PIANO WHIZ: Student tackles hardest song ever for HSC
CODA Cox has a natural talent for playing the piano.
He's mostly self-taught, is excellent at reading music and has the ability to play any song put in front of him.
Well, almost any song.
As part of his Music 1 HSC course, he learned and performed the notoriously challenging La Campanella piece by Franz Liszt.
It has a reputation for being one of the most difficult pieces ever written for piano.
"It's a really good song and I've always loved it," Coda said.
"But after I while I started hating it; I was practising it so much and I can be a perfectionist when I'm learning.
"It gets really frustrating.
"I still can't play it perfectly and it gets under my skin sometimes."
Despite his modesty, the Year 12 Xavier Catholic College student must have done an outstanding job, because he came top of the state in the Music 1 course.
The high achievers were announced on Thursday at a special ceremony, and were congratulated by Premier Gladys Berejiklian and NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell.
Coda said he was excited he had done so well in music.
"I've been playing piano for 10 years," he said.
"I started getting taught by my primary school music teacher and then I started to really accelerate, so I taught myself for a while."
His school music teachers, Leanne Broadley and Amanda Falvey, and his piano teacher Narelle L'estrange helped Coda hone his skills and overcome performance anxiety.
He practises around two hours a day, and despite the hard work and dedication required to perfect his craft, he doesn't consider it a chore.
In fact, Coda said the piano had helped him get through some of 2020's challenges.
"It's good to have songs to play for when you're angry or happy," the Skennars Head student said.
"I've always leaned more towards really challenging types of songs, because I play classical, but I also appreciate really nice, emotional songs and being able to relax with the music."
For the HSC, Coda had to do four performances and a written exam.
He said he did not expect to top the state, but thanked his parents, Michelle and Roscoe, for their support.
Coda's now looking forward to his future.
"I'm looking to go into medicine; I've applied for UQ in Brisbane, so hopefully I'll be accepted," he said.
"I'll do the pre-med course and see what field I'd like to specialise in."
Of course, there will always be music in Coda's life ‒ just don't expect him to jump behind a piano at a dinner party.
"I'm definitely not a show-off," he said.
"I've always been self conscious and I'm pretty modest, especially when it comes to my talent."
HSC students who sat at least one exam will receive their results by SMS, email and online on Friday, December 18, from 6am.