Because this was Cuba, Rodríguez couldn't just pick up the drum sticks and go to town. He had to wait for permission to receive formal music education in that chosen instrument, permission which came at age 10. But at age seven, he was okay to start with piano, biding his time. By the time he was allowed to learn percussion, the child prodigy stuck with what he knew and grew to love.
Rodríguez took to much formal learning in classical music and informal learning of other styles from his dad's daily TV show, surrounded by famous Cuban performers. A teenaged Rodríguez soaked it all in. I didn't play with many dance groups, but I played in my dad's band since I was 14," he described. And my dad presented a daily TV show and many famous Cuban musicians came through it and we had every type of music. I was still a kid, but had a chance to perform every day, and write arrangements for all kinds of music: boleros, rock 'n roll, dance musicyou name it. It is where I learned the discipline of being a professional musician."