A SEPTUAGENARIAN has found that maturity is the key to success when it comes to top level piano playing.

Barry Stanton of Beaminster is enjoying his recent success after passing his fellowship diploma piano examination from the National College of Music and Arts, London.

The fellowship diploma is the college’s highest award and required him to perform four pieces at recital standard, followed by a discussion with the examiner.

Barry’s examiner was the international prizewinning composer, Andrew M. Wilson.

Barry passed his Grade 8 piano examination in the 1970s and then played informally and for pleasure.

His work in the world of computer technology involved a good deal of travel, and for ten years while working and living abroad he played only occasionally and sometimes not all. He took and passed a diploma in music from the Open University in 2005 and when he retired he started playing regularly once again.

In 2007 Barry and his wife Sue moved to Dorset and discovered the Orchard Piano Club, which operates near Crewkerne. The club meets once a month, and amateur pianists can play their pieces in a relaxed and supportive environment. For the past three years Barry has played duets with baroque and classical repertoire expert, Michael Ryan.

Last year Barry decided to put his piano playing on a more formal footing and to find a suitable teacher, having not attended one-to-one lessons for almost 50 years!

He says that he was ‘lucky enough to find Paul Cheater’, who was able to guide him to success. Paul, a local pianist, organist and choral director, said, “I am absolutely delighted: Barry worked incredibly hard from the outset of our association, and his success has given him the confidence to pursue his piano level to yet greater heights. I greatly look forward to continuing to work with him in the future.”