Six-Year-Old Bryan Autistic Boy Busts out Beethoven on Piano

By: Shane McAuliffe Email
By: Shane McAuliffe Email

Bryan resident Marianne Henry has been playing classical music her whole life

She's a founding member of the Marian Anderson String Quartet and from Beethoven to Bach, she loves it all.

But there is one thing she loves even more than music-her son Kristopher who attends Kemp Elementary in Bryan.

"He's six and he's got tremendous amounts of energy. I mean just over the top energy," said Marianne.

Kristopher was born on December 13, 2006 and has loved music his whole life. But at the age of two Marianne started to notice something was different with her son.

"I looked down and all the kids were talking and he was not. That's what drew my attention," said Marianne.

Kristopher was diagnosed with Autism.

"First you're in denial. My child," said Marianne.

Kristopher needed an outlet, something to occupy his busy mind. And with so much classical music being played around him, he was naturally drawn to the piano.

"He can be there for about 20 minutes. And for a six year old, I think that's a lot," joked Marianne.

But Kristopher doesn't play songs that a typical six-year-old would.

"I wasn't banging out Beethoven at six years old. Not at all," said Marianne with a laugh.

It's not perfect by any means but Kristopher can't read music, he just gets on the piano and lets his fingers guide the way.

"He can do it by ear and some of the notes are not correct but he's just going through it. The more he does it, the more we hear right notes come out," said Marianne.

"To really get to see that shine through has been a pretty incredible experience," said Ben Travis.

Travis is Kristopher's teacher at Kemp and he instructs several students with autism. It seems each of them have a unique ability.

"For some kids it's math, for some kids it may be english. Often times there is just an area of incredible focus," said Travis.

"Right now he's playing the Mozart Sonata in C Major. He'll play the whole thing," said Marianne.

Where Kristopher goes from here, only time will tell. But for Marianne it's simply about doing whatever Kris needs to live a normal, happy life. And if the key to that is in the keys, well we'll just have to see how it plays out.

"My hope for Kristopher is that he is going to lead a normal life. I think that he is bright and intelligent and that things he doesn't readily get, he will figure out. I truly believe that," said Marianne.

The piano isn't the only instrument Kristopher can play, he's also trying to take up the cello.


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