...to want to launch my dd's piano teacher into space (piano prep test Q)?

(42 Posts)
MurielPuce Mon 13-Jul-15 14:41:18

My 6-yo dd has been taking piano for about a year, and in February, her teacher asked "if she'd be interested in doing a little prep test this term? Nothing formal, but it is good experience, etc." Piano-crazy DD nods, enthusiastically, because Piano Teacher made it sound like a party, and dd genuinely loved her ballet exam, the hairdos and the medal from Darcey Bussell, etc. I am from the US and we don't do piano exams there, so I didn't realize that it would be more than a nifty challenge during her regular lesson. As the weeks went on I discovered dd would have to come out of school for the test, I'd have to pay a £33 fee... etc, as the teacher spooled out thing after thing after thing that would be required, each new item came as a total surprise, and yet we said, okay, okay, okay because we love our daughter.

Today, the final straw, is that after being cagey about when, exactly, the date for the exam would be, Piano Teacher sent an email to say it would be "next Wednesday, at 1:30 PM, you must be there 20 minutes beforehand to warm up, so fun!" Except that next Wednesday is her last day of school, and the 1:30 slot means she wouldn't come back to school at all on that day. And I know they don't do anything academic, really, on the last day of school, but to make a 1:30 exam she'd have to dash out before saying goodbye to her pals, esp. her best friend who is moving abroad the very next morning.

I AM SO STEAMED. What should I do? The teacher seemed shocked that we were upset about this, and said she didn't know what could be done. "Erm, erm, I may be able to cancel.... but it's all set." Argh!!!!!! Am I damaging my 6-year old by canceling this exam? Am I being unfair by asking for some flexibility? Am I being a crazy stage mother by having her do piano at all? What is the point of this prep test anyway? Help!

CloserToFiftyThanTwenty Mon 13-Jul-15 14:43:07

I don't think that missing the last day of school is the end of the world - it would be different if she wasn't going back to that school, though as you don't say that I assume not. She won't be the only child not there, IME

FurtherSupport Mon 13-Jul-15 14:54:26

I agree with Closer.

If DD's friend is that important presumably you've arrange something for them to say goodbye out of school? wink

Let DD choose. Missing either won't be the end of the world.

Radiatorvalves Mon 13-Jul-15 14:55:44

My son did the prep test last year. He had to go to the examination rooms by the BBC / Oxford Circus tube. So, had the morning off school. He has just done Grade 1 at the same place, and fortuitously it coincided with a school trip to central London.

I don't think you get a lot of choice about the date / time. If you don't want her to do it, don't do it. My son got a nicely written certificate and felt very happy about it. I suspect he enjoyed his smoothie in the BBC café a bit more though.

I do think you sound a tad overwrought about the whole thing.

Theycallmemellowjello Mon 13-Jul-15 14:58:29

Err you sounds bananas. But I'm sure if you kick up a fuss you can get her moved to the next test date.

leedy Mon 13-Jul-15 15:00:41

It doesn't sound particularly odd to me either - I'm not sure what a "prep test" is but all my music exams (piano, clarinet, and theory) were during school hours, had a fee, were at a time not of my choosing, etc. You do sound, as a PP said, a bit overwrought about it.

Also do people really not do piano exams in the US?

19lottie82 Mon 13-Jul-15 15:03:09

She just seems to be doing something that may benefit your daughters piano playing, now and in the future.

How was she supposed to know what day the last day of term was? Even so I don't really get the big deal? Your daughters going back there in 7 weeks, right?

YABU

ChuffinAda Mon 13-Jul-15 15:03:13

You're mad

Abrsm exams are well known and respected over here in the UK and indeed internationally. Schools make allowances for these and it's marked down as 'educated in another setting' on the register provided you inform them.

howabout Mon 13-Jul-15 15:03:26

YANBU to be annoyed at the way the test was sold to you. I find it very frustrating when I feel pushed down a path for the "good of my DC" when I am not given all the facts up front to plan properly.

The Prep test is lovely though as no-one fails and the wee ones come straight out with a certificate and lots of encouraging comments to go forward with. Piano lessons are about £20 per week so £33 for the confidence of the test which gives a massive boost for the next year seems worth it.

(My DD did Grade 5 piano in November never having previously done any exams before. She was a bit miffed that she had missed the build up through the prep and earlier grades which would have made the whole experience less nerve racking and would have prepared her better).

Rather than pulling out of the test I would treat it as a lesson learned in improving communication between you and the teacher. I am a much less passive parent now than I used to be after a few of these types of situations.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Mon 13-Jul-15 15:05:10

I'd take her the piano exam as it's all set up. Perhaps she can have a final play date to say goodbye to her good friend. In some ways the afternoon of the very final day is less disruptive than at other times during the school year.

