Hazel, the Flautist, age 11

When Hazel was asked to play a few solo pieces at the concert in November, she was thrilled when her name was on the front cover of the bill as “Hazel, Flautist”.  Must say—I was just as pleased as she was.   It really was an indicator as to just how far along she has come in a few short years.  Her dedication and musicality are a joy to watch, and it is great to see her achievements acknowledged.

She was also asked to participate in an orchestra in town that was doing a Nativity Christmas mass on the 15th of December.  (We don’t have any photos as we thought taking photos during a mass might be deemed inappropriate.)  She played the second flute, but had not seen the music until the afternoon of the concert, testament to how well she can sight read music.  The orchestra and choir were amazing and the music was well received by the full to capacity church.

Today Hazel took her Flute grade 7 exam*, which always turns me into the mother fuming over the exam system—as I don’t actually see the need for it, though I do understand that the people here in the UK do.  I also get very annoyed by the lack of preparation for these exams Hazel receives from her tutor.  We all know she can pass the exams just by playing her pieces, but if you are going to take an exam I feel time should be dedicated to all aspects of it.  Her tutor only prepares her to play her pieces, he doesn’t do any prep or teaching for the aural part of the exam.  Last week when we realized how complicated these parts were for her, we scrambled to find her some extra tuition.  Luckily the man, Nic, who was going to be her accompanist for the exam was able to give her a few extra lessons.  ((Nic happens to be the man who conducts the orchestra and choir that she was asked to play for in the church, and his wife, Sarah, conducts the Cromwell Singers Choir which asked Hazel to play her solo pieces.))

Nic truly understood my frustrations and offered some useful suggestions for the next couple of years.  He and I also agreed that when we get back from the States Hazel will spend a year taking lessons with him and his wife to further develop her knowledge into the types of music there are and increasing her aural ability.  He also suggested she join one of their singing choirs when we get back to further enhance her skills.  Nic has been one of Hazel’s fans over the past few years and feels she is very talented, but agrees with us that we need to slow things down so she can expand her overall musical knowledge. 

*As I am writing this at a later date, I am pleased to say that we received Hazel’s exam grade on the 2oth of December, she passed Grade 7 Flute with a Merit, four days before her 12th birthday!  We are so proud of her!

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