Wagga academic Leigh Ladd has attained a prestigious music qualification at his first attempt.
Dr Ladd, 55, had been awarded the AMusA - Associate Diploma in Music - and it comes after five years of working towards the qualification with music teacher Marie-Cecile Henderson.
"It's a rare thing, I think, for an adult who has a full-time job to be working towards a professional-level diploma in music," he said.
Dr Ladd said he has been singing "almost all my life".
"I always loved music, but I held a passion for sacred music and more classical styles of music," he said.
Dr Ladd has also extensively studied opera and was semi-professional in Sydney for some years before moving to Wagga 12 years ago to take up a position at Charles Sturt University.
He became involved with the Wagga School of Arts Community Theatre and from there was advised to study with Mrs Henderson.
"I chanced to mention AMusA and she said 'well getting people through AMusA is what I do'," he said.
Dr Ladd passed his exams for the AMusA at his first attempt, a distinction not often achieved by students.
Like Dr Ladd, Mrs Henderson grew up in a home rich with music.
Now 50, she has been teaching music in various forms since the age of 16.
She initially studied at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and has studied and worked in the UK, and performed in London's world-renowned West End.
Mrs Henderson performed before Pope John Paul II, and a worldwide audience, at the beatification of St Mary MacKillop.
For many years Mrs Henderson has taught at the Riverina Conservatorium of Music, but this year she began her own business - Marie-Cecile's Music - so she can also work from home.
The reason for the change is that Mrs Henderson and her wife Anna have a young son, James, and Mrs Henderson wanted her working hours to be more flexible.
One-year-old James is already showing signs of being musically inclined.
Mrs Henderson said that when he has the chance, James loves crawling in and sitting down to listen during her lessons, which vary widely depending on individual students.
"I find I'm a very adaptable teacher. I have classical students, operatic students, rock, pop, jazz," she said.
"I'm focusing on adult education as that's my skills because of the difficulty of the repertoire.
"I find it's wonderful to see adults like Leigh, who have already had lots of experience and we're putting on the polish, but I also take beginners who have never sung before and give them a love of music."