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“It was nice to win the cup, even if I did feel like a fraud” – Make another report!

January 17, 2011

Here’s an example report for the ‘Interview someone who has experienced winning’ task.

I spoke to Helen (not her real name). The events she refers to happened a long time ago, in about 1989.

What did you win?

When I was 8 years old I won my school music cup. Everyone in the school had to play one piece on any musical instrument – the piano, the recorder, the flute, the cello. And I played the piano. My piece was just a Grade 1 thing I was practicing at the time. It wasn’t very good and I wasn’t very good at the piano. It had two parts for both of your hands but it really wasn’t complicated. It was only about four lines long.

What was the competition set up?

It was infront of the whole school. We didn’t have a very big school so one-at-a-time you had to get up and play your little piece. It lasted all day. there were some really good children who practised really hard and were obviously quite talented musicians and for them music was quite a big deal.

What did it feel like?

I was quite nervous – but more embarrassed. I remember practicing lots and on the morning of the thing, but more because I was like ‘I really don’t want to stuff this up in front of everyone’. Not because I was like ‘I really want to win this’ because it just wasn’t really feasible.

So how did you win?

Well I think the woman who came in to judge it slightly took pity on me because she thought that I was quite kind-of, like sweet and naive and had obviously tried really hard practicing this one piece, even though I wasn’t that good.

Who was she?

I don’t know who she was. She was about fifty. Her hair was dyed orange.  I think she might have been a local musician or a music teacher from another school. She was probably like a friend of the music teacher or the headmistress.

What was the cup like?

I got a cup with my name engraved next to the previous winners which I kept for a whole year. It wasn’t very big – infact I think it was disappointingly small – your standard little base with a silver cup on top. I was hoping for something a bit more ‘trophyesque’.

How did people react when you won?

I think most of the school and my music teacher were quite bemused by it. They were a bit like ‘dunno why she’s done that’. I think the music teacher was a bit disappointed. And all these aspiring musicians were like ‘this doesn’t seem quite fair!’. So it was nice to win something a bit unexpected but it was also a bit odd. The whole thing was a bit unfortunate though because my parents were seeing this totally out of context and felt that I was some sort of ‘child musical genius’ and so insisted that for the next 10 years I played not only the piano, but the bassoon! I didn’t mind playing the piano, but I really hated playing the bassoon. So the whole music competition winning turned out to be a bit of a burden.

How long did you carry on for?

I think I had to carry on doing it till I was 15. I think I managed to get to Grade 2 on the piano. And I think I did Grade 2 on the bassoon, but that was after 10 years – that was the extent my ability. But I guess that’s the way of things if you’re not that interested but there’s an expectation that you do it.

When was the last time you played the piano?

I played the piano at Christmas actually. My step dad is a pianist. I tried to learn the piece he plays but then, I remembered, i’m er… not that very down with music!

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