Middle school prodigy impresses music lovers with original compositions

Eric Martin of Olathe writes scores for band and choir

Marc LaVoie
April 25, 2017 - 7:28 am

Courtesy David and Linda Martin

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Eric Martin's parents knew their boy had talent shortly after they enrolled him in piano lessons at the age of seven. 

Martin, an eighth grader at Olathe's Prairie Trail Middle School, is now showing a prodigious talent with composing music. He has penned three pieces that have been performed at his school; one for band, two for choir groups.

There was never a problem getting Eric to practice his piano, even as a small child, said his father, David Martin. "He would finish practicing for his lesson and he didn't mind playing for an hour or more," David Martin said.

Eric's vocal music teacher, Erin Stewart knew she was dealing with a real talent when she first saw one of the boy's compositions when he was still a seventh grader. "I think I looked at it, shock and awe a little bit, that a student could do that" Stewart said. "I went and told the band director and she said he'd composed a piece for the band the previous year."

Eric's first composition for choir was based on Walt Whitman's "O Captain! My Captain."

This year's piece is also based on a poem, Robert Frost's "Nothing Gold Can Stay."

Eric forms the compositions in his mind before writing them down, a process he cannot explain. His latest choral work includes piano accompaniment and four part harmony. "He had it in his head, and then he came home the last day of school as a seventh grader and put in on paper -- and just whizzed through it," said Linda Martin, Eric's mother.

The performance of "Nothing Gold Can Stay" elicited a standing ovation when the eighth grade choir sang it a few months ago.

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