Nick Cannon plays a talented drummer(snare) who is recruited to college. He impresses the Band Director with his talent, and is offered an opportunity to play with a band that has been finishing 2nd in a National competition. Since a large part of a successful outcome depends on the quality of the drum section, the director feels that he may be the "missing key" to land them the 1st place trophy. The band director is under a lot of pressure from the schools administrator to win the National competition this year - the implication being that he is out if he doesn't.
Canon's character Devon is a bold, brash young man and immediately causes tension with the Section Leader. Although Devon isn't given a starting position in the band, he feels that he deserves it. Additional tension ensues as Devon is constantly challenging and attempting to show up or embarress the leader.
Devon learns that he may be able to make it onto the starting squad by issuing a challenge, and then winning in a one on one challenge. There's just one hitch - Devon doesn't read music. He's managed to compensate so far by utilizing a near photographic memory and combining that with his almost savant talent to get by. He quite often just riffs, or plays combinations of drum sequences that he has memorized over time.