Jersey teenager makes his musical mark in lockdown

Hamish Brodie (14) went from never having sat a music exam in his life, to passing his grade eight piano exam in a matter of weeks. Credit: ITV Channel

A young pianist in Jersey has achieved the highest grade in piano after months of practice during lockdown.

14-year-old Hamish Brodie committed himself to his music through online lessons, going from having never sat a music exam to achieving a distinction in his grade eight piano with his own composition, 'The Butterfly'.

He has achieved in a matter of weeks what others take years to achieve.

It wasn't really too hard, well it was hard, but it didn't really feel like a commitment, because I just enjoyed it so much, and I just wanted to express my emotions and feelings into the music, so it was enjoyable for me.

Hamish Brodie, Musician

Hamish first started playing the piano and writing music when his mother, Fiona, died two years ago. It was an emotional release for him and quickly became his passion. It was only in January he took things to the next level, when he started music lessons at the Jersey Academy of Music, where teachers realised immediately that Hamish had a gift.

Hamish practiced up to eight hours a day ahead of his Grade 8 piano exam. Credit: ITV Channel

The second he sat down at the piano, he'd prepared himself for his first piece, it was a moment, it doesn't happen very often, but both myself and my colleague were absolutely spellbound listening to his entire performance. And just talking to him afterwards just such a driven, motivated, really, really driven young man, it's been an absolute privilege teaching him over the last few months.

Claire Harvey, Music Teacher

He had only managed to have lessons for four weeks when lockdown happened. But rather than resting on his laurels, Hamish continued his lessons online. When he was set the challenge of a grade eight exam just over a month ago, he threw himself into it, practicing as much as eight hours a day.

He's always focussed and up for the challenge you know, there was a few nights when he was doing his grade eight that he was struggling, but we just talked it through and carried on with his determination. I think he knew that it was bigger than he actually thought, but he's achieved it and he's got a distinction.

Derek Brodie, Dad

In the future Hamish would like to do a production or engineering course but ultimately, he would like to become a singer/songwriter and an artist in his own right, producing his own music.

I think if I can combine my own music with what I listen to, Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, Aphex Twin and that with the rawness of my classical roots then I think that could be something really cool.... I'm just experimenting with where I wanna go, and in ten years time I'm sure I'll have a definitive style where people go yeah 'that's Hamish Brodie's style'.

Hamish Brodie, Musician

  • WATCH: Iselin Jones meets young pianist Hamish Brodie