Congratulations to Jessica for her exam results achieving Grade 3 in Singing and Grade 1 in Flute, both with distinctions!  Jessica’s mum writes about the challenges of learning a musical instrument in 2020:

Jessica has been learning the flute for just over a year, ever since she decided on a whim to pick up my old flute and try to get a sound out of it. I was so impressed with how quickly she managed to make a sound and learn the notes that I signed her up for lessons! She was already learning singing with Mrs O’Gorman so it wasn’t difficult to find an outstanding flute teacher!

Lockdown has been difficult for all music learners. All her singing and flute lessons were conducted over Skype, which is nothing like being in the room with your teacher but more like trying to play with cotton wool stuffed up your instrument and a veil in front of your face. Mrs O Gorman somehow worked out ways to convey her intense passion for music through the ether (despite frequent Wi-Fi glitches), while giving constant assurances to my very unsure-of-herself daughter and showing her how to perform musically, technically, and confidently. I think the Distinction in her Grade 3 singing has finally convinced her that she is in fact able to sing!

The performance exams that ABRSM have introduced sound like a slightly easier option (speaking as someone who always failed the oral) but they’re really not! They are performed remotely, from the comfort of your own front room, but that doesn’t reduce the nerves. So many marks ride on the overall performance, you have to learn an additional piece and the setting has to be just right. After several attempts to adjust the lighting and make sure that Jessica was positioned correctly to be fully visible, we had a run-through and playback, only to discover that the row of wine bottles behind her probably wasn’t the best thing to leave in the picture!

Jessica had started on her Grade 2 flute pieces before taking her Grade 1 and hopes to take that as soon as possible, although I’m not sure that my nerves can cope with another exam so soon!