Ready to rock: Summerland Christian College student Daniel Pinkerton has topped the state in the HSC Music 1 subject.
Ready to rock: Summerland Christian College student Daniel Pinkerton has topped the state in the HSC Music 1 subject.

Daniel hits top of the charts

Daniel Pinkerton has wowed his HSC music examiners with performances of a Venezuelan Waltz, a Spanish flamenco piece and some “shred rock” to take out top marks in the state for Music 1.

Daniel said the Steve Vai composition Tender Surrender that he played on the electric guitar “goes nuts”.

“It’s always gone down well in the past and I guess the judges must have liked it,” he said.

Daniel also studied the musicology of flamenco guitar and did an oral examination for the subject. He was awarded a perfect 100, equal first with another student from Wagga Wagga. He found out last Friday but was sworn to secrecy before he and 119 other students were invited to a special ceremony in Sydney where Premier Kristina Keneally and Education Minister Verity Firth presented them with certificates.

Daniel said he was hoping to get in the 90s, but topping the state was a “huge surprise”.

Daniel began playing guitar when he was 11, convincing his parents to buy him a cheap nylon string guitar from a gift shop clearance sale.

He started off playing tunes by The Beatles and other simple rock songs while having private lessons. His teacher, Jeremy White, started teaching him finger picking techniques and introducing him to classical and flamenco music.

He has played in numerous bands including Boogie Nights, a disco cover band that his dad, Gary Pinkerton, plays keyboards in.

“We’re so proud of him, he’s worked so hard,” Gary said.

Daniel said he is planning to have a year off formal study while continuing his private lessons and working various odd jobs while he works out where he wants to go to university.

“I’ve had an offer from Southern Cross Uni... but I might look at going to the Sydney Conservatorium or maybe even the States,” he said.

Daniel, who was school captain at Summerland Christian College in Goonellabah and also got a 95 in Information Process and Technology, said he did “better than expected” in his HSC.

School principal Neil Easter said Daniel had “a lot of drive, tremendous dedication and a tonne of personality.”

“I can see him doing great things in the music world. It will be interesting to see what offers come in for this young man and where he ends up in the future,” Mr Easter said. “He’s a marvellous musician who has worked really hard. He has put his heart into it and been justly rewarded. It’s a fantastic achievement for the school and we are rejoicing in his success.”

Mr Easter said some credit should also be given to music teacher Alesha Dymock, who had seven of her nine students get results in the 90s.

Summerland Christian College is a small school with about 300 students from kindergarten to HSC. It is only the fifth year they have offered the HSC.

“It’s the first time we have had anyone top the state. That’s rare for any school, it’s like winning an Olympic gold,” he said.

Daniel said he would ultimately like to get into composition, possibly for film and TV projects.

“I like writing even more than I like playing so I’m hoping to end up in composition. That would be my dream job.”

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