It's funny how things can come along and suddenly throw you into a spin. It's happened this week with the realisation that we don't have very long left with my daughter's singing teacher. Her singing teacher is a wonderful woman and great teacher with tons of experience but not enough money behind her that the immigration department is at all interested in letting her stay.
Princess Sleepyhead is a talented singer. How talented? I don't know. I like music, but I can't sing for nuts. Well, I could try but people would throw them at me to make me shut up. I'm not exaggerating. But she sings opera as if it's the easiest thing. Mind you, she prefers pop, and sings along to her iPod. That does not sound so wonderful, and the Gadget Man and I scratch our heads and wonder if it's the same voice. I can't explain it.
She's also learning piano, but getting that coordination together has been and continues to be a much harder journey. This year she is sitting Grade 2 Leisure Exams through AMEB (Australian Music Examinations Board), having done Grade 1 Classical, Grade 1 Leisure, Prep Classical and Prep Leisure. There's half a grade difference (approx.) between Leisure (easier) and Classical. She's also doing her Grade 1 Theory Exam, and is struggling a bit with this. Her piano teacher believes in doing all the steps, and this approach gets her great results.
Her singing teacher started her at Grade 2 with the ABRSM (Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music), which she sat about a week ago. AMEB is Australian; ABRSM, English. AMEB is the standard in all the unis here, but ABRSM is recognised world wide. The singing teacher usually jumps students from Grade 2 to Grade 5 to Grade 8. Trouble is she's leaving later this year, and she says that PS is already singing at Grade 8 level, so she wants PS to go straight to Grade 8. Here's where we go into a spin: to sit an ABRSM Grade 8 exam, students must already have passed Grade 5 theory.
Last night PS had a piano lesson, and I asked the piano teacher her advice. She stood with her mouth open at the suggestion that PS could complete five grades of theory in a few months. PS struggles with the concepts, and hasn't really applied herself. Will she pull her finger out? Who knows. The singing teacher reckons she can get her to Grade 5 theory in a couple of months, by preparing a special book. (Both AMEB and ABRSM have books.) I guess I think the piano teacher's right. And if the singing teacher had another year, we wouldn't be having this conversation. I'm suggesting we do Grade 5 performance and leave it at that. Grade 8 would be wonderful -- and perhaps she can sing at this level, but I just can't see her getting past the theory hurdle. I suppose we've got a few weeks before we have to commit to the exam (don't know how long exactly). Maybe she can give it a go and see where she ends up.