YOUNG musician Jack Hart decided to end his school career on a high note, by taking on a piano diploma usually reserved for specialist conservatoire players just days after sitting his A levels.

The passionate Monmouth School pupil who lives in Wolvesnewton achieved two A*s and an A in his exams and also passed Grade 8 in flute this summer – the top grade available.

And the 18-year-old played a demanding 30-minute programme of intricate pieces by Beethoven, Copland, Debussy and Khachaturian to an external examiner to pass London College of Music’s DipLCM in Performance.

He said: “I knew I was setting my sights quite high and I’m still in disbelief about it.

“I prioritised my A levels first because they are what I needed to get into university.

“When I did have some time I tried to devote as much of it to music as possible.

“It was pretty intense towards the end."

The diploma called for Jack to perform a wide variety of styles to showcase his abilities and musical knowledge, from the jazzy feel of Copland to the dramatic punchiness of Beethoven.

He was able to choose one piece away from the syllabus, and he went for Toccata by Khachaturian – a piece with which he previously won a school competition.

Jack, who has been playing the piano since he was eight, last took a piano exam four years ago when he passed Grade 5.

Jack will now start a degree in Classics at Durham University in October.

Alison Milledge, who has taught piano at the school since 1991, said it is rare for a student of Jack’s age to achieve this qualification.

She said “That diploma is normally taken by piano specialist students, practising three to four hours a day, at the end of their first year in a conservatoire.

“Jack is a particularly talented boy, and has a humility and eagerness to learn which would benefit all pupils.