Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Afterthoughts: the exams today

Many thanks to friends and well-wishers for your most appreciated support. I had sat for the music exams (diploma in music performance) this morning.

There were glitches, though I felt my overall stage presence was better than that last Friday when I had a rehearsal at the exams venue. In actual fact, I felt I was more able to let go and move on when glitches happened earlier this morning.

Viva voce and the quick study component can be quite a challenge for me since it was the first time that I had done both of these at diploma level and I have not prior similar experience to fall back on. I cannot help but to think over about the recital, and the exams this morning, in hope that I can learn and grow from today's experience.

My heartfelt thanks to J for her contributions in being my piano accompanist for the exams. I greatly appreciate her help and her patience. She has been very patient with me during our rehearsals and practices, so graciously replaying the parts when I had needed to work out my parts right. It has been enjoyable playing music with her. Whatever the results of the exams would be, I am grateful that the exams had gave me a good excuse to catch up with one of my good friends, J, and spend some time making music together. Many thanks to her for her pats on the back to help me calm my nerves while I was waiting for my turn. I arrived pretty early before schedule, and it seemed that too much waiting had actually made me feel anxious and nervous. Thanks J for her assuring presence.

My thanks to my mother. She helped me with quite a bit of the logistics today. If not, I won't be able to carry both the stool and the double bass single-handedly. Strangely, for my past three music exams on the double bass (including this morning's), the exams' dates all coincided with her non-working days. She works in the hotel and hospitality industry, and non-working days are staggered, and it probably takes good luck to be allocated an exam date that coincided with her non-working day.

The steward from the exams board has been very helpful, offering timely help with the logistics where needed. As for the examiners, I can sense that they are doing their best to put me, a candidate, at greater ease. One of the examiners said to me, "Enjoy yourself.". I think his words had helped in some ways.

I have my tutor, MJ, to thank for his patient and firm guidance. He has been pretty strict with me, constantly making sure that I focus on bring out the long lines of the music rather than just playing the notes. This afternoon, after the exams, he started discussing with me over the phone about preparing for the next exams! I am not planning to take up another music exams too soon but I look forward to practise Eccles' Sonata in g minor.

Mr GM, has also helped in some ways in my preparation. His inspiring teaching these years at the orchestra's sectionals and lessons has definitely been a motivating factor that has kept me interested in playing the double bass. My thanks to him.

Thanks to my music theory tutor, Emily and JY for helping me to proof-read the programme notes. My thanks to Emily too for pointing me to a great resource, The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.

My word of thanks to all other family members and friends who have lended their help and support in one way or another.

I shall keep my fingers crossed that I would be able to pass the exams. It had been a challenge to prepare for it with an injured finger and a recovering sprained ankle. Nevertheless, psychologically, it did help a lot that I had started my preparations very early. I had started preparing for this exams at least slightly more than a year ago. Early preparations seem to help relieve me of the great amount of anxiety that I had experienced when I was preparing for the Grade 8 exams. I suppose this is one good tip for students of music who have similar learning styles like myself?

Secretly, it would be a bonus if I could score better grades to earn a distinction. That would then give me a good enough reason to give my friend, Mystic, a treat. If I score a pass, I think Mystic may not see good reason for me to give her a treat. So if I could ask of my reader, please keep your fingers crossed for me that I may earn a good reason to give Mystic a treat, would you?

Meantime, I can see that there are still areas I can improve on. I aim to play music that would move the soul of a person sitting in the audience seat, including my dear piano accompanist too. This is something I will continue to strive for. I wonder what specific skills I would need in order to achieve that?

Another question is still looking for a resolution. The question of "What's the next step?" I don't have the full picture yet, but I suppose I would need guidance to be able to gauge whether I would be able to have the conviction to walk the steps that were to follow.


mistipurple said...

relieved ya? am happy for you that the exams went on relatively well. i wish you a distinction so that Mystic will be willing to accept that treat!

Simple American said...

I say you should enjoy the moment. You can worry about the future musical path while you enjoy a moment of freedom. Let your hair down and shake a leg for a bit.

oceanskies79 said...

Misti: Yes, relieved. I am a bit cautious about hoping for a distinction. I had strived to practise to score a distinction yet I felt yesterday's rendition was not too close to my usual standard. I can play better music. Nevertheless, thanks for your wishes, I do hope so too.

SA: Thank you for your kind support. I was finding it hard to sleep cos my mind kept rewinding segments of the exams.....

Anonymous said...

I'm sure you will have it, what you wish for. I really envy you to have gone this far. It takes a lot of discipline and determination, of course motivation. I never got to my Grade 8 piano. What a waste...and I'm too old (fingers are too stiffed!) to play anything now. With a Grade 7, I think I can only play Twinkle Twinkle Little Stars...so sad :(

Emy said...

yay! its over! feels good eh? congratulations! im sure you'll do good =)

oceanskies79 said...

Tigerfish: To be able to reach Grade 7 is already an accomplishment. Be easy on yourself. Who knows one day when you are Singapore, we could have a jamming session to play for the fun of making music?

Emily: Thanks. I keep my fingers crossed. I felt my recital could be better done, I was not performing to be usual standard that day....

Anonymous said...

I am sure you did well. Yes, it's human nature to want the best, but did the best you could. Don't pressure yourself too much, dear. Relax and enjoy the exam free days.

oceanskies79 said...

Dawn: I felt relieved after exams. Then again, not much carefree time since there are so much things to do at the office. I am looking forward to continue to improve on my playing though.