The Blackheath Music Festival started this morning with seventeen lovely performances from fifteen girls and two boys. It took an hour for each to play one long or two short pieces, pose for photographs for eager parents, be judged, listen to feedback, pose for more photographs and receive medals and/or certificates. You might have guessed that even the long pieces were very short, and you would be absolutely correct. Katie played two pieces, "Haunted Castle" and "Down by the Lakeside". By the time she heard her name called, handed copies of the music to the adjudicator, walked to the centre of the room, introduced her pieces in a loud, clear voice, settled at the grand piano, played both pieces beautifully, received applause and bowed, thirty seconds had passed.

I exaggerate. Really, it was at least double that, but it seemed faster with all the adrenaline of a mom experiencing Piano Recital for the very first time. I will relive it over and over, which will crystalise every moment, every note. It was perfect. She was perfect. I know she's a beginner, so I don't want to overstate this. She wore the wrong shoes (grubby trainers), played "Haunted Castle" a with a bit less feeling than she does at home, and sat too far away from the piano. So, clearly there were areas for improvement. Considering all of this, I would say that Katie's performance was... perfect! She's a star!

There were three medals given out, and I agree that the top three were appropriately placed. Of course, if Katie had started playing at two, she'd be right up there, too. ;) In all honesty, I think Katie's performance was solid, but I can't get over everything else. She chose to do this without any parental prompting. She sat up there and performed in front of judges and an 100-strong audience. It could/should have been nervewracking, but she just went up there and had fun. I am so proud, I could burst.

The adjudicator was superb. He must be a speed-writer, because he had a full page of notes on every child. Considering the brevity of the pieces, I don't know how he managed. At the end, he called on each child and went over his notes. Starting with the positives, he then went on to highlight where they could improve. It was very constructive, and I think very respectful of the children. I think there is an increasing trend to tell children only the good news. I think this undervalues them. Giving constructive criticism shows real respect. I think Granny was as impressed as I. We can't wait for the next performance!