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Monday, December 1, 2008

Music: Yamaha JMC - FSS

My boys had been attending the Junior Music Course(JMC) at Yamaha Music School for the past 2 years. The course is coming to an end this year. This week, they will be having their first music examination. Its called the Fundamental Skills Survey(FSS).

This test, though not at all a recognized test, as compared to the ABRSM examination, turns out to be quite a challenge. It tests not just on the playing skill but encompasses a more holistic approach. Musicality, voice projection, coordination, improvisation, pitch recognition, knowledge of musical notation are some of the more unusual aspects tested.

In the test, the child has to play 3 solo pieces (one of which he has to "fill in" the bass notes himself), sing one of the songs learnt during the course (to be sung with action, dynamics and expression all of which will be assessed), sing one song in solphege (of about 16 memory songs), identify chords played and read or explain musical notations.

As such, we have pulled up our socks and attempted to have more intensive practices this past few weeks. Normally, each boy practices about 30 min a day. Now, we stepped that up to an hour at least. I had to play an active role here because I had to "test" them on their 16 memory songs, "test" them on their chord singing and recognition by hearing, and coach them on their singing item.

I found it necessary to practice with one boy at a time. So all in all, it is 2 hours a day just on music for me! Obviously, school time was reduced to accommodate this. We just had our "Year-End examination" anyway so that gives us a good excuse to cool off a bit. Even then, I am still exhausted!

It is heartwarming to see them improve through the practices. I just wish I had the energy (after 4 to 5 hours of school) to keep up with their music at this pace ALL THE TIME. But the truth is, I can't. I had prayed hard that Daddy will take over this aspect of our boys' education soon! This, he has graciously agreed. Hooray!!!

Piano lessons with Daddy will officially start January 2009!

Daddy has taught piano playing before so this is not new to him. I have discussed with him and of the two popular curriculum, Alfred and Bastian, he prefers Bastian. That will provide a basic framework to teach piano playing. We felt that more have to be done but haven't made any concrete plans so far. We would like to continue to train the boys in their hearing skills (which currently has lots of room for improvement). I will likely be borrowing the methods used in Yamaha.

I am expecting lots of trial and error in the months ahead...

1 comment:

  1. hi! how did you find me! glad to have your blog URL. will def check back constantly. i am again very impressed with all that you've done. i don't know how i can possibly exchange any parenting stuff with you! it's more like I learn from you!


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