You won’t believe it! At the age of 14, Neil Nayyar has already mastered 107 different musical instruments. If you love a particular type of music, chances are, Neil plays it and he plays it well. Classical, Bollywood, jazz, rock, and sounds from all over the world flow from this musician, but this is not the only amazing thing about him. He is only 14 years old and getting better every day!
At the age of five years when most of the kids can just sing along to the tunes hearing from the media Neil’s parents realised his talent and how good he was to the instruments. After seeing his talent they got registered him for summer camps where Neil learned how to play several instruments. He has music teachers from across the world; China, India, Italy and several others remotely. Neil holds the Assist Foundation’s world record as the youngest person to play all those instruments from all parts of the planet. He is also recognised with Medal of Mayor given by Mayor Steve Ly of Elk Grove, California and has been awarded by World Records India for title “Worlds’s Youngest multi-Instrumentalist”.
CC: You’ve shaken the world by your talent, 107 music instruments - it’s unbelievable! When you take a new music instrument, what do you usually do? What is your process of mastering it?
NN: When I pick any new instrument, first I like to play without any help. I figure it out myself. Then I look for techniques on youtube or Books and learn them. Some instruments, I go offline/online take lessons with professional musicians/Teachers as well. To master, it takes time/dedication/focus. That is continuous process. I practice around 8 hours per day to refine my skills on variety of instruments. We, all musicians/artists keep refining as we move on on this journey.
CC: You’ve started playing at the age of 5. Do you remember your first steps as an instrumental player?
NN: I started with Drums. I remember I picked up drum sticks and started to make beats right away and amazed the kids.
CC: What was the first melody you played?
NN: My first melody was to play Drums along with Jai Ho Song from movie "Slumdog Millionaire" at school recital. That was my first performance at age of 6 or 7.
CC: That’s amazing! And at the age of 12 you’ve set a World record by playing 44 musical instruments. Were you recognised by the Guinness World Records?
NN: We contacted them and waited for 8 months. But they were not able to figure it out to make it as a world record. Now I am working on my album which will include 107 world music instruments. We will submit this album for Guinness World records. Hopefully, they will approve it.
CC: Of course, we hope for you! Adding to this, music is not the only thing you've mastered. As far as we are concerned, you can paint, is good in martial arts and even Bollywood dance. Are you home schooled?
NN: Yes, I am homeschooled from grade 1 to up to now in 9th grade and will continue. It gives me more time and flexibility to adjust my schedule. I can choose my study time according to my schedule.
CC: How do your coevals react to your extraordinary talent?
NN: I feel they get inspired when those kids meet me or see me performing or see my news. I love to see them play music. Music is a great hobby and fun activity.
CC: Are you coming from a musical family?
NN: No one in my family plays music. When I was around 5, my mom took violin classes for 6 months and lost interest.
CC: Do you think you've inherited your talent?
NN: No one before me in our whole family played or plays music so far. I am the first one. When I was not born My Dad read in a book from library that classical music impacts heart and soul of baby while in womb. My Dad used to put Mozart music on womb, while I was in womb. Now you can see it has huge impact on me and making me world class musician.
CC: You have a lot of luck: your parent are so supportive in preserving and developing your talent! Where do you usually train? Do you have a studio?
NN: For sure, parents support is a big plus, without their support, I cannot reach where I am today. They provide me all instruments/resources, lessons etc. I have few music teachers local in Elk Grove, rest of them I take classes through Skype globally. Due to nature of my instruments, I cannot find all teachers local. Teachers are from Italy, Spain, India, China, Canada, Middle East, England, Macedonia etc.
CC: Where do you store your multiple instruments?
NN: That is a good question. We do have two rooms where we store instruments.
CC: Do you have any favourite instruments? If you would be forced to choose just one to play, what would it be?
NN: Then I will choose two, Indian Sitar and Saxophone.
Neil's talent is greatly appreciated worldwide! Check out these pictures captured at Harlem Globetrotters: