To the beat of his own drum

Sophomore balances academics, music, social life


Taylor Confer / Legacy Media

Sophomore Jackson Lightfoot creates a beat for a song on his drumset.

He hastily scribbles down the notes. Letting out a frustrated sigh, he tries the chords once more. Days have been spent on this song, and he knows he could probably be doing other things, like homework or talking to friends, but he is determined to find this last chord—to find this missing piece of the puzzle. Strumming lightly, he finds the note. The sound resonates through the room and a grin slowly appears on his face. He found the missing piece.

From lettering as a freshman in percussion to ranking second in his class, sophomore Jackson Lightfoot seems to do it all. Although he is praised for his academic skill and admired by his friends, his true passion lies with his music.

“Music is my escape,” Lightfoot said. “It lets me ignore all of the problems in life and find an inner peace. Without it, I would have nothing to look forward to, as music is what I love most in this world.”

Love of music for most people only extends to listening, but for Lightfoot, the love encompasses a multitude of instruments that make the most beautiful sounds under his direction. When he started percussion in sixth grade, masses of other instruments such as piano, drum set, snare and masses of percussion instruments began to build up his portfolio. Lightfoot’s involvement in music has carried him to different genres and sounds, so much in fact, that he started producing his own dubstep music.

“I enjoy it a lot, because it’s a unique kind of music that uses a different side of my creativity,” he said. “As far as dubstep in the future, I’ll always enjoy dancing and listening to it, but I don’t think I’m going to pursue making it.”

According to Lightfoot, the main reason he began producing dubstep was because of senior Zach Burgett, he believes that the mixes Burgett creates are even better than the ones on the radio.

Music is my escape. It lets me ignore all of the problems in life and find an inner peace. Without it, I would have nothing to look forward to, as music is what I love most in this world.

— Sophomore Jackson Lightfoot

“He lives down the street and we used to play in a band together,” Burgett said. “He came over one time to hang out with my younger brother. He heard the music I was making upstairs and came in the room saying ‘This is awesome,’ so I gave him some links to the programs I use. I guess that is when he started getting into making it. He is so talented.”

Burgett is not the only one who believes in Lightfoot’s abilities. Senior Cole Corbett has confidence that Lightfoot will go far in life because of his talents.

“He has natural abilities and remains humble about it while also not slacking off,” Corbett said. “He accepts challenges, such as academic and musical goals, and looks at them like they are able to be done just as you look at a puzzle and say that it can and will be completed and it will fit perfectly together.”

Along with music, Lightfoot also has a passion for engineering. Despite his achievements and success in the music realm, he has chosen to pursue a career in the latter, claiming it is the more viable and realistic option.

“Since music isn’t a reliable occupation in today’s world, I’m planning on being an engineer of some sort, probably electrical or mechanical,” Lightfoot said. “I’ll still always keep music on the side and if a music career takes off, I’ll follow that passion.”

Sophomore Jackson Lightfoot searches for a song to remix.
Taylor Confer / Legacy Media
Sophomore Jackson Lightfoot searches for a song to remix.

Lightfoot’s achievements in music impress most people, considering that he is only in his sophomore year. From knocking out all of the upperclassmen and taking first chair at the top band in the school, freshman region and 5A region, he feels as though his accomplishments only show his deep passion for music and his ability to maintain and balance in his life throughout all of the activities he participates in.

“Not only do I balance school and music, but I also balance a pretty good social life as well,” Lightfoot said. “It’s tough with constant marching band rehearsals after school and drumline before school. Plus, being ranked second, I have the pressure to make almost perfect grades. This requires a lot of studying and sacrifices a lot of sleep, but in the end it’s worth it for awesome friends, great grades and music.”