I have a debate whether to write this post in Bahasa or English. The title seems telling you this one will be in Bahasa, while you’re currently reading an English post.
I can’t change the title because it’s a name of a place. And, I don’t intend to write any reviews here. You don’t do reviews to a place you called home.
It’s early morning and rainy outside. Last night was one of the sleepless nights I had because my mind was being occupied with something. Suddenly missing this place so much and couldn’t help thinking about this a whole night. Thinking how much I owe this place for so many things in my life.
I spent a continous 13 years in this place from 1990-2003. Attended every single grade, from the lowest to the very highest. Thirteen bloody years without a break. If you count right, it is almost similar time spent from kindergarten to the end of high school. Well, that was the case for me.
It has two branches now, Manggarai and Bintaro. Back then, it was only Manggarai. I went to Manggarai, for sure. It’s not a mere music school. It’s a real school which not only teaches music, but also educates you in every nice possible ways.
I once wrote about piano already. About what I had been going through there. This time, I want to give reasons why this one is worth the money spent for years.
Judging from its look, it might be just an ordinary building. I am talking about Manggarai branch here because this one is where I spent my time. The class was pretty small and only few of it have air-conditioner. The first eight years I learned there were spent in a non-air conditioner one. A standing fan was there for me.
This place is a real school where they have strict regulations about minimum age to enter, minimum points to pass, and an adequate manners for you to continue to the high level. They pushed the students to practice hard and much. They gave bulky of assignments, they gave enough pressure till we could say
the Darwinism was applied here. The one who said that only those who could adapt well, survived. Those who can’t, would be eliminated, or eliminated themselves.
Didn’t they care about losing student? Nope, they didn’t, don’t and never will do. They have an entrance test which is using for selecting students. Not only the students do the test, they give questions too for the parents. Back then, my mom even was directly interviewed. Now, they just give paper questions to the parents.
They consider how serious and how big the potential chance that the child will survive. That’s why they do interview to the parents also. The parents support play a big role for the survival chance.
I had been assigned to four different teachers during those 13 years. Four years with the first one, three years with the second, two years with the third, and another four with the last one. I was directly taught from the famous pianist Rudy Laban on my last four years in high level. May his soul is rest in peace.
To be honest, those thirteen years were not something that I could call enjoyable. As a little kid, my motivation to practice was as shallow as getting stickers on my notebook whenever I played well. More stickers, more better. In the other hand, I wasn’t a brilliant one also. Since the very beginning, piano was not something that I would claim as my best ability.
Then, so why does bother survive for 13 years?
I questioned myself and my mum too in the past. I cried asking my mum to allow me to quit. I couldn’t stand more of the teachers’ scolding in every lesson we had. I was afraid of performing in front of others. I was so weak in solfegio. Unlike school where I had always been in the top class, piano put me in the lower one. I hated being in some position where I had very least advantage. Invisible might be okay, but considered stupid, nah, that was another thing.
But, it wasn’t until few years after graduated, till I realized how those hard years toughen me. How those pressures made me stronger. How those high demand assignments showed me my true limit. Along with those pressures, they gave dedicated teachers beside you. Teachers who was always on time, well-dressed, patient, though they did enough scolding too, but, never, they gave up on their student.
This school has very strong culture. Maybe the strict rules classical music have surely give big influence. The ambience was pleasant, positive, and politeness was definitely everywhere. Once you were in the high level, with the smaller amounts of student, it gave stronger friendship. They compete soo smoothly. Really, I just realize this not long ago. Those who were the top students were sincerely friendly to each other. They were getting along comfortably while in the other hand, I knew for sure they practised so hard to beat each other.
What was more even incredible, those top students were not being proud at all until they were intimidating others. At least, for the lower rank like me, knowing I was just fairly good was enough pressure already. Feeling bullied or intentionally intimidated, never. What happen was, it gave me more courage to practise harder. Although I would never be as good as them, at least I wouldn’t embarrass myself in front of others.
What was even more pleasant, high level students tended to know each other despite what level they were in. Seniority wasn’t applicable there. Since it wasn’t a formal school, there were wide range of age differences among students in a level. For example, I was in my senior high when I was in high level, among my friends were junior high or even college students. We called each other by names.
I didn’t have lots of prizes there. Never been in any ranking concerts. I finished the highest grade at the same year I finished high school. When I finally made it, I told myself, so, this is it all? Thirteen years were finally having its end. No more pressures and sleepless nights of practising. I should be happy. But then, what had been those thirteen years actually doing to me other than giving me a piece of certificate stating I graduated the highest level with judisium B?
I found the answers right after I entered college. Those thirteen years started showing me its real impacts in the real life other than music. I saw how it made me slightly different above others. This was nothing about being proud. I signed a contract to be a teacher in one of the famous music school in the first years of college. I was 19.
Being unpopular students during my school years shocked me a bit when I suddenly became ‘quite popular’ during college. More pleasantly, I was known for my abilities first than the look,haha! I was known for one of those student who nailed the English proficiency test and scored enough to get a straight A without having to attend the class, and the one who played piano well enough to be a teacher in a music school, thus I was financially more independent than any others student.
I often felt didn’t believe myself for having so much advantages in my college years. All of those mostly thanks to the thirteen years I had been through in YPM. Hardwork, patience, persistence, the courage to strive the best and never give up no matter how low your position was, falling apart, dissapointments, and then stood up once again, I learned those all from there.
All the job interviews I had, I nailed it thanks to this place. Thirteen years doing music school was surely something for others. None of the interviews I had, left this music talking behind. It impressed those interviewers in whatever kind of job I applied. I even once being interviewed for almost two hours just because talking about the piano course. Even more, the first real talk with le husband also happened because of this.
I always have confidence in doing paper test. But, talking face to face was never be my favorite. Then I finally knew, those thirteen years happened for helping with this.
My dad had to spend some days waiting for me at the music school until midnight during my high level exam practise, or he sent me first at 7 pm then came back to fetch me at 12 am. Yes, 12 am. Either weekdays or weekend. My mum spent almost the whole through years sent me back and forth for my usual schedule.
Now, I spend my days taking care of my father for the past four years after my mum left. Thanks to this place, I am able to be present for my father in his old days, as well as my mother’s last days. The flexibility makes me able to do those things.
Amazing how it touched all things in my life, wasn’t it?
Phew, it’s quite a long story.
It is still raining outside and the traffic must be bad out there. Luckily, I am sitting comfortably at home with my baby. It is not because I have to. It’s more because I choose to. The thirteen years spent on that school allowed me to have the choice I choose right now.
Instead of working a whole day, a whole week in far away places from home, it gave me few hours working time, in some few days to my choices, in the nearest place one could afford. Like, five minutes walking from home, perhaps?
When people said I was so lucky, maybe I am. I was lucky enough to have all the support and chance to survive in that tough jungle.
If maybe there are some parents reading this, shall I suggest you to invest some money in this place when your child wants to learn music? It would be even better to support them all the way until they finish it. The road is surely rocky and bumpy, but the top view is worth all the pain. For a long time. Longer, better, and greater than you can imagine.
My mum once said :
” I am having hard times leaving you behind when we moved to another province outside Java while you were only a junior high school student. I often wondered whether it was worthy enough for a mere piano school. It turned out I did the right thing. It was one of my best decisions I made for you.”
I couldn’t agree more to everything she said. I owe this place for so many best things happened in my life.
I am beyond grateful for such great thirteen years journey and a chance to be once a part of its family.