Thursday, 27 March 2014

Bessie the Black Cat and Exam time rolls around.......

I am almost at the end of my teaching week once again, and in Paradise the weather is about as far away from the freezing blizzard conditions of last week, as I am from central London ! It is an azure blue sky with sunshine bright enough to lift the temperature of my solar heated water by around 20 degrees ! Lots of folk are still suffering from a very tricky throat and chest cold so are unable to sing, and some unable to speak !

I still have the stove going, but the windows can now be thrown open without fear of myself and the dog turning Into ice statues.

We are gearing up for exam entry time, in a week or so decisions must be made as to which pupils will be ready by June, for singing and piano grades. After the Easter holiday, which is quite into the month of May this year, there will only be around four or five lessons maximum before the exam date, so all repertoire must be close to ready by the end of next week when this term ends.

I have always felt that to make the whole exam procedure less stressful the candidate must be, in some ways, beyond the chosen grade, rather than striving to get there. Middy always put us in for the grade below where she thought we were truly at, so the exam could go by almost as a matter of course, relatively easily coped with and never an 'iffy' thought about the outcome !

So by next week and before I set off for my next festival I will have on my piano the final list, and hopefully quite a lengthy list of names who are all confident and ready for the impending day ! When I think about that list it will go from Grade 1 through to Recital Certificate, and almost every grade in between ! I wish I had bought shares in the exam board !

My favourite songs on each list are interesting, Grade 1 without a doubt is the beautiful little folk song Anna Marie, I love playing with the accompaniment, especially when I have a small singer who can really hold their own with the melody. Lots of room for expression and light head voice singing ! My most oft use Grade 2 song is the delightful Peter Jenkyns Bessie the Black Cat. I LOVE it, and have taught it for 30 years and still I get a small wet eye when we get to the slow sad verse when at the age of 22 or 23 Bessie passes away with 'no one there to see'......... I have waxed lyrical about Peter Jenkyns many times over the blogging years, but there is no denying what genius and timeless songs he wrote. Grade 3 gives me much choice, but in the end I think one of my favourites on the list has got to be Eric Thiman's beautiful little gem, 'The Path to the Moon'. A totally perfect small song with so much lyricism and still so singable for a 12 or 13 year old.

I need to think about Grades 4 and 5, so will state my front runners another day!


Bessie was a black cat, as old as the house.......

she never scratched a dog and she never caught a mouse.....


1 comment:

  1. I never learnt 'Bessie' as a young singer but I definitely knew it after sitting through 30+ renditions of it at a local music festival!