Banjo prodigy: just 11 years old, she was already a master of bluegrass

Mastering a musical instrument isn’t easy. It takes a lot of practice and at a certain point, innate talent. For children, learning to play an instrument not only keeps them out of trouble after school but teaches the value of discipline, patience, and sticktoitiveness.

In rare instances, someone has such tremendous talent that they can play an instrument like a pro, even at a young age. A perfect example of this is a young lady named Willow Osborne. By the time she was 11 years old, she could really make a banjo sing.

The modern banjo, instantly recognizable by its circular shape, dates back to the 1700s. It’s a descendant of earlier instruments used by Caribbean slaves, which in turn were derived from various West African instruments. The banjo held pride of place in traditional Afro-American music and it was almost inevitable that such an excellent instrument would find its way into other musical genres: folk music (old and new), bluegrass, country, Dixieland jazz, and in an unlikely crossing of the Atlantic, Irish folk music! Banjos are available in several different forms, some with 4 strings, some with 5, open back, closed, back, and so on. In the 1930s, the Gibson company made a gigantic bass banjo!

As you’ll see and hear in the video posted below, 11-year-old Willow really knew her stuff. She fired off the rapid, complex series of notes like a real expert. She first picked up a banjo when she was all of 4 years old and now, at 17, she’s in college but also devoting plenty of time to her musical career. This amazing young bluegrass talent is even appearing in a documentary film called “America’s Musical Journey.”

Astonished by what Willow could make a banjo do when she was only 11? Let us know in the comments section below the video and be sure to like and share!