Friday, January 11, 2013

Taking a long break

It is 2013. My girl is 3+, turning 4 this year and is in N2 now. My boy is 1+, turning 2 this year, and will be promoted to toddler class soon.

This is the time of their life where they need more of their parents' time, to play and guide them. I think this is also the period where they build strong and lasting relationships with us, where they will stick to us and is dependent on us.

Also, when I flipped through the Primary 1 assessment books, frankly speaking, I am shocked at the questions. It seems like the P3/P4 syllabus when I was still in primary school. 

My friends around me are sending their children for enrichment classes like icanread, icreative, shichida, CMA for abacus, berries for chinese, yamaha music, kindergolf, swimming, ballet and so on. While I have not signed my girl up for any enrichment classes yet, and kept asking if these enrichment classes are really necessary, I don't deny the fact that I am just a normal typical singaporean who doesn't want my child to fall behind. My husband is against the idea of me sending my girl to enrichment class now, but I think it is time for me to spend more time with her to coach her academically.

Also, my workload is getting more demanding and heavier, with higher expectations to meet. I sometimes question why life is Singapore is so hectic and tiring.

Then I look at my piano learning. The time required to practice for the Grade 6 exams is not little. More scales and more challenging pieces. While I love learning piano, I cannot afford and could not find the time I need to practice to that perfection, to move up to the next level. Playing the piano is a skill which requires constant practice. And to play demanding pieces, more time is needed to practice. With so many things on my place. everything seems to be overflowing and I feel that I cannot cope. Or rather, unable to do each tasks to the level of perfection which I hoped for.

Hence, I decided it is time to postpone the learning of piano to make time for the others. This is so that I can feel less stress and have more time to do the rest to a better level of perfection. I will still play the piano at my pace, slower and by myself, as and when I find the time, to maintain the standard that I have came so far. 

The time which I want will come one day when (1) my children has grown up, and when they are less dependent on me, and when (2) I have reached my "Career End Point", such that I will be cruising comfortably at a certain level. Then I will resume my piano learning again. Hope I would be able to enjoy it then as much as now.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Working through a new book...

Currently, I am working through a new Book now: Masterwork Classics Level 7, Compiled & edited by Jane Magrath, together with Keys to Stylistic Mastery Book 3, which I barely touched it since it was bought coz I had been mostly playing the exam pieces only.

Today was the last lesson before Nancy goes for her delivery. So, I guess the next lesson would be some time in Oct or Nov, and then a break in Dec coz she will be going over to her mum's place in Malaysia and re-starting in Jan 13.

This means I have about 5 weeks to work on a few pieces before I see her again. Hope I can be discipline enough to practice the pieces!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Officially Grade 6 now...

I didn't do well for the practical exams coz I was very very nervous. My mind just went blank throughout the exams, though I still manage to play the pieces and scales, but I was unable to relax and play normally. I think this is due to the lack of performing experience. And this would mean that I need to find more opportunity to play and perform for others, so that I am used to it and not feel so excessively nervous.

Nevertheless, I have officially move into Grade 6 now and yes, Nancy will be getting new books for me. She showed me some of the books which she will be getting for me and they are mostly one book of certain pieces by a composer. And the scores look very scary. The focus will really be on learning the techniques and the style of the period and maybe the style of the composer as well?

In any case, I think I will also need to spend more time practising the piano as the pieces are more technically demanding. And I am also thinking whether I should go for the practical exams for Grade 6 or skip and take Grade 7 or Grade 8 directly, taking about 2 to 3 years to get there? Any advise?

The reason why I am not so keen taking exams because I don't really enjoy the process of preparing the 3 exam pieces just for the exams where I play the same piece over and over again. Was quite bored towards the end. I rather spend more time playing more repertoires and spend more time to improve the various aspects of my techniques.

Anyway, it is time to go off. My girl needs her nap and hugs now. Will write again next time.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Practical Exam on 1 Aug 2012!

