For more than 20 years, Ed Francis has been teaching students how to play the drums and, just as importantly, trying to inspire them to create and grow.
The last year was one marked by growth and a name change from Ed Francis Drum Instruction to Round Rock Drums, a move Francis said was intended to connect him to the city he loves.
"When people hear Round Rock Drums, they expect excellence," Francis said of the name change.
It has also tied him closer to a community that has embraced "The Drummer on the Round Rock," as he is known for, well, drumming on the Round Rock.
Over the past year, Francis has performed increasing numbers of free clinics throughout the community at schools, community centers and juvenile detention facilities, all for free. He expects he'll do even more in 2012 and has even given some thought to expanding the business with new instructors or a new space to teach.
"I'm not sure where the future's going to take us, honestly," Francis said. "There's something about me caring about each kid that keeps parents coming back."
Francis teaches children as young as 7—and in some cases 5 or 6 years old if they are particularly gifted—in half-hour sessions up to once a week. He said he currently has 54 students.
Some of his students stay with him for years, and many even come back just to jam with "Mr. Ed" after leaving for college.
"People have asked, 'what makes Round Rock Drums so special?'" Francis said. "And my answer is always: Some desire to make money, others to make a name for themselves—I aim to make a difference."
Round Rock Drums, 289-2561, www.roundrockdrums.com