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How Eddie Van Halen learned music when he was a kid

Eddie Van Halen


How Eddie Van Halen learned music when he was a kid

Amsterdam, Netherlands, the brothers Alex and Eddie Van Halen went to the United States with their parents when they were still kids. Their father Jan Van Halen was a jazz pianist, clarinetist, and saxophonist, so they grew up listening to a lot of music and watching their father play.


Before Rock and Roll became a passion and they discovered the drums and guitar, the brothers learned how to play other instruments. Their first experience, for example, was with the piano. Even though he didn’t know how to read music, Eddie won from 1964 to 1967 the first place in the annual piano competition at Long Beach City College.

Eddie Van Halen talks about learning music when he was a kid:

Back in 1979, after the release of Van Halen’s second album, the guitarist talked about his childhood with Steven Rosen recalled how they develop their abilities.

“(My father) got us into music very early. He got Al (Alex Van Halen) and me practicing piano for concert stuff, classical piano, at like seven and eight years old. My brother was six, I think, when he started, and I started when I was about seven. Well, then we decided to come to the land of opportunity in southern California. (We) just started getting into rock’n’roll a little bit. The Dave Clark Five and the real early stuff. And I went out and got myself a paper route and bought a drum set. Originally I played drums and my brother played guitar.”

He continued:

“While I was out throwin’ my papers, he was practicing my drums. He got better than I did. So I said: ‘Okay, you play my drums and I’ll pick up your guitar.’ It went on from there. I’d say I really didn’t start playing guitar and getting into lead guitar and stuff like that until Cream came out and stuff like that [mid-60s], when the heavy guitar thing started to happen,” Eddie Van Halen said.

A few years later, in 1972, the brothers formed Van Halen, eventually forming their classic line-up with David Lee Roth and Michael Anthony. In 1978 their self-titled debut album was released and it was the beginning of a successful career.

They are one of the few bands who were able to continue to be successful even after a classic singer left. In 1985, Sammy Hagar replaced Roth and they continued to sell millions of albums. Their final tour happened in 2015 when the band was formed by the brothers, David Lee Roth and Eddie’s son Wolfgang Van Halen on bass.

Van Halen has sold an estimated amount of more than 75 million records worldwide.

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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