Bang the Drum, Ashley
Airdate 17 September 1990
Written by Shannon Gaughan
Directed by Debbie Allen
The Fresh Prince Project
Clubba Hubba
"The household hits a sour note when Will pawns Ashley's violin to get her a drum set."
―DVD quotation

Bang the Drum, Ashley is the 2nd episode of Season 1.


The Banks are in their living preparing for their day. Geoffrey provides Philip an aspirin for his headaches due to the annoying hammering down at his office. Hilary tells him if the hammering is bothering him, he should just tell them to stop. Philip decides not to discuss it, and rather enjoy the few hours he'll have in the house. Will, who is upstairs, begins making noise singing I Got the Power by Snap.

Will comes downstairs and Ashley walks in, asking her mom who's going to drive her to her tennis lesson after school. Vivian tells her to check her schedule to make sure it's tennis. Will finds it bizarre how she has an after school schedule. Ashley explains to him that it helps her keeps her lessons straight. After looking at her schedule, she realizes today is her violin lesson. Ashley asks again who's taking her. After Hilary refuses to do it, Philip suggests Will could take her since he won't be busy later on. Philip tells Will that he must take her there in the station wagon, and he must wait for her there, then take her home. Will complains about having to sit through an hour of scratchy violins, but Philip convinces him that he might learn something.

Will drives Ashley and her friends to their violin lessons, with all of them playing their violins in the car, much to Will's annoyance. Having enough, Will suggests they sing something else, I Got the Power by Snap. They sing all the way to their destination, and continue singing as they enter the room, with Will dancing behind them. Their music teacher Madame Chatchka quiets everyone down and reminds them of their music assignment. They begin playing, with Will sitting in the back reading a magazine. Madame Chatchka spots Will and scolds him for reading during the performance.

After a while of sitting through the performance, Will admits to Ashley that it was nice to listen to her music. Ashley, however, reveals to Will that she doesn't actually enjoy playing the violin and that she's only doing because her father likes it. Will explains to her that she doesn't have to be like her father and should do what she enjoys.

Back at the house, Philip returns home with a painful headaches from the construction at his office. Geoffrey offers him another aspirin. After sitting down, he suddenly hear some loud drumming coming from upstairs. He heads upstairs and finds Will and Ashley playing on a drum set. Philip calls for Vivian to come into the room. Will tells them they went to a pawn shop in East L.A and pawned Ashley's violin for a set of drum. He tries to ease the blow to his uncle and aunt by throwing in gifts for them. While Vivian willingly accepts hers, Philip doesn't like his, then after Will asks him if he could have it, he snaps at him for pawning Ashley's violin. He explains to him that he wants her to play the violin as he believes it makes her an accomplished young woman. Vivian convinces him to let Ashley try something else, since she's spent a whole year on the violin. They are then introduced to Ashley's new music teacher, Jazz. After meeting Philip and Vivian, Will and Ashley let Jazz demonstrate his skill of the drums, while Philip and Vivian leave them alone.

Some time later, the Banks are in the living having tea time, while being disrupted by the loud drumming. Hilary and Carlton, having enough of the pulsating beat, begs for it to stop. Philip calls Ashley down to take a break from her practice and enjoy tea time with her family. The family puts on a classical music by Brandenburg Concerto. Philip tries to get Ashley to appreciate the soothing sounds of the music, but this fails when Jazz is asked to turn the volume up and decides to play with the records. Jazz is thrown out of the house for the first time.

Later at night, Philip and Vivian call down Ashley to talk to her. Will also comes down, as Philip wants him to hear the discussion. Philip explains to Ashley that he managed to get Ashley to make up her work for Madame Chatchka. Ashley then reveals that she never liked the violin and does not enjoy the drums either, only agreeing to do so in order to please Will and Uncle Phil, who both realize that they are trying to control her. Vivian tells her she doesn't need to please either one of them and that she should focus on the lessons she enjoys best. She hugs her mom, and tells her she wants to quit ballet, but Vivian disagrees, saying she looks so cute in her tutu. Ashley says she hates it, but her mom asks her to at least wait until Christmas.

The two leave the room, leaving Will and Philip bewildered by how Ashley wants to quit everything, with Phil saying kids today have short attention spans. Will says he blames television.


Will Smith as Will Smith
James Avery as Phillip Banks
Janet Hubert as Vivian Banks
Alfonso Ribeiro as Carlton Banks
Karyn Parsons as Hilary Banks
Tatyana Ali as Ashley Banks
Joseph Marcell as Geoffrey Butler

Recurring cast

DJ Jazzy Jeff as Jazz

Guest starring

Bette Ford as Madame Chatchka

Quotes Edit

  • Ashley: Mommy, who's gonna take me to my tennis lesson after school today?
  • Vivian: Are you sure it tennis today, sweetie? Maybe you better check the schedule.
  • Will: Schedule?!
  • Ashley: Yeah, my parents bought me this calendar so I can keep my lessons straight. Did you have an after school schedule when you were my age?
  • Will: Yeah, the TV guide.
  • Ashley: See, Monday's for ballet, Tuesday's writing, Wednesday's violin... oops.
  • Vivian: I thought today was violin today, sweetpie.
  • Carlton: You mean Ashley would've shown up to her violin lesson in her tennis outfit?


  • Hilary: Ha, I just pictured it.
  • Carlton: Well, I'm two for two. I'm gonna quit while I'm ahead.
  • Will: That's just retirement.
  • Carlton: Ouch, keep 'em coming, Will.


  • Will sings "The Power" by SNAP! and, accompanied by Jazz on drums, "Pump Up The Jam" by Technotronic
  • Earlier syndicated airings on TBS and ABC Family cut Hilary's line "I want her severely punished."
  • This is the first appearance of Jazz and the first time he gets thrown out of the house.
    • It also marks the first time he tries to make a move on Hilary.
  • Earlier airings on TBS and ABC Family cut the scene where Ashley's music teacher confronts Will for reading a magazine during the lesson.
  • The scene where Jazz is thrown out of the house in this episode is the same exact clip used in every Fresh Prince episode he gets thrown out the front door.
  • This is one of a few episodes Philip is shown with a shaved beard.
  • The episode name is a pun on the 1956 baseball novel (and later film) Bang the Drum Slowly.
  • Wills and Philip's lines "Aww come on Uncle Phil, you gonna ruin my rep!" and "You're only 17, you don't have a rep yet!" come from Will Smith's song "Parents Just Don't Understand."


  • When Geoffrey gives Philip some water, the amount of water changes between shots.
  • Philip says that Will is 17, but in a later episode, Will says he left Philadelphia when he was 14.
  • Phillip asks Geoffrey to put on "the Brandenburg Concerto." Since there are six of them, he would have ask which number he wants. The one they play is Brandenburg Concerto #2.
  • When Uncle Phil drinks water for his second aspirin, he drank about 1/4 of the water. In the next shot, the glass is nearly empty. After this second shot, the water is 3/4 full like before.
  • In this episode, Will is revealed to be 17 and Ashley is 9. In later episodes, such as Just Infatuation, she turns 12, but Will still remains 17 throughout the season.
  • Due to Will being only 17, he would not be able to legally pawn Ashley's violin.

Photos Edit