Saturday, December 11, 2010

Musical Memories

Every year, my (music education) alma mater, Melody Music School, holds a concert in conjunction with Christmas.

Since I graduated from the school (when I completed my Grade 8 --highest level-- Theory and Practical studies, and took the Diploma exam but failed to pass by 5 marks >.<) I have often been asked to return by the Principal, Ms. Chen (or Mrs. Tee by now, but I still haven't gotten used to it, even though her daughter is now aged 4 years =.=). 

Sometimes as a stand-in teacher (which is how I finally ended up with my current part-time job teaching the kids once a week), and sometimes, for three years now, as Master of Ceremony (MC) for the Christmas Concert.

The Christmas Concert has a simple purpose, really. It serves as a platform for the young musicians to showcase their talent, as well as to develop their skills in performing.

When the higher-grade students perform, you can't help but admire and, occasionally, envy the light touch of their fingers as they glide across the keys, the passion with which they play, the melody and harmony that enthralls, brought to life from manuscripts of centuries old.

However, it is a different case altogether with the beginner students, as I witnessed today. >.<

Some impressed with their accurate timing, dynamics and confidence. Some though, seemed more like they were testing out different piano keys in the comfort of their own home, legs-wide-apart and all. =.=

Some forgot to bow before they got onto the piano stool. Some climbed up onto the piano stool (showing off certain garments that should remain "under", if you know what I mean =.=). Some pressed two silent keys and then stared helplessly at their teachers. Some cried, refusing to go up onto the stage without the presence of their mothers.

Some hooligans, disguised as little angels, absolutely refused to sit still, preferring instead to show off their highest shouting volume than their piano-playing skills. @.@

I couldn't help but smile, seeing these little ones (except the hooligans-disguised-as-little-angels. Those, I felt like smacking, they were so naughty !)

They reminded me so much of when I started out. I remember having to climb onto a smaller foot stool before I could sit on the piano stool to play. (The school has them too, but in addition to that, they even stick a little sticker onto the Middle C key, so the kids don't get 'lost' ! How cute is that ! :P)

I remember Ms. Christine Thong, who was my teacher until she got married to a Swiss guy. I vaguely remember what she looked like; long straight jet-black hair, warm smile. She was so apologetic because she had to stop teaching me. I was devastated.

Ms. Chen (I cannot call her anything other than Ms. Chen =.=), the Principal, then took me under her wing. I remember being scared. I was still young then, and gosh, she was the Principal. She must be some super strict rotan-wielding disciplinarian whose only vocabulary was "Curve your fingers !" "Watch your fingering !" and "Sit up straight !" >.<

I was terrified. But she proved me wrong. I will always be grateful to her for being patient and understanding. When I was still learning the piano, I always had the 'itch' to let my nails grow out. But as all pianists know, long nails are a no-no, unless you want to hear the annoying clack-clack on the keys as you play !

It was the holidays, and I forgot to trim them. When I started playing, there was no possible way I could mask the clack-clack-clack of the keys ! I bit my lip. I was surely going to be reprimanded this time. Would I cry?

Instead, she stared down at my fingernails, looked at me and smiled. "Lisa, did you forget to cut your nails?" And then she laughed out loud.

And so did I. :)

She was the reason I grew to love the instrument that I initially felt forced to learn. She was the reason I, in turn, pushed myself to practice hard and play well every lesson. She was the reason I continued all the way up to Grade 8, although it was extremely tough.

I looked at the two sisters playing a duet now. A tough piece, intriguing one. A little march-like. I remembered being paired with Dolores, my supposed "sister" (cos we looked alike), for piano duets. Incidentally, she is my co-MC for this year's Christmas Concert (and has been for three concerts now :P).

As I looked at all these cute kids who looked so innocent and clueless and lost (how can they be this adorable??!! xD), I realized that I had started out just like them.

I can only hope that they will, if they have not, discover the joy of playing the piano, or the violin, or any percussion instrument.

I hope they will learn the dedication and discipline needed to do so.

I hope they will play because they want to, not because they have to.

I hope they will grow up loving music and song.

As I do. :D

p.s: I hope the Melody Music School's "Young Musicians in Concert 2010" goes well tomorrow ! :D


SandraC said...

wah..talking like ur all old n ripe.haha how the years pass so fast..

Liz ^^, said...

Yeah, I DO feel kinda old !!!! xD