She’s the first blind student to study a music degree at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and – after getting top marks at the end of her first term – Rachel Starritt dreams of a career as a concert pianist.
The 20-year-old music prodigy, who got grade eight piano aged 14 and A level music aged 15, is studying for a BMus after mastering braille music by touch and performing to sell-out audiences in London.
Rachel, from Brackla, Bridgend, and piano teacher Alison Bowring have a unique partnership going back nine years. Together they have worked out how best to learn by sound and touch – methods Alison now uses with her sighted pupils too.
Rachel, who was born blind, can learn entire concertos by ear and has perfect pitch. Already an accomplished performer, she played to a sell-out audience of 500 at St Martin in the Fields, London, last year and has also played foyer concerts at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
Practising as much as four hours a day she doesn’t like being parted from the instrument she’d played since the age of five.
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