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Teen pianist Allie Heard debuts new album at Sunday concert
0812PIANO1
Allie Heard will debut her album “Open Eyes” on Sunday at First Baptist Church in Gainesville.

Allie Heard concert
When: 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 13
Where: First Baptist Church, 751 Green St., Gainesville
Hear her play: You can learn more about Allie and her music and listen to samples at allieheardmusic.com.

At 16, Allie Heard already has been playing the piano for nine years, and she’s had four albums produced.

The Braselton resident will be giving a concert at 4:30 p.m. Sunday in the sanctuary of First Baptist Church of Gainesville to debut her latest album, “Open Eyes.”

“I’m excited about it,” Allie said. “It’s the first really big concert, so I’m excited to see what will happen.”

The album contains hymns, contemporary Christian songs, Allie’s arrangement of “Crucified with Christ” and her original composition, “Open Eyes.”

“It just came to me,” she said about the piece she composed. “I actually was just improvising, and it just came to me. I guess the Lord gave it to me.”

And she admitted that’s how most of her original works come about.

“Normally I’ll just go to the piano and just start finding some chords that I like and just kind of (improvise) from that,” she said.

In addition to “Open Eyes,” Allie also has recorded another original composition, “Mysterious Mountains,” which was on her second album titled “Hallelujah.”

And she wants to continue to compose. She hopes to “be a performer, a pianist, but do (her) own music.”

“So a pianist, a performer/composer,” she said.

Allie’s mother, Carroll Heard, said the first album Allie recorded actually began as a gift for family members.

“It came about because we had family members asking us that they would like to have a recording of Allie,” she said. “Her dad and I are not very computer smart, or at least then we weren’t, so we asked a guy at our other church if he would record some. So it kind of developed, her first one did. It wound up being a full-fledged album.”

And while Allie plans to continue playing the piano, it’s already taken quite some work to get to where she is now.

She began playing at age 7.

“She started taking piano lessons in the second grade,” said Allie’s mother, Carroll Heard. “And she’s taken (them) from (the) same teacher, Beth Lawrence of Gainesville.”

When asked why she wanted to begin lessons so young, Allie said it was mainly because of her grandmother, the late Ann Thompson.

“I guess my grandmother really drew me with doing little duets with her,” she said. “That’s really the main thing that drew me into music and I guess the experience of it.”

And Carroll agreed all of Allie’s talent came from her mother.

“Somebody told us at church one time that evidently it skipped me to where Allie had a double dose,” she said with a chuckle.

But although playing the piano runs in the family, Allie definitely has to practice, usually between eight to 10 hours a week.

“She takes an hour and a half (lesson) on Mondays and then she goes back and takes another hour (but) it’s usually focusing on theory and composition,” Carroll said. “We take her to Belmont University where she takes a lesson from a professor up there once a month.”

She said all of the time Allie dedicates toward piano can be quite time consuming, but home schooling has helped with her schedule.

“We have home-schooled through Georgia Cyber Academy, which is an online school that’s given her the flexibility for her lessons, practices and performances,” she said.

Some of those performances have been at places such as Lanier Village Estates, The Holbrook and Mount Vernon Towers in Atlanta.

“I really like to see the reactions of people, especially when I go to senior citizen communities,” Allie said. “I really love to see their faces and just make them happy to listen.”

As she continues to perform, she said her faith will be a part of all she does.

“My faith is another big part of me,” she said. “I want to glorify the Lord, and that’s my main priority in my music is for it to all go to the Lord.”

Allie’s latest endeavor has been creating a website though.

“Our project for her this year was to get her a YouTube channel and a website going,” Carroll said. “That’s kind of been the whole summer project for her this year.”

You can learn more about Allie and her music at allieheardmusic.com.

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