Whanganui musician Hannah Boessenkool opted to play the viola after deciding the violin was "a bit small and scratchy" for her tastes.
She was 10 at the time and now the 17-year-old has been selected to join the New Zealand Secondary Schools Symphony Orchestra (NZSSSO).
"I performed one solo and three short extract pieces that I filmed at home and submitted.
"I was thrilled when I learned that I'd made the grade."
All the pieces are Brahms symphonies and Hannah's audition was good enough to earn her a place.
Hannah is the youngest of five children in a musical family.
"I am home schooled and will complete year 13 next year.
"In April I will spend a week in Christchurch where I'll get to play two concerts with the orchestra."
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Playing with an orchestra will be a new experience for Hannah who says the largest gathering she has played with was a string group consisting of about 15 musicians.
"I love playing with chamber combos and enjoy my lessons with Whanganui teacher Annie Hunt."
Hannah is also an accomplished piano player, having started learning when she was 8.
"I love singing as well and I'm a member of the Lyric Singers."
The New Zealand Secondary Schools Orchestral Course was instituted in the 1960s and is funded through a combination of course fees and a small annual grant from the Ministry of Education.
It offers an opportunity for some of New Zealand's top secondary school orchestral musicians to experience playing in a full symphony orchestra.
Hannah's week in Christchurch will culminate in one informal performance and an evening public performance at the Charles Luney Auditorium at St Margaret's College.