Hours of practising have paid off for local pianist Jaden Norman, who took home a gold medal from the Royal Conservatory of Music this past weekend.
Jaden, 11, was honoured for scoring the top mark in the province on her Grade 1 piano examination. She was presented with the medal by conservatory chairman Michael Foulkes in Calgary on Sunday, Nov. 2.
She has been a piano student for four years, three of which have been with her current teacher, Evelyn McCourt.
McCourt said she has been teaching piano for 40 years and this is the first time one of her students has received this honour.
“I consider it, definitely, an honour,” said McCourt. “As I told her, she deserves it . . . I really enjoy working with her.”
Jaden received a mark of 98 per cent on her practical piano exam, which she completed in June. Because of her outstanding marks, she is now working towards the Grade 3 exam, which she plans to take this coming June.
She is the oldest child of Laura and Joel Norman of Stettler, and her two younger sisters are looking to follow in her footsteps.
Zoe, 9, has also started piano lessons with McCourt, while Madelaine, 6, is expected to take up the instrument in the future.
Jaden’s mother, Laura, said that while she and her husband are proud of their daughter’s recent honour, they are primarily happy that she enjoys playing music, and are encouraging her to explore different genres.
“We’ve tried to introduce some more contemporary repertoire,” said Laura. “She’s really stuck to the classical music that’s in her grade book.”
She also spoke highly of McCourt’s dedication and support for her students, adding that years earlier, McCourt also gave lessons to Joel Norman and his sisters.
According to a press release, the gold medals are presented by the conservatory each academic year (Sept. 1 to Aug. 31) at ceremonies in cities across Canada.