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Easier Said by LeRoy A. Battle

LeRoy Battle’s Easier Said is a spellbinding story of the life of one of the many African American men who by their sheer determination and perseverance, set and pursued goals which led to a rewarding life. To those of LeRoy’s time, it provides an opportunity to relive some of their own experiences – to youngsters, it will serve as an inspiration.

Questions for Discussion

  1. Explain how Battle's learning approach of "study and practice" helped him to become successful in his career and personal goals.

  2. When did LeRoy "Boots" Battle's career goal or his love for music become "two pronged" a) to perform and b) to teach others how to play?

  3. Explain this quote by Battle: "the thought of robbing a person or a store
    couldn't hold a candle to the holistic, magnificent chords of a Bach cantata or the beautiful dark tones of a Brahm's chorale."


  4. What kept Battle as a jazz musician from drugs, alcohol, and dangerous women?

  5. What act of "civil disobedience" did 2nd Lt. LeRoy Battle and other officers demonstrate? What factors made this protest especially dangerous for the Black officers? What were the results of their behavior?

  6. How did being a musician help Battle with New York gang members? Explain how gangs operate? Who are the Guardian Angels?

  7. List the steps in the process used by the Rhythm Club for a musician to be chosen for a "gig"? What role did "networking" play in this process? How old was LeRoy when he started playing in these neighborhood gigs?

  8. What tactics were used by the military "to bond" the Tuskegee Airmen? What groups are these strategies used with today? Develop a bonding exercise for your College (church group, athletic team, family) group, i.e. Student Art League, Collegian Center members, ALANA, your classmates, the Honors group.

  9. Explain how mathematics is used in bombardier training and by musicians.

  10. How did Battle win the New York Philharmonic Scholarship for the Borough of Brooklyn? What did he learn from the music scholar Mr. Saul Goodman?

  11. Discuss the gangs and gang activities Battle found in his Brooklyn neighborhood. Are these gangs different from the ones in Prince George's County today?

  12. Can you identify with this quote by Battle: "I had an insatiable appetite for all kinds of music and worked hard to master every aspect of my instruments' range."

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