ST. LOUIS - Denny Mcfarland seems to speak a language only his students understand. And considering he's been teaching band for more than 20 years, and in the 18 he has spent at Pattonville High School, he's seen plenty of extremely talented students.
"The vast majority of them that come through our doors here aren't going to study music, pursue it as a career," said Mcfarland.
But Kim Thompson was different.
"Oh yeah, it was really clear she had a lot of natural ability, it was really raw natural ability," said.
She was also extremely driven.
"There are a number of instruments here in the room that all of our percussion players must know how to get around on, but she always wanted to play the drum set," Mcfarland explained.
So he wasn't completely surprised when she hit the road with Beyonce, but he was a little surprised to get the call.
"When she got the job with Beyonce she called me and she was on the way to the red carpet ceremony for 'Dream Girls.' I had to ask her though, 'Is Beyonce in that limo with you right now?'" Mcfarland said.
Now she'll be playing the drums for Seth Meyers' Late Night Band, another gig she quickly told her old band director about.
"I'm on the phone call list. That's pretty cool," said Mcfarland.
Of course, her success can also help Mr. Mcfarland in the classroom.
"It's motivating I think for some of our current students, oh she used to sit in this room right here maybe that can be me," Mcfarland explained.
He says that's something he'll continue to tap into.