End of year exam entries have just been submitted! Exams are about three months away. Good luck to Alyssa, Anish, Caitlin, Charlotte, Deborah and Emma. Keep up the regular practice and you will do well! Don’t forget there are lots of useful resources on this page to help you.
Pravin Chanmugam – High Credit in Flute Certificate of Performance
Pravin, his Mum and Dad and I are very proud of his success in his recent Certificate of Performance Flute exam. The Certificate of Performance comes after Grade Eight and requires the performance of a 30 minute program of four contrasting pieces. Pravin prepared all this in just six months after completing Grade Eight, as well as coping with his Year 10 school work, performing in a school musical and play, and hosting an international exchange student. He certainly is a high achiever! Well done Pravin!
One of my lovely students, Caitlin, sent this to me, to remind me that what looks simple to teachers and examiners when we put up a piece of sight reading looks totally different to the poor student standing in front of it! But I can assure you from my own personal experience that sight reading, like everything else in life, only gets easier with regular practice. The challenge is to overcome the panic, tackle the music in manageable chunks and look for the patterns in the music.
Great news this week! Eight year old Joyce has been promoted from Beginner’s Training Band into Intermediate Band at Cherrybrook Public School after only one and a half terms! Her family and I are all very excited about Joyce’s quick progress. Joyce and her parents made some very wise decisions which have helped her make a really good start on flute. Joyce had two months of individual flute lessons at the end of Year 2 prior to starting in the Band in Year 3. Joyce’s parents invested in a good quality flute for her, and Joyce has been encouraged to use a curved headjoint, as she is physically quite small. This makes the flute a lot more comfortable for her to play and helps her develop good posture and hand positions. We are all looking forward to seeing how Joyce will thrive in this more challenging environment. Well done Joyce!
I had this lovely piece of news from the mother of one of my students over the holidays, and thought it was worth sharing. It is so nice to hear of a young person being confident and keen to use their talents to give others pleasure. Musicians have a very special gift to share with others – just another reason for learning music!
“I also wanted to let you know that Charlotte performed at her sister’s preschool on Tuesday and did a great job. The children really enjoyed listening and even danced along when Charlotte played ‘If You’re Happy and You Know It’. There is an autistic boy in the group and he was particularly excited and kept saying ‘play more’ every time Charlotte stopped playing.”
Congratulations to Week Nine Student of the Week – Alyssa Collins. 11 year old Alyssa has worked hard over the last few weeks to improve her scales in preparation for her Grade Two exam at the end of the year. Alyssa has also been working this term on a quite difficult piece – one that she thought she would never have a chance of being able to play. This is Vivaldi’s Spring from The Four Seasons which Alyssa really loves. With consistent work and attention to all the details, it is well on the way to sounding like the real thing. There are some fast high note runs that turned out to be just the top octave of F Major scale, although they looked much scarier on the page! Suddenly practising scales seemed to have a purpose! Alyssa has even practised these runs using harmonics, an advanced technique. Alyssa seems to like Baroque music as she has now chosen some more Vivaldi pieces to learn for her exam. I’m impressed by Alyssa’s perseverance and the way she is able to articulate to me what she likes about the music she chooses to learn. I’m looking forward to an interesting musical journey with you over the next few years, Alyssa! Well done!
Student of the Week Award for Week Eight goes to 9 year old Adhav Manoj Pillai. Adhav impressed me this week by showing how much a student can improve their playing in the space of one week! Adhav has been learning flute and playing in the school band for one year, but over the Christmas holidays forgot a lot of the fingerings he had learned last year, and has been struggling trying to remember them again this term. This week Adhav took my advice and checked fingerings he was not sure about in his tutor book when practising, resulting in much better playing in his lesson. Adhav is also working hard to take better care of his flute so that it does not get so many knocks and dents, and to make sure that he washes his hands before playing, so that his flute does not get so sticky. Well done Adhav!
I am pleased to announce that Student of the Week for Week Seven is Hannah Smith. Hannah is just about to sit her Year 12 half-yearly exams but even so is continuing to have fortnightly Flute lessons, and work on her Theory. Hannah passed her Grade Six Flute exam with Credit in 2015, but has to pass the additional requirement of Grade Two Theory in order to receive her Grade Six certificate. We work on the basis of a little bit every day is better than nothing at all! So Hannah spends a few minutes completing just one page in her Theory book each day, which adds up to 14 pages in a fortnight! As well, just a small amount of flute practice focusing on tone, technique, one solo piece and one duet, means that Hannah can continue to enjoy her flute playing without feeling overwhelmed by preparing for an exam. Year 12 is a big year for all students, and Hannah is proving that having music as an enjoyable, extra-curricular activity can help with the stress of getting through it all. I’m proud of you Hannah for managing to keep all the balls in the air!