A teenage boy dubbed a ‘mini Mozart’ has passed his Grade 8 piano exam – the equivalent of an A-level – after just FOUR lessons.
Talented musician Hamish Brodie, 14, stunned his tutor with his incredible piano-playing skills.
Hamish started to play the classical instrument at home when he was 12, but threw himself into it when his mother, Fiona, died from a brain tumour.
He managed only a handful of lessons before coronavirus and since then he has been practising fastidiously at home.
And now, Hamish, from Jersey, has passed his Grade 8 exam with distinction – an accomplishment his tutor described as ‘bonkers’.
Hamish said: “I started about two years ago. I wasn’t the best at the start, but I just liked it so much that I did it all the time really.
“I didn’t practice a lot, 15 minutes a day or that, but then by the second year I was doing two hours-a-day.
“For the last few weeks before the exam I was doing eight hours-a-day. My exam was on August 14, for my Grade 8 piano. I got a distinction, which I wasn’t expecting.
“I’d say I’m pretty competent now, it’s good – it’s really great. I’ve got the foundation I need to start making the music I want to create, like the building blocks.”
Prior to his exam before lockdown, Hamish had just four lessons with Claire Harvey from the Jersey Academy of Music.
She said that Grade 8 in piano is the equivalent of doing an A-level and described Hamish’s accomplishment as ‘bonkers’.
But despite being trained in classical music, Hamish is heavily influence by hip hop and wants to be like his idols – Kendrick Lamar and Kanye West.
He added: “At the minute I do pop music, singer songwriter stuff, but I also make hip hop beats in my production.
“I like Hip Hop, Kanye West, Kendrik Lamar and all that – and East and West coast rappers.
“My favourite is Kendrick, based on his rapping ability, because he has so many voices and characters in them, but on a production level it would have to be Kanye West.
“I resonate with music I think. For me it shouldn’t be restricted to one genre or anything like that. I like classical, but I realised a while ago that wasn’t where I wanted to go.
“But it gave me the foundation I needed to take it where I needed to go. I aspire to be a full time musician.
“I don’t play any other instruments than piano, but I also sing. Singer songwriting is what I want to do, as well as producing my own music.”
Hamish turned to music after his mother, Fiona, died suddenly from a brain tumour.
She began suffering headaches and was soon diagnosed, but she passed away just six weeks later despite being told she could have up to two years to live.
Hamish added: “Losing my mum, subconsciously, my music was channelled through that.
“It happened at the same time I started with music so they have gone hand in hand. That’s how I expressed my emotions at the time.
“I was just 12 then, I threw myself into piano and it made me realise I should do whatever I want in life and to not take no for an answer. I loved music so much so it helped me.”
Hamish’s tutor, Mrs Harvey, said: “It is an absolutely staggering achievement.
“We have certainly not had anyone here I have ever known achieve something like this.
“Not only did he learn the whole syllabus off by heart, but he submitted his own composition and got full marks for it.
“When it comes to music, the world is his oyster.
“It has probably happened to me twice in 20 years of doing this job when you get someone who you think, ‘My goodness, this person is special’.”
Hamish lives on Jersey with his dad, 59-year-old Derek, a health care assistant, and his brother, Euan, 12.
Derek, recalling Fiona’s death, said: “She was 49 when she passed.
“She was having headaches then it turned out she had a brain tumour. She was diagnosed then died six weeks later. It was very quick.
“They told us it would be a year without treatment but she only got six weeks.
“Everyone was crushed, but Hamish has developed very well from the whole experience and Euan too.”