These few years I heard of many stories of children achieving grade 8, or even diploma, at a very young age, say 10 years old. While their achievements are definitely commendable, we should know that not everyone has to take their path in learning music.
Remember Beethoven who had a sad childhood due to his father who forced him to master the piano at the expense of his general education? While he turned out successful, this path is not what children have to take to be a successful musician.
If a child shows exceptional talent and interest in playing the piano, I believe most piano teachers would be more than excited to push this child to excel further. It could be the case for children who achieved grade 8 or diploma at a young age.
However, there are many other things to life, such as academics, exercising to remain healthy, building social relationships, financial literacy etc.. and the list goes on, that a child needs to develop to lead a healthy life. And furthermore parents have to make a decision on which enrichment area to develop: ballet, robotics, sports, music etc. We cannot be good in everything as they are all skills that require a lot of time to master.
As such, a child may not be able to invest the required amount of time each day to move on the grades quickly. And that is ok, as long as the practice time is enough for her to meet her own learning goals. It is not a competition to complete grade 8 in the shortest amount of time, or at the youngest age when compared to our peers. Pushing them too hard to excel may inadvertently result in their dislike for the piano.
Personally, I admit that I did not do one grade each year (that would take 9 years to reach grade 8 if we consider beginner as one year as well). I actually took a longer time. My piano teacher and parents were not too eager for me to achieve good grades or a fast track. What I felt from them was that they genuinely want me to like playing the piano.
Despite not getting merits and distinctions in most of my piano exams, my piano learning journey has allowed me to love playing the piano. My teenage years were turbulent, and the piano is a major support for me through this time. I have the space to explore music, and to just play around the piano keys to express myself.
At the same time, I had the time to take up more responsibilities in school, such as being the conductor for my CCA and a class monitress. I would not exchange anything for those experiences.
If I want to polish up my piano playing skills, I have so many more years in my life to do so. There is no need to rush through it.
And here I am today, as a piano teacher.
P.S. I just achieved my grade 8 music theory certificate at the age of 28.
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