Nowadays, accomplished professionals are increasingly looking for fulfilling hobbies. Sometimes they are driven by a desire to explore their new interests but often also to return to unfulfilled childhood desires.
At the First International Music School “Eva”, we have been paying great attention to our adult students since the very beginning. That’s how our Adult program came about.
Unlike children, whose inner motivation varies, adults are usually determined to dedicate themselves to playing. The reasons that encourage them to contact us are different – someone just wants to continue playing after a long break, and someone wants to complete their knowledge by taking an internationally recognized ABRSM exam. However, it is not uncommon for adult students to come without any prior knowledge.
Whatever the reason, our teachers are experienced in working with adults and all our experiences so far have been extremely beautiful and productive.
As a student of our Adult program, Marko Simić attends the First International Music School “Eva”. Marko finished the first eight grades in the Republic of South Africa according to the ABRSM method. In our country, he prepared and passed the ARSM performing diploma with the highest grade.
After this great success and while preparing for the next level – ABRSM Diploma – we asked Marko a few questions.
When did you start playing the piano and how did you decide to play that particular instrument?
I started to play at the age of eleven and it was because the look and the sound of the piano were very attractive to me. It also helped that my interest in classical music had appeared about a year or two prior.
You got your first education in the field of music in South Africa, how did you decide on the ABRSM British Royal Program?
ABRSM is internationally recognized and accepted for what it is so it was natural that it would enter my musical education. My then teacher had explained that it was a program of quality and excellence and that every earned diploma would not only be a step up in my studies but a path to further musical pursuits.
What do you remember as the most beautiful part of music education as a child and would you do something different (if you could turn back time)?
It was the joy of being around the piano and touching its keys and producing music and playing in concerts! I had a wonderful teacher with an interesting personality and that was one of the factors in keeping me motivated. The main thing I would do differently (if time could be turned) is to practice with more focus and attention to details.
After how many years of break did you return to playing the piano and why?
I never really stopped playing but the frequency of my contact with the piano was lessened by other responsibilities and chores life imposes on everyone. But between finishing Grade 8 and taking up serious studies in preparation for ARSM Diploma, roughly nineteen years had elapsed.
I wanted to make up for lost time and earn a higher diploma.
Of all the private music schools, you have chosen the First International Music School “Eva”. Why?
Aside from the ABRSM program which the school offers, when i have visited the “Eva Music” website I immediately felt the honest and down-to-earth feeling about it.
I met Ana and Vesna a few days after my initial e-mail, and immediately felt their pedagogic energy and left the interview with a big smile.
What are your further plans when it comes to playing the piano?
For now I plan to complete more of the advanced-level performance diplomas. That will be a lot of hard work and at least two or three more years of study.
What is your experience of performing at a talent show within the Belgrade Chopin Fest? You played in the big hall of the Faculty of Music in Belgrade. How did it feel?
On the whole the experience was exhilarating. To be in any way associated with the Chopin Festival was an honour and I am grateful to Ana and Vesna for deeming me good enough to participate.
I was excited and nervous chiefly because of the venue and the other participants who were in some ways ahead of me in experience. Once I entered the concert hall and approached the piano my heart rate was through the roof but after a few minutes of playing I was settled and enjoying it.
Chopin and Mozart are your favorite composers. Why?
Chopin’s music is very expressive and personal and, of course, extraordinarily beautiful. Not only is it a pleasure to listen to but it is very satisfying to play.
Mozart’s output as a composer was vast and contains writing for almost every instrument. When it comes to his piano works it is the unique character of the pieces as well as the economy of the writing which is awe-inspiring, considering he composed on a keyboard instrument of no more than five octaves.
Which pianists do you appreciate and why?
• Arthur Rubinstein – for his tone, rhythmic instincts, natural rubato and phrasing.
• Andras Schiff – a studious musician of great intelligence and insight into the works of the German masters of the classical period.
• Mitsuko Uchida – for her dedication to Mozart.
• Daniel Barenboim – for his dedication to Beethoven.
• Fazil Sai – for his interpretative intensity.
Would you engage in pedagogical waters? Do you have a pedagogical role model?
If time allows it might perhaps be something to look into a few years down the line. I think I would be a good teacher but I would need a lot more education myself before I would dare to offer advice to someone else.
While we are looking forward to Marko’s future successes, listen to his performance at the Belgrade Chopin Fest 2019.