As a two-year-old, he already banged on pots and pans and when he was three he performed on stage for the first time. The eleven-year-old Ilij Haegens has been playing the drums for eight years, but he still wants to become a much better player. 'You've never finished learning', he says. Ilij is small, so among the tall boys of the drum bands he is always the shortest lad. Ilij: 'When you're small, you have to be bolder, or nobody will see you.' An old film fragment shows him as a boy of three with dreadlocks and a small drum, playing in the street with an African band. Ilij does not aspire to a career as a 'surgeon or so'. 'I just love the spotlight.' He shares his passion for the drums with his mother Marijke, who helped him join his first drum band. She has her own business, repairing drums. She always supported her son, but never pushed him. He has been in five bands so far. Since recently, Ilij is a band leader himself, of NXT Level Kids. He teaches the members and prepares them for an important gig in summer.
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