His tiny fingers dance about on the keyboard to produce sweet and soothing melody. He is seven-year-old Robin Fernandes who has topped the worlds highest music exam for electronic keyboards held in Mumbai on December 1, 1999.
Fernandes is a Std III student of St Josephs High School, Malad. The results of the exam conducted by the Trinity College of Music, London were declared recently. Fernandes who appeared for Grade Eight, which is the highest music category, stood first among the 16 candidates from India who appeared in the examination. And for all this he has his parents to thank. Glenn and Maria Fernandes, his parents, run The Boss School of Music at Boran Road in Bandra.
Fernandes who knows about his feat simply blushes when queried about his performance. He is shy, but quickly says, I love to play the keyboard. By the time he gets comfortable with his interviewers he puts his fingers onto the keyboard and produces melody after melody. Each time his fingers move confidently to tunes of Mad Max, Ballade pour Adeline and so on.
Fernandes used to devote 10 to 12 hours a day for two months to his music studies before the examination. Though he also stayed away from school for two and a half months, he prepared himself to take on even music teachers who were appearing for the exam along with him.
Fernandes was introduced to the world of music when he was a baby and began his formal training at the age of four. At the very young age of two years, Robin could identify words and recognise shapes, recalls Maria. So while children his age were still learning to identify A, B, C.., Robin had progressed to additions and subtractions of fractions, a major requirement to learn music, says Glenn. At age five, Robin had passed the Grade II examination. He cleared the Grade V examination a year later (1998).
His parents who run the music school are now preparing a five-year-old pupil to take the highest examination this November. Says Maria, Any child can study music if trained well. Maria feels that her son achieved the feat because he was made to believe that he could do it.
Apart from music, Fernandes is good at his studies, enjoys playing chess, writing stories and drawing. Like other children he too loves watching cartoons, but not for more than 15 minutes. And solving jigsaw puzzles is his favourite past time.
He has also written his own comic strip with illustrations. Says Maria, His school has been extremely supportive and has permitted him to remain away from classes for practice.
The Fernandes couple set up the school in June this year when ad film guru Prahlad Kakkar offered to provide them space. The school offers a four-day basic keyboard course and prepares students for the Trinity examination.
Finally, will music be Fernandes future? He doesnt know. Right now it is back to his keyboards making new tunes.