Video: Young musical genius plans for own piano


When Jason Haas’s fingers start flying over the keys, he plays everything around him quietly… and after he laid his eyes (and hands) on a piano for the first time, there was nothing that could inspire him more.

The 15-year-old piano genius doesn’t even have his own piano, but Jason isn’t going to let that stand between him and his biggest dream. That’s why he – without his mother’s knowledge – set up a crowdfunding campaign to help him own a piano of his own.

According to him, Jason’s musical journey began at the age of four – “when the melodies of my grandmother’s old piano charmed me for the first time”. At six years old, he taught himself to play complicated pieces of music by ear. It is only recently that he learned to read sheet music.

According to his mother, Leanne, who stands firmly behind her eldest, Jason’s love for music “actually started before he was born”. Jason’s father is not involved in his life from a very early age.

“When I was pregnant with him, I often listened to classical music because I read that it develops a baby’s memory better, as well as can stimulate intelligence and creativity. So I tried it, and it definitely worked for me,” jokes Leanne.

She says that as a child he was always incredibly fascinated with anyone or anything that could make music. “When we came back from church on Sundays – after he had watched the orchestra – he emptied his grandmother’s cupboards in search of a pot or pan and wooden spoons with which he could play ‘drums’.”

Leanne later bought Jason a xylophone – his very first instrument. The teenager says that he appreciated and enjoyed the instrument incredibly and that it fueled his love for the piano, “because the two instruments are very similar”.

He also tells that as a child he often played with his mother’s guitar – with only two strings – and that his love and passion for music (and especially the piano) continued to grow with him.

Inspired by the compositions of his favorite classical composers, Frederic Chopin and Franz Liszt, and despite the absence of formal piano lessons, Jason fearlessly tackled complex pieces and quickly established himself as an outstanding talent in the musical community. About Canon in D major to master by ear, marked the beginning of a journey characterized by fearless exploration and unwavering determination.

“I don’t really know how I managed to get pieces like Canon in D major not to play. It just came naturally.

“My mother loves the song and she used to play it for me from a very young age. She also often urged me to learn the song myself in case she got married one day, so I could play it at her wedding.

“I listened to the song a lot and ran my fingers over the keys until it sounded right to me. Over the years I have managed to develop a good musical ear,” says Jason.

Jason was a learner at the East Rand School of the Arts last year, where a friend told him that the youth band she was a part of needed a pianist.

“I took the opportunity, and now I am the pianist for the East Rand Youth Orchestra,” says Jason proudly.

He didn’t even need to audition; he simply introduced himself, sat at the piano and became an integral part of the ensemble, this despite having only learned to read sheet music the previous year, all thanks to his piano teacher, mr. J Manamela, who became a mentor and friend.

However, Jason had to leave school, because he would have to take isiZulu or Sepedi as his home language, neither of which he could speak.

Now Jason can only play the piano during rehearsals with the band on Saturdays and occasionally when he and his family visit his uncle.

Determined despite challenges

With his mother being the sole breadwinner, things sometimes got a little difficult at home, says Jason.

“I know she always does her best and I didn’t want to put further pressure on her. A piano is incredibly expensive, and asking my mother to buy me a piano was just never an option.

“So I went looking on the internet for ways to raise money to buy a second-hand black Middleford grand piano, after which I came across BackaBuddy.”

With almost R10 000 raised through the generosity of donors, Jason’s dream is closer to reality than ever before.

“I never thought that my story would attract so much attention. It’s overwhelming and I’m incredibly grateful.”

Jason was also recently approached by the Drakensberg Boys Choir to perform a solo piece at their concert in the near future. He says that he is incredibly excited about it and that he now sees how all his dreams can come true if he fights for them.

Leanne also says that she was pleasantly surprised when she found out that Jason had taken his own initiative to make his dream come true.

“I look forward to seeing what the Lord has planned for him, he is still going to great heights with his ‘go-getter‘ attitude achieved. He is a really good kid and deserves to be noticed in the musical world.”

Jason also dreams of achieving international fame as a pianist, a future full of world tours, performances at celebrated concerts, and of sharing his passion for classical music worldwide.

Jason also aims to contribute to the world of music by designing instruments and producing engaging YouTube content to motivate children to pursue their musical passions. He also wants to study music in Germany.

“I want to be able to design a piano that makes it possible for people with similar circumstances to own a piano of their own.

“I want to show people that all your dreams can come true if you just give your best and keep believing in God.”