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Young guitarist has string fever

But as for Alpern and Smith's relationship as teacher and student, Smith said the time is nearing where he will no longer be helpful.

"Honestly, I'm about three to six months away from me not being able to not teach him a heck of a lot more," said Smith, "But I am teaching him to teach himself at the same time. Instead of answering questions right away, I make him think about it."

Alpern has transitioned drastically between the time Smith began teaching him and now, according to Smith.

"When I first met him, he wouldn't listen to me at all," said Smith.

Smith said that the first lesson is always the hardest, and after throwing a "teacher's fit," Alpern began to listen to him about music, as well as respect.

"I always teach him that it's about being people too," he said, "I tell him to go up to other musicians, tell them that they play good and ask them if they need help with equipment. I think I really got him to listen and it's changed him."

While Smith's guitar instruction may end soon, he plans to have more performances with the young prodigy.

Though Smith may have been a large musical influence in Alpern's life, it is also possible that Alpern has musical genes in his family. His mother attended the Manhattan School of Music as a flute performance major, and was a member of the Empire State Youth Orchestra in the 1970s. She now helps teach music to her son.

"Jared has definitely grown up with music all around him," she said.

The sixth-grader said his inspiration comes mostly from jazz and blues musicians. Specifically, he is inspired by Duane Allman, of The Allman Brothers Band, Derrick Trucks and B.B. King " all of which became popular musicians long before Alpern was born.

Currently attending Bought Hills Elementary School, Alpern is not a member of a school band since one does not exist in which he can play the electric guitar. However, he will be attending Shaker Junior High School next year, at which he is hoping to play in the jazz ensemble.

Alpern has played various solo performances throughout the North Colonie School District including at jazz band concerts.

In the upcoming months, Alpern will begin preparing for a performance at the Altamont Fair, to be held at the Altamont Fairgrounds on Aug.12. ""

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