A set of toy drums in the hands of a toddler would lead most parents to grab some Tylenol or eventually hide the drums to end the noise.
For Ed and Elizabeth Molek of Washington, Pa., it led them to turning their 6-year-old son, Avery Molek, a drumming prodigy, into a YouTube star with his own tour schedule.
“When he was 2 we did what every parent does, you go to Toys R’ Us and buy your child an instrument,” Ed Molek told ABCNews.com. “We bought him drums and a guitar and he gravitated to the drums.”
“It wasn’t long before he started getting the feel of the beats of songs and then he just kept progressing,” he said. “Just before he turned 4, he played “Mississippi Queen” almost perfectly. I asked him how and he said, ‘Just by listening to it.’”
The Moleks, who have no musical background, responded to their only child’s natural talent by enrolling him in weekly 30-minute lessons with a local drum teacher at the age of 4.
Ed Molek also began videotaping his son, not with the intention to make Avery famous, but just as a way to get him to finish songs.
“The discipline just wasn’t there yet because he was so young,” Molek said, “Once he knew he was being recorded, he was more methodical in playing from beginning to end.”
Molek posted the videos to YouTube as a way to share Avery’s talent with family and, by Avery’s request, with his favorite band, KISS. Last May, a local company whose chief executive saw one of the YouTube videos invited the now first-grader to play at an event.
That performance, an hour-long set, led the band playing after Avery, “Ruff Creek,” to invite him to play at some of their shows. The videos also caught the eye of KISS drummer Eric Singer who posted them on the band’s Facebook page and website and has become a mentor to Avery via email.
“It’s just been amazing,” Molek said. “We did not even think that stuff like this would be happening.”
Avery, who attends a local public school, practices his drumming skills just 30 minutes per week with his instructor and 15 minutes at home, in his family’s basement, three times per week.
“If we’d let him he’d probably play for an hour or two hours every day,” said Molek, who added Avery’s other interests include the normal exploits of a6-year-old like video games and basketball.
Avery is in the midst of his “Out of the Basement Tour II” tour, a follow up to his successful “Out of the Basement” tour last year that saw him playing at everything from Hard Rock Café to state fairs to private parties.
“If he doesn’t have fun and doesn’t enjoy it, we won’t do it,” Molek said. “That’s our gauge.”
Ed Molek says he and his wife do weigh their son’s drum performances with other activities like school and family life because if it was up to Avery, just “fun” would quickly turn him into a full-time drummer.
“It’s very fun and you can sometimes rock out on things,” Avery said of his drumming passion.