RCM Violin Assessments

They scheduled the Royal Conservatory of Music violin assessments for May 31, 2018 and we traveled to Milligan College again for the day, just like last year. We had less butterflies because we already knew what to expect.

Violinist boy with pianist

Before the exam, he went through his music with a pianist.

Last year, the kids scored the highest scores on their level not only in the assessment center (Elizabethton, where Milligan College is) but also in the whole state of Tennessee. What a shock! A pleasant one, but a shock nonetheless.

These RCM diplomas are recognized all over the world and, as such, they are rather prestigious. For whatever reason, the level of participation has gone down, according to the organizers. They used to have three examinations a year in Elizabethton, but now they are down to one.

Girl violinist practices with pianist

Our daughter practices with the pianist before the exam.

We only have to travel for two hours to this closest RCM testing site. The campus is beautiful and their air conditioning works very well. A little too well. After being in that building for two hours, I could not feel my toes or fingers. My peripheral circulation does not work that great to begin with and, besides, I was wearing sandals and a summer dress with a short cardigan over it.

RCM Examination Center Entrance

Entering the Examination Center, they gave me these cheesy smiles.

Some of the staff were wearing jeans, boots, and sweaters and they still complained about the cold in the building. That put things into perspective for me. Despite the age of the buildings, their air ducts work perfectly.

We connected with the same pianist we worked with last year and they practiced for about 30 minutes each before being called to go in for their individual exams. We parents are not allowed into the assessment room but we can stay for practice, which happens in a smaller room nearby.


Different Reactions to the Same Experience

One of my children came out muttering, “Awful! Awful!” I asked what went wrong. This child explained. I worked with each thing that happened and reassured this child that no matter what happens, Number 1, we love them. Number 2, we are learning from every experience in life, good or bad.

Number 3, our past experience has shown us that we tend to be hard on ourselves. At the Science Olympiad, they thought they did poorly and ended up with the gold medal in one of the events.

Mad Dog's ice cream parlor

We went to get ice cream after the violin assessments.

Number 4, RCM assessments are a preparation for life, not just violin. There will be lots and lots of stress on the job in the future. Will they collapse under pressure? This is the time to learn how to handle our emotions and different stress levels.

The other child was just fine. It never ceases to amaze me how siblings handle the same experience in different ways. Now we await the results, but not with bated breath. It’s more about participation and learning how to handle stress than about accolades.

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