A life in the day of………


Posted by upbeat | Posted in Music Exams | Posted on December 7, 2008

Tuesday 25th November

Exactly one month till Christmas Day. The lights ‘switch on’ took place on Sunday in Dumfries town centre  – this year, for a change, we gave it a miss. Things are as busy as ever but can’t complain.

Yesterday, Monday, got an ’emergency’ phone call from the RSAMD in Glasgow. ‘Did I know anyone at very late notice that could accompany (on piano) a Grade 1 pupil in Dumfries (tomorrow) Tuesday?’ Apparently the likely contenders for this honour were unavailable. Easier just to say I’ll do it, I thought. How wrong could I be?

Phoned the young lady’s mum. ‘I’ll see your daughter tomorrow at the morning interval in the school for a run through’, I said. Next day, at 11.00 am, I arrived for the rehearsal. ‘Hi, let’s try a run through of your pieces for the exam later today. Can you give me the piano part please?’ A misty glaze descended.  ‘The piano music  –  to accompany you, have you got it?’

No, it was at home. Have you got a key, is Mum in etc., all (predictably) drew a blank. Big sister (when finally located in gym class by helpful Depute) didn’t have a key either.

This was turning into an adventure. A challenge. A situation in which to remain calm, reassuring and cheerful in.  Depute got mum on mobile phone (number provided by big sister from gym). Mum was at the shops but she could come home and let us in to get the piano music. A breakthrough!

Took examinee home, mum not back so we went looking for her. Found mum, went to house, retrieved piano music, dropped mum back off at shops (early Christmas bargains I’m led to believe), back to school and a very quick rehearsal. ‘Well played, see you at the exam later’.

Back to work for a well-deserved rest, and then on to the exam later that afternoon. The 3 pieces requiring to be accompanied were not too hard, but the 3rd piece was fast, all in bass clef, and something I’d have preferred to had a little more time to look at. We’ll get through it okay I thought, busk a little, dodge some of the more obscure accidentals (sharps and flats) and Robert will most certainly be your Uncle.

In the examination centre ( a lovely lady’s house) I went in to be offered tea, a seat, a cosy fire and the company of another dozen or so children, dads and grannies in an old-style traditional back room, ideal for two. Very homely and pleasant. Fortunately no cat looking to be swung around.

Military precision however, was the order of the day, although the examiner was running a little late. Keen to pass the time before we went through for the exam I asked, ‘Who is the examiner?’

I knew him. Recently retired from Glasgow, I’d known him for years. The pressure was on. I’d better play really well. Exchanged pleasantries in the exam room, sat down at the piano and accompanied the young soloist. It went well, all things considered. Thanked by the examiner for my playing, I beat a hasty retreat out into the cold evening. 

It’s a great life!!

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