Patrick R. F. Blakley’s Drummond Media / Press Kit

 


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Biography

 

Patrick R F Blakley Hi-res headshot

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Patrick R F Blakley Lo-res headshot

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Patrick R. F. Blakley

E-mail: Patrick@PRFB.net

Website: PRFB.net/Drummond

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/57566781-drummond

Patrick R. F. Blakley is a SAMMY award-winning percussionist from Syracuse, New York. He is a music judge for the New York State Field Band Conference and participated in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2018! Blakley has written two technical marching percussion books and also a children’s book called Drummy Drum Joins Marchy Band.

The children’s book inspired his Drummond novel, which explores the question of why a drum would join the marching band in the first place. As it turns out, the drum was just a projection of his inner-self and Drummond had to find out who he really was inside! Drummond then uses that newfound information to try to fit in and connect with his new family!

 


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Drummond Book Information

 

Hi-res Drummond Cover

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Lo-res Drummond Cover

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Drummond: Learning to find himself in the music

Written by Patrick R. F. Blakley

Published in March 2021

Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Book Depository

ISBN 979-8429926469

Formats Available: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook

320 Pages / 65,000 Words

Young Adult Fiction

Synopsis: Drummond, a thirteen-year-old C student in middle school, is steered into joining the high school’s marching band. He’s far from ready, and his friends help him make several attempts to learn new instruments to try and fit in better. With a little unexpected guidance from the drummers and their instructor, he realizes how well he already fits in. He discovers who he is inside. Home life deteriorates behind him and pushes him forward into the arms of his new family, the marching band.

 

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Sales copy:

 

Find out who you are inside, then learn how to fit in!

 

Learn how to find yourself in the music!

 

 

Book awards:

 

Nominated for the 2021 CNY Book Awards (Results in summer 2022)

 

Nominated for the 2022 Rubery Book Award (Results in summer 2022)

 

Nominated for the 2022 Michael L. Printz Award (Results in summer 2022)

 

Nominated for the 2022 Writer’s Digest Book Award (Results in late 2022)

 

Nominated for the 2022 Best Indie Book Award (Results in late 2022)

 

Nominated for the 2022 Booklife Prize (Results in late 2022)

 

Nominated for a LitPick Book Award (Results in late 2022)

 

Nominated for the 2022 Indies Today Book Award (Results in Spring 2023)

 

Nominated for the 2022 Eric Hoffer Award (Results in spring 2023)

 

Nominated for the 2022 Montaigne Medal (Results in spring 2023)

 

Nominated for the 2022 DaVinci Eye Award (Results in spring 2023)

 

Nominated for the 2022 First Horizon Award (Results in spring 2023)

 

Nominated for the 2022 IPPY Book Awards (Results in spring 2023)

 

Nominated for the 2022 Indie Book Awards

 

 

 

Book Quotes:

“I lift my arm and feel around for the snooze button, the only word I know in braille.”

“I’m not totally engaged with the man, rather, the clock on the wall behind him. About six, but ticking slow and tocking even slower.”

“Bye!” I yell to Ashley over about four nearby flutes doing the opposite of tuning.”

“The table stands fast between the kitchen and the family room. It nestles between arguments and television shows, homework and birthday parties, breakfast and dinner.”

“Lying on the ground, the sousaphone looks like a Venn diagram for toppings that belong on a pizza versus pineapple, two big separate circles. He lifts the whole thing up, sticks his head through the pineapple portion, and straightens the pizza portion.”

The wind announces itself through my open bedroom window. Sheet music is blown face down onto my floor, but the birds outside sing it from memory. Accompanying them are four steady-sounding knocks on my door, very evenly spaced, about mezzo-piano, my mom must be practicing drums too.
“Let’s leave now, so we get a good view for the parade,” my mom adds lyrics through the closed door.

“Steve holds his breath as I suck all the air from the room into my lungs. I pause, then blow as hard as I can while squeezing my lips tightly together. The sound that comes out is not that of a sousaphone. In fact, it doesn’t even come out of the bell above my head. The sound that escapes and reverberates throughout the long hallway did, in fact, start with F but ended in A-R-T, and it came out the opposite end!”

