In tune

1st December 2006 at 00:00
More than a dozen teachers put their musical reputations on the line to relive one of the ordeals of childhood and sit a grade 1 exam in a new musical instrument after just one group lesson and 10-weeks' practice.

Thirty-eight musicians took part in Grade1athon in Aberdeen to raise cash for charity. Most had reached grade 7 in another instrument and many were music teachers. Lesley Wilson, a woodwind teacher and former principal bassoonist with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, passed with merit in viola: "It was great fun but hard work. Some of the youngsters did very well, probably because they are in that culture of doing exams."

Gillian Pucci, head of music at Bridge of Don Academy, plays piano and clarinet and took up the trombone for the exam. She said it reminded her how hard it was for first-time learners: "Sometimes when I played, you'd think I'd never picked it up before; other times it sounded lovely. It was hit and miss."

Cathy Dover took up the saxophone and daughter Holly learned the flute.

Everyone passed, most with merit or distinction. "The children fared better than the adults and the teachers were most stricken by nerves," said Joan Thomas, administrator at the North East of Scotland Music School.

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