This, the official autobiography of Elayne Jones, is the story of one woman's remarkable life and career in her own words; a journey from meager beginnings as a self-described "skinny little girl from Harlem," to the highest echelons of classical music. With a musical talent and personal drive that enabled her to transcend racial and gender barriers, Jones became the first African American woman in the New York Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra. A world renown tympanist, Elayne Jones is a graduate of the Arts and Music High School in New York. She then attended Julliard, being among the first winners of the Ellington Julliard Scholarship. Jones' professional career began in 1949 with the New York City Opera. Over the course of five decades, Elayne Jones played with the American Ballet Theatre, Arthur Fiedler and the World Symphony Orchestra, Leopold Stokowski and the American Symphony Orchestra, Seiji Ozawa and the San Francisco Symphony, and the San Francisco Opera. In 1965 she won the LaGuardia Memorial Award in recognition of her outstanding achievements in music. She has presented over 375 solo lecture demonstrations nationally and internationally of percussion instruments in schools and colleges, and in 1975, National Educational Television produced and aired a TV special on PBS featuring Jones entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Musician." Countless performances by Jones include television, recordings, musicals, and ballets. Elayne Jones is universally recognized as one the most prominent African Americans of the 20th Century. Alongside music, Jones was also an accomplished amateur tennis player for some 43 years, until an injury forced her to give up the game. Some of the high points in playing included tennis matches with tenor Luciano Pavarotti and conductor Seiji Ozawa. Jones retired from her career in music in 1998. A mother of three, she currently resides in the San Francisco East Bay Area, in Walnut Creek, California.