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Video: Former Magherafelt girl passes prestigious piano exam

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Having first developed a love of classical music as a child, Bernadette Lavery had put her piano training on hold to concentrate on her job.

Since taking some time off work she’s returned to her first love and has recently become an Associate of the London College of Music.

She passed her ALCM exam in piano performance during the Easter exam session in Portadown. Her recital included Schubert’s Impromptu in G flat, Beethoven’s Sonata in C minor and Albeniz’s Asturias from Suite Espagnole.

Originally from Derry and now living in Derryadd, Bernadette was educated at St Mary’s Grammar School in Magherafelt and Queen’s University, Belfast.

She said: “I’ve played the piano since I was a child in primary school. When I started playing piano I was launched straight into classical music. It was a genre I always felt comfortable with.

“I stopped when I was at Grade Five. After graduating I worked in retail management for 10 years and while on a career break I decided to complete my music exams.

“I had expert guidance from Kenneth Briggs from Dollingstown who tutored me for my final grades, DipLCM and ALCM.

She continued: “I began teaching at home a number of years ago, both piano and music theory and while a responsibility I don’t take lightly it is also an enormous privilege.

“To take a pupil from complete novice to a level of proficiency is a joy and incredibly gratifying. I tutor my students for graded exams, festival performances and school ensembles. Music like dance, drama or any of the performing arts can be an incredibly positive experience improving self confidence and instilling a work ethic that can have an enhanced effect on a child’s general education and indeed later in life.”

All three of Bernadette’s children have continued the musical traditions. Her two daughters play the piano and her son plays the tin whistle.

She said: “Whenever I was pregnant with my third child I was finishing my grades so I was playing piano all the time. I said at the time, ‘This will be a musical baby’ and sure enough she doing her grade two now.”

Bernadette added: “I credit my music success to hard work and a determination to succeed. I am indebted to my husband Dominic and my family for their support over the years and felt incredibly fortunate to have had a tutor blessed with patience and tenacity who taught me that there is no such thing as good enough... always aim that little bit higher.”

 

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