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Gagny competition-Nicole Li

On the 9th to the 12th of April 2019, I attended a competition in Gagny France. It was a very fun and exciting experience. This started from the moment that we were on the plane to when we left France.

The flight was more than 20 hours long with a transition in Hong Kong. When we finally landed I was glad to be off the plane and on solid, steady, “no - turbulence” ground again.

I was so excited to see Paris. Many described Paris as a elegant and beautiful city - full of romance and lights. The airport was plain and simple with none of that. It was only a airport though, so I wasn’t expecting much.

As we traveled to the hotel I saw lots of nature. Grass spaces filled the gaps between roads and trees with very bright, green leaves grew next to that. There were also numerous pink blossom trees. After many tunnels, we were surprised at the amount of traffic in Paris - it was indeed a very busy city.

At around 8:00pm we arrived at the hotel, the sky was still quite bright. After a long flight and trip in the taxi we happily flopped into our beds to prepare for another busy day.

The next day was just practising piano and preparing for the competition. I practised in a studio for 4 hours. I drilled the fast places and checked all the dynamic levels carefully. I tried very hard to get everything perfect. I did this every day until the competition.

On the competition day, my family took Uber to the venue. There was heaps of traffic! All the roads were packed! We were 10 minutes late and missed my assigned practise time prior to the actual play in the competition. Luckily, one contestant withdrawn and I took her time to

practise. I checked the pedal, how heavy the piano was, how soft it could go and if my sound was projected enough.

The organisation of the whole thing was very good. When it was my time I felt a little bit nervous. However, when I started playing I was absolutely absorbed into the music. I played my best and was satisfied at the end.

After 3pm, the jury committee announced the results. I was so happy to win big - the 1st prize in my age “Young Talents” section, besides, I also received two special prizes - “The Best Bach Award” and “The Best Sound Award”, with a financial award of total 350 Euro.

I was invited to play in the Winners’ Concert on Friday. I played in front of a big audience in the city theatre. I was so happy when I felt they enjoyed my playing.

My family did some sightseeing. We went to the Louvre museum and saw statues, paintings and the real painting of Mona Lisa! It wasn’t a copy! It was the real one! After the museum we saw the Eiffel Tower. It was huge and we took many photos.

On Saturday, I sat the music exam by Paris International Conservatory. The exam was programmed like a concert. I played well and was bursting was joy when I got a certificate with an A+. The examiners were nice and congratulated me with a smile and warm handshake.

In my opinion France was a interesting city with lots of ancient buildings and museums. There were many tourist attractions and a lot of people. The competition was very good and organised with the adjudicators giving a lot of feedback after you played. The trip was fun and worth the time on the plane. Definitely a worthwhile experience!

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