Self-taught piano prodigy, Jason Haas (15) dreams of owning his very own grand piano

Jason Haas, a 15-year-old musical prodigy from Springs, Johannesburg, embodies the transformative power of music.

His story unfolds from the early age of four, when the melodies of his grandmother’s old piano captivated him, sparking a passion fueled by his mother’s love for music. This love nurtured his talent, leading him to master his first piece, Canon in D major, by ear—an early indication of his extraordinary musical intuition.

Despite the lack of formal lessons, Jason’s determination saw him turning to the internet, where he fearlessly tackled compositions by his favorite composers, Frederic Chopin, and Franz Liszt, that would intimidate even seasoned musicians. His remarkable ability to grasp complex pieces by ear quickly established him as a standout talent.

Jason’s educational journey faced a hurdle when the language requirements at the East Rand School of the Arts shifted, making it difficult for him to continue his studies there. However, this setback didn’t dampen his spirit; he found a new home with the East Rand Youth Orchestra. Joining the orchestra in July 2023, Jason didn’t need to audition; he simply introduced himself, sat at the piano, and became an integral part of the ensemble, despite only having learned to read music the previous year under the guidance of Mr. J. Manamela, his piano teacher who became a mentor and friend.

Crowdfunding on BackaBuddy

Initially unbeknownst to his mother, Jason initiated a crowdfunding campaign on BackaBuddy intending to acquire a secondhand black polished Middle Ford baby grand piano, priced at R150,000. This venture is more than a quest for a musical instrument; it’s a means for Jason to engage in consistent practice and substantially improve his musical skills. Since the launch of the campaign, almost R4,000 has been raised through the generous contributions of donors.

Driven by the exemplary career of his musical hero, Kristian Zimmerman, Jason’s ambitions stretch far beyond his present situation. He dreams of achieving international renown as a pianist, envisioning a future filled with global tours, performances at celebrated concerts, and sharing his classical music passion worldwide. Beyond performing, Jason aims to contribute to the musical world by designing instruments, producing captivating YouTube content, and furthering his studies at a distinguished music college in Germany.

Central to Jason’s ethos is a deep-seated belief in music’s capacity to inspire, heal, and unite. His narrative exemplifies how resilience, inventive flair, and communal support can enable young talents to surmount obstacles. Jason hopes to encourage other young musicians with his insight: “Music is a very beautiful thing, and if you love it, pursue it. You have endless opportunities.”

As a single mum, Leanne Haas, couldn’t be prouder of her talented son.

“I am extremely proud of Jason’s accomplishments, and his Go-getter attitude in life. Despite all the challenges we have faced, he always adjusted well, did well in school, and made new friends wherever we went. I admire his resilience.

Growing up without a father hasn’t been easy, but he never let it affect him, and he has grown up to be quite an “Alpha Male” as he calls himself.” – says Leanne