Just received the confirmation of my Grade 5 piano exams from my teacher. It will be on 1 Aug 2012 morning at Parkway Centre. That is less than 4 weeks later. Oh gosh, I feel so unprepared and nervous! And it clashes with my month end closing! Oh dear!

But luckily, it is in the morning, so I can take the morning off for the exams, and when I go back office, it would definitely be a long day! But which also means that I need to take a few days off before that, so that I have more time to practice, while my kids are in the childcare! Yet coping with the tonnes of work in office!

Although I keep saying, I am happy enough to pass, but subconsciously, I still hope to do well. Aiya, it is me lah, the want-to-be-perfectionist kind of attitude, even when I have so many things on my plate. Maybe that is why, I am always so tired. Coz I am too greedy and I want everything!

Ok, I should get on to practice more vigorously now! Hope I can do well! Good Luck to myself =P.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Distinction for my Grade 5 Theory!

Yeah! I received my certificate from my teacher today and I got a distinction for my Grade 5 Theory. Happy! But not a full marks distinction, not like my Grade 2.

So I am focusing on my Grade 5 piano practical now, which will happen in Aug. The exact date of the exams is not confirmed. And I will be having weekly lessons now to better prepare for the exams and after which, I will take a break while Nancy goes on maternity leave. Or maybe I will start on my Grade 6 to 8 theory with Carol when Nancy is on maternity leave. Let's see how I cope first.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Postpone the theory learning

I haven't had the chance to go for my first music theory lesson as I had been really very busy with my work and family. Also, Carol had also been busy. 

Since I don't think I can make it in time for the theory paper in Oct plus the fact that I want to spend more time preparing for my practical exams which is coming in Aug, I decided to postpone the music theory for the time being.

I am really finding hard to find enough time to practice my piano nowadays, especially after I return back to work 3 months plus ago. 

My weekdays are also so packed with so much work and long hours to complete my work and head home to tackle the 2 kids, unpack their schoolbags, repack their bag for the next day, wash clothes, bathe them, feed them, put them to bed. And then is bedtime for me, I would be lucky if they can sleep through the night. And the day starts again. TIRED.

And weekends are packed with buying groceries, bringing the 2 kids out "gai gai", visit my mum, do housework. And because they are in childcare, they fall sick very often, so it means bringing them to see a doctor, waking up at night when they cry coz they feel uncomfortable, cannot go to childcare when they are having fever. SUPER TIRED.

Although my husband is very hands-on and he does a lot as well, I haven't been able to find enough time to play the piano.Maybe I am not ready to give up my sleep for the piano yet. And I am the kind who needs to sleep. Else, my brain will be very slow.

Hope I can pass with Merit this Aug. I don't think distinction is within reach with my current practice effort. =P

After the practical exam, I will re-assess to see when I want to start my theory lessons and whether I should continue to learn piano or wait.

Both my hubby and my workload has increased and will increase further. We also want to spend sufficient time with our children and I am not ready to give up my sleep nor my work, it seems I will have less and less "me time". Hope I can continue to maintain a balance.

Anyway, it is late now, I am tired. Goodnight. Hope they can sleep through the night. Sweet dreams.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

New Books for Music Theory

I have just started my Grade 6 Music Theory learning journey. My first lesson with Carol will on 2 May as she is tied up with her personal matters in April. I am currently going through the books and exercises which she recommended before my official first lesson. It is not her intention for me to start on my own first. I actually requested for it coz I just can’t wait to start. This is also so that I have more time to learn and enjoy the learning process while preparing for the Grade 8 Theory Paper this coming October.

The recommended books which I am currently working on are:-
1. Guidelines on Harmony for Grade 6 to 8 by Lee Fee Khoon (one book for all 3 grades)
2. Workbook on Harmony for Grade 6 to 8 by Lee Fee Khoon (one book for each grade)
3. In Preparation for the Theory Examination Grade 6 to 8 by Lee Ching Ching (purple book)

They are available from the Yamaha Bookstore at Plaza Sing, which is open after 12pm on weekdays and whole day on weekends.

So far, I enjoy reading the guidelines and working through the exercises. Some "me" time and a nice relaxation from my work and babies. =)