Piano exams

Sunday, January 23, 2011

My youngest daughter took her Grade 6 piano exam on Friday.   And it took me back to my own piano lessons when I was a kid.  Now if this was Andrew’s blog, he’d write about taking lessons from a nun, who made liberal use of ruler to back of hands when necessary.  But I had two kindly teachers, neither of whom believed corporal punishment had any place in piano lessons.

I took lessons for years, eventually getting my grade nine piano, and I have mostly good memories of my exams.  When I took my first one at the age of eight, my mother tells I came skipping out of the room with a grin, saying, “That was fun!  Can I do it again?”

The best part was always the treat afterward.  We lived on a farm in a very small town, and taking an exam meant a half-hour drive to the nearest city.  Not only would I miss a day of school, my mom always gave me a treat afterward – my choice between a new book of popular music or an ice cream sundae.  As I got older, I went for the music book.  (Barry Manilow Live, anyone?)  But the first few exams were always celebrated with a banana split, while I told my mom about every minute of the exam.

My tastes have changed a little.  I’ve never lost my sweet tooth, but an ice cream sundae is a bit too rich for me.  Now I’d go for vanilla frozen yogurt with either chocolate or butterscotch sauce.  And since this is the weekend after her exam, I gave my daughter the choice.  She chose chocolate.  This makes a small batch, so feel free to double the recipe – if you can withstand the temptation!

Hot Fudge Sauce
(adapted from my mother's recipe box)

3 1/2 Tbsp cocoa
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

Melt cocoa and butter over low heat.  Add half and half, sugar and vanilla.  Increase heat to medium and stir until thick and smooth.

45 comments:

Jess said...

Yummy, yummy! My parents came for a visit a couple of weeks ago and brought a bunch of old tapes for me to sift through (my car still has a tape player). Two of them were recordings of me playing through Suzuki method piano workbooks at age seven or so(I had to record myself and submit it to my teacher before recitals). What a blast from the past. I'm so glad your daughter is learning too...one of things on my dream list is to buy a piano for our home so my littlest kiddo can learn one day. Thanks for the fudge recipe!

Belinda said...

Never learned an instrument...but I think if I knew there was hot fudge at the end of it all, I would have begged!

Faith said...

I used to play trumpet in high school and it was so much fun. The fudge needs no one to vouch for it, it really really looks delicious and I just had lunch.

Have a great week ahead.

Valerie said...

What is it about those nuns and their rulers? My mom has a few stories of her own. :-D

I've never made hot fudge using cocoa powder! It sounds delicious.

katerina said...

This fudge looks absolutely mouthwatering! I hope your daughter will pass the exam.

Sue said...

Kudos to your daughter(and you)! I took piano up until my first recital, but chickened out,and dropped out. BIG mistake! Your fudge sauce sounds wonderful! I sure enjoy reading your posts, Beth:)

Chow and Chatter said...

i think you should give us all a clip of your piano playing! love this post

Joanne said...

I had two wonderful music teachers, neither of whom used corporal punishment ever! I wish I had the time now to play because I adore it so. That hot fudge sauce sounds like the perfect way to celebrate any achievement, even if it's just getting through a long day at work or school.

Brownieville Girl said...

I remember the evil Mrs Rice using the side of her ruler on my knuckles during lessons - no wonder I didn't make it very high up the grades.

Ice-cream with this sauce would have dried my tears fairly quickly!!

Victoria said...

Awww, what a fun treat! I took piano lessons too, but quit 4 times (that may be a record) because I never really wanted to practice, haha. That's wonderful that your daughter is following in your footsteps and enjoying classical music. Maybe if I had hot fudge sundaes I would have stuck with the piano much longer!

lapetitepancake said...

I've never had homemade chocolate sauce before...I bet it's outstanding!
Congrats to your daughter on her piano. I hated practicing when I was little, but I loved performing for an audience. Treats afterward help a lot!

Lydia K said...

Congrats to your daughter! I can tell you're very proud.
:)
And thanks for the recipe. It looks too good!

tenaciouslyyours.com said...

What a wonderful milestone for your daughter in her piano studies!

Homemade chocolate and caramel sauces are basically a sacred experience in my book - what a lovely treat to share with all of us :)

Reeni said...

I was a flute player! I was never rewarded as deliciously as this. It's 0 degrees here but that doesn't stop me from wanting ice cream with your homemade hot fudge sauce!

Carol said...

Congrats to your daughter! What a nice treat, and that you kept the tradition going :) Do you still like Barry Manilow?

julie said...

