Saturday, February 6, 2010

My First Week At VCASS!

Man, this week has been one crazy week! The summer holidays now seem so far away although it only ended 6 days ago. This week passed really fast. I enjoyed it, and yet there were some days when I didn’t exactly have the best time!

I was so tired for the first few days trying to get used to sleeping and rising early. I never got enough rest only until Friday. It didn’t help that VCASS had scheduled me to perform in the Senior Performance Seminar on Wednesday! I was prepared, but not exactly so. Physically, I was exhausted, and my mind was not entirely focused. Everything was just thrown at me this week.

One most unpleasant thing that happened occurred during the Performance Seminar. I was one of two newbies who were scheduled to perform in the first week of school. Even some of the students were surprised that we had to perform on our very first week. So as I said, I was physically, mentally and emotionally unprepared to perform. Playing halfway, I kinda’ lost my flow and had a memory lapse! Yup, it sure wasn’t the best way to start the year at VCASS!

I was disappointed with myself for my memory lapse, and lack of mental preparation. Although I was upset, I thank God for helping me to recover from it. I was surprised with myself for moving on from the failed performance so quickly. With God’s help, I realized that it probably was a good thing (in perspective) that it happened. I learned an important lesson there. It is only through mistakes and bad experiences that I learn and do not take anything for granted the next time.

At least I can look back and say I’ve been in that kind of a situation before. When I got the feedback from the Head of Music, Michael Sargaent, he gave me credit for not panicking even though I lost the flow. I learned that I need to really prepare myself physically, mentally and emotionally before any performance. Not just 1 day before, but even weeks before it. I really cannot take any of this lightly this year.

One of the things I’m most happy about is my timetable. Everyday I have two music subjects, plus practices in between whenever I have free periods, and I only do 2 other normal subjects like biology and psychology/maths and English. It’s so cool to be able to learn music EVERYDAY!!! Can you imagine that?! Haha, it’s awesome!

I’m really delighted that I have time to practice in school everyday. We have over 20 practice rooms that we can just walk into anytime to practice. And there are the grand pianos! It’s great to walk along the corridors are hear music, even though it’s like after school hours. And I’ve been meeting some really nice people at VCASS. Even the principal and some of the staff come around every now and then to chat with the students during breaks and lunches. It’s cool. Students and teachers respect each other and can converse easily.

For the past 5 days, although I come back really tired, I look back on the day and don’t feel like I’ve actually been to school. Attending classes are thoroughly enjoyable because everyone is so focused that they can really contribute to the class and the discussions. Most of the students are “thinking” and they say things that actually make sense. We can have intelligent discussions and productive class time. Unlike in normal schools, where nobody is paying attention, and in discussions, people are simply firing away like “headless chickens”.

It is pretty interesting to study at VCASS cause’ there are the VCASS musicians and dancers, ballet students from the Australian Ballet School and NICA students (they do circus studies!). They attend VCASS only for academic classes. But musicians are in the minority compared to dance students. So it is quite a different schooling experience.

Yesterday I had my first piano lesson with Len Vorster, a lecturer at the Victorian College of the Arts (the university). Finally, after two months without a teacher, now I kind of have a direction and something I can work towards. I have so much to work on! I need to really get used to performing solo and making full use of the performance opportunities in concerts and the Performance Seminars. I also need to broaden my repertoire.

It’s overwhelming and daunting, yet at the same time I am enjoying school like I’ve never been before. I enjoy the company of people who are like-minded, who are focused on pursuing the same thing, who are passionate about what they do and who also spend countless hours making music.

I thank God so much for giving me such an opportunity. For me, it's still hard to believe I was accepted.
Compared to many of the students at VCASS, I am much less experienced and at a lower level! But I know that it is not a bad thing because it reminds me all the more to lean on God and look to Him in all things to face every challenge ahead of me.

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