11-Year-Old Self-Taught Piano Prodigy Wins Awards

FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- Barling Elementary student Adriel Aguilar is gaining national attention for his skills on the ivory keys, but those skills, he taught himself.

Adriel is now the top pianist in the state of Arkansas and also in the nation.

"I won PTA Reflections Composition," Adriel said. "I won first place in the whole state, then my composition got submitted to nationals and it won first place, too."

Adriel didn't learn how to play through lessons, he taught himself how to play the piano in a matter of months.

"I got started playing the piano when my relative started playing at a reunion during Christmas," Adriel said. "One day, I was really bored and I decided that I wanted to play the piano, so that's how I started."

He now knows nearly 100 songs and his parents said they're blown away.

"It's amazing," Mrs. Aguilar, mother said. "We don't know how he does it. If you look at it, it goes so fast depending on the song and it's just shocking how he can memorize it so quick."

After hearing word of his talents, Adriel's prinicipal set up lessons for him at the U of A - Fort Smith.

Now, he's taking lessons regularly through a piano coach.

"We were ecstatic, my husband and I," Mrs. Aguilar said. "We were just happy because Adriel didn't really like his composition. It was really my husband that kind of encouraged him to continue on it."

With a state and national title under his belt, Adriel said he'll continue playing and practicing.

"I want to continue getting better with the notes and learn more songs," Adriel said.

"He's just working so hard to learn," Mrs. Aguilar said. "He practices every day, never misses a day without playing piano."

Adriel said he hopes to one day become a composer. Aside from piano, he enjoys learning taekwondo and playing chess.

To hear more of Adriel's music, visit his YouTube channel.