High note!

24-07-2012. Picture Michael Gillen. LINLITHGOW. Sarah Lockhart (17) cellist, selected to play at Proms.
24-07-2012. Picture Michael Gillen. LINLITHGOW. Sarah Lockhart (17) cellist, selected to play at Proms.
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For most students planning on heading to university this September the summer weeks will be used for relaxing before embarking on the next stage of their studies.

But not for 17-year-old cellist Sarah Lockhart who has a hectic schedule culminating in her showcasing her musical talent at the Proms, alongside the BBC Symphony Orchestra and renowned violinist Nicola Benedetti.

Sarah, who left Linlithgow Academy in June, has already left Linlithgow to join up with the National Youth Orchestra for intense rehearsals and a tour of the UK finishing at the Proms on August 5.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for me,” beamed Sarah, who seems completely unfazed by the magnitude of what she is about to set out on.

“Obviously I have had moments where I have found the situation daunting but it will be great to go on a full tour of the UK. Playing at the Proms at the end of it all will be amazing,” she said.

Sarah has been playing the cello for nine years and is also a skilled pianist. A twist of fate led her to taking up the cello rather than another instrument.

“Believe it or not I didn’t want to play the cello to begin with,” Sarah revealed. “I wanted to play the violin but there was a lack of a cellist so I was given one of those.

“For a while it was hard work. I was just a beginner, and would get frustrated sometimes when I wasn’t playing well.

“I’d think to myself ‘I didn’t even want to play this in the first place’ but now I am glad I kept going with it.”

Classical music may not be to every 17-year-old’s taste but Sarah listens to a wide range of music and believes the classical elements can even improve more modern styles.

“I would say that I have quite an eclectic taste in music,” she said. “Just because I play classical music, it doesn’t mean that that’s all I’m interested in. I went to T in the Park and my favourite band is The Arctic Monkeys.”

She added; “Strings can be added to modern music and it works. Although sometimes people can over-use it, almost forcing it to sound unique. But if you look at a band like Arcade Fire, they use all sorts of instruments and make wonderful music.”

Sarah has worked hard to hone her talent. She insisted, however, that she could not have come this far without the backing of others.“I’m so thankful to West Lothian’s musical funding. Without that I would never have been able to play music as frequently to get to this level.”

Through the music tuition funding in West Lothian, Sarah was able to start playing the cello at a young age with direction and guidance from Lucy Creanor. This tuition remained during her time at Linlithgow Academy.

“I have been accepted into the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland to study to become a music teacher,” Sarah said.“Doing this leaves me the opportunity to work as a session musician, as well as teach.”