I have a copy of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools Grade Four piano exam pieces. These compositions are all familiar to me. I was not sure whether this book belonged to me, or my two daughters, or to my sister. I think that at some time or other we all attempted them, everyone with more success than I did. That’s because when I played Arne’s Jig in G, I was about 13 and not a happy 13 – no need to go into that here. I looked at the cover of this collection. It said it cost 5/-. That means five shillings, for those born after 1971, when, sadly, Britain went decimal. It is full of the pencil markings of the music teacher.But the teacher who taught me and my sister, marked the scores in a very similar hand to that of the teacher who taught my two daughters, a generation on. I can’t date the book that way.
Perhaps this little collection belonged to my sister. But by 1971 she was well on the way to Grade Eight and the Royal College of Music. I think it must have been used by one of my daughters and been second hand from their teacher, because the 5/- price was scored out and 30p substituted. My daughters too went on to Grade Eight.
Actually 30p, would have been equal to six shillings in 1971.
Arne’s tune remains. When I tried to play it I got stuck on the same section, the bit with all the Arpeggios.
And it brought back my childhood. And I thought that despite everything that has happened to me in more than 60 years since I first attempted it, something in me remains the same as I was then.