We like to throw the word “prodigy” around a lot. Why not? Prodigies are usually ions beyond the normal talent level, they are impressive to watch or hear about, and they make cool conversation topics. Music is especially a realm that hosts a lot of child prodigies that show an alarming amount of skill at a young age. When we think of a prodigy it is usually someone who doesn’t require as much practice as the standard player and they appear to just “get it.” For example, the founder of this non-profit organization, Joe Bonamassa was ripping it up at age 12 and that is just when we first saw the video of him.
Of course, sometimes musical prodigies flame out rather quickly because they limit themselves to the flashy few licks they know and don’t bother practicing or progressing. Obviously Bonamassa shattered this logic by becoming one of the foremost blues guitarists on the scene, but this notion happens more often than not.
Another youngster who defies this fact is 14-year-old mastermind Brandon “Taz” Niederauer. After watching the movie School of Rock at 8 years old, Taz knew he needed to play guitar. Fast forward to just four years after, and Taz is casted as Zack Mooneyham, the young guitar prodigy in the Broadway production of School of Rock.
This kid is the real deal. But you can tell he is different than the majority of other child guitar prodigies. He isn’t all flash and awe and he doesn’t appear to be the kid who gets stuck in his room playing to albums by himself. He is an actual musician who can keep up with a band and construct an impactful solo. He interacts with the other band members and has feeling in every note he plays.
In an interview with John Mayer, the successful musician who is not usually impressed by “young talents” said, “Brandon Niederauer is the first young guitar player that is not a gimmick. He’s really the first young kid I’ve seen who’s truly playing with the intention of a musician. Brandon is playing from pure, real ‘what’ and ‘how’ and intent and he’s going for it and you can hear it like music and get off to it and dance to it. So, yeah…I dig it. I dig it. The fact that he’s young is secondary.”