“I feel like a soggy choco!” Asmi’s hand shook as she flipped her music book to one of her exam pieces ‘O Sole Mio’! There was an hour to go before the music exam and the fluttering in her stomach was intensifying.
“You should eat a banana before the recital, potassium settles it somewhat” Nevan shared the golden tip on handling stage fright given him by his instructor.
The two waited on the ground floor, their 2HB pencils out and scribbling over sample music sheets. Music flowed down the staircase from the class rooms above, sounds of tentative tuning interspersed with confident notes. The Trinity Board examiners were already ensconced in the Principal’s office. The rest of the examinees were trickling in, plucking and pulling awkwardly at their formal outfits.
A sizable number of the attendees were present under duress. The dress code, rigidity of form and insistence on silence grated on their free spirited youthfulness. They waited in their isolated bubbles of victimhood while their parents milled anxiously in the lawn outside.
“These children have damaged their ear drums with the high decibel music they seem to enjoy. I am sure they have no idea if Frank Sinatra is a classical artist” Asmi’s mother began disbelievingly on the state of the young today.
“And Trinity has a strange exam format; the students learn just three pieces!” Nevan’s Dad nodded his assent at the inadequacy of their musical education.
The two stood surveying the flock moseying in, “Most do not practice enough, they would rather go to rock concerts…..if they knew the value of things as much as they know the price of everything….” the parental bonding was broken rudely by Asmi stumbling out of the lobby door.
She beckoned for the mother’s ear, forcing her to lean over “Mum, there is a nine year old playing ‘O Sole Mio’ in the warm up room. She is brilliant and it is making me nervous. ” The mother gathered herself together to place an arm around Asmi and turned her towards the school gate for encouragement where Dubey Ji was waving the victory sign vigorously. Asmi smiled weakly, kicking herself mentally for not having practiced enough. “Dubey Ji, the school guard, has known Asmi since her first lesson here and he always looks out for her” the mother turned to Nevan’s father by way of explanation.
“Scales, sight reading, aural tests and the pieces, there is quite a bit” he commiserated. “Oh, she has a record of distinctions, she will be fine. I am not worried. In fact, I had her try out the exam piano last noon” Asmi’s Mum was cheerful.