Making the Grade Reviews

  • Dec 23, 2018

    Set in Ireland, this is a quiet documentary, filled with low-key humor, centering on aspiring piano players and their teachers who are attempting to pass musical exams from Grades 1 to 8. This was confusing to me, at first, since living in the United States grades 1 thru 8 are for advancing school children and have virtually nothing to do with musical skills. However, we see that in the film persons of all ages and backgrounds can attempt to pass these musical exams and subsequently go on to the next level if they choose to do so. The power of the movie is listening to the individual stories and motivations of the myriad of players, however brief they are, as well as to their dedicated piano teachers. The range of personalities is enormous, from the woman who openly states that she knows she'll never be very good but wants to try, to the young incredibly talented child prodigy, to the woman who returned to the piano after 35 years when her son was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Overall, don't expect any dramatic fireworks in this doc, directed by Ken Wardrop, but for those viewers who have the patience to enjoy interesting human stories there are rewards here.

    Set in Ireland, this is a quiet documentary, filled with low-key humor, centering on aspiring piano players and their teachers who are attempting to pass musical exams from Grades 1 to 8. This was confusing to me, at first, since living in the United States grades 1 thru 8 are for advancing school children and have virtually nothing to do with musical skills. However, we see that in the film persons of all ages and backgrounds can attempt to pass these musical exams and subsequently go on to the next level if they choose to do so. The power of the movie is listening to the individual stories and motivations of the myriad of players, however brief they are, as well as to their dedicated piano teachers. The range of personalities is enormous, from the woman who openly states that she knows she'll never be very good but wants to try, to the young incredibly talented child prodigy, to the woman who returned to the piano after 35 years when her son was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Overall, don't expect any dramatic fireworks in this doc, directed by Ken Wardrop, but for those viewers who have the patience to enjoy interesting human stories there are rewards here.