His mum suggested he should learn the piano, like her. But Ace van Noort said he couldn't carry a piano around with him, so he would learn the violin instead.
Now, just a year later at the age of 5, he is already composing music and has been invited to play in front of an international audience this weekend.
He is undaunted by the prospect of playing at the Festival of Education at the TSB Bank Arena. "Some people gave me money at the school fair when I was playing," he said. "They weren't meant to but they did . . . so I guess I must be quite good."
Every morning Ace, a pupil at Amesbury School, in Churton Park, has breakfast and then heads straight for the violin. He practises up to two hours a day without a hint of parental nagging.
His enthusiasm is so contagious he's now teaching mum Naoko how to play. "I started studying the violin myself, but he's too fast for me and I couldn't catch up, so now he's teaching me," she said.
In return, he has finally decided to learn the piano from her. "He's given me a chance to enjoy music again."
Mrs van Noort said her Japanese heritage meant music was often about "practice, practice, practice", and when she was young she never truly understood the pleasure music could give.
"I took Ace to see the New Zealand String Quartet when he was 4, and he sat in the front row just stunned by what he was seeing and didn't move."
On Saturday, Ace will perform on stage as part of a huge range of activities and attractions on offer at the Festival of Education - a showcase of school talent being held in conjunction with the OECD education summit being hosted by Education Minister Hekia Parata.
Storytelling, interactive exhibitions, children's activities, safety campaigns and world education leaders speaking about the latest trends and innovations in schools will also feature at the festival.
There will be a research zone covering topics including bullying, engaging students through the arts, and encouraging participation.
- The Dominion Post
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