LONG BEACH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – When it comes to playing the piano, you might call Jesse Hubbs a wonder child.
The 11-year-old Long Island boy hasn’t even graduated from middle school, but next week he could have a title that’s meant for high school seniors.
Forget the sheet music, he knows most of the songs he plays by heart.
“It’s just an outlet to express all of my feelings. If I am happy, I tend to play a lot more fast. If I am sad, I tend to play moving pieces, like Beethoven,” he told CBS2.
Hubbs started playing the piano when he was just five years old. His parents had no idea he was a prodigy.
“He just accelerated very quickly. He was a natural,” his father, Greg, said. “Proud of how he internalizes the music that he plays.”
They also didn’t realize their sixth grader’s talents would one day go viral. A recent video of him performing for a Long Beach school board meeting has become an internet sensation, with people across the world commenting on his skills.
“I was sitting and I was looking at this video, and all of a sudden, I see 10,000 views, 15,000 views and I couldn’t believe how many people saw it,” he said.
But the middle schoolers needs to get used to his newfound fame.
“Jesse is the type of student that comes along maybe once in a lifetime,” said Julia Lang-Shapiro, director of media, visual and performing arts for Long Beach Pubic Schools.
Last spring, as a fifth grader, Hubbs got a perfect score of 100 and qualified for this year’s New York State School Music Association all-state piano showcase. That means next week he will be the youngest performer at the competition’s highest level.
“Definitely one of the youngest students we have had achieve this level in the district,” Lang-Shapiro said.
He’s proving you’re never too young to have such accomplished skills.
Hubbs said after homework, he practices the piano at least an hour a day during the school week. On the weekends, he practices for two hours.
He also knows how to play the cello.