Sophie Giuliani is proof if you keep the fire alive, your dream will come true.
Years of determined guitar practice have finally paid off with the Shepparton musician, 18, accepted into one of the most prestigious music colleges in the world.
Although it has been almost a year since Ms Giuliani performed at a live audition in Melbourne, it was only just last week that she learned she had been accepted into Berklee College of Music, based in Boston in the United States, for a four-year degree in music.
‘‘I just felt overwhelmed and excited, and finally proud of all the work I did,’’ she said.
The former Notre Dame Secondary College student cannot remember exactly the first time she saw a guitar, but she reckons it was probably at her Nan’s.
With encouragement from her father Tommy, a drummer, and uncle Jason, a well-known guitarist, Ms Giuliani listened to a wide repertoire of music from classical, to jazz, rock, hip-hop and country.
But it was not until she came across a video of the renowned Crossroads Guitar Festival, founded by Eric Clapton and featuring US superstar guitarist John Mayer, that the spark was lit.
‘‘That’s where I discovered the blues style and I first heard of Berklee.
‘‘It was then I realised there was more to guitar than just playing chords,’’ she said.
For the next four years she grabbed every chance she could to practice her technique.
‘‘I’d put off homework to practice guitar. Three hours a day and at weekends,’’ she said.
During break time at school she would shut herself away in a recess room to practice.
She admitted even during her VCE year, her guitar practice took precedence.
She even paid for a home recording studio with a part-time job at Bakers Delight in Shepparton.
Eventually, she moved to Melbourne’s Blackburn High School to continue her music studies and her Year 12 studies.
‘‘The music program there blew me away and the mentors were fantastic. I got to experience Generations in Jazz, South Street in Ballarat and the Essential Duke Ellington festival thanks to Blackburn,’’ she said.
Ms Giuliani has been working at St Brendan’s Primary School in Shepparton during her gap year, doing general duties and taking guitar classes.
She was keen to thank her parents Jacci and Tommy for their support.
Meanwhile, she was being supported by the artistic programs of four US-based guitar companies, and has built up an incredible fanbase on Instagram, nearing 50000 followers.
She now faces the next hurdle in her musical journey — paying for her four years of studies in the US.
‘‘I’m auditioning for scholarships and praying for some lucky Tattslotto tickets,’’ she said.