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5-Year-Old Drumming Prodigy Lands College Band Scholarship to HBCU Alcorn State

Most kindergartners spend their time playing games, watching TV or frolicking outside when their faces aren’t glued to a phone screen.

For 5-year-old Louisiana boy Jeremiah Travis, drumming is his favorite pastime. His mother says he’s been banging and bopping on ABCs blocks since he was a baby and hasn’t missed a beat. The pint-sized percussionist has since turned his passion into a full college scholarship some 13 years before his high school graduation.

Jeremiah Travis

Jeremiah Travis, 5, is a member of the band at St. Helena College and Career Academy. (Photo: WAFB 9 / video screenshot)

If he chooses, Travis will have the opportunity to join the Sounds of Dyn-O-Mite Band at Alcorn State University when he graduates in 2032.

His mother, Nicole Jackson, jumped for joy at the amazing offer.

“Now, to know that he is 5 and has a full scholarship made me feel so good,” Jackson told the Mississippi Clarion Ledger. “I’m just amazed at his playing level with him being so young.”

According to the paper, Travis is a snare drummer at St. Helena College and Career Academy in Greensburg, Louisiana and has wowed audiences with his dance moves and sideline performances. He’s also played at halftime at several New Orleans Pelicans basketball games.

Travis often drums with musicians twice his size and at least 10 years his senior, but he doesn’t let that stop him. The tot’s band mates say his work ethic is just as rare as his talent.

“He’s 5 years old, but he is always working on his skills,” said Chesterton Frye, band director at St. Helena College and former student band director at Alcorn State. “Any free time in the band room [or] when we go on break, he’s drumming on the floor, getting the other drummers to come and just asking them ‘can we play, can we play?’ “

Travis further honed his craft by watching the 2002 film “Drumline,” and hanging with his cousin, fellow St. Helena drummer Kenya Brooks. It was Brooks who taught Travis all the dance moves and cadences.

“All they do is drum together during and after practice,” said Frye. “They have like the big brother-little brother relationship.”

Brandon Dorsey, the percussion instructor at the school, noted how focused the young drummer gets when it’s time to hit the field for a battle, saying, “He’s just zoned in … play time is over. He is really about business.”

“When he graduates, whichever college he attends — hopefully he attends Alcorn State — he has a bright future,” Dorsey added.

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