We donât have any control over what hand weâll be dealt in life, but we do have control over what we do with it. This couldnât be more perfectly exemplified than by the story of one blind 7-year-old boy who taught himself how to play piano and is now an internet-famous prodigy.
Avett Ray Maness was diagnosed with a condition called optic nerve hypoplasia when he was 2 months old, leaving him completely blind in his left eye and with very limited vision in his right eye.
Avettâs mother Sara D. Moore was worried about how the diagnosis would affect her sonâs life.
âI remember thinking, How will he get through life?Â â Moore toldÂ The Washington Post. ÂÂWhat will his future be?ÂÂ
But little Avett didnât let this disability keep him from his love of the piano, which heâs been playing ever since he was tall enough to reach it.
Moore says the first time she heard her son play, he was just 11 months old.
The proud mom was sitting on the couch when she heard the notes to âTwinkle, Twinkle, Little Starâ coming from her keyboard across the room. She turned to find little Avett reaching up on his tiptoes, playing the song from memory.
âHe had a toy with that tune on it, so I knew thatÂs where he learned the melody,Â Moore said. ÂI was mesmerized. I called my mom up and said, âYou wonÂt believe it! AvettÂs playing ÂTwinkle, Twinkle, Little Star!Ââ
Six years later, Avett is mastering far more than nursery tunes.
The 7-year-old piano sensation performs locally in front of hundreds of people and even has his own YouTube channel with more than 60,000 subscribers.
Some of Avettâs most popular renditions include QueenÂs âBohemian Rhapsodyâ and BachÂs Minuet in G. Not to mention his version of âHappy Togetherâ by the Turtles which has over 200,000 views on YouTube.
AvettÂs piano teacher, Rebecca James who just started helping him fine-tune his skills last September, says his passion for the instrument is unparalleled.
âHe likes a good challenge and loves playing music with a more complex structure,Â she said. ÂSometimes, we just compose or improvise or just jam together.Â
Now in first grade, Avett is learning to read braille and walk with a cane while also playing classical music.
ÂI love performing BachÂs Minuet in G,Â he said in a phone interview with The Washington Post. ÂAnd at my last piano lesson, I told my teacher that I also want to learn the Minuet in G Minor. IÂm not as much into Adele anymore.Â
Avettâs mother couldnât be more proud of her son.
âI had a journey of self-discovery,Â she said. ÂI learned that my self-care is in direct correlation with the success of my children. And with Avett, once I learned about his talent, I knew that it was important to share him with the world.Â
Next week, Avett will be one of the headliners for a fundraiser benefiting the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Dayton.