Young musician receives grade 8 award

Taigh Macdonald with his double bass, the largest instrument in the string family.
Taigh Macdonald with his double bass, the largest instrument in the string family.

WANDI resident and double bass player Taigh Macdonald has made history, becoming the first West Australian double bassist to receive a grade 8 award from the Associated Board of Royal Schools Music (ABRSM).

The grade 8 is the highest graded music exam achievable at the ABRSM, the exams board created in London by the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal College of Music in 1889.

To make the achievement even more impressive, this is just the fourth year Macdonald has played the double bass.

“I picked up music when I was a kid and I’ve always loved it,” he said.

“I aim for an hour-and-a-half (of practice) each night, that’s just the standard.

“I’d always strive to achieve my best… it’s almost competitive trying to get the highest score you can achieve.”

Macdonald, who has played a range of instruments, said he thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of learning the instrument that is used in a variety of music, from classical to jazz and even rock ’n’ roll.

“It’s physically demanding, it’s just good fun… it’s quite unique in comparison to piano and violin. It just tweaked my interest,” he said.

A former performing arts captain at All Saints College, Macdonald is no stranger to high achievement as he completes his study of physics at University of Western Australia with the aim of partaking in postgraduate medicine, as well as being part of the WA Medical Student Orchestra.

He attributes part of his success to his family as well as his teacher, Christopher Boyder.

“It’s good to have people that are dedicated as much as you are to your own success. He (Chris) always pushes me to play hard pieces, to become more technically advanced and he’s always on my back making sure I improve that extra little bit,” Macdonald said. “My family, they’re always happy to hear my music when I’m practising… it’s good having their support.”