Effie’s Incredible Award

Dempsey, Columnist

Last spring when everyone was stuck at home, 4th grader Effie won an award after taking a long and difficult test known as the Royal Conservatory of Music Exam. She spent many months preparing for this exam. Mr. Donica, Effie’s piano teacher at St. Robert, said Effie had prepared for 3 months for this extensive test. 

Effie won the award after completing the Royal Conservatory of Music Exam, a very comprehensive assessment where Effie was tested while playing three pieces of music. She also had to sight read, play scales and chords, and listen to a piece of music then play back the melody. Effie spent three months preparing for the exam. The award was given to the contestant who scored highest on the exam in the state. Effie, in fourth grade at St. Robert, earned this high achievement. 

Effie started playing the piano at age seven and Mr. Donica has been her teacher for the past two years. She takes one lesson a week, but she practices at home every day. Effie likes to play fast songs, and she enjoys performing for her family. Effie spent 3 months preparing for this award, and everyone was proud of her once all her hard work and practice paid off.

Mr. Donica has been teaching piano for eleven years and currently gives lessons at Alverno College and The Milwaukee Conservatory of Music as well as St. Robert School. Mr. Donica’s passion for the piano started early in life. He enjoyed his lessons as a child, and he studied piano in college. Teaching piano lessons during the pandemic is different, but he still manages to work with students either virtually or in person with social distancing, masks, and hand sanitizer. Mr. Donica said it is more challenging to teach when he cannot get close enough to students to demonstrate, adjust hand position, or observe more carefully. Despite these challenges, his lessons have continued, and his students, like Effie, have found success.

This year many things have gone wrong and been stressful. Many events were cancelled and unable to be enjoyed, so some people started playing instruments. They, like Effie, found the joy in music. Music for some people has been something to take stress away and continue to have an activity. For someone who has been enjoying the gift of music for a long time, being able to continue playing music throughout this time allowed her to enjoy some of the year, and because she did, her hard work paid off and she won the Royal Conservatory of Music Exam. Way to go Effie!

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