Practice key to polished performances as pianists tickle the ivories - Photos

EIGHT-year-old Xavier Zhi Xi Haynes adjusted his foot stool as his legs were too short to reach the pedals of the piano, before performing with the skill of a pianist many years his senior at the City of Orange Eisteddfod yesterday.

Xavier came first in the piano solo for nine years and under section at the Eisteddfod  yesterday, impressing the adjudicator with his level of expertise for one so young.

In fact, he is the youngest person to be awarded a scholarship at the Mitchell Conservatorium in Bathurst.

Conservatorium director Graham Sattler said the young pianist’s talent and commitment was impressive.

“He really is something and his presence when he sits at the piano is something he has in spades,” he said.

Mr Sattler said Xavier’s natural talent needed guidance to ensure his technique continued to develop as he grew older.

“It really is a joy and very powerful to see him sit down and play,” he said.

Xavier says he practises every day, usually waiting until night to sit at the piano.

“I like to do an hour a day,” he said.

When asked if he wanted to perform on the world’s most famous stages in years to come, Xavier said he was not sure.

“I think I might want to be a doctor,” he said.

Other place-getters in the section were Elliott Hannelly  in second and Jaemin Lee in third.

All other competitors were  awarded highly commended.

The vocal and instrumental sections continue today at the Orange Regional Conservatorium.

The sessions are open to the public.

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