IF dedication alone ensured a gifted musician a spotlight at The Proms then a 15-year-old from Hilton has struck the right chord.
Inverness Royal Academy pupil Sandy Scott-Brown makes a 350-mile round-trip each Saturday, setting off for Glasgow at 5am for a full day’s cello lessons and mentoring.
Already a highly respected musician, he makes the regular pilgrimage with his proud father to learn from Scotland’s finest at the junior Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
His ambition is to play at the Royal Albert Hall and, judging by plaudits over the past year, he is well on his way to turning that dream into reality.
In addition to one-to-one tuition, he is also currently rehearsing with two orchestras and a choir.
"It’s great, just getting to play with lots of other musicians that are all so enthusiastic," he said. "I’m a part of the symphony orchestra and we get to play a fun repertoire."
Philippines-born Sandy, who moved to Scotland at the age of five, first reached for the bow as a nine-year-old, learning the basics with a half-sized cello while a pupil at Hilton Primary.
Did he consider it an unusual choice for a youngster?
"I thought well, my gran plays violin, so I could join in," he said. "It sounds the most like a voice and it has a lot of emotion that you can just pour out into the audience."
With several years of tuition by leading music teacher Katy Bell, Sandy is awaiting the verdict of a second audition for a place in the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain – a step up from the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland.
"I’m quite excited. Getting the chance to possibly perform in The Proms is thrilling," he said.
Although he has received welcome support from the Agar Trust, Sandy is urgently seeking a sponsor to help with tuition and travel costs which amount to more than £7000 a year.
His father, Angus, said: "You don’t get to where he’s got to without an awful lot of hard work."
That generally involves at least two hours’ daily practice.
Sandy was named "most promising talent" at the Highland Young Musician of the Year awards at Nairn in June.
A spokeswoman for Highland Council said: "Sandy’s performance in the final stages was exceptional. The judges were unanimous. He’s a credit to himself, his family and his tutors and his fellow musicians in the Highland music groups he has performed with.
"To reach this level takes considerable hard work and commitment, as well as skill.
"We’re confident he has the talent to fulfil his musical potential."
Sandy, who has a broad taste in music, confessed to one guilty pleasure. While normally focused on the genius of Shostakovich, Haydn and Bach, he also enjoys the Electric Light Orchestra.
Anyone interested in sponsoring Sandy can contact his father by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sandy can be heard online at www.facebook.com/angussb/videos/1568396613218119