Classical guitarist Myles Payne achieves a place at the Birmingham Conservatoire of Music
Westcountry classical guitarist Myles Payne has won a place at the Birmingham Conservatoire of Music to study for a music degree.
Myles, 17, from Barnstaple, started his guitar lessons at the age of nine at Newport Community School Primary Academy in Barnstaple.
Head teacher Andy Cotton said: "On starting life at Newport, it was clear that Myles was prepared to go the extra mile in practising and performing on the guitar.
"With the support of Des Miles, his guitar teacher, and his family he has earned a place at the prestigious Birmingham Conservatoire.
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"In so doing he provides a great role model for younger pupils at Newport, who will be inspired by his achievements."
Myles has achieved distinction in all of his guitar exams, including a 97 per cent pass rate at grade 8, taken last summer.
He has been a member of the North Devon Guitar Ensemble for the past seven years.
During this time he has toured London, Wales and Italy. Myles will be joining the ensemble in February when they make a return visit to Italy to premiere The Gothic Suite by Steve Marsh at the Conservatoire of Music in Turin.
Myles has also been a regular member of Guitar Circus, the London branch of the National Guitar Ensemble.
His tutor Des Miles said: "Myles has grasped every opportunity that was offered to him. He has continually pushed the boundaries of his classical guitar-playing with true vigour and commitment.
"His dedication, hard work and natural talent have secured him a well-deserved place at one of the UK's top music schools.
"I have every confidence that Myles will continue to work hard and develop into a very fine musician.
"It has been a privilege to have had Myles as a student and I wish him every success on the next part of his musical journey."
Myles said: "Music has always been in my life one way or another from an early age.
"My obsession for music started from my first guitar lesson at primary school, a lesson that I can still remember today.
"I still can't believe that in just eight months I will be studying at the Birmingham Conservatoire under two world-class classical guitarists, Mark Eden and Mark Ashford. From an early age I've always had a passion for music and the classical guitar, and thanks to the help of my guitar teacher, Des Miles, as well as my family and friends my dream of studying the classical guitar further is starting to become a reality."
Matt Street, head of music at The Park Community School in Barnstaple, said: "Myles Payne is an exceptional talent and contributed greatly to the school music department while he was at Park. His performances are always technically excellent.
"Myles has a really mature attitude towards music and for his GCSE coursework he wrote a lovely piece of music for guitar.
"Everyone in the music department here wishes him all the best in his future studies at the conservatoire – a place well deserved."
Myles will be starting his studies at the conservatoire in September.