A TALENTED Greenock musician is celebrating after securing a place at a prestigious national music institution.

Rachel O'Connor has been awarded a coveted place at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland's junior school after impressing during an intensive audition process.

The 17-year-old's performance struck such a chord with the distinguished panel that she was invited to start her studies during the summer term, instead of waiting until the new academic year gets under way in September.

The trombonist and euphonium player told the Tele: "I was so happy when I found out I had got into the Junior Conservatoire.

"It's been an ambition of mine for a while, so I could keep furthering myself and benefit from some of the wonderful playing opportunities that are on offer."

Rachel developed her talents within the Inverclyde Music Service and was first taught by Stuart Tait before transferring to Mark Good, who runs Riverside Youth Band.

She was initially interested in a career in engineering and the former Inverclyde Academy pupil credits her experiences with Riverside in shifting her ambitions towards a life in music.

She said: "I joined Riverside when I was in S2 and it's improved my confidence so much.

"It has helped build my technique, as brass band parts can often be quite demanding.

"Over the past year, I've also been helping tutor some of the youngest players and that has been a golden experience, helping me reflect on my own practice and approach."

A member of the National Youth Brass Band of Scotland, Rachel has also enjoyed a string of solo success.

She recently took part in the Royal Scottish National Orchestra's Young Creatives programme and was the runner-up in the Inverclyde heat of the Scottish Young Musicians Solo Performer of the Year earlier this year.

Rachel's proud mum Brenda is delighted to see her daughter pursuing her passion.

She added: "We are extremely proud of Rachel getting into the Conservatoire.

"She is dedicated to her music and puts a lot of practice in, so it's lovely to see her being rewarded with these exciting opportunities."