Unlike her judge last year, this year Emma's judge was tough. Emma said she didn't really smile or make small talk. I know these things based only on what Emma told me, not first hand because I'm not allowed in the room with her while she plays.
After Emma entered the performance room her piano teacher told me that the judge had been pretty "liberal with the A's". In Guild, an A=needs attention and a C=special commendation. There is no set number of marks a student can receive but somewhere around 10 total points would be typical for a student Emma's age. Last year she received 9 C's and 1A. Which is why when we received her report this morning and there were 9 A's my stomach lurched. I can't believe it but my immediate internal response was.... what was that judge listening to? I read through her remarks quickly and you know what? She couldn't have been more on target, every single item that she mentioned made sense. Emma agreed and suddenly my worried heart felt tremendous pride. I watched as Emma took constructive criticism with an amazing amount of grace. She smiled and laughed and talked about how to improve. What felt moments earlier like a terrible experience was in fact becoming a huge growth opportunity. It's only fair to tell you though, since Emma has allowed me to tell you how many A's were given that she also received 17 C's. That's right, 17. In a competition where 10 total marks would be acceptable. Not too shabby.
On our way to lunch I wanted to make sure Emma really was ok with everything so I brought up how I thought the judge might have been just a little hard on Emma. Her response in her kindest voice, " mom, don't you think you're being a little judgmental? I wasn't perfect and that's ok". That little response made every single moment spent memorizing and practicing worth it in spades. Thank you, tough judge!
A few months ago Emma's teacher told me it was time to move from our keyboard to a real piano. One of the items Emma was marked down on was pedal use.....I guess it really is time to start looking. Today's performance was at a piano dealership in Chesterfield so we looked around a little. I had a hard time keeping my jaw off of the floor. Craigslist?
Of course Lucy found one she was really happy with.