A one-time drum player has won a recent modern music competition playing the piano.
On the eve of leaving behind his home in London in 2014, Paris Takarangi was advised by his drum teacher to take up a new instrument.
"He wanted me to diversify and learn another musical instrument to explore different sounds."
Seven years and three or four entries later, Paris, now a 17-year-old Tauhara College Year 13 student, won the overall points trophy in a weekend-long New Zealand Modern School of Music competition for Taupō District students. He also won the contemporary open, the boogie-woogie open and the Latin open.
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In 2014 Paris came to Taupō with his mother Connie Takarangi and together they live with his grandparents Evelyn and Pine Takarangi.
"My grandparents had parents who were musical. They played the accordion and trumpet," says Paris.
Paris says he didn't have a clear idea about what instrument he wanted to play, and instead had trial lessons with various music teachers who taught a variety of instruments. Eventually he enrolled as a student of modern music with piano teacher Maureen Potter, "because I liked her", and after Maureen died, he enrolled with Jessica Parker.
His favourite styles of music are modern, classical, boogie-woogie and Latin and his favourite piece is Rockin' Robin by the Jackson Five. Competing against 130 or so other contestants, Paris says winning the competition feels pretty cool.
Still deciding if music is to be a hobby or a future career, Paris is hoping to go to university after a gap year "and I'm still trying to decide whether to study music or astronomy".
He credits his music teacher for his success at the piano, his mother for driving him to practices, and his grandparents for listening to him practise at home.