Neil Nayyar

Twelve-year-old Indian American student Neil Nayyar of Elk Grove, Calif., can play 44 instruments, ranging from the piano to the Saraswati veena to the harp. (photo provided)

From the Chinese guzheng to the Saraswati Veena, 12-year-old music prodigy Neil Nayyar from Elk Grove, Calif., has mastered the tones and techniques of 44 instruments.

Nayyar, who can play the pan flute, piano, American Indian flute, bulbul tarang, clarinet, ukulele, bansuri, African djembe, Australian didgeridoo, mandolin, harmonica diatonic, and the harp, among other instruments, with equal finesse, has now earned Assist Foundation’s world record for being the “Youngest to Play Maximum Musical Instruments.”

The India-based Assist World Records Research Foundation has been formed to identify obscure talents and help them display their talents to the world.

Born Oct. 8, 2005, the Elk Grove Unified School District student showed no interest in music in his first four years, according to a report on, which adds that Nayyar struck an impressive beat in a free drum class when he was five.

When asked by Fox40 to share his feelings when he’s playing, Nayyar, whose parents are Rajan and Sukhi, said: “I feel like I have more expression, more smiley face.” He added that he hopes to learn 100 instruments.

Nayyar also told the publication that 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, he said.

He’s received an invite to “The Steve Harvey Show” and is in talks with the Guinness World Records, too, Nayyar told the Indian Express.

His other interests include Bollywood dancing, painting and martial arts. 

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.