Thursday, March 25, 2010

Ballet, piano... and exams

Lesley-Anne has had a hectic past two weeks. While other kids were probably enjoying the one-week break, she was busy preparing for her ballet exam (Grade 5) and piano exam (Grade 6).


What with starting a new school, new curriculum, tons of homework, demanding CCA, she ended up with little time to practise and it became a rather stressful period. Shakespeare claims that music soothes the savage breast but I'm sure he never accounted for ABRSM exams. Amidst the flurry of activity and frayed nerves, we wondered why we even made the decision for her to take both exams at the same time. In such situations, my reply is always: "It seemed like a good idea at the time."

Anyway, it's done! I thought I'd post Lesley-Anne's piano exam pieces so I'd have a record of them since she's probably never going to play these again in her lifetime. That kinda tends to happen to exam pieces.

The first piece typically is a fast one in classical style.

video

The second piece is a gentle, lyrical song. When I was doing exams, I tended to love second pieces as they called for less finger technique and more expression.

video

Finally, the third piece is a contemporary, rambunctious one that I love best among her three pieces. Maybe it's because it's such an antithesis to Lesley-Anne's character that it's fun to watch her play it!

video

8 comments:

Jo said...

Hi Mon

I enjoyed watching the vids of L-A play - she is very good ! - must show them to my 8 yr old to inspire her ! She is currently trying to balance piano (exams in Aug!) and starting swim training. Both activities are very different but strange as it sounds, the laps at the pool and the tinkling on the piano seem to compliment each other !

It is very hectic even though she is only P2. These activities do give her a sense of purpose/determination and some discipline - as you have mentioned in previous posts.

But I must say, swimming is terribly competitive ! Parents are even sending their K1/K2 kids for competitive training - scary ! Hubby thinks this is madness !

monlim said...

Jo: Thanks for the compliment! I find that no matter when we schedule exams, there's still never enough time for practice. I blame it on our last minute-itis syndrome.

Everything is SG is competitive! And parents are starting kids younger and younger, it's scary. I hope your dd is enjoying her swimming and music! It's a great combination of mental and physical development :)

Lilian said...

Nice...I like the 2nd piece best. The 3rd one makes my heart go very gancheong! Did LA grow taller or got thinner? She looks very slim in the videos, especially her fingers haha. I miss the days when their fingers were short and chubby :)

monlim said...

Lilian: Thanks! Umm... don't think L-A grew taller (I should know cos she's constantly lamenting over this). Thinner? Also don't think so, maybe it's the adult looking hand! Yalah, no more chubby palms with short sausage fingers, enjoy Sean's while you can!

Yve said...

I like the second piece best. Lesley-Anne appears to have a good grasp of the pieces.

May I ask what is the brand of the piano? My daughter is complaining that our Yamaha upright is not good enough - she's in grade 5.

Did you also have to change your piano when your kids reached a particular grade? Or perhaps you were smarter and got a good one from the beginning.

Thanks.

monlim said...

Yve: My piano is a Dresden. I got it when I got married and moved into our own place so it's about 15 years old! But it still sings nicely despite its age. I think a Dresden today would cost quite a lot, already back then it set me back by $7k which was (still is) a lot of dough but there are lots of other great choices today. The Korean ones are pretty good, from what I hear.

I wouldn't say L-A plays brilliantly but she has managed to show more of her musicality over the years. Technique still leaves much to be desired, I guess like with everything else, it all boils down to practice!

MrsCheng said...

wow, Lesley-Anne is really good! When i see other kids play, i always wonder when is my dd ever going to take Grade 1. She has been learning for the past 2-3 yrs and the teacher says she's still not ready. But i must say she has improved lots since we got a proper piano last Dec.

monlim said...

Mrs Cheng: nothing beat practising on a real piano, for sure! If you ask me, 2-3 years should be enough to prepare for Grade 1 but on the other hand, there's no need to rush for exams. Maybe you can also consider skipping Grade 1 and just go straight to Grade 2. As long as you see progress and your dd enjoys playing, that's the most important :)

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