TobikkoRoll Mon 13-Jul-15 15:07:47

We have always been given far more than 9 days' notice (about 4 weeks for the last piano exam), so I don't understand why you've been given such short notice. Also, our piano teacher tells us a rough date (end of June for example) and asks if there are any dates we can't make within that time, to avoid problems such as yours.

However for your DD, for this first exam I would just suck it up and do it, but set some ground rules for the next time maybe. Good luck for your DD.

ThumbWitchesAbroad Mon 13-Jul-15 15:10:20

Yes, YABU to get so het up over it. Oddness.

Ver1tyPushpram Mon 13-Jul-15 15:14:40

I'd be irritated by the drip feeding of information, but after the second drip I would have assumed that she was one of those people so sunk in her own world that it wouldn't occur to her that this stuff isn't obvious to everyone and insisted on her telling me everything now.

If I was on the ball of course, if I was especially harassed or preoccupied I just wouldn't have given it much thought and ended up exactly where you are now grin.

It's up to you, either way, in the future, I'd ask her assume that I don't know anything and to make sure I have all the information straight away.

WhatchaMaCalllit Mon 13-Jul-15 15:15:00

I'm guessing that the 'prep test' is the Initia Grade test in Piano that is set by some academy/learning school???

There are grading levels to being able to play the piano and I've found this link to the Trinity College London which has a guide to what each level is about:
www.trinitycollege.com/site/?id=1474&utm_source=jump&utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=piano

balletgirlmum Mon 13-Jul-15 15:21:07

Prep Test is the Pre Grade 1 test by ABRSM, probsbly the most respected music exsm board (though trinit is catching up )

It's s bit different to Trinity Initial Level as there is no pass or fail. It's a good way to introduce children to the idea if exams without too much pressure.

I suspect the teacher didn't realise your lack of knowledge about the music exam system as its so ingrained with learning an instrument here.

As children progress they get to join ensembles/music groups based on their grade level for example. You don't have to have taken an actual exam but it's an easy way of determining the level of competency.

balletgirlmum Mon 13-Jul-15 15:23:56

Whatcha ABRSM is Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. (Royal Academy of Music, Royal College of Music, Royal Northern College of a Music & Royal Conservatoire of Scotland)

ShellingPeasAgain Mon 13-Jul-15 15:24:31

I think that your piano teacher just assumed you knew all about exams and what they entail and didn't allow for the fact you come from the States and don't do the same things. A little lax on her part, but understandable if she/he doesn't have many students who aren't British, used to the exam system. But they should have run through the process with you prior to entering.

Personally I think the prep test a waste of money and if students want to sit an early I exam I go down the Trinity Initial route. Better pieces (changed every two years thank goodness as who'd want to teach the Boating song for ever and ever), better supporting tests and the Trinity certificate are lovely. All shiny wink

Whatever you decide it won't have a lasting effect on your daughter - missing a prep test won't damage her ability to play piano or progress to further grades; equallly missing the last afternoon of school, when she's 6, won't be the end of the world either.

WhatchaMaCalllit Mon 13-Jul-15 16:01:31

That's what I thought but when I googled "Prep Test Piano" the Trinity College one came up. We have the Royal Irish Academy of Music (RIAM) and this is the first of many grades up to Grade 8 (I think).

leedy Mon 13-Jul-15 16:07:38

Ah right, they didn't have a prep test in either RIAM or Associated Board when I was learning the piano. I am clearly very old.

teacher54321 Mon 13-Jul-15 16:26:30

Goodness me what an overreaction! The ABRSM dates are not controlled by the teacher-they can request a week but it's not guaranteed. If you had googled the ABRSM prep test it would have told you all the arrangements.

teacher54321 Mon 13-Jul-15 16:28:10

And quite how you can be this angry about something so absolutely trivial makes the mind boggle.

Golfhotelromeofoxtrot Mon 13-Jul-15 16:31:42

I honestly don't get your problem or why you're angry with your daughter's piano teacher.

Leaving at 1:30 is no big deal. Why not make plans to meet her friends in the park afterschool?

AuntyMag10 Mon 13-Jul-15 16:36:31

You really seem all over the place in your postconfused erratic.
Besides how is she supposed to know it's her last day of school.

ProcrastinatorGeneral Mon 13-Jul-15 16:40:24

It's your own fault for not finding out about what your daughter is doing. Exam dates and times aren't usually known by teachers I tile a week or two before as they're set by the board.

You're better prepared for next time though. Although a small heads up for you, they get more expensive the further up the grades you go. I've just dropped forty odd quid on a grade three brass exam with Trinity, grade eight is somewhere upwards of £70 from what I can remember grin

outtolunchagain Mon 13-Jul-15 16:40:40

My ds has just sat a clarinet exam in the middle of his sports day , luckily the school gave so many candidates they are an exam centre but he still had to go straight from high jump to exam and back to relay!

I just felt sorry for the examiner with all those smelly children .Honestly the teacher will not have had much say on date or time , although in my experience the often know the week , if not the day .

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