I am too sleepy to write at this hour but when le husband hasn’t come yet, I can’t sleep. So, I will just write another story for Langit Senja.
Started learning classical piano at 5. Why? Because I had to repeat another year in kindergarten since I was only 6,5 months. It wasn’t enough to enroll elementary. Mum was afraid that I would be bored of schooling, so she enrolled me to a music school.
This music school is famous for its classical learning. It is truly a school not just a course. It has an academic year with certain timetable of report and exam month. Not only doing the practice, it also teaches the theory, history, psychology, and paedagogy.
If one goes through all level from the beginning, it will take 12 years to complete all level, if you don’t delay any subjects. Me? I was doing it for 13 years. 13 bloody-years.
If people heard I was doing it for such a long time, they thought I was really talented. In fact, I wasn’t and am not. I just worked very hard and luckily, the results were enough just to let me pass to the next level.
One must think that learning music is and should be fun. As long as I remembered, fun was not a right word to describe the time I had there.
We,the students had a practice session with the teacher twice a week for lower level and once a week for higher level (each session is 20min for lower level and one.hour for higher level). Beside practice lesson, we also had a theory class together in one big room with other teacher once a week. Higher level students had paedagogy, psychology and history of music other than theory, all once a week.
The levels consist of Pre Elementary, Elementary (maybe like kindergarten level in school), grade 1-6 (primary in school), Pre Conservatorioum Preparation (Pra PK), Conservatorioum Preparation 1-3 (PK 1-3). If you are good enough, in every subject plus attitude, you will be offered a place for become a teacher there. Then, you will continue to PKg 4. It is very selective offer. In one year maybe only 1-4 students being offered. Even once, there were none in one year.
I made it until the very end (PK 3) with hard fight. I wasn’t a bright one at all. I didn’t know why all the lesson seemed so hard for me. No matter how much I practiced, it.was never good enough to deserve 80 in my exam and let alone got any prize. Yes, they were so stingy with score. During those 13 years, I only got 80 on PK 2 level. 80,05 precisely. Fiuh.
This school has a policy that stated students who fail in grade 6, can not continue to the higher level and must quit. They can re-enter by doing the entrance test for the next academic year.
Grade 6 became very important for those who really wanted to continue there. My grade 6 years had been so hard and painful. I got a.new teacher, very strict, very stern, and I couldn’t help being so afraid everytime I had my lesson. I really had my lesson under pressure, each week. Since I was the last student of that day, the lesson that supposed to be finished in an hour extended until three hours!
Was that all? No. This teacher, other than being strict and stern, she was also having a sharp tongue. She predicted by saying among three grade 6 students she had, one would go directly to PK 1, one would go to Pra PK, and one would fail? Who would fail? It was me absolutely.
To be honest, I was half happy and sad if I really failed. Happy because it had been so hard that I really wanted to quit for so many times. But then, I let my teacher to be right that I didn’t deserve to be a higher level student. My mum had been encouraging me a lot that I would endure it at least until the exam. She said, whether I failed or passed, it was not up to me. My job was only doing my best. Nothing about pass or fail, but not to embarrass my self in front of the examiners. That was all. That thought calmed me. Surely, I too didn’t like the idea of me embarassing my self in front of other people.
So, I practiced more and more. I woke up at 3 am every morning so I could practice better. As the exam was closer, I practiced even.longer. Thought this might be my last exam here, so better to leave with my best effort.
I tend to remember clearly with every small details about some special days in my life. This one is one of them. The day when the result came out, it was saturday afternoon, I was waiting anxiously at home. I didn’t go to my music school since I had school in the afternoon. Whem my mum arrived, I asked her when she was still sitting in the car outside the gate.
“How was it?”
She replied quietly with a soft gaze,
” You made it. Passed.”
It was one of her look that I remembered knowing that she was proud of me.
It felt like my heart exploded with lots of happy feeling. I really made it! It was even happier when I knew that among those three, it was only me and another one that was predicted to PK 1 directly passed. So, the teacher’s prediction, I answered it well.