“I don’t know yet,” I give her the perfect reply. The political ‘I do not recall’ get-out-of-jail-free card. Let’s see how Ashley handles this verbal razzle-dazzle.

“That’s not what Chelsea said,” Ashley pops my bubble.

“What did Chelsea say?” I ask. Now I look silly, not knowing what my apparent girlfriend thinks of our own relationship.

“Chelsea thinks you two are dating,” Ashley spills the bag and lets the cat out of the beans.”

“Percussion is my religion, and the band room is my cathedral. Inside this holy place, I don’t believe in anything more than myself.”

(Book excerpt and audio preview located at bottom of press kit.)

 


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Blurbs, Reviews, Blogs & Testimonials

(Links to the full reviews provided below.)

 

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Patrick R. F. Blakley’s novel, Drummond, is a compassionate look at the power of music to strengthen an unsettled soul. I love how the author weaves in the magic of music.”

Readers’ Favorite

Read the full Readers’ Favorite review of Drummond: Learning to find himself in the music

 

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⭐⭐⭐⭐

Drummond: Learning to Find Himself in the Music is a beautifully written coming-of-age novel for teens and young adults. Teens looking for inspiration or anyone with a love or nostalgia for the marching band will find this book a welcome addition to their collection.”

Literary Titan

Read the full Literary Titan review of Drummond: Learning to find himself in the music

 

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⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Blakley beautifully visualizes Drummond’s journey of self-discovery by using articulate jargon commonly found in the music world. This allows for further characterization and easy understanding of the effortless coming-of-age story.”

LitPick Book Review Award

Read the full LitPick Book Award review of Drummond: Learning to find himself in the music

 

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⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Blakley’s novel is charming, humorous, and an authentic look into a relatable past for all readers of any age. Drummond is an incredibly well-written coming-of-age story that hits so close to home.”

LitPick Top Choice Award

Read the full LitPick Top Choice Award review of Drummond: Learning to find himself in the music

 

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Upon publication to the Amazon.com bookstore, Drummond: Learning to find himself in the music climbed to multiple #1 Young Adult Fiction eBook best seller rankings! The eBook became the most downloaded eBook at the time of its release in the categories of Teen & Young Adult Music Fiction eBooks, Teen & Young Adult Sports Fiction eBooks, Children’s Music Books, and Children’s Sports & Outdoors Books!

See the full Amazon.com listing for Drummond: Learning to find himself in the music

 

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This was such a brilliantly written and captivating YA Genre Fiction read! The author expertly crafted a relatable and genuine narrative that felt alive on the page, and the imagery and tone the author captured ranged from the desolate to the passionate depending on the protagonist’s environment and mood. The character growth was the heart and passion of the story in this book. Rating 10/10″

Reedsy Reviews

Blakley’s attention to relationship-building, group efforts, and individual growth create a winning first-person story in which Drummond learns about marching bands, music, and himself. Ideally, it will also be part of a classroom assignment, discussed for its psychological revelations as Drummond learns about his strengths and employs them in a group effort to make music.”

Midwest Book Review

Drummond: Learning to Find Himself in the Music is a solid coming-of-age story. Blakley’s extensive knowledge of music and his own experiences in his youth bring the tale to life. Drummond is an engaging and entertaining protagonist who many young readers will identify with.”

The Book Review Directory

Drummond is a book I wish ‌I had read during my impressionable marching band years. A little neurotic and a lot funny, Blakley reminds musicians of the intricate nuances of drumming and a fun range of different marching instruments as Drummond shuffles through sections of the band before resettling on his true love, percussion.”

Indies Today

We finally have a story that speaks to the formative experiences our many young adults have in school band! If you have a child in band, particularly if they are a percussionist, then they will certainly connect with this smartly-written tale. Drummond explores the shared experience of music education and marching band that our best and brightest students have and continue to love and cherish, regardless of time and place.”

• Dr. R. Ward Miller, D.M.A. – Macy’s Great American Marching Band, Blue Stars Drum & Bugle Corps 

 

Blog Shares, Testimonials, Social Media:

 

 

 

Drummond Articles:

 

 

Top 6 Fiction Books About Music And Band

 

 

 

1618Words.com Exclusive Excerpt

(Spoiler Alert!)

