12-Year-Old Musical Prodigy Plays 44 Instruments, Practices 6 Hours a Day

ELK GROVE -- From the saxophone to the Saraswati veena, and the 42 other instruments in between, Neil Nayyar's life is all about music.

It's a cacophony of sounds that all find harmony in the 12-year-old's talent.

"I feel like fine. I feel like relaxed," he says with a smile after hopping from song to song, instrument to instrument.

We joined this chill virtual academy virtuoso in his home in Elk Grove as he took a break from his six-hour daily practice routine to serenade FOX40 with some of his 44 flutes, drums and other sound machines.

They all have helped earn him the Assist Foundation's world record for being the youngest person to play so many different instruments.

Among them a bulal tarang. Think of it like an Indian banjo.

Australia's didgeridoo is a definite "do" for Neil as well.

This all started with Mozart that mom and dad played for their now seventh-grader before they ever saw him.

"I read somewhere in a book that, you know they mention about if you give the sound to the womb, that's going to impact his soul and heart," Rajan Nayyar.

Then after showing no interest in music in his first four years, Neil struck an impressive beat in a free drum class when he was 5.

"When he hit first beat everybody was shocked in the classroom, you know," said his father proudly.

So how does Neil feel when he's playing?

"I feel like I have more expression, more smiley face," he said.

The rest may eventually be music history.

Neil hopes to learn 100 instruments.

Next up?

The shenhai, which is like an oboe.

If you'd like to hear him in person, he'll be playing the harp as part of an ensemble at the Capitol Rotunda on December 3 at 3 p.m.

Neil wants to make clear that this music mission is all his and not just something his parents want him to do.

A lot of what he's learned he's picked up by ear, but he does have 12 music teachers.

Seven are local and five provide instruction through classes Skyped every week from China and Italy.

And in case you're wondering, Neil does find time to do lots of other things like paint more than 100 oil and watercolor paintings, martial arts and Bollywood dance.