Gosh, I remember piano lessons and tests growing up too. I wish my mom had taken me out for ice cream after! Congrats to your daughter!

comfortablydomestic.com said...

Hot fudge at the end of anything makes it all worthwhile. Congrats to your daughter! I wish that I stayed with an instrument. I played the clarinet for one year, then switched over to choir. I LOVED Barry Manilow!

Claudia said...

This is one delicious, sweet memory and fun to keep it going. Kudos to your pinao teachers for not being interested in the ruler. Bet you learned more. Level 9 - I wish! Banana split? Sundaes? Absolutely.

Raina said...

Homemade chocolate sauce sounds wonderful. My kids will be thrilled. I never thought to make it myself.

I always wished I learned to play the piano. My son took lessons when he was younger but to my disappointment lost interest. Now I have a big piano in my living room that we got free from someone who was moving that no one can play. I still say someday I will learn:)

Angie's Recipes said...

I have never made any fudge sauce...this recipe seems easy to prepare and the sauce looks so good all over the ice.
And I am with Rebecca, would love to watch a video of you playing piano.
Angie

Angie's Recipes said...

I have never made fudge sauce..and this recipe seems easy to prepare and the sauce looks great on the ice.

Marly said...

I took piano lessons for years too and always enjoyed the exams. My mom forgot the treat part afterwards. I'm gonna have to have a talk with her about that! Well, she's made it up to me over the years. This chocolate sauce looks so good!

Rita said...

This is too funny! I was looking for an easy hot fudge sauce to add to my dessert and here you are; thank you Bess!

Mary said...

What a wonderful way to celebrate the exam! I'm sure your daughter will have fond memories of her own, and probably do the same for her children. It's a bit chilly here today for ice cream, but I wouldn't turn down a pitcher of this and a spoon!
:)

Ruth said...

I love the bowl in this photo! And really? Yogurt over ice cream... oh Beth...

Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) said...

What a great reward after the exam. It looks yummy and is perfect weather today for icecream!

haze said...

Well, I used to dream about playing the piano someday but I guess it's not for me. I play the guitar, though.

That choco fudge sundae looks YUMMY!!! ♥

Domestic Goddess Wannabe said...

What accomplished pianists! A well-deserved treat for both of you.

Joanne said...

What wonderful memories you have, both of time with your mother and of the music in your life. I think I'll have a hot fudge sundae in your daughter's honor, congrats to her :)

Kerry said...

Great post and congratulation to the fudge sundae (and Grade 6 piano) recipient! So wonderful to see you, Andrew and the girls on the weekend! xoxo Kerry

Heavenly Housewife said...

Oh how yummy, and what a great memory attached to it :), that makes it even more delicious :)
*kisses* HH

Barbara said...

I loved piano lessons. Took them through high school. I never got a reward like this sundae though. :) We always ate Sander's bittersweet hot fudge. The closest I've ever come to it is out of Joy Of Cooking.
I'll compare this great looking sauce...so dark and smooth.

Kimberly said...

What a great story and a nice tradition. The hot fudge sauce sounds delicious, I never would have thought to make my own but I'm writing this down so I can try it!

Angela Felsted said...

Oh, my goodness! That hot fudge sauce looks as if it's to die for.

Kelly said...

How wonderful that you are creating similar traditions with your daughter.
And YUM!

LDH said...

Hot Fudge is my husbands favorite ice cream topping. His birthday is Monday. He would be happy if I made this for him :)

sweetpeaskitchen.com said...

What a yummy memory! This hot fudge sauce looks delicious! :)

Jacque said...

Congratulations to your daughter. It sounds like you are giving her a future memory, just like you have.

The hot fudge sauce looks fantastic!

5 Star Foodie said...

Such a yummy sweet treat, a great reward for those piano exams for sure!

Julie Musil said...

Your daughter is a smart girl. Who can resist chocolate? And that dish of ice cream looks divine. And hey, it's nice to see another Barry fan. My husband insists I'm the only one!

Amie Kaufman said...

I've been had, this stuff was never on offer when I did my exams! This looks delicious--I never knew it was so easy to make fudge sauce! I'm going to give it a try, I've got this bookmarked!

theUngourmet said...

Maybe I would have stuck with my lessons a bit longer if I had been promised a sundae with this fudge sauce afterward. ;)

Table Talk said...

The piano exams are something to celebrate, and the hot fudge sauce is he best way to do it!

Jeanne said...

This takes me back to my piano lesson days. What a perfect treat for such a celebration! Chocolate is the best motivator that I know of!

Fresh Local and Best said...

Your daughter has very good tastes. This is a nice way to end each piano lesson.

Post a Comment