Reflections on The Music Exam

Published: Wednesday, 02 April 2014 Written by Sarita Pollock RIP
In Remembrance of Past Student Sarita Pollock RIP

I sit there nervously shaking.  Beads of sweat cascaded down my forehead to my face.  My whole body seems to be in a frenzy.

 I envy the other students looking calm and briskly walking by.  My teacher’s words of encouragement echo through my ears but I pay no heed to them.  Today is Monday; the day of testing is here.  It is not the first time I have sat the music exam.  I love the clarinet and I play it well.   But these facts do not help my courage.  I reflect on my long days of practicing pieces and scales.  But I fear that my fingers may betray me now.  I rub them together to make them warm.  I then glance at my watch, it is 11:15 a.m.

 Then it happened, the ping of the bell.  My tutors hand waves in front of me.  This is my signal to enter.  She smiles and shakes her head as if to say, “good luck”.  I hold my clarinet towards me with an anchor of strength.  I whisper a silent prayer to myself.  I enter my doom. 

 I greet a dainty lady who is all smiles.  Her smiles give me fright.  The examiner nods to me that I may begin.  I feel that all is lost.  I begin to play.  I try not to hear myself play.  I play how I feel.  Out of curiosity I watch the examiner.  She writes quickly.  I begin to worry.  I continue to play test piece after test piece, scale after scale.  Some of my fingers have betrayed me by leading me to squeak here and there.  But to my surprise my examiner still smiles.  I breathe a sigh of relief.  I say good-bye to my examiner and leave doom.  I did not wait to speak with anyone.  I am glad because my nervousness has left me but the uncertainty settles.  Friday is a long wait, I say to myself I can wait, but I cannot.

 The days go wearily by.  I feel my heart quicken its pace as the day of knowing slowly arrives.  I feel peace in my sleeping.  Today is Thursday.   I wish I could fast forward the hands of time but I pause to think of what my results may be- victory or loss.  To make myself feel good, I reply victory, but the fear of a loss hits me hard.  It is like a light blinking on and off in my head.  It is now night.  I pray to God that everything will be all right.  Tomorrow, Friday…Friday…Friday.  That day has become an important day for me.  I go to sleep.

 I awake with utter despair.  Today is Friday.  Friday is finally here.  I thank God that it is Friday.  The day of my results is finally here. 

 I go to school but I am not focussed.  I cannot sit still. The tension mounts.  I can’t wait to go home.  The lunch bell marks the end of a long school day.  I rush home.  I have just placed my hands on the doorknob.  The phone rings I jump and I drop my books.  I ignore them.  I walk hurriedly to the phone but it seemed to take me forever to get to it.

 My hands are sweating.  This is it, the moment I have been waiting for- the ever so long Friday.  I answer with a feeble voice.  It is my tutor at the other end.  She softly says my name.  I answer yes.  She says, “Well done, you received a merit.”   Numbly, I thank her and place the receiver down.  I am ecstatic.  I leap for joy.  Relief washes over me.  I say to myself I did win the battle and I am proud. 

 The Friday that I thought could have been a black Friday was really a joyous one.   

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