Anthony Peterson knew how to get to Carnegie Hall at just 9 years of age
At a very young age Anthony Peterson picked up a small keyboard that he found just collecting dust around his house. He started tinkering with it and quickly discovered he had a natural ability to play back things he heard. He combined that natural ability with some structured piano lessons and found himself playing live before an audience at New York City’s famed Carnegie Hall – when he was just 9 years of age.
That’s remarkable in its own right. But the youngster also plays drums and sings and he seems to be going places. We just had to find out more about this musical whiz.
How did you get interested in performing?
One day I picked up this little keyboard that we had lying around (like a Linus keyboard on Charlie Brown) and started playing it. I asked my father how to play a few melody lines to Christmas songs Like “Jingle Bells,” “Joy to the World” and things like that. Soon after, we discovered that I could listen to a song, and play it back pretty easily on the keyboard. With that being discovered, we realized that it could go somewhere. As far as drumming goes, I started to get interested playing a plastic drum set to Guitar Hero. Then I got a real drum set. That’s how I got started with that.
Tell us more about your musical endeavors.
I am a classical pianist, I also play other types of piano: pop, rock and more. I am also the percussion section leader in my middle school honors band, as well as the pianist for the jazz band. Another thing I do is drum in a rock and roll band with my brother, Michael, as well as sing background and lead vocals.
How long have you been doing this?
I started playing piano when I was 7 years old, so it’s been about five and a half years. It’s been quite an adventure. And I’ve been playing drums for about 2-and-a-half years.
What kind of training/practice is involved?
It takes lots and lots of practice to get good at piano. And you have to have a good teacher. I started off with a man named Mr. Doudt, and practiced 15 minutes a day. When the songs started getting harder I practiced 30 minutes a day. Then I was getting to the point where I needed a more advanced teacher. So I studied with a woman named Mrs. Gorin. That’s when it started getting difficult and I had to start practicing an hour a day. So naturally, I got better and better. Now it’s an hour to an hour and a half a day. So as you can see, it takes a whole lot of practice. Drums just kind of came naturally to me. I think piano really helped me with drums rhythm wise.
Tell us about playing at Carnegie Hall at age 9.
It was one of the best experiences of my life. Manhattan was amazing as well as the ocean. But going into Carnegie Hall was even more breathtaking. As soon as I walked in we went to get the tickets. Soon after, we were sitting in the audience. Then I was called into a backstage hallway where I sat until it was my turn to play. It was nerve-racking but I pushed through until it was my turn. I got up there and played flawlessly. I was nervous but it was completely worth it. It was a really amazing experience.
What do you like most about performing?
Most of all, I like bringing joy to the people in the audience. When I get off the stool, I love to turn around and see everybody smiling and clapping as I walk off stage.
Have you been recognized by any awards?
I won the silver medal for my classification level at the World Piano Competition. (That’s how I was invited to play at Carnegie Hall) I won the Carmel Arts Competition. I won a plaque and ribbon at the Indiana State Fair piano competition. I have won or placed in several local and regional competitions.
Describe how your family has supported your interest.
They have always supported me in many great ways. They paid for my piano lessons, they came to all my events, my dad sat by me and helped me when I was practicing all the time. They have helped me a lot.
What kind of student are you? Favorite subject?
I’d like to say that I’m a good hard-working student. I maintain good grades and get my stuff done on time and get A’s and B’s. My favorite subject, if band wasn’t a choice, would have to be history. I find that class very interesting. Learning about Texas and America’s past. I don’t know why, I just find it interesting.
Well my other interests are drawing, skateboarding, reading, video games and swimming. Not surprising for a kid my age.
What do you do in your spare time?
Well when I’m not practicing or rehearsing with the band I usually like to draw. I like to draw things like The Beatles, instruments or creative, imaginative stuff. If I’m not drawing, I’m reading an adventure novel, playing a video game or swimming.
How would you describe your personality?
I like to think of myself as kind of shy, nice, hardworking, definitely not perfect, and if I start a project, I always have to get it done. I’m pretty goofy and weird sometimes too.
What are your career plans?
I am really not sure, I’m mostly thinking about being a musician as a classical pianist or a drummer in a successful rock and roll band. But I think that things could change later on in life.
What do you like most about school?
Band, of course, is my favorite part. It is so fun to play a snare drum or a marimba in a great band. The band is all really fun to be around and talk to, and the band director is laid back and really cool. And at the end of the year we get to go on different band trips to really fun places. Also during the year we have lots of competitions. So you can probably see why it’s my favorite part of school.
Who has inspired you and why?
I think my father has really inspired me. He is also a great musician and saxophone player. And he always sat by me during my practices and he has really helped me out through the years.
Ice cream or apple pie?
Weirdest food indulgence?
I dip my pizza in ranch dressing.
What are you most proud of?
I think I am most proud of how far I have come with piano. Starting out on that little tiny keyboard and ending up playing at Carnegie Hall. It has definitely been a crazy adventure.
Do you know a kid with an interesting or unusual hobby or talent? Nominate them for a future Kidding Around column. Comment right here or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org