Elias began taking piano lessons about a month before he entered first grade. His interest in piano has waxed and waned throughout the year and half he’s been taking lessons. Some weeks it seems like I have to fight him for practice time. Other weeks he wants to play around and experiment with sounds and mini compositions, but doesn’t want to practice his lesson materials. Then there are some weeks when I have to force him to sit at the piano at all. I think that’s pretty normal.
The OMTA (Oregon Music Teachers Association) provides ten levels of syllabus for students who want an extra challenge. Elias’ teacher recommended he start at level 3 based on his skills, and he’s been working very hard for the past few months learning various music theory and two pieces to play.
Elias has never seemed nervous before the recital performances he’s done, and didn’t seem nervous about syllabus until about a week ago. This past week when a practice session didn’t go as well as it could have I’d see his iron will start to crack. I could tell the pressure may be getting to him for the first time. It was hard to watch, but I also think it’s good for him.
Today was the day for his syllabus demonstration! Elias began the day with a mild fever and actually took a nap in the middle of the afternoon. I was a bit nervous if we’d even be able to go, but after the nap he rallied and even jump roped outside in the sun for a bit before coming inside to change his clothes.
Elias demonstrated for an adjudicator his music theory skills in four keys (e and d minor, and F and G major), sight reading, rhythm reading, and played two pieces. The whole thing took about a half an hour. For me it was a completely different kind of nervousness than when I was completing syllabus myself as a child. I knew he could do it and had worked so hard, and I just wanted him to have a good experience and to have a chance to enjoy the fruits of his hard labor.
Everything went well for Elias, and he got a certificate saying he completed a successful demonstration for level 3! His teacher kept his certificate and the comments from the adjudicator so that they could go over them together at his next lesson. However, when he got home, I did snap a picture of him in front of the piano to mark the day.
And because I don’t remember any of the songs I played (with the exception of a few for levels 8, 9, and 10), I took some pictures of his music for his own records some day.
Elias really enjoyed the experience I think, and felt proud of himself. On the car ride home he said he was looking forward to some new songs! As a mom, I’m glad he had an experience where he struggled and worked hard. I’m proud of him too.