Musical prodigies showcase their otherworldly abilities at a young age, but Jeremiah Travis is unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. And the historically black Alcorn State University apparently feels the same way, as it has offered the 5-year-old wunderkind a full band scholarship well over a decade before he even graduates high school.
USA Today reports that when he does finally graduate high school in 2032, he’ll have a home in the school’s Sounds of Dyn-O-Mite Band.
“Now, to know that he is 5 and has a full scholarship made me feel so good,” his mother, Nicole Jackson, said. “I am just amazed at his playing level with him being so young.”
Travis’ journey as a drummer began with beating on ABC blocks as a baby, and now the snare drummer for St. Helena College’s high school marching band is a familiar face at performances throughout Louisiana, including halftime shows for the New Orleans Pelicans.
Most kids his age are playing with toys or spending their afternoons with an Xbox controller in their hands, but Travis would much rather spend his time perfecting his craft.
“He’s not a video game person,” Jackson said. “He likes to move and learn different things with drums.”
Chesteron Frye, band director at St. Helena College and former student band director at Alcorn State University, took an immediate interest in Travis after spotting him drumming in the stands.
“He was sitting in the stands just beating on the stands with some drumsticks and I was like, ‘Who is this little baby keep beating drum sticks in the stands?’” Frye told WAFB. “So we told him come on over and we held the drum out, someone was holding it, and he just started going, going against the other band across the field and I was like, ‘Wow,’” Frye said.
And despite Travis’ age, Frye asserts that the kindergartner is one of the strongest drummers in his band.
“It’s mind-blowing every day,” he said. “Every single day he comes in and every single day he works. His work ethic is through the roof for a 5-year-old.”
He added, “He got all the dance moves, he knows all the cadences, he knows all the songs that we play, he comes in after he leaves the early learning center and he comes in and grinds just like us.”
Kenya Brooks, a 10th grader at St. Helena and older cousin of Travis, is also a member of the band. She revealed that she’s the one who taught Travis how to play.
“He was like, ‘Mimi, I want to learn how to play the drums like you,’” Brooks told WAFB. “I was like, ‘Alright, let me teach you real quick.’ Then I taught him just regular rhythm and then ever since then, he’s been taking off.”
If it’s up to Jackson, the young king will continue to hone his craft and eventually play for Alcorn State after graduating from high school.
“Frye going to make sure he go to college,” Jackson said.