When Katelin Deutsch was 9, her mother gave her an option. She had to take up an instrument and learn music, but she had the choice of which instrument it should be.
Katelin chose the bass guitar after seeing a female bass guitar player in a band on television.
''I believe learning an instrument helps a child with their focus overall and to be creative,'' said mother Mary Beth Mazza-Deutsch.
Niles Middle School student Katelin Deutsch, 12, has only been playing bass guitar for three years, but she already has played in bands in New York City and has toured locally. Katelin is the daughter of Mary Beth Mazza-Deutsch and James Deutsch of Niles.
Katelin, who has played with bands at B.B. King's in New York City, started taking lessons two years ago. Now at the age of 12, she is teaching herself.
''I just started sitting in with local bands,'' she said.
Now a featured artist, Katelin has played three times at the Jimmy Hendricks Birthday Bash in New York's Times Square and at Arlene's on the lower east side. Locally she has played at McMenamy's, O'Donold's and Quaker Steak and Lube.
''I would love to make a career of music,'' Katelin said. ''I would like to go to Julliard someday. It would be great to be accepted there.''
When she isn't rocking with her guitar, Katelin is a typical sixth-grade student at Niles Middle School. She will be starting her eighth year playing soccer, and social studies is her favorite subject.
While Katelin still considers herself a beginner, she hopes someday to be writing her own music.
''She prefers to play with older musicians because she can learn from them,'' said Mazza-Deutsch. ''As a parent, I am so proud of her,'' she said.
If she didn't play music, Katelin thinks she might like to go into the medical field as an anesthesiologist assistant or massage therapist, but she also wants to help children who aren't as fortunate. One of her goals is to help underprivileged children with music programs by providing lessons and instruments.
With plenty of support from her family, Katelin is enjoying herself playing challenging pieces of music by Led Zeppelin and Paul McCartney. She also plays blues and rock and roll and is currently endorsed by Hartke Bass Amps.
At home, Katelin has six bass guitars and two 6-string electric guitars.
''You have to enjoy what you're doing,'' she said. ''I love playing bass.''