The secret behind this 9-year-old DJ prodigy? Math, logic and social intelligence

Brandan Duke is a world-famous DJ from Brampton, Ont.

As his DJ alter-ego Dextrous One, he's played to crowds of thousands in Toronto — and he's not even 10. 



Being a DJ isn't as easy as it looks: it requires skill, practice and smarts. Dextrous One uses multiple intelligences to make music that wows crowds. 

Staying on track: musical and logical intelligence

When Dextrous One DJs, he uses his musical and logical intelligence to recognize sounds, tones and rhythm. He uses a couple techniques that require attention to detail and a well-trained ear  — including "pitch riding."

  • Watch Dextrous One on the season premiere of Canada's Smartest Person, Sunday, Nov. 13 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT).

Pitch riding is the process of making the beats of two tracks sync and form one sound. The challenge? All songs are recorded at different speeds — one song may be faster or slower than the other. That’s where logical intelligence comes into play.

Mike Labo, Dextrous One's DJ coach, says recognizing patterns in songs is essential to DJing. "[It's] all beat counting. Everything is mathematics.” 

He teaches Dextrous One how to count beats, starting with a visual cue: “We look at the waveform. [Then we] break down the waveform into segments...Everything is in counts of eight.”

Feeling the vibes: social intelligence

Dextrous One uses his social intelligence to interact with the crowd when he's DJing. Forming a relationship with the audience and knowing what music they’ll enjoy is crucial to a great DJ set. 

When he performs, Dextrous One is animated and engaging. “He’s very animated, he makes a lot eye contact and usually feels the crowd out musically. While playing, he’s going in and out of songs, scratching back and forth and dropping a capellas in there,” says Labo.

Check out Dextrous One rocking the crowd and effortlessly applying his multiple intelligences while DJing:



Watch Dextrous One on the season premiere of Canada's Smartest Person, Sunday, Nov. 13 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT). He'll help host Jessi Cruickshank with a musical intelligence challenge! 

Also on CBC