Little Drummer Boy

At the North Campus, Kindergarten student Brooks Barli plays the drums like a pro.


While most Kindergarten students enjoy playing with toys and action figures, Brooks Barli plays the drums. He doesn’t just bang on pots and pans, but on a real drum set. He has a natural knack for drumming complex beats to a variety of songs, and he is only six years old. This star-on-the-rise exhibits his talents at home, at school and anywhere else the opportunity arises.

He took a video of himself playing to send to talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, a scouter of young, unique talents across the nation. Brooks’ musical talent runs in the family. His grandmother was once on The Ed Sullivan Show years ago. Even his father and grandfather play the drums so percussion runs in his blood. Brooks started experimenting with drums when he was just one year old, and found even at that young age could keep a beat with his foot.

North Campus Principal Donna Leadford said, “I feel it is a God-given gift. I remember doing the Barli’s parent interview and his parents said, ‘He plays the drums.’ Of course, I didn’t understand… He PLAYS the drums.”

Brooks said, “My favorite songs to play are ‘Steal My Kisses,’ ‘The Sun Rises on the House,’ and ‘Wipeout.’”

More than just the school community and Brooks’ parents have taken notice of his talent. Brooks said, “At Rick’s Chop House, the band asked me to play with them.” Even developed musicians can see his talent.

His teacher, Mrs. Angie King said, “He has never taken formal lessons but can pick up a pair of drumsticks and start playing along with the music.”

When the Upper School Band visited North Campus, Brooks got to showcase his skills for them. Sophomore Rebekah Bynum, a percussionist for five years, said, “That kid was a complete boss. He had the talent level of someone in high school in the body of a kindergarten boy. His rhythm was perfection.”

The older students stood in awe as Brooks put all of his talent on the table. Junior Jeremiah Joseph, who has played the drums for six years said, “He had a really good sense of timing, which is really hard to get at that age. He has potential to be one of the best players I’ve ever seen.”

According to all of those who have gotten to hear his sophisticated talent, Brooks’ name will be in lights one day. He has the charisma and charm to be a big star, but for now, Brooks’ focus is the more immediate future, enjoying the 100th day of school.