Ian has the gift for drumming. His passion and innate musical instincts are thrilling to watch in every performance!" Ian has studied with some amazing drummers, including; Noel Okimoto, Von Baron, Abe Lagrimas Jr, Bonny B and Dana Hall.
As a member of the youth band “The Wreck” he has performed at numerous venues including The Hard Rock Cafe Honolulu, as well as a numerous charity events and festivals. Ian also performed as percussionist (drums and cajon) with singer songwriter Aidan James. Ian has accompanied Aidan at various events including the NFL Pro Bowl, Whisky A Go Go (LA), Blaisdell Arena (opening for Michael Bolton) and was the youngest drummer to perform at Blue Note Hawaii, where (at 13 years old) he thrilled the crowd with a six minute drum solo, which was featured on Drum Talk TV.
Most recently Ian has been focused on, and found his passion in, Jazz and has had the opportunity to play with some of the best jazz musicians in the state, including; Honolulu Jazz Quartet, DeShannon Higa's Subtonic Orchestra, the Jimmy Funai Quartet, Frugal McDougal, and visiting musicians like Rob Schepps and Brownman Ali, who was so impressed with Ian that he helped him organize and book his first headline gig, the Ian Wacksman Trio. Ian frequently plays at Jazz Minds Hawaii and Blue Note Hawaii, among other venues. Ian has also had the chance to participate in some of the top youth Jazz programs in the country;
2017 (14 years old) attended the Stanford Jazz Institute (Advanced Program)
2018 (15 years old) was chosen as one of only 4 young drummers in the country to join the Lincoln Center Summer Jazz Academy, led by Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center jazz musicians.
2019 (16 years old) was chosen as one of only 2 young drummers in the country to join Carnegie Hall's, National Youth Orchestra -Jazz, led by Sean Jones and culminates in performances at Carnegie Hall and an Asia Tour.
Ian was born in New Jersey to Japanese mother and American father, but soon moved with his family to Beijing and Hong Kong but truly has found his home in the music loving Hawaiian Islands where he resides in Honolulu with his non-musical mom and dad, and his musical brother, Dylan (guitar and sax) and sister Emma.