Cold Piano Fingers


Tomorrow, Charlotte has a piano exam. Of course, today she has a cold. It always seems to happen that way.

Winter is a terrible season for taking piano exams. Colds. Cold fingers. Cold mothers waiting outside the examination room in a cold wind.

Colds: We’ve been dosing Charlotte up with tea and medications, and making sure she gets plenty of rest.

Cold fingers: A hotwater bottle tucked into a coat will help.

Cold mothers: I shan’t be a cold mother this year. Charlotte’s piano teacher is taking her to the exam. All I have to do is pick her up after it’s all over.

“Shall we have lunch together after the exam?” I ask, and Charlotte says, “Yes, please!”

It’s always a lovely feeling when exams are over. Usually, we head to the shopping centre for a small celebration. I buy hot chocolate or coffee to turn cold into warm. We eat a sweet treat. Then I buy flowers and a box of chocolates for each examination girl: “You worked hard. You did your best. You should be proud of that.” It’s a tradition.

I’ve never taken a music exam. I can’t sing or play an instrument. And even if I did, I don’t think I’d like the idea of being examined. I wouldn’t choose to put myself in this position.

“You don’t have to do an exam,” I say to my girls.

“We want to,” they reply.

So every winter, they face the cold, colds, and cold fingers to be examined after a year of intense work.

Tomorrow, it’s Charlotte’s turn. In 24 hours’ time she’ll be in the examination room. Will she have warm piano fingers? Will they be dancing over the keys?

Do your children choose to take music exams?

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  1. Reply

    All the best Charlotte, I'm sure you will do very well!
    I remember how nerve racking ballet exams were, but also the elation of getting through it and doing well. My son actually wants to do piano exams but his piano teacher is not keen.

    1. Reply


      We'll be leaving for town in about half an hour to go to the exam. As I write this, Charlotte is playing a few scales and pieces just to warm up her fingers. Actually, it's not that cold outside. It's quite a nice day. Crisp but sunny and no wind.

      I guess that feeling of elation is what pushes people to go back and do yet another exam. It all seems worth it afterwards. It's never too late for exams. Ask Lucinda! Maybe your son will do a higher grade piano exam at a later date.

      Thank you for your best wishes for Charlotte!

  2. Reply

    Good luck Charlotte! I really feel for her having a cold. I do hope she feels better tomorrow. Cordie and I have been doing classical guitar exams alongside eachother for the last few years. I'm glad that she recently let me take my grade 6 exam before her. She has so many hobbies and interests, and the rest of her life to do exams! It was a good decision, as she's recently been enjoying teaching herself to play accoustically which she loves because her friends can listen and join in as she plays songs they all know. Jasper has recently started playing the piano. We're very blessed to have found a lovely teacher who understands Jasper very well. I can't imagine him choosing to do an exam soon, but one never knows!
    Sending lots of healing vibes Charlotte's way!

    1. Reply


      Charlotte seems okay today. Her final preparation wasn't ideal, but at least she is feeling well enough to tackle the exam.

      I love hearing about your musical achievements. Very inspiring! I'd like to read the John Holt book where he tells his story of learning an instrument as an adult. It's never too late!

      It seems to me that some people thrive on exams (even if they get nervous on the day) and some people just don't like the sound of them at all (me!) It's just as well we have a choice and can do what suits each of us.

      It sounds like your family enjoys music immensely. Isn't music a wonderful way of binding a family together?

      Thank you for your good luck message for Charlotte. She appreciates it. Almost time to leave for the exam. I'd better go!

  3. Reply

    Good luck to my namesake 🙂 One of my sons takes piano exams as well and his fingers are also always cold. But having a cold as well sounds not very nice. Enjoy hot tea and a cake after the exam.

    1. Reply


      Thank you for your good luck message. Charlotte thinks she did okay with the exam. And we did enjoy hot tea and cake afterwards! We always enjoy celebrating when the hard work is over!

      Talking of namesakes, as you know, I always use your blog name in blog comments but your real name on Facebook. Do you like to keep your real name private on your blog?

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