5-year-old Jeremiah Travis is a snare drummer at St. Helena College and Career Academy in Greensburg, Louisiana. He’s like most children—except he loves the drums. Like, really loves. In fact, he is so good at drumming that he’s actually been offered a scholarship to Alcorn State University — when he’s old enough to attend. When Travis graduates from high school in 2032, he has the opportunity to play in the Sounds of Dyn-O-Mite Band — if he chooses.
“To know that he is 5 and has a full scholarship made me feel so good. I am just amazed at his playing level with him being so young,” Travis’ mom Nicole Jackson said.
Every day at school, Travis is surrounded by beginning band members and drummers who are more than ten years his senior.
But, Chesteron Frye — the band director at St. Helena College and Career Academy and former student band director at Alcorn State University — said Travis’ work ethic sets him apart.
“He’s 5 years old but he’s always working on his skills,” Frye said. “Any free time in the band room or when we go on break, he’s drumming on the floor, getting other drummers to come and just asking them ‘can we play, can we play.'”
Travis started playing the drums on his ABC blocks as a baby. Ever since then, he’s been “beating on stuff,” Jackson said.
“My child only plays a video game for no longer than 15 minutes and then he wants to beat on something […] He’s not a video game person. He likes to move and learn different things with drums,” she added.
“I don’t force him to do things because he is five years old,” said Brandon Dorsey, the percussion instructor at Travis’ school. “Sometimes, I have to revamp myself and remember that he is so young. What he has, it is God’s gift.”
When the percussion section prepares to battle an opposing drumline, Dorsey says, Travis is in his element.
“He is just zoned in. Sometimes, I don’t teach him a part because I think he might not be able to play it. Next thing you know, we start playing a cadence, he just starts playing it and I’m amazed.”
When Travis finishes his school day, he plays drums with his cousin Kenya Brooks, also a member of the St. Helena College and Career Academy’s percussion section.
“All they do is drum together during and after practice,” Frye said. “They have like the big brother-little brother relationship.”