Jared Alpern's musical journey takes him to the Linda

Jared Alpern's hands seem to move haphazardly over the keys on the organ, randomly striking notes.

But then the music starts to come together, and it's clear Alpern knows just what he's doing.

His parents say he was pretty much born knowing. He can sit down with an instrument and play something beautiful the way most people can sit down and have a conversation.

He has perfect pitch, his mother said.

"There's no such thing as perfect pitch," Alpern replied.

The tinge of exasperation in his voice underscores the fact that despite the CDs and concert fliers that bear his name, Jared Alpern is still just a teenager. He's 14 years old and a freshman at Shaker High School " one who has darn near perfect pitch.

He rattles off all the things he likes to do: He bikes. He hikes. He kayaks. History is his favorite class, but biology is his favorite subject.

He spends a lot of his spare time playing the piano or the organ or the guitar. He doesn't have a deep philosophical reason for liking music. He likes to create stuff. In the music room in his Latham home, he likes to tinker with his instruments and his amplifiers, looking for cool sounds that he might incorporate into new songs.

As for performing live, as he will on Saturday, May 14, at the Linda WAMC's performing arts studio in Albany, "It's a really fun thing to do."

Alpern was 5 when he first sat down at the family's Steinway grand piano. He took right to it, so his parents hired a piano teacher to come and work with him.

That lasted all of two lessons.

"It was unnecessary," his mother, Laura Bulatao, said.

Bulato is a musician herself, having studied at the Manhattan School of Music. But it didn't come as naturally to her as it does to her son. Jared learned to read music, but he rarely does.

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