Students successes on recent exams

February 18, 2021

Students of piano faculty Christian Bonvin and Matylda Rotkiewicz recently took ABRSM and MTAC Certificate of Merit Exams with wonderful results. 

Bonvin’s students Kelsey Wong (age 13) and Elaine Chen (age 14) took and passed the ABRSM exams. Kelsey Wong, who is a CMC Merit Scholar, passed the grade 4 level with merit. Elaine Chen, a freshman at SOTA, passed grade 8 with distinction. Grade 8 is the last grade before the professional degree. “I was happy to finally have finished by passing grade 8,” said Chen. “I had prepared for at least half a year. I started preparing last year, but due to COVID I couldn’t do the test. I’m excited about the next grade because the pieces are more interesting. It’s a challenge for me.” 

The students who took the MTAC Certificate of Merit exams were tested on February 15. Piano faculty Matylda Rotkiewicz created a Zoom study group for two of her students, Jason Mei (age 11) and Peilin Yu (age 12), to work on the theory portion of the level 3 exam. “It was so much fun teaching them, watching  them interact, and seeing them diving into music,” Rotkiewicz reported. “No matter how high the score will be I’m so proud of them, and I’m so thankful for the support of their parents. We went from not knowing what the  difference between major and  minor was to analyzing short excerpts of music, identifying chords, inversions, intervals, primary triads, key signatures, and even cadences…Even during the pandemic we can make things happen!”

About the study groups Jason Mei said, “ It was fun because sometimes I didn’t know the answers to the questions, but my study partner did. So, it was helpful to get another person’s perspective.”

Another of Rotkiewicz’s students, Zen Wold (age 12), also took the MTAC exam. He took the level 7 test and is also applying for the MTAC State Convention Recital, which is a very prestigious honor if he’s accepted. “This is my first time taking an exam like this,” commented Wold. “I’ve only played piano for a couple years. I thought the theory was very easy. It was fun to know the answers.” For the technique and performance portion of the exam, the exercises and pieces had to be played while being filmed. Zen said, “Recording the songs and technique exercises took me hours. The pieces were really hard. I played a level 9, 20th Century piece Hesitation Tango by Samuel Barber which was different for me, since I hadn’t played contemporary music before.” The results of the MTAC exams are given in early March. 

Have a story about a CMC student who has recently taken a music exam? Feel free to share the news with Anne.

Hear Zen Wold from his performance at Virtual Field Day 2020