A musical genius | Usman Riaz | TEDxGateway


Translator: Tijana Mihajlović
Reviewer: Denise RQ I’m fortunate to come from a family
inclined towards the arts. I’ll give you a few examples. My great grandfather
was an Eastern music scholar, as well as a multi-instrumentalist. He played many instruments, like the violin, the sarangi,
and even the harmonium. My grandmother chose to follow
in her father’s footsteps, and became an Eastern classical musician,
as well as a stage performer. That’s her dressed as a man. Her brother, my great uncle, he is one of Pakistan’s
last remaining orators and his wife is one of the country’s
leading Kathak dancers. My parents recognized
my musical aptitude at an early age, and had me classically trained in piano
since the age of six. This is a short passage
of one of my pieces. (Piano music starts) (Piano music ends) (Applause) Thank you. As I got older, I wanted
to branch out an experiment and try different things, and this is when I felt extremely limited
back home, in Pakistan, because as it is,
teachers are so difficult to come by, and those that aren’t, they are only focus on either Western classical music
or Eastern classical music. There was nobody who could guide me and help me to do all the wonderful things that I saw artists doing
on sites like YouTube. So, I had no choice but to let
the Internet itself be my teacher. I would watch hundreds of videos online. I would close my eyes and listen
to the audio over and over again, and decipher each note. Either that or I’d have to pause
the clip at precise moments to examine finger positions. This is how I learned. I’ll show you one of the first things
that I learned when I was 16, when I first picked up the guitar. (Guitar music in YouTube video starts) (Guitar music in YouTube video ends) (Guitar music starts) (Guitar music ends) Alright. (Applause) That was one of the first things
that I learned. As time went by, it became easier for me
to pick up things from the Internet. So I started doing exactly that,
learning from the Internet. And why just stop there?
Why limit myself? Why not use
all this instrumental knowledge that I’m acquiring to write my own music? Why not write orchestra pieces, and even make paintings regarding
and related to those orchestra pieces? Something like this. (Music starts) (Music ends) Why not use the Internet
to learn something a bit more obscure, like body percussion? And why not use the Internet (Applause) to do exactly what I wanted to
in the beginning, which was to play different instruments, like maybe the mandolin, or the harmonica. (Harmonica music starts) (Harmonica music ends) (Applause) It doesn’t need to stop there. Why not learn to combine all these things
into a film that I could direct? (Film starts) (Music) (Film ends) (Applause) Thank you. This way of acquiring knowledge
and sharing ideas can lead to so many wonderful things, like being selected to be a TED Fellow, and performing alongside the man
whose videos I used to watch and be inspired by when I first picked up
the guitar, Preston Reed. When I spoke on the TED main stage, it was a wonderful experience
to play with him at TED Global; it was like a dream come true. It could also lead to being selected
to be one of 32 musicians specifically selected
by the U.S. State Department to be part of a cultural
and musical exchange tour in a program that happened
in the United States, just a few months ago,
a few weeks ago actually, sorry. I got back from it a few weeks ago. It was wonderful
to be part of something like that, to see musicians from all over the world
come together and work together. It was an incredible experience. I’ll just end with the composition that I wrote for guitar
at the age of 18, I think. I just want to say that we have so much information and knowledge
available to us, at our fingertips. Just imagine what we can do
if we decide to use it. (Guitar music starts) (Guitar music ends) (Applause) (Cheers) Thanks. Thank you. (Applause)