You know, to pass the exam you had to score average minimum 70, from 12 examiners. Me? My score was 70,93. The other who didn’t pass got 69,97. 0,01 made all the difference. Could you imagine how strict they were? It was just another 0,03 to let one passed, but they didn’t do that. Amongst 100 students in my batch, only 40 made it to the higher level.
The happy days lasted for days and soon be replaced by anxiety. The consequences of passing means I would go back to those hard days. It would even harder.I passed to Pra PK level. It was just like another grade 6 because when you failed here, you had to quit too. Not (too) happy.
Another problem arose when the result came, another news also came that my father was transferred to another province which made all of us had to join him later after school year ended.
I remembered how my mother had been struggling with this. She surely didn’t want all those efforts done to pass to the higher level be wasted like that. It was also a chance that would not come twice in the future. She was very sure once I quit, I would never be able to come back. Not only about ability, but more of my willingness.
She came to my teacher telling the problem and the teacher’s reaction even louder. She strongly opposed the idea of me going there. She even said, she would accompany my mum to meet with the director and asked to postpone my entrance for a year and came back later without doing a test.
It turned out my problem became bigger than it was expected. My mum happened to trap in the directors meeting just to discuss my case. Other director agrees to postpone a year and come back without a test, while another one didn’t. It was pretty tense to finally made a decision. Then, my mum exited the confrence room with a letter signed by the director I was allowed to come back a year later without a test.
So, did I go then? I didn’t. My teacher proposed an idea to my mum that told me to stay and had a private lesson with her for a year to strengthen my skills to be better at the higher level. She said it would be very tough and I was not good enough for it. I might fail again in Pra PK. Better not go and had another year with her. My mum agreed.
Surprisingly, I enjoyed my higher level time much more than previous ones. It was more interesting and maybe it was a proud being in a higher level since not everyone could be there.
In that higher level, the hardest thing was the months before exam. We were pushed to practice like it was the only important thing in the world. Students who were under one teacher will gather twice a week performing in front of each other. The session started at 7 pm and ended around 11 pm or even 12 am. My dear father had to wait for 5 hours sleepyly.
I passed every exam I did quite well. As I said before, I was not a bright student at all. To be more.honest, amongst 40 people there, my best achievement was only being in the 27th place. I graduated there obtained Judisium B. It was more than enough for me.
When I was having hard times there, I promised my self that I would never to do such thing to my children later. I would not push them to do something they don’t like and not good at too.
After graduated in 2003, a year later I started teaching at another music school. Then, my mind started changing. I didn’t know before that teaching could be so pleasant. I really loved it. I might be not a good performer, but I dared say my teaching is very far from bad. To add some more, it was so cool having a job you like to do when you were just a first year college student. To have your own money while others still relied on the parents support. Oh, I did too. My parents still paid for my tuition fee. Other than that, I paid with the money I earned.
Slowly one by one, those 13 years of learning started showing its investment return. Not only in term of teaching, but almost in many things I did. Believe it or not, during job interviews I had been through, this piano lesson became a very important thing that got me accepted. Almost every interview asked me about that. Until the very recent interview I had, the 13 years of learning still helped me to nail it.
On a bigger scope, the charm also touches others’ life other than myself. Right after the wedding, le husband entered the first semester of residency, and I just graduated from my master degree and just returned from Hajj. Both of us were jobless. The only thing left was my piano teaching. I was still in the process in few schools at that moment. So, we survived the first sixth months of our marriage solely from my piano teaching salary, which was not much but Alhamdulillah, it was sufficient. Oh! Another thing, it was also this piano that made us closer for the first time. When I think about it, le husband had so many advantages from this thing:))
When Langit came, this piano thing spread its charm even wider. I had to resign from the school, again, the only thing left was piano teaching. I helped my husband, my child, it is the biggest advantage that I feel so grateful.
I am glad that I and everyone made me stayed that time. I am glad I chose to endure more years so I could make it to the highest level and graduated.
If one day Langit read this, I’d like her to know, enrolled, encouraged, supported her mother all the way to do and survive this piano lesson is the greatest gift that her grand-mother gave to her.
Again, I remind you dear, hard work and patience will never betray. The result goes with you for such a long time.