New Mexico 12-year-old boy’s piano skills impress worldwide audience

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A 12-year-old Santa Fe boy is turning heads and ears with his skill in playing some of the toughest musical compositions from memory.

Kayden Kelly has a knack for piano that’s already taken him to perform in front of crowds around the world.

This Friday, Kelly will be among the state’s most accomplished musical performers, playing at the New Mexico Platinum Music Awards.

“I’m really into music in general, actually,” said Kelly. “It’s really the songs that make me want to keep playing.”

The Albuquerque Academy student has been playing piano since he was 5 years old. Kayden says he started pursuing his talent after asking his mom how to play, then signing up for lessons.

“It was fun for me,” said Kelly.

Today, Kelly has a knack for memorization, playing famous pieces by composers like Frédéric Chopin and Felix Mendelssohn.

“Well, speed comes to me naturally,” said Kelly, after playing a piece by Chopin.

Kelly’s teachers told his parents their son seems to have the skill of “perfect pitch.”

“That’s why he’s learning the pieces so fast because he can memorize them by ear, you know, he knows the notes,” said Kim Kelly, Kayden’s mom.

Kelly says he likes piano for the challenge, as well.

“I try that song, and it’s hard, and eventually I work it out, and after a little bit, then it starts like… it goes down (in difficulty) and I jump to another (skill) level,” said Kayden Kelly.

While his parents have noticed his skill, Juan and Kim say Kayden’s drive has come from within.

“The arts is very difficult,” said Juan Kelly, who’s also a professional painter. “It’s not easy, so you have to love it, if you don’t, then you’re in it for the wrong reason, you’ve got to love it, and he loves it.”

Juan and Kim aren’t the only ones to have noticed Kayden’s talent, though. Kayden spent part of the summer performing across Europe for crowds in Latvia, Austria and other nations.

“It’s one thing after the next, and then he gets invited, and people love hearing him play,” said Kim Kelly.

All of it doesn’t mean Kayden’s stopped being a kid though. He loves Legos, hiking and reading, too. With music though, Kayden seems to have a bright future ahead.

While Kayden currently attends Albuquerque Academy, he has his eyes on playing music professionally and going to college to study theoretical physics.

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