My name is Gabrielle O’Neill and I’m 11 years old. I have been playing drums for 3 years. Here’s my story. In 3rd grade, a sheet came home from school asking kids to pick an instrument. I told my mom to check percussion, but I’m not sure she ever heard me. Surprised at being called for violin in school, instead of percussion, I asked if it was a mistake. When I got home from school, I told my mom I wanted the opportunity to try drums. After this debate, I got my wish.
From this moment on, I learned that words can persuade people. This tool, even if you are a kid, can change someone’s life. It did for me. I’m anxious and shy. Drums bring me relaxation, especially during Covid, while my parents worked in healthcare. In the future, I would like to advocate for other children. I think drums have taught me to believe in myself.
I picked my song because it is challenging. Bringing different kinds of music together, like the Jazz Police, reminds us that we must live peacefully together. We must think of equality for all, no matter race, gender or age. I hope one day I can play for many people and convince others to find their voice in music.
I am inspired by Cindy Blackman. She is super controlled but can play really quiet, really loud and fast and clean on every drum or cymbal she hits. Another hero, Mae Jemison, became an astronaut despite obstacles, states, “You have something important to contribute … you have to take the risk to contribute it.“