Sunday, July 20, 2014

Genggam Bara Api

It has been too long.

Fourteen years in the making, to be precise. But at last, he made it.

He started learning the piano at the age of 6. A bit slow in the beginning, but he began showing his mettle and proficiency in the last 5 years. Beautiful rendition of many local and international songs have made him a favourite amongst many budding musicians with his own fanpage, legion of fans and a youtube channel.

In hindsight, may be it is not really necessary to go and complete Grade 8. He was doing fine as it is. He did not need more exam in my eyes; he needs more practices. That's all. And of course, he will need to expand and learn the finer things in music making not necessarily  found in the ABRSM or Trinity curricula.

But the final hurdle - academically - seem like a bridge too far.

Supposedly he completed hi grade 8 prior to taking  SPM three years ago, but SPM came and went. Then his matric year and nothing, and only in his first year at Monash, he managed to do it. Piano lessons and practice have to take a back seat over his academic pursuit. No choice I guess, In life, one needs to prioritize.

It is better late than never, obviously. Genggam bara api, biar sampai jadi arang.

That's the lesson I wish he had learned. Complete what you started; the destination is not that important. But the journey is. It is paramount.

I have listened to at least one Grade 8 pianist on FB. She completed it while she was in F5 - much earlier than Akmal. But her play and arrangements are nothing like Akmal's. I did not enjoy her playing at all. I thought that even though Akmal at that point was at Grade 6 (or was it 5?), Akmal is many years above in piano arrangement and performance.

Never mind that Akmal is my own flesh and blood. I know I am not biased ;) LOL

So those grades are only numbers, and at times they are meaningless.

It is what you had absorbed that is more important. The grades are only there so that you have targets to meet and that you can benchmark yourself in a more structured way.

Congrats Akmal for completing you Grade 8 piano.

Perfect score for the rendition of Blue Air (22 points out of 22). I love this song.
It has everything. Jazzy with a touch of mystery. In the end Akmal came short of scoring
a distinction. Three points short. Well, that's life too.


TO parents who are thinking or are sending their children to music or piano classes. Persevere. You and them. Yes, it takes a lot of effort both ways. Parents in having to drive their children to the class and most of the time, one had to wait for their class to finish. Children in having to practice, practice and practice.

But don't do it half way. View it as something one needs to complete, come what may. While I have said that it is the journey that is important, setting goals is critical so that we know where we are heading in this journey. Life is a marathon, not a 100-m dash. It does not matter who finished first.

Oh and how much money I had spent on him learning the piano? I am  not counting, to be honest and I did not keep the receipt. Probably started with a fee of RM100 a month in his early days, and his last months studying for Grade 8 cost me RM400 a month. If one were to take a median fee of RM300 a month over 14 years, plus minus break here and there (may be), it would have been a whopping RM50K!

It is a lot of money, and has it been worth it? Depending on your perspective too.

But too me, it is worth every single cent, and If I had to do it, I certainly would. Without hesitation.

If I did not spend it on him and his piano, I am sure I would have spent it on something else; something less tangible. Or perhaps something more tangible to my body and waist - like foods!

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