I remember my childhood piano lessons with great fondness — practicing with determination until I managed to maneuver my fingers just the right way to play the notes of a melody in the correct time and order—it was so satisfying to get it right! But alas, I got swept up in the tide of other extracurricular activities and piano took a backseat. Who knows what shoulda-coulda-woulda happened to my career as a pianist, but it’s unlikely I would be as good as 12-year-old jazz pianist, Joey Alexander. Because this kid is seriously good.
If the name sounds familiar, you might have seen him on the Today Show in May 2015. The then 11-eleven-year-old musical prodigy was promoting his debut album My Favorite Things and spent time jamming out with one of the show’s hosts, Lester Holt. Both are self-taught musicians. That’s right, instead of taking formal piano lessons, Alexander learned to play classic jazz arrangements by ear at age 6 and continued learning piano by playing alongside experienced jazz musicians. He says that music just came naturally to him, and you can tell when you watch and listen to him play, that it does.
Watch the video below of Joey playing a cover of the John Coltrane classic “Giant Steps” from My Favorite Things below.