 

 

 


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Press Release

 

Drummond Press Release

Drummond Press Release

Click the thumbnail to view or download the Drummond novel press release.

Drummond book introduces atheist main character to teenage readers in young adult novel

Amid book burnings across the US, this author asserts his irreverence.

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK — Drummond, a fiction novel by Patrick R. F. Blakley, introduces young readers to a main character who is thirteen years old and an atheist. The story is centered around marching band and the title character has to learn how to fit in with the band, but also at home.

              “I wrote a story that reflects who I am, and who I was in my formative years. That includes atheism and proudly using it as a tool to encourage young readers to question everything.”       – Patrick R. F. Blakley

Inquire for review copies of Drummond (electronic and print copies available)

 


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Sell Sheet

 

Drummond Sell Sheet

Click the thumbnail to view or download the Drummond sell sheet.

What helps this book stand out are its two main unique ingredients: An atheist main character, and a marching band theme! Both of these elements are uncommon among fiction novels, not to mention the young adult genre. Diversify your bookshelf with Drummond and let your readers expand their horizons as they learn to find themselves in the music!

Inquire for review copies of Drummond (electronic and print copies available)

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Note: The New York State Field Band Conference Championships is held in Syracuse, NY on the last Sunday of October every year! This is always a great time to have some stock on display to capture any attending band members and parents throughout the weekend. The activity brings in thousands of students, family, staff members, and fans from across the entire state (including Long Island) and pulls in two-dozen judges from across the country! It’s also a perfect time to sell for Christmas!

 


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Interview Resources / Sample Q&A

Sample questions with sample answers below

 

Recent Inteviews

 

H. J. Book Blog Interview

Digital Book Nook Interview

Literary Titan Interview

Armed With A Book Interview [Coming Soon]

 

  • Q: The Drummond novel is almost a retelling of the Drummy Drum Joins Marchy Band children’s book. Some chapter titles are even taken straight out of the Drummy book. Illustrations of Drummy always depict him as a drum while everyone else in that book is human. So who is Drummond?
  • A: Well, I was very much inspired by the illustrations in the Drummy Drum children’s book. Emily Hogan did a fantastic job depicting Drummy as a drum among humans. I kept asking myself why is he a drum and everyone else is human? I quickly realized that his outward appearance was who he was inside! I had to expand on that idea, and the most logical place was for the next oldest readers, young adults. Although this is a work of fiction, Drummond is very much myself. In fact, most of what happens throughout the story are events that occurred when I first joined marching band. Some chapters are completely made-up storylines, but the feelings conveyed are genuine feelings we’ve all experienced in our young lives, musicians or not.

 

  • Q: What made you decide to utilize alliteration as often as we see in the story? It’s perhaps the most prominent literary device throughout the book!
  • A: Alliteration became one of my most fun and valuable tools during the creation of this story. Drums are a very rhythmic instrument, obviously, and alliteration seems to give sentences a similar cadence and flow as you sound out certain passages. I thought it would be an excellent parallel for a book about drums, and band, to employ such a perfect literary device throughout the story. I hope it stimulates the reader in a way they might not have expected!

 

  • Q: Spoiler alert for readers who haven’t finished the book yet, this question gives a bit of the story away! There are several parallels in which the events during a band practice are reflected in Drummond’s home life. Divorce is a very common issue for kids growing up and Drummond’s parents grow apart and ultimately get divorced by the story’s conclusion. Why do you feel this was an essential element to include and leave unresolved in the book?
  • A: Well, the divorce of my parents didn’t quite have the same impact as it did with Drummond, but on the other hand, some kids are wounded pretty bad by their parents deciding to divorce. My own parents’ divorce did, in fact, happen in the way the book describes but it actually took place during my college years, unlike Drummond. He experienced it all behind the scenes of his new marching band life, well before high school. Divorce is entirely life-changing, and it can be devastating for a child. That’s why I chose to leave that loose end in the book, simply because it wasn’t something that would ever be fixed. Stories shouldn’t always have happy endings! The simple story here is that Drummond transforms into a percussionist while home life deteriorates around him. Books and movies that resolve every negative issue are not being truthful to themselves or reality.

