I got sidetracked. I haven’t stopped playing (though my performance in the orchestra’s summer concert wasn’t my finest hour) but the summer’s events did shove the blog aside for a long time. But now that the customary surge of September enthusiasm has kicked in I’m back in the saddle. Years back, a new uniform and sharpened pencils brought with them the hope of homework completed and submitted on time, and of being a bit less bad at sport. The aspirations have changed but I haven’t lost that annual burst of energy and drive. And I do love a goal. So, at the grand old age of 34, I’m thinking of working towards my Grade 8 viola.
I have absolutely no idea how long this will take or how far off that level I am (I took my grade 7 a staggering 19 years ago). And I’ve been variously told that music exams are ‘for children’, ‘pointless unless you’re at school’ and ‘stressful’. It’s true that no future employer or institution that I apply to will give a monkeys what instrument I play. I may curse myself months hence when I’m sat in a dingy school hall sick with nerves and surrounded by jittery teenagers. But the prospect of playing alone in front of an examiner, and the potential shame of admitting to failing a music exam as an adult might be just what I need to ratchet things up a notch.
What I would love to know is, does anyone else do this? A quick google search turned up a few brief references to over-18s being able to enter themselves in these exams but otherwise nada. Have you taken a music exam as an adult? Or considered working towards one? If so, I’d love to hear from you.