Guitar Prodigy Wows Ellen DeGeneres
Brandon Niederauer and his father, Gary, had just de-boarded the plane at JFK airport returning home from Brandon’s Dec. 4 guitar solo on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” when he got a call from musician Gregg Allman congratulating him on his performance.
“It must’ve been through social media,” Gary Niederauer said. “He called and told him how impressed he was with his playing and that he wanted him to play with him and the Gregg Allman Band at some upcoming gigs.”
Still reeling from his debut on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” Brandon, a 10-year-old fifth-grader at Paumonak Elementary School said he felt “pretty nervous” stepping on the Ellen stage, unable to envision just how the taping would go. But afterward, a whole different set of emotions swept over him.
“I didn’t even, like, imagine it [before]; I felt pretty nervous. When it was all over, it felt so good, like, imagining it… I couldn’t stop thinking about it,” he said.
Before he debuted his original piece, he played live chords for the crowd – upon DeGeneres’ suggestion — including Lenny Kravitz’s “Are You Gonna Go My Way?” and The Allman Brothers’ “Jessica.”
Brandon nailed both pieces, receiving wild applause from the audience before and after he played his original two-minute solo.
“Excellent! Oh my God, that was amazing,” DeGeneres exclaimed, embracing Brandon before presenting him with a Gibson Les Paul Signature Electric Guitar Caribbean Blue and a new Vox amp.
“He was really stunned at that,” Gary said.
Inspired by musical icons such as Jimmy Hendrix, Eric Clapton and of course, the Allman Brothers, Brandon, was just 8 years old when he saw the Hollywood feature film “School of Rock” starring Jack Black, who played a rock singer and guitarist-turned-music-teacher. Two years and several guitar camps later, Brandon rose from a fan on the sidelines into the Hollywood limelight.
He began talking classes at the Rock N’ Roll University in Hauppauge, and in June he attended the Music Masters camp in the Catskills, a program that really “kicked Brandon into gear,” his father said. At the summer camp, Brandon rubbed elbows with professional famous musicians, including members of the “Roots Rock Revival” and the up-and-coming rock band “The Crimson Project.”
In July, Brandon’s father took him to New Orleans, where he played at Tipitina’s, one of the city’s most notable musical venues.
“He was just ripping it, and had such a good experience…he blew everyone away,” Gary said.
Brandon’s performance in New Orleans, his father said, went viral, and prior to his appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” the boy landed a gig at Citi Field, where he and several other students from Rock N’ Roll University played at a Sept. 11 Mets game.