 

  • Q: This novel is geared very much toward readers who are musicians or young aspiring musicians. Is the book something a non-musician would also enjoy or even understand? The ‘pit’ comes to mind. Most unfamiliar readers might literally think it’s a giant hole underperforming students are tossed into, much like Drummond himself believed. Is that something that was done intentionally?
  • A: This is another fun aspect of the book, that it engages readers differently. When I taught percussion and marching band, I’d always start the first rehearsal as if nobody knew anything about drumline at all. I used terminology like volumes instead of dynamics, talked about their hands instead of stickings, and started with very basic rudiments that were easy to learn quickly. We’d then obviously begin to introduce the proper terminology slowly throughout the season. The Drummond book takes the same approach for the reader. Basic concepts at first, then eventually the reader is shown a more technical term with the correct context clues to understand how it applies. So yeah, I think this story is something that anyone with any degree of musical experience, or lack thereof, can enjoy. In fact, I think the story is even great for older readers who want to reminisce, especially if they were in marching band in their past! It’s an easy read and will strike all the familiar chords.

 

  • Q: Early in the story, Drummond discovers that he does not believe in god and that percussion replaces his religion. Why do you think it’s important to have a main character who is an atheist in your novel? And is that also a reflection of your own personal awakening?
  • A: That is absolutely a reflection of who I was in the past and also who I am today. In fact, I remember when I found out that the word atheist even existed. Coincidentally, it was in high school band class! I grew up methodist, then my family switched to catholicism. Around that time, I started thinking about how two different churches could both be within the Christian faith but believe slightly different things. Turns out, there are an incredible number of different Christian churches, a staggaring number of slightly different beliefs across one religion! I began to question if I actually believe what Catholics believe or if there was a better fit for me. Finally, upon reading the bible for myself, I discovered that I don’t agree with many of the things that it actually said. Specifically, I was so morally opposed to the amount of death and destruction the god of the bible devastated his people with. These are things they don’t preach about or teach you in Sunday school. Actually, I was even kicked out of a Sunday school lesson for bringing these questions up to the class. A petty god; pettiness being a very human trait. When I finally took a step back and looked at my former religion from the outside, I saw people who literally thought they were drinking blood while chanting in monotone. Those are cult-like traits, conditioning techniques even. It was creepy to see that juxtaposed in modern society. I found myself in a conversation with a percussion friend back in high school school. She was the one that actually told me I was an atheist. I literally had to look the word up before realizing it was true. Now, I don’t like going around and advertising my atheism, but I felt compelled to include an atheist main character in my story, both because Drummond is a reflection of who I am and because there are very few stories with a non-religious main character!

 

  • Q: The book has countless references to religion throughout each chapter. Can you expand on why a book with an atheist main character frequently references these religious ideas? It feels like there’s something more there.
  • A: Yea, there’s something more there for sure. At first, I wanted to just compare how I felt at church on Sundays to how I felt taking drum lessons with my various instructors. Both were an hour of my week early in the morning, and both felt boring, like an obligation. While developing this idea, I realized that it seemed to crossfade with my religious beliefs as I explored my drumming talent. My percussion hobby filled that missing part of myself that religion had held hostage during my developmental years. The book subtly highlights this growth using religious symbols or specific buildings as metrics for my advancement in percussion. Drummond was a parishioner of percussion, but not yet a percussionist, right up until the book’s final line. The book ends when Drummond becomes a percussionist, perhaps a metaphor for disbanding religion completely!

 

