When Amy Chang was just 4 she started piano lessons — "My parents thought I needed a hobby."

Her piano lessons became the love of her life but it wasn't until the family moved from Taiwan and were living in New Zealand that Amy also discovered her love of opera and singing.

For the past two weeks she has been in Whanganui as an intern piano accompanist with the New Zealand Opera School, based at Wanganui Collegiate School.

She has recently graduated from Auckland University with a master of music with first class honours.

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Her dream now is to win a scholarship to study overseas and become a top opera pianist repetiteur.

"It is a very difficult field and so challenging. I am grateful I was given the opportunity to study here at the opera school with the wonderful Bruce Greenfield."

Though every day is intense work from morning until night, Amy admits she is thriving on it.

Last weekend she even drove six hours to Auckland to attend a family wedding and left again at dawn the next morning to drive back so she wouldn't miss too much.

"It was my brother's wedding. I wouldn't have missed it for the world and lucky I didn't miss too much here at the school either."

Amy has already auditioned for four top British music academies and has been accepted by them all.

"But as I said I need to win a scholarship because the fees are enormous."

She said her family was helping her to fundraise to realise her overseas dream.

"Being a world class repetiteur is my dream and I'll do everything to make it happen. I'm a hard worker. Only hard work pays off. My parents have always told me that."