Playing three instruments is difficult without attention deficit disorder, but Danny Ferenbach doesn't let it hinder him.
Ferenbach, 17, started playing the violin at 5, the piano at 7 and trumpet at 10. Adopted at a young age, his parents noticed he was moving in rhythm and matching pitch before he could talk. So they enrolled him in an introductory music class at the Nevada School of the Arts.
Ferenbach was classically trained there until he began to learn jazz trumpet in middle school. He cites swinging as the hardest part of the transition from classical music to jazz.
"I want to be that guy who isn't a specific kind of music. I like trying new things, like I just tried incorporating a Gregorian chant into electronic music like what would show up at a place like Electric Daisy Carnival," Ferenbach says. "I'm pushing the limits and just trying to be original. That's how I plan to conquer the music world: I have to bring something to the table that people want, but don't have."
A senior at Las Vegas Academy, Ferenbach takes five private lessons a week for jazz violin, classical violin, trumpet, piano, singing and sometimes composing. Through these lessons and a minimum of two hours of practice a day, he made the top jazz and orchestra ensembles at the academy, a performing arts magnet high school.
Conor McKinley, one of Ferenbach's closest friends and a saxophone player, says : "He is so incredibly talented. I've never ever seen a kid who can play three instruments at the level that he is and who enjoys it so much."
Ferenbach secured these competitive spots despite his attention deficit disorder. Although it affects him during rehearsal at times, when he's performing he says he focuses more than someone without ADD.
His father, U.S. Magistrate Judge Cam Ferenbach, agrees.
"There is something about performing that really makes him get into what he is doing in sort of an extreme way," his father says. "Danny has this real instinct for entertaining. He has an irrepressible urge to liven things up, which may stem from his ADD. However, he handles it very well."
Ferenbach's knack for entertaining was spotlighted in his school's production of the musical "Big River" last year for which he was asked to play a strolling fiddler. During one performance , a movie producer saw Ferenbach and subsequently helped him record a professional demo tape. The high school senior then was cast in a small satirical film that opened him up for Screen Actors Guild eligibility. And, he got to wear fake abdominal muscles and have a group of fangirls follow him around.
Not bad for a first movie experience.
Aside from performing, Ferenbach notes that it's important to cherish other areas of life. He takes advanced placement classes and like many teenagers, struggles to balance socializing and his passions.
"He is a social butterfly who is very quirky and always has to be moving around. I like that he's always super light-hearted in a very good way, and that he is very relaxed in a social atmosphere," McKinley says.
Ferenbach plans to major in techno composition in college and says he hopes that one day he can support himself with just music. He'd like to be a singer-songwriter and composer.
"It's always been easier to express myself through music. For me, I am more eloquent when I don't speak. To be able to do all kinds of music, and to share it, is how I can really contribute something to the world."