  • Q: Your book is for the young adult genre. Do you think it’s moral to teach young adults about atheism?
  • A: Quite frankly, I think it’s immoral not to teach them about atheism. Why is it considered moral for the local church to indoctrinate children into their religion at such a young age? The answer is that their faith is so illogical that they need to commandeer young minds before they reach the age of reason. Luckily, for believers, and by sheer coincidence, the local church is the correct religion, no matter where you live in the world! In fact, believers of one faith will often attempt to invalidate another of the several thousand religions of the world without realizing that the points they make can be used against them in exactly the same way. Specifically, in the US, churches teach verifiable falsehoods and hold narrow views of people outside their faith, putting it mildly. At best, things like creationism, geocentrism, the flood narrative, anti-evolution, or anti-intellectualist pseudoscience in general, do nothing to move humanity forward. Atheists are entirely comfortable not having all of the answers, which is not a bad thing. That’s how we learn, by questioning. What is bad, though, is pretending to have all the answers and refusing to change a preconceived opinion when the data ultimately emerges. At worst, churches teach hatred toward LGBTQ+ people, hatred toward foreigners, hatred toward other religions they don’t understand, and hatred toward atheists simply for not believing in their local god. Didn’t Jesus specifically teach of unconditional love? Love, no matter what! It seems odd when religious families disown their children for coming out as homosexual or transgender. LGBT homeless youth should not be a thing! This is why I personally donate to The National Alliance to End Homelessness and The Trevor Project. The most recent US right-wing religious idea is that citizens should report the parents of transgender minors for abuse! Religion is saturated in politics, and we’re now constantly hearing religious leaders preach their politics from the pulpit, without being taxed, I should add. Just a reminder to those religious readers: when you tithe that 10% of your hard-earned wages, it’s from your pre-tax gross earnings, not your take-home pay. More to the point though, we need to teach young people that we have but one life to live, and when it’s over, that’s it! Our brains are merely tools our bodies use to survive the world around us. We’re not equipped to understand a concept like nothingness. To hit this point home, not many people even know their great-great-grandparents. That is to say, few people are remembered for more than 100 years. We need to live in the moment because, in the end, nobody will remember us, and we’ll be right back to that 13.8 billion year nothingness before we were born. So enjoy your short time here, folks. It’s all you get!

 


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Book Excerpt & Audio Preview

 

Drummond Chapter 1 Audio Preview:

Drummond Audio Preview Download

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Drummond Book Excerpt:

Chapter 1: Lessons Are A Lot Like Church

 

             “Hi Dru,” the man says from my front door.
        I shudder just a little bit. Dru, a single syllable, bland and unsophisticated. Shouldn’t a name be more interesting than a singular blurted sound? I mean, it represents an entire human life, complex and exciting, summed up by one syllable? Blah. I can’t hold it against him, I think to myself, my name is Drummond, and he assumes I go by Dru. Every time this happens, I read that line in my head like a script. Sometimes I continue; they’re just being friendly. Let’s see if they’re the type of person to ask what name I prefer. Some people are careful not to insult me by shortening the name my parents gave me. Not that I’d be insulted, but I guess some people actually take offense to something like that. Not me, though! I blur the line on sarcasm.
             Some people just call me Drummond right away. Usually, this is a sort of question that silently invites me to let them shorten it if I so choose. Others will use my full name but ask if I go by Dru or not. I always respond the same way, that they can call me both, but I prefer Drummond. Maybe I’m too nice. I don’t love the name Dru, but I’m not going to correct someone because I don’t want them to feel like they did something wrong. Maybe I tend to overthink this. Perhaps it’s time to give up and let the wheel-of-randomness decide my name for everyone who meets me and spins it!
             The tiniest fraction of people will issue me a multiple-choice surprise quiz. I’m not a fan of tests, and I get a little bit uneasy.
             “Hi Drummond,” they’d begin, “do you go by A: Drummond, B: Dru, C: Drum, or D: None of the above?”
           Okay, okay, they don’t literally list them like that using lettered answers, but they do suggest abbreviations for my name. This single-question test is worth one-hundred percent of my grade. I better get this right since it’ll go onto my permanent record with this testing institution. How do I answer, though? Am I allowed to choose more than one answer? How do I make sure they know I’m not offended by any of these names but that I do have a preferred designation. Should I give them strict percentages for every response on how often they’re allowed to use each name? Or will they cling to the most dominant answer I give and brandish that title as the pilot insignia under the cockpit of a fighter jet?
             What nobody ever knows, and couldn’t ever guess, is that my friends call me Drummy. I’m not sure who coined the nickname, maybe family, maybe a friend. If I had to guess, I’d say that in the past someone gave me the ol’ pop-quiz, and I answered C, for Drum, and it turned into a nickname.
             C is the most common answer on most multiple-choice tests since teachers don’t want to give up the correct answer right away for answers A or B. And to wait until D is tantamount to circling the correct answer themselves. C! C is definitely the correct answer precisely sixty-five percent of the time, which promises you a passing grade if you just pick C all the way down the page. You’ll end up bored just sitting in class after handing in your test mere moments from receiving it, but boredom is a low price to pay for just getting by with the bare minimum. However, a coy teacher would know this and, in turn, might shift their correct answers to B, the next logical hiding place. Doing this would ultimately defeat the classic C strategy. Until it’s brought before the Supreme Court of the United States of America, students using the C strategy against this tactic will plummet the overall grades of every school in the county, perhaps even the entire world!… Anyway, I probably got the wrong answer, and calling me Drum evolved into rebranding the nickname to Drummy.
             Nobody gets to pick their own nickname, but at least Drummy made sense. I’ll always know someone’s talking to me when they call me that; it sounds just like my full name.
             Funnier still, I think the name drew me toward drums. When asked what instrument I wanted to play, I gravitated toward drums, probably without realizing it! I think my dad played trumpet in school, but music isn’t really a big part of our everyday lives. Besides racks of CDs in the family room and a tall wooden cabinet of sound gear, my starter drum pad just collected dust at home. Music and band is just another class in school.
             Half a second passed in slow motion as I oversaturated it with my tired inner monologue…
             “Hello,” I simply respond to the man at my front door.

