Not every rock star can lay claim to a music diploma with distinction.
But Brisbane's newest budding superstar, Harry Cross, has just that: a diploma with Distinction in guitar awarded from the Australian Music Examinations Board (Queensland).
Harry is in year 11 at Balmoral State High School, and is AMEB's first-ever diploma candidate in Rockschool; he's one of 259 candidates this year to sit exams in the internationally-accredited music education program, which is new to Australia.
Rockschool is a vibrant, contemporary music program of exams and qualifications for guitar, bass, drums, vocals, piano, band-based keyboards and bands, and has been running in Queensland for two years. Rockschool specialises in a range of rock, pop, metal and funk styles.
16-year-old Harry says he's been a huge fan of rock music for his whole life.
‘My dad raised me on everything Beatles, The Who, Rolling Stones, etc. I got my first guitar as a Christmas present at nine years old and started off teaching myself, completely falling in love with playing guitar’, Harry said.
Harry says the Rockschool curriculum has enabled him to earn his 'letters' in an area of music he loves.
‘It was really great for me. I think most people think of music exams as being just classical music. But if you want to play contemporary or heavy music, and you want to get a diploma, Rockschool is a great pathway and so much fun to do in the process,’ Harry said.
The qualification will enable Harry to earn Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE) credits points when he graduates from high school.
‘I want to study a double degree in music and law,’ he said.
When Harry isn't earning a diploma or studying for school (including extension English, Maths B and C and chemistry), the talented teenager is managing his band A Short Term Effect - which is getting noticed on the music scene.
‘I started a band with three friends from school not too long ago and it has changed the way I play and listen to music,’ Harry said.
‘We're playing at The Triffid in support of a Sydney band called Crystal Cities on 26 October. We write all our own music and we've just released our first, self-titled EP – which can be found on the iTunes Store and Spotify,’ he said.