Back in harness for a week and driving hard towards exams in about three weeks ! We have a raft of candidates representing all grades from Grade 1 right through to the Intermediate Recital Certificate. I had a delayed start to the term due to another festival at Abingdon after Song School. Each pupil who came through the door last week was like a new pupil, so long has it been since the final lesson last term !
I love the fact that massive changes happen in young voices in the space of five or six weeks, and indeed young M, into whose lesson Gretel always makes a starring appearance, began her scales and I almost fell off the piano stool ! Her voice had suddenly developed such a huge and warm middle register, it was like listening to a mini Morag Miller, my mezzo with a voice the size of Bournemouth ! I couldn't believe it. I told her, in a very excited voice how her sound had changed and got so big, and she looked it me in a questioning way and simply said ' Is that a good thing?' ! Yes, I gasped, and the smile which crept across her face was a beam so shiny it was a joy to behold ! Who knows which hormones start doing a tango within a 12 year old body, which makes such a massive change in the sound they make ?
My youngsters doing Grade 1 in their debut exams are very well prepared. It makes such a huge difference to have parents who are supportive and disciplined, but not pushy within the music and how it should be performed. I have been largely very blessed with supportive parents since I came to live in paradise. Many years ago I had a nightmare parent who pushed so hard, and in such strange ways it came to the point where I felt I could no longer teach the child and we parted company. Pushing talented children too far too soon is almost invariably disasterous. Seeing early Grade 8's or hearing 12 year olds singing Puccini seems to become an end product in itself for a parent, with total disregard for the future of the child and their talent. This particular parent from Hades was doing the daughter no favours whatsoever, and things sadly will come home to roost, though it may take 20 years to play out.
Not the be all and end all...............
Thank you my present parents - your support is much appreciated !