Soar to Greater Heights, Just don’t Jump.
Every year around this time, students start receiving their ABRSM practical exam results. With the rise of social media, proud teachers and music schools will use the stellar results of their students as advertising tools to attract the next cohort of new students.
This is also the time where “kanchiong” parents and students will exhibit the trademark “kiasu” Singapore behaviour and start looking for piano teachers that can fast track their piano learning by jumping over a few grades.
I try to understand the logic for this mentality. Why? Why? Why? Why must parents and students go so fast? What is the hurry?
Over at ‘Kiasu Parents’, a popular internet forum rife with gossips and comparisons, mummies discuss how skipping grades to finish grade 8 in piano by primary 5 is the way to go. You safe time and money. Both very scarce commodities in the typical Singaporean Student’s life. (faintzzzzz…..slap forehead).
DSA is another reason. DSA stands for Direct School Admissions. Some piano students would like to use Music as a DSA subject to get ahead during their secondary school admissions.
By finishing grade 8 before PSLE, it frees up the student to move on to learn other things when they go to secondary school.
An experiment to show how over fertilizing a plant leads to death
I highly advocate all my students to take care of a pet or a plant, to see and experience what factors contribute to healthy pet/plant growth. Nutritious food, water, care and attention…..all help to contribute to excellence in healthy and happy pet / plant. As seen from my video above, an over enthusiastic fertilizing routine eventually kills the plant. Although, what seems to be promoting growth initially, ends up hurting the health and growth of the plant.
I have seen too many students passion and love for music killed by jumping over piano grades. There are gaps in the learning. With transfer students that have gone too fast, too soon, the damage is irreversable. The student may have finished grade 8, but when they want to take up diploma, or take the teaching exam, it is a long upward haul. And it is very difficult to clear a pass at the higher levels of diploma and above.
Slow and steady. This is the best approach to most areas in life. By going at a steady rate, you allow the child to grow and learn more repertoire. Technique also has the time to grow. With strength in fingers and dexterity, this makes it easy to learn almost any type of music that you wish to play. You have time in between playing exam pieces to learn pop songs, improvise, play lead sheets, explore duets etc.
Please slow down. As what my father used to say, “finish grade 8 so quickly, then what?” You may have obtained the grade 8 certificate, but it is as good as not having learnt to play anything.