The search for ballet pianist has begun again after our other regular pianist who has played for 2 years is going to study music in Melbourne in June.
As I finished playing for this year’s ballet exam (my 10th year playing for exams), my teacher once again encouraged me to play on, as she received compliments from this year’s examiner, Jan Mills from Australia, about my playing.
I am still wondering why it’s so difficult to find pianists. Is it because the standard is too high for the school that I am playing? They prefer pianists that can improvise free music on-the-fly as the teacher creates exercises for the students on the spot. Is it because the pay is too low? Certainly the teachers wouldn’t mind paying as much as I am getting if the pianists are as good as me. Is it because there is a lack of an interest in the area of music accompaniment? It’s such a worldwide phenomenon that the RAD actually revised their Pre/Primary syllabus to include instrumental accompaniment that is allowable for exams. In fact, the instrumental CD is better than the piano transcription because it is more musically adequate to bring out the dance movements. The RAD also created an alternate music syllabus taken from the classical music genre to go with the existing Grades 1-5 dance syllabus in hope that more pianists who are less skilled can master the music.
I remember starting playing for ballet classes in Dec 1993. I remember I had a bad first class. The teacher required me to play for 3 grades, but I only could manage 1 grade. So the teacher asked me to operate the cassette player. 2 months later, she recommended me to play for another ballet teacher. So I went on, playing for years. Then over time, I tried improvising for free work in 1996, the time when I started composing music. Again, I remembered I struggled very hard, as I listened attentively to the teacher going through the dance steps with the students. I had to think on my feet what music style should I use, what melody should I create, what chord progression should I attempt. As the months go by, it got better. After all, everything is about practice.
So when do you want to start?