You’ve most probably heard the sound of a piano, but have you heard it played by a prodigy? If not, there is one, and he is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who lives in Murray, Utah. Caleb Spjute, a rising young pianist, started to play the piano at age 4. And we at Moroni Channel had the opportunity to ask Caleb a few questions.
Caleb, you are a very talented young man; I am curious when you started playing the piano?
I started to play the piano when I was 4.  I didn’t have a piano teacher then, but my mom just had some piano method books she got from the neighbor, so I just started reading through them and teaching myself.  I guess I was pretty good at teaching myself, and I just went through 5 levels of piano method books in a couple of months, and I would play anything I could get my hands on.  When I was 6, my mom tried to find a piano teacher for me, but no one would take a 6-year-old.  My mom sent an email to the university, and a professor at the university who was also a concert pianist asked me to come to play for her.  I must have done alright because she agreed to teach me and have been with her ever since.  I learned so much with her to improve my playing.  Before I was playing the notes, however, I wanted with whatever fingers, but she has taught me the correct way to play with the right fingerings.
What was the first piece you played?
The first REAL piece was March from the nutcracker, and for an LDS Hymn, it was Be Still My Soul. [Although] I didn’t get into hymns or church music so much until I was about 8.  I found that I loved to play church music, and it made me feel good and made other people happy. The first hymn I performed in church was Praise to the Man. [And also] the first songs I began to play when I was able were church hymn arrangements.
Besides the piano, do you play other instruments?
Not very well, but Ukelele a bit and violin not too much. I couldn’t play more than twinkle twinkle.
You’ve been playing the piano since you were 4; what inspired you to play?
Well, I saw my brother Micah playing the piano, and I wanted to play it for myself. I wanted to play the songs on my electric keyboard; Micah ended up not playing piano anymore, but I started with different things and taught myself how to play, then Micah ended up with guitar a while later.
I’m also a musician (Violinist), and I admire a lot of great musicians. How about you, Caleb? Do you admire other musicians?
[Yes], Billy Joel, Piano Guys, The Beatles/Paul McCartney, Horowitz [and] my teacher.
​​Do they inspire you to pursue playing the piano?
Yes, they inspire me to keep working and practicing because I know that I could become better as a pianist.
Do you have an unforgettable musical moment?
Hmm… I think one of the most memorable performances I did was in the “Murray’s Got Talent” show for my city, where I performed a “Beethoven meets Billy Joel” style acting/piano performance. I ended up getting the Audience Recognition award from votes and the 2nd Place award overall. I was standing with the other winners, who were all adults. I [also] have competed in a lot of piano competitions and won a lot of awards.  I have played with symphony orchestras 3 times, playing live concertos.  I often compose my own music and have been doing that since I was 5.  Many have won local city and state awards.
Are you in an orchestra? 
I am not in an orchestra, but I am/was in Jazz Band in the Junior High/High School in Murray. I did play with an orchestra on different occasions.
Are you in a musical family? Are they classical?
We practise classical music, but we like to play a lot of radio songs.
Last question, have you played KPOP or K-Drama OST? Have you ever considered doing so?
Isn’t it Korean/south Asian music on the radio? I haven’t…but I suppose I could look into it.
Caleb, a word to your future fans
You can never try hard enough. When you practice at anything, not just music, you have to think of how great you want to become. And if you want to become that great, you know you need to practice hard enough. Practice is key.​Caleb Spjute ​will be performing on Moroni Channel this coming 25th of June 2017 around 20:30 MDT. It will be a Facebook Live performance on our Facebook Page. And this will be Caleb’s second appearance on Moroni Channel.
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