So, I decided very recently to start preparations to take the AMEB LMusA (licentiate diploma) exam* – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Licentiate_in_Music,_Australia . And when I say start preparations I mean pouring over the syllabus and checking out which pieces I’d like to start getting under the fingers, working on and working up. This is literally the start of a new journey and a new journey I’d like to share with you, dear reader.
Why the LMusA Diploma Exam? What’s my motivation?
We all have different motivations for wanting to take exams/ qualifications (or otherwise!). For me personally the motivation is twofold. Firstly I really enjoy the journey in preparing for something like this (a big event, a big concert, an exam). Secondly I do enjoy setting myself goals and timeframes – structure, if you will – in sharpening the mind and helping to push me onwards. And OK, I’ll admit there is a third motivation here – it is quite cool (I think) to get another qualification under my belt and another set of letters after my name.
It is mostly about the journey though, and how I learn and develop along the way – as a guitarist, musician and human being (I don’t mean to sound all “far out”, but you really do learn a lot about yourself on this kind of journey). And I think whenever you take an exam, or commit to something of a similar nature, the journey has to feature largely in your motivation or at least be significant for you in some way – think about how long an exam may be (anywhere between 20 minutes and an hour tops) and how long you’re preparing for it. You’ve got to make the most of that journey!
So, I’m in no hurry to take the examination (plus I’ve got to sit the theory component of it too before the practical, recital type exam). Realistically I’ll probably not look to take the exam earlier than the next 18-24 months. That sounds like a long time to some I’d probably guess, but I’m more than happy to allow myself the time to really get to know the pieces, technically and musically. To let the pieces take on a life of their own.
I’m more than happy to give myself time, once I’ve got to know a few pieces reasonably well, to pick out which are my favourite or have the greatest connection with, winnow out those which I’m less connected with. Then allow that final selection of pieces to seep into my very being so they’re indelibly etched into my musical memory, my aural memory, my visual memory, my kinesthetic memory, my finger and hand muscle memory. I’ll play them to various people, various audiences at various stages of development, so playing them for living, breathing, warm to the touch audiences is a standard occurrence.
The first piece I’ve selected to work on (and I officially started working on it on Sunday) is La Maja de Goya by Enrique Granados. An absolute favourite of mine and a classic piece in the classical guitar repertoire. If you’re not familiar with it head over to YouTube and check out Julian Bream playing it – it’s just beautiful!
Over the next few weeks and months, I’d love to share this journey with you – my ups, my downs, my thoughts, quandaries, decisions, concerts, approaches to learning, practice, how pieces are developing and so on. I may even share with you snippets (or more) of pieces as they develop. And hopefully it helps some of you, dear readers, which is always my key aim.
* Which reminds me, it’s high time I complete the series of posts I started late last year on preparing for an exam. Watch this space!