Thursday, September 9, 2010

Caleb Makes the Local Newspaper

Last month we received a call from a local newspaper reporter who wanted to do a story about Caleb. She interviewed us and this is what was printed in the September issue of the Murray Journal:

Seven-year-old 'piano man' awarded as talented entertainer

Caption — Seven-year-old Caleb Spjute is at home at the piano, having taught himself how to play at age 4.

When Caleb Spjute was four years old, he watched his older brother, Micah, learn to play piano from his aunt.

"It looks like fun and I wanted to play and try it," said the now seven year old.

So his mother, Becca, found the beginning piano books and pointed to the notes middle C, D and E and left him to it.

"Caleb took that book, read through it and began figuring it out," she said. "In one month, he passed up his brother and kept right on going. He said he'd like a song and then I'd find it on the Internet and print it off and he'd figure that out."

One year later, Caleb could perform "The Entertainer" and would be found playing the piano nonstop. He also was ahead of the academic learning curve, so his parents had him skip kindergarten.

Former Viewmont Principal Darren Dean knows of his talents. "He is very talented for his age and takes music lessons from a professor at the U (University of Utah). And, he is also a very good student," Dean said.

Recently, the 3rd-grader took part in the University of Utah's Summer Arts piano competition after studying just one year under associate professor of piano Vedrana Subotic. Caleb, who competed with students up to 10 years of age, won four awards: 1st in solo performance, 1st in theory, 2nd in sight reading and the Iron Man award for best all around in his age division.

"I thought he was just this cute little kid who played," his mother said. "I knew he must have talent, but I didn't know he was that good."

She said Caleb is now being instructed on the right way to play and not his own way he taught himself. As part of a motivator, they have created a Facebook page as well as a blog where they post him playing.

In 1st grade, Caleb played the "March of the Nutcracker" in his class's performance of "The Nutcracker." Last spring, Caleb's own composition won Murray School District's Reflections music category and advanced to state.

"That's all he wants to do is play the piano," his mother said.

"I want to play at The Roof (restaurant) and be a piano teacher someday," Caleb said.

Caleb's talents lie within the family. His father is a singer, his older brother now plays guitar and his five-year-old sister plays the violin. Spjute laughed when she said her husband, Troy, wants two-year-old Macey to play the drums so they can create a family band.

"I took piano lessons for two years and violin for a year, but I'd be the band manager," she said.

Already, the family volunteers to perform at senior homes.

"They love to see him sit down and play all these favorite songs," Spjute said. "He just loves to play."

It seemed to be a nice article. We hoped we didn't come across as boastful. We are proud of our little Caleb!

I think we would have omitted the part about passing up his brother on piano. Caleb has a very talented older brother who has talent in other areas---ballet and tap dance, playing the guitar, and in academics.