 

Chapter 1: Lessons Are A Lot Like Church (Cont’d)

 

             The kitchen table is an entirely foreign environment for Dwayne but a well-known meeting ground for my family and me. The room is habitable but sometimes hostile. The table stands fast between the kitchen and the family room. It nestles between arguments and television shows, homework and birthday parties, breakfast and dinner. The kitchen is no place to discuss religion. But then again, Dwayne’s isn’t just any religion.
             Dwayne lays upon the table forty commandments, or whatever he calls them. I’m not totally engaged with the man, rather, the clock on the wall behind him. About six, but ticking slow and tocking even slower.
             “Drummond,” his big-finger points to the page, “how many of these do you know already?”
              I try to focus. I orient myself with the page, taking just a moment and stopping at the first thing I recognize.
              “Oh, I know, Paradiddles,” the words confidently pop out of my mouth somehow.
              “Any others?” Dwayne encourages me.
              I take more time and actually look at a few before chiming in again.
              “Um, yeah, I think I know a lot of these already,” I assure everyone at a mezzo-forte volume.
           This visit isn’t what I thought it was, this whole meeting. Dwayne didn’t cold call us at all! My parents had something to do with this entirely. Dwayne slides the first two pages toward me and goes through his bag on the floor next to his chair. I hear a familiar wooden sound as he haphazardly searches for a pencil at the bottom of his small black backpack. The next sheet he pulls out for me has some text with blank lines scattered throughout. Dwayne looks at me and gives me his pitch, an easy fastball right down the middle.
            “I want to sign you up for percussion lessons, Drummond. I teach music at the high school, and we’re looking for a few more members. Your band teacher, Mr. Ti, gave me your name specifically, and I think you’d be a great fit,” he continues for a moment. “Do you think you’d be interested in joining the marching band?… Not many eighth-grade students get the opportunity to play in the high school band. We would take several baby steps to get you up to speed, ‘half-steps’ we call them in music. Twelve half-steps, and I’m certain you’ll be ready. A chromatic scale in D, for Drummond!”
             He smirks. That’s probably pretty clever if you already understand what a half-step is. I don’t, not yet anyway. We’ll have to add that to the list of things he’ll need to show me if I join the band.
               “Do you have any questions about any of this?” Dwayne pauses, turning all eyes toward me.
               “Yea, what’s percussion?” I ask, slightly confused.
                I’m a drummer in school. Why would I play percussion? I just showed him I recognized these forty drum rudiments moments ago!
               “Percussion is drums,” my father emphasizes. “You’re a percussionist already, Drummy.”
              I don’t feel like a percussionist, as right as he may be. I barely feel like a drummer. Right now, I’m more of a boy that just owns two cheap drumsticks!

 

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