Exceptional music student secures place at JRNCM

AN EXCEPTIONAL music student from Stalybridge has been accepted onto a Pathfinder course into the prestigious Junior Royal Northern College of Music (JRNCM).Joseph Sweeney, 17, from Carrbrook, has always been fond of music since a very young age and his musical talents began to manifest after his parents bought him his very first instrument.

Mum Claire said: “Joseph decided he wanted to play a musical instrument when he was about nine years old and that was when we bought him his very own keyboard.

“He just seemed to pick it up so naturally, starting with nursery rhymes and then moving up to more complicated tunes. It was fascinating to see.

“We enrolled him at the Stalybridge Music Academy, where he has progressed through both his practical and theory piano grades; He is currently working towards his Grade 8 piano practical.”

But it is not just music where Joseph excels. A student at Oldham Sixth Form College, he is currently studying A-Level Mathematics and Computer Science, as well as A-Level and BTEC Music.

It was his tutor, Alan, who first recommended him for the JRNCM Pathfinder course after recognising his talents, which was a bittersweet moment for him.

Claire continued: “When Joseph was accepted onto the Pathfinder course, he unfortunately had to leave Stalybridge Music Academy as the Pathfinder lessons clashed with their timetable.

“We can’t thank Chris and the team enough for their passion and support of Joseph over the last seven years, and it’s thanks to them that he is able to pursue his dream.

“Joseph was just ecstatic to learn he had been accepted into the Pathfinder programme. The head of JRNCM was that impressed with him she offered him a place mid-term, which is rare.

MD of Stalybridge Music Academy, Chris Caton-Greasley, said: “Joseph started lessons with us seven years ago and studied the standard repertoire for classical piano until his Grade 4 standard.

“At this time, we began to focus more on developing his skills of interpretation. Following this he undertook his GCSE in Music, utilising pieces such as Deux Arabesques.

“He achieved full marks for this examination but, unfortunately, he was denied the opportunity to take A Level music when his chosen college declined to maintain the course.

“So, he was forced to look outside the borough for another course suited to his needs. His A Level tutor suggested that he joined the Pathfinder course for the Royal Northern College of Music.

“While working on the course he auditioned for a place on the Royal Northern College of Music Juniors, when recommended to do so by the course tutor.

“When he went for his audition the examiner informed him that “the musicality of his performance was in excess of what was required at this stage of the course.”

“It has been a pleasure to teach Joseph for the last seven years and we wish him all the very best in the future.”

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