'It brings me a lot of joy': 10-year-old banjo prodigy sets sights on bright future

NOW: ’It brings me a lot of joy’: 10-year-old banjo prodigy sets sights on bright future


KENOSHA COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Ten years old, with a much older soul.

Aidan Muse lives in Twin Lakes, where he spends a lot of time in his basement, strumming his favorite instrument.

"We were really surprised when Aidan said he wanted to play the banjo," said Aidan's mom, Sarah Muse.

Aidan's interest started when he was six years old, on a car ride with mom.

"My mom turned on the bluegrass channel, to show me a little bit of bluegrass," Aidan said. "I heard the banjo so clearly. I loved the way it sounds. I loved it's twang, I loved its old-timey sound."

From that point on, bluegrass became a norm in the Muse household.

"I would listen as hard as i could for a banjo. You could even say I was addicted to it," Aidan said.

Music has always been special in their family. Aidan's mom sings and plays piano and his dad plays bass, but Aidan's instrument of choice wasn't expected.

"It's just a phase, he'll play guitar downstairs, you know, we have all these instruments. But he just would not give up on the banjo idea," Sarah Muse said.

So, when Aidan turned 8, his parents bought him his first banjo.

"I feel, since then, I have made a huge amount of progress," Aidan said.

Now, Aidan can play nearly 40 songs.

He plays gigs all over southern Wisconsin, including solo shows and jam sessions.

"I feel like, playing up there as a young fellow, it kind of strikes people," Aidan said.

"It's pretty fantastic and amazing to watch a ten-year-old get up on a stage, play with grown-ups who have been doing this their whole lives, and he never misses a beat," Aidan's mom said.

Each year, he gets to share his talent at the East Troy Bluegrass Festival.

"My first year, I won first place, and my second, I won second," Aidan said.

When he's not winning awards for music, Aidan is winning awards for chickens.

"I don't mind going in the coop and scooping out some chicken poop," Aidan said.

He and his brother have been raising chickens in their backyard for about a year.

Aidan loves chickens almost as much as he loves the banjo.

"They're very funny, they're very intelligent, they can recognize more than ten human faces."

Sometimes, the two go together. Aidan posts videos on social media, called 'Pickin' with a Chicken.'

His love for animals is truly satisfied through his local 4-H program.

"4-H is a program that teaches leadership, how to handle animals," Aidan explained.

"Animals teach responsibility, and they teach respect, because it doesn't matter, sick, not sick, tired, not tired, they still need to be fed," said barn owner, Rick Fanella.

Fanella owns Rocking Horse farm in Pleasant Prairie. Aidan is working with his horse, Hope, in 4-H this year.

"He wants to improve; he wants to work hard and get better. So, he's a pleasure to work with," Fanella said.

Horses have really stolen Aidan's heart.

"I just think they're awesome animals and can teach you a lot of valuable life lessons, like patience," Aidan said.

While the banjo will always be Aidan's passion, animals might be his future.

"I want to be a veterinarian when I grow up. Maybe an equine veterinarian, but also some small animals too," Aidan said.

But there's always room for a side gig.

"I want to be a famous banjo player," Aidan said. "I believe I'm carrying on an old music that's starting to be forgotten."

You can check out Aidan Muse on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

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