Tuesday, September 4, 2012

247/366: grateful

I spent quarters of the morning hours, contemplating, lashing my frustration/thoughts to my parents... whether or not to participate in an upcoming piano competition.

Until I heard the sound of the postmen's motorcycle engine, my heart was confident that mail was for me: and indeed it was.

My piano exam' results. Here. Now. Then. Wow.

My fingers quickly yet gently tore the seal open, and as I took out a thin pile of papers, surely it was divine that the first thing I read, was my result score in an upside down mode. The folded score sheet is thinner than the usual paper, hence see-through.

My heart skipped.


........ Really, seriously, I got 112...?

For those who have no clue, for ABRSM piano practical exams: 100 is the passing mark. 120 marks merit, and 130 is the minimum for the ultimate beautiful distinction.

Months ago I set my goal to obtain distinction. Through this short period of 5 months from March to July (in fact just 4 + 1/2 months as I was abroad for 2 weeks, absent from piano practice).......... I was level headed in the beginning. Then I was distracted. This and that. After returning to Malaysia I began to run again. Time was running out. Big time.

Blood, technically. Sweat, literally. Tears, yeah.
Cash, out. Time, gone.

Having Asian parents, deep down I know that they are contented, but maybe not satisfied enough. I couldn't take it, but now I understood that hey, they probably know me better. And yeah they do.

Given less, or even zero procrastination, tiredness, and laziness; Given more time, discipline, and passion: I would have achieved my goal.

But during the crucial final week I realize I would gladly accept a pass. Truth be told, I wasn't good enough. Really, no joke.

The big "confirmation" came when I fumbled during the exam. During my first exam piece I had to restart as I failed to move on when my fingers stopped halfway through the first piece all a sudden. I blanked out. I couldn't continue. After the restart.... guess what? Same place. Same mistake. But I had to go on. I couldn't restart again. Too much to even ask the examiner.

Hence after skipping a few bars, I moved on. I won't go into detail regarding the other sections, but the main highlight was that after not sitting exams for close to 5 years (where before that I actually took exams consecutively for 6 years)......... the whole examination experience was so strange to me.
Cold fingers. Fast heartbeats. Over-caring of what the examiner is doing (major mistake).


I cried after the exam. Don't call me weak, it was just natural to.

But to wrap everything up right now, I'm so grateful. To God, for assuring me that I've passed since that moment itself. I actually dreamt of vaguely receiving my results (maybe failing), and when I actually heard more stories of my friends who failed their Grade 8's, I freaked.

Nothing matters now.
Not what I played, not the money spent, not the time invested, not the time wasted, not the worries....

But just a bucket of thankfulness to God, my wonderful supporting family, amazing supporting friends, and definitely not forgetting: my most current teacher (which I only started lessons with this March), who is also the best teacher I had so far.

It was a bitter sweet journey, I'll treasure it for the rest of my life.
Exams are so overrated especially in Asian countries, but maybe when we do it for the right reasons (a goal to achieve, a ground to stretch us, a platform to discover where we stand)........ then maybe, just maybe: Exams could be just a blessing to us.

Sorry for this immensely long, draggy post.
Hope it doesn't comes off as anything displeasing/negative.


(picture soon, heh)

1 comment:

  1. Awwh 112 is FINE!! A pass for Grade 8 is like "WHOA CRAP" already, so no worries alright!! *hugs* Nobody really cares what you get as long as you can say "I'm Grade 8" and stand back and watch their jaws drop in awe. ;)

    And considering you haven't taken an exam in 5 years, YOU DID GREAT! It was still a High Pass, rather than a minimal, just-over-the-line scratch.

    You're right - a piece of paper does not define how good you are at playing piano. Your passion and determination to make it this far DOES. And you can just continue improving. Hope you're happier & congratulations!! :)


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