MORRISONVILLE - Justin Wise has a talent many adults wish they had.
Though only 9 years old, Justin can play the piano unlike most children his age. When his fingers touch the keys, he's instantly able to play a sonata by Beethoven or a canon by Pachelbel, with seemingly no trouble at all.
Justin was first introduced to playing piano more than five years ago, when his mother, Lisa Wise, sat down with him to dabble on a simple keyboard.
"I noticed when he would hit a wrong note, he would know right away," said Lisa. "I knew that was a good sign because a lot of adults don't even know when they hit a wrong note."
It wasn't until he was 6 years old that Justin began to seriously pursue playing piano. Through his uncle, Lisa's brother, Justin was connected with a piano teacher and began taking lessons. The lessons are weekly today, with Justin practicing six days a week in addition to his lessons, for approximately 30-40 minutes a day, he said.
The amount of time it takes many to learn a song takes a fraction of the time for Justin, who typically memorizes songs in one to two days, mainly by listening to the notes.
When asked if he was a musical genius, Justin laughed and smiled.
"I think I'm becoming," he said.
Justin recently had the opportunity to play for his first exclusive audience when he gave a concert at Meadowbrook Healthcare in Plattsburgh July 13. Playing to an audience of more than two dozen people, Justin moved seamlessly between classic and more contemporary selections except for the occasion when he needed to fetch a songbook from his bag or ask for assistance from his mother.
"Since it was my first time, I was kind of nervous," admitted Justin.
"It was kind of difficult for us because we're not used to it and we had to come up with a song list," said Lisa.
"Hopefully, he'll be able to do this again, and we'll be better organized," she added with a laugh.
Overall, Justin said he enjoyed giving the performance.
"After a couple times, I might get used to it," he said.
When Justin isn't playing piano, he said he enjoys playing outside, riding his bike, and learning more about science - particularly astronomy. He said he also enjoys playing guitar, though don't look for him to perform any guitar solos anytime soon.
"I can tell you right now I'm better at piano than I am at guitar," Justin said with a smile.