Thursday, 11 April 2013


As you have seen, if you have been reading this blog, I had my grade 8 piano exam a couple of weeks ago. I honestly came out of it, not knowing how I had done. I'll tell you my whole piano playing story so if you can't be bothered to read it, skip to the end to find out how I did!

It was in the new year of 2012 when I decided that I wanted piano lessons to try and get to a higher grade than grade 2, which is what I had attained when I was around 11! Even though I was about 12 when I gave up having lessons, I still carried on and really enjoyed playing and composing (I have written the accompaniment and parts for a few choral pieces which you can see here). I had thought about having lessons again for a while before I mentioned it to Seth. He, being the ever-supportive husband, encouraged me to look into it. I was very lucky to be working at Goldsmiths, University of London which has an incredible music department and I started to have piano lessons with Coady Green, a phenomenal pianist who has performed globally. He is a fantastic teacher and just what I needed, I think. I didn't want a teacher who would tell me I had played something brilliantly if it was in fact, pretty rubbish but by the same token, I didn't want a teacher who was so harsh that he made me wonder why I was bothering. Coady was always really encouraging and helped me to develop hugely. I don't think I would have managed to do nearly so well if it wasn't for him.

Practising wasn't always easy. I was so used to having a piano to play when I lived at home, it was something that I just took foregranted. Laura and I would often take turns to play and Mum would sit there with her eyes closed, enjoying listening to us. The often repeated phrase in our home was, "oh, play that one again, you know I love that one!". Seth and I didn't have a piano, so I was practising on a keyboard for a long time. Well, for most of the time I was having lessons, I was practising on the keyboard. Although it was a pretty good one, it's just not the same as practising on a piano. For one thing, you can't really get a feel for the dynamics as there are none. Also, I was missing a couple of octaves, which meant that I didn't always have all of the notes that I needed to be able to practise properly. It was after I came home from a piano lesson crying because I thought that there was no way I could pass this exam that Seth suggested we start looking for secondhand pianos. I searched on ebay but was unsuccessful with every bid I made. At this point, we thought it might be an idea to actually measure the width of the corridor and stairway of our first floor flat. It turns out that there is no way that we would have managed to get a piano into our flat, so at that point, I was so glad I hadn't managed to get a piano! We did however, manage to get a yamaha clavinova secondhand. I love it, it's amazing! It made such a difference being able to practise on that.

Long story short (or shorter than it could have been, had I carried on. Be grateful, people!), I found out on 25th March that I had failed the exam. Just kidding. You probably knew that though because that was a pretty long build up just to tell you that I had failed, right? I passed! And I got a merit! 125 out of 150 marks! Even though I had made some mistakes in the exam, I still did enough to pass (plus I was praying pretty hard so I think that helped too!). I am so happy! It's not that I think I'm amazing or anything, but it just proved to me that if I work hard at something that I really want, then I can achieve it. And I really wanted this. Strangely, even more than I wanted to succeed and do well in my degree. I think it's because I felt so passionate about this, I love playing the piano so much and because of that, it makes the accomplishment that much sweeter.

And just because I like blog posts with pictures, here is one of me with my favourite pianist, Ludovico Einaudi, taken a few years ago at his concert in Cambridge.


  1. Brilliant blog. Brilliant daughter,. brilliant pianist .Brilliant achievement.xx

  2. thats exciting well done and is if you met Einaudi insanely jealous x