Entertainment TED Talks

9 musical performances by young TEDsters

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Today’s TED Talk is brought to you by 10-, 14-, and 15-year-old brothers known as the Sleepy Man Banjo Boys. Not your typical bluegrassers, these guys delivered rollicking good tunes at the New York stop of the TED Talent Search.

Inspired by these young brothers and the recent TEDx blog post called “9 incredible musical performances by kids,” we have compiled a list of some of our favorite kids, teens and young adults on TED.com sharing beautiful melodies from around the world.

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Sirena Huang: An 11-year-old’s magical violin
Sirena Huang began playing violin at age 4 and by age 9 she was a professional violinist for the Taiwan Symphony Orchestra. At TED2006, she blew us away with her amazing gift.

Kenyan Boys Choir: Chant, sing, play!
TED@Nairobi delivered a vast diversity of talent – but one act in particular stood out: the Kenyan Boys Choir. Watch this group of joyful teenagers dance and sing their hearts out.

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Usman Riaz and Preston Reed: A young guitarist meets his hero
At TEDGlobal 2012, 21-year-old guitarist Usman Riaz got a a chance to play with his idol, Preston Reed, who pioneered many of the techniques Riaz has expanded on.

Ray Goren: When it comes to music, it’s all about the feel
At age 8, Ray Goren began playing guitar. At TEDxOrangeCoast four years later, he knows his way around the instrument like he’s a seasoned rock ’n’ roll veteran who knows a thing or two about the blues.

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Gustavo Dudamel leads El Sistema’s top youth orchestra
These high school musicians from Venezuela are part of the incredible El Sistema music program. At TED2009, Gustavo Dudamel leads the group through Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10, 2nd movement, and Arturo Márquez’ Danzón No. 2.

Karim Wasfi (Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra)
At TEDxBaghdad, this youth orchestra blends music of diverse cultures to create a unique sound. Watch as this group of young men and women come together to dazzle the audience.

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Emmanuel Jal: The music of a war child
In his music, Emmanuel Jal tells his story of being a child soldier. An adult now, Jal spent five of his young years at war in the Sudan — an experience that greatly informs his lyrics.

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Jennifer Lin: Improvising on piano, aged 14
In this moving performance and talk from TED2004, Jennifer Lin shares her process of creativity. Syncing together inspirations to create her own structures, Lin discusses how her love of drawing contributes to her often-improvised musical compositions.