1 Jul 2011

Are Grades important

This is Honey, who is about to do her Grade 3 exam in violin. She’s not really as sad as she looks. She’s just fed up with posing for photographs.

Every day we go through her Grade 3 Scales. I try to make this enjoyable.

“Come on Honey” I joke. “G Minor. Where do E and B live?” E and B are flats, so they live in flats. “Where does little F live?” “Up on the roof”, says Honey, because F is a sharp. Oh, and when she plays a Minor scale, a small furry owl comes out and flies around the room, because Minors are spooky.

Do I want her to pass her Grade 3? Of course, but the person who really really wants to pass, and who is anxious about failing, is Honey. This is probably my fault, because perhaps I set too much store by the silly certificate from the Associated Board. And yet, when she demonstrates her skill in this most technical and difficult of instruments I am pleased that every day we go over and over G Minor and its Grade 3 peer group again and again.

Did my own mother make me do this? Not at all. She allowed me to give up piano after a couple of years and never insisted I practise. But I’m not doing things my mother’s way.

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