Finding his tune: 9-year old Brady Rustan shows musical promise at a young age

Most of us can’t carry a tune to save our life. And those of us that can, usually have had lessons and training as a musician. That’s not the case for young Brady Rustan.

Brady Rustan plays his guitar as he sits in his living room. Rustan has been playing the guitar for a few years and he is only 9-years old. He also can play the piano.
Brady Rustan plays his guitar as he sits in his living room. Rustan has been playing the guitar for a few years and he is only 9-years old. He also can play the piano.

Posted October 3, 2014

By COLE BENZ | Herald Editor | cbenz@countrymedia.net

Most of us can’t carry a tune to save our life. And those of us that can, usually have had lessons and training as a musician. That’s not the case for young Brady Rustan.

Rustan, a 9-year old 4th-grader at New England, is already excelling at music at an unusually fast rate.

A few years back, he began banging on different objects and playing with a small toy guitar. His grandmother decided to channel that energy, and would sit him down at the piano with her and teach him simple, yet familiar songs such as ‘Mary Had A Little Lamb.’ Outside of those early beginnings, Brady’s mother Cathy doesn’t know exactly how he was attracted to music.

“I don’t know really what started it, I really don’t know,” Cathy Rustan said. “He got that guitar, and just kind of started messing with it.”

The family, which includes father Brad and younger brother Ryan, is always listening to music. They saw the attachment Brady had to the sounds of music and instruments and decided it was something they needed to encourage, and they began to foster his development.

For children of his age, interest can come in and out of their life at the drop of a hat. And in today’s age the technology makes it that much easier for kids to quickly lose interest in one thing and move on to something else, but Brady always seems to be going back to the beat.

“He enjoyed it, I mean that’s the one thing that he consistently would stick with,” Cathy said. “In his spare time he’ll pick up a guitar and just mess with it.”

When Brady was asked if he remembers music always being there he simply replied, “pretty much.”

Not only does Brady enjoy playing the music, but he also loves to sing along with his tunes.

“I like playing it, and the sound is just awesome,” Brady said. “And I like singing it.”

His music teacher, Mr. Conway Heupel, also noticed his musical talents.

“He sings right on pitch, and was always curious and asking questions about anything music wise,” Heupel said. “There was one day where he came in for lessons with his guitar once and he played me a song he had learned, from there I knew he had a lot going for him, a lot of talent.”

“I approached him [Heupel] about the lessons, and I don’t know that he knew how quickly Brady would catch on, so he went ahead and had him do the Christmas program,” Cathy said.

Heupel said he was surprised with how well Brady picks things up.

“Yeah, he’ll come to me with a song one week…and by the next week he’s got it down,” Heupel said.

Heupel also said he couldn’t say enough good things about Brady, and as far as his maturity level goes, Heupel said he’s way beyond his years.

One of the first songs he learned was a contemporary christian song titled ‘Light The Fire.’ Brady heard it at Vacation Bible School and asked the performers the chords to the song, and when he got home he picked up his own guitar and just started jamming out.

That was 2013, almost 10 months ago.

That was the first time he had performed in front of an audience, and Brady said he was ‘super nervous’ the first time he got on stage.

According to his father, Brad, no one really knew who he was or what the performance was going to be like. Brady received a standing ovation after he finished playing.

Recently, Brad and Cathy have been getting Brady into piano lessons to broaden his musical talents.

“We wanted to teach him the basics,” Cathy said. “And if he’s going to be interested in music I want him to be pretty well rounded.”

Initially Brady didn’t enjoy the piano. Since the family relocated from Oklahoma a couple of years ago, Brady didn’t have the chance to play with his grandma, and hadn’t been at the piano bench since. But now that he’s getting more familiar with it, Cathy said he’s enjoying it more.

“The thing with the piano, he wasn’t that much into it, but when he finally got into it and finally started putting everything together, now he really enjoys it,” Cathy said.

So how does the piano and guitar help Brady? According to him, he will go back and forth to get the sound and chords right.

“I take the chords from the guitar, and play them on the piano,” Brady said.

When asked if he had a favorite thing to play, Brady said “any kind of instrument I know.”

His piano talents have excelled as well; he was given a superior award at a piano festival in Dickinson.

So what’s the next step for Brady Rustan?

Reading sheet music, according to Cathy.

“That’s kind of what the lessons are for too, because he just kind of jumped in,” Cathy said.

Not only can Brady pick things up quickly, he also has an ear for the sound.

“He can tune a guitar by ear and he does a lot of stuff by ear,” Cathy said. “I don’t know how, but he does.”

“I memorize the sounds of the strings,” Brady said, when asked how he does it. An answer sounding so simple from a young musician, unaware of how daunting that task is, even for the most seasoned musical artists.

Though he has talent and can pick things up quick, Cathy said her son still works really hard.

“He’s got the talent, and he can pick it up but he does work hard, he works really hard,” Cathy said.

Brady has performed a few more times since the first concert at Christmas last year, and his next performance will be at the Rural Women in America conference in Bowman, N.D.

Brady’s younger brother Ryan hasn’t picked up an instrument yet, but he does sing along with his older brother when he plays. Another musician in the making?

Perhaps.

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