Thursday, June 11, 2009
"I don't care if I don't pass the RCM grade 3 exam," My ten year old tells me. "I know I'm good at piano, I compose beautiful songs and I don't care about marks. I don't care about the little scales and the sight reading and what ever. I know I'm good."
That's what my daughter said to me when I reminded her to practice for the upcoming exam.
She has had a tough time with preparing for this exam; mostly doing it for her teacher or me, not really for herself. She is not as prepared as a person taking this exam ought to be- but she continues to plug away as much as she is comfortable with. My fear is that I may have helped turned her off piano for life- this kid who loved the piano so much when she was wee. As it is she is turned off exams and says she will never do another one again.
The problem with exams and marks is that it ruins everything. My middle kid had her violin festival this past weekend and she bombed her very best piece. She should have walked away with first place but instead she fumbled massively the piece that she usually plays wonderfully and ended up with the third place. She was deeply disappointed with herself.
Later she said she didn't believe that they should give out awards because, "nothing is as good as first place. When you don't get first place you don't care about the second or third. The adjudicator should just go over your mistakes with you."
She did also learn an important lessons from this experience: she had not bowed to the audience when she finished after the applause. The adjudicator pointed this out and asked her to come up to the stage and take a bow. "You were eager to come out to play your piece and it didn't go as well as you anticipated. But we need to be gracious and accept the audience's appreciation and acknowledge it."
"Life is about learning. There is nothing else."