MEDFORD, NJ (WTXF) - Mastering a musical instrument can open the door to a world of possibilities. For Ariana Carden, those possibilities are being realized before the age of eleven.
With fast fingers and a gentle foot on the pedal, Ariana works on Chopin's Minute waltz.
"She would pick up rhythms, hear the sounds and want to do something with the motion of her hand and the beats," Ariana's mother, Gina Carden, told Fox 29.
Ariana's parents, Gina and Jim, noticed their daughter had a talent for learning while reading her bedtime stories.
"We used to read the first chapter to her almost every night, and she would want us to start at the beginning. One night we stopped and she said the rest of the chapter--completely--like word for word," Jim said.
By the age of three, Ariana was reading chapter books late into the night.
"I like Shakespeare, a lot of classics like Jane Eyre," Ariana told Fox 29. She even read Harry Potter at age three. "Just the first few books," she explained. "Because it got a little scary."
"I usually get caught [reading]," Ariana said. "My parents hear me wandering around my room finding a book to read, or they see my light coming from my flash light. But I can be very sneaky."
Ariana is finishing up her ninth grade year with Icademy, a private online school. She's four years ahead of schedule.
The online school affords Ariana a good deal of flexibility, so if she has a competition or interview to prep for, she can adjust her schedule accordingly.
Ariana evens swims competitively when she's not reading, playing the violin or the piano. To say she's busy would be an understatement. And recently, she was honored to play at Carnegie Hall.
Ariana's talents far succeed the average 10-year-old, but her nerves are just like everyone else's.
"My hands shook the entire time," she said. "The second I did something a little long or that was bordering on wrong I was like 'Erhhhh,' but I ended up doing okay. "
She's doing okay for your "not so average" ninth grader.