MUSIC TO THE EARS: K-State student looking to make it big as self-taught musician

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Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie and Prince, a few notable musicians who taught themselves how to play instruments. Now, one Kansas State University student is playing his way to that list.

From the bass to the hi-hats, then to the keys, Sherrod Smith can do it all.

“Mostly, in the way music education evolves is that you focus on one thing,” said Slawomir Dobrzanski, one of Sherrod’s professors. “So you’re either a singer, or you are a percussion player, or you’re a guitar player. But here we have someone who can do so much.”

Sherrod’s learning technique is definitely different than others.

“God has blessed me with the ear and the skill,” Sherrod said. “And the gift to play like this.”

Starting at the age of two, Sherrod picked up his first pair of drumsticks and began playing. Picking up sounds and rhythms by simply listening. Then at age 14, he picked up on the piano. Followed by the bass guitar and the organ, even singing to top it all off.

Sherrod made his way to K-State to study music, but because he couldn’t read music he couldn’t get into the music program.

“Usually people start when they’re like four,” Sherrod said. “I was already 20. So I had to do double work. So I was constantly reading something new every day.”

Taking a year to learn to read music, proving with hard work comes benefits. He finally got accepted into the schools music program.

“The dedication that it comes with, anyone can do it,” Sherrod said.

Now as a senior, Sherrod keeps playing and singing, hoping to become a gospel singer and producer to name a few.

“He’s already someone remarkable at this point,” Dobrzanski said. “And what life will bring, we’ll see.”

Sherrod also played for the US Army Band from 2017 to 2018.

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