Grade 1 Violin failure

(219 Posts)
Honeymum Mon 04-Apr-11 18:41:39

I've just had a text from my DD's violin teacher to say she's failed grade 1.

She has been with him for almost 2 years and has practiced regularly, particularly since we've been preparing for the exam (since last September). To my untrained ear the pieces sounded fine. After the exam the teacher (who accompanied her on the piano) said she had done well and he was pleased.

The scales and sight reading are done with the examiner only so he didn't hear these.

By text he said she talked through the pieces but I will get full story tomorrow.

I wanted to know how common it is to fail grade 1? Is it DD or the teacher? Should I try to switch?


Chloerose75 Wed 02-Apr-14 01:15:22

Just read the whole thread and so impressed with the dd! Good on her for persevering. Impressive attitude and I'm glad she did progress in the end.

Salicus Wed 02-Apr-14 00:37:58

Hello, I'd love to know how she did at Grade 3 too and what she is doing now! I was so sorry to hear she had such a knock back. I'm not a mum but I do teach a lot of children singing and piano so just wanted to pass on some tips/ideas.

1) Most of the work takes place outside the lesson.
As teachers we might have 30 or 45 minutes a week to get our point across. We then expect the pupil to work on the things we flag. Extra lessons a week before the exam are not the answer and any good teacher will tell you this.

2) No child is unteachable.

3) Invest in a notebook. This keeps communication between teacher and parent open and shows what you have worked on in lessons.

4) The teacher is not a monster. Ask how you can support your child. Some children will need supervision to work outside of lessons.

5) Practice must be effective. Spending an hour playing your favourite piece is not practising effectively. A good session includes a bit of everything-scales, sight reading and pieces. Regular breaks will be needed to shift attention and keep good concentration levels overall.

I hope this helps. So glad your daughter was settled with the new teacher!

landrover Mon 10-Feb-14 21:00:03

Mmmm hope you don't mind me reviving this thread so see how it is going?

landrover Tue 04-Feb-14 23:47:40


mumsy27 Fri 31-Jan-14 02:32:07

I'm curious how's your DD doing now,keep us updated.
sorry to revive the thread(curiousity killed the cat)

Sheplaysmusic Tue 30-Apr-13 09:49:51

Also, I was wondering what have you noticed are the big differences between both teachers? And is she still practicing 10-15 minutes per day 5 days per week? I am having difficulty trying to find a good practice schedule for the long term, and I'm not sure what is too much and what is too little to make good progress.

Sheplaysmusic Tue 30-Apr-13 09:47:07

This is so inspirational and wonderful! Please continue to update us with her progress, I have enjoyed reading about her efforts in learning the violin, thanks.

maggiethecat Wed 27-Mar-13 09:44:22

Honey, well done to your dd and to you for your huge efforts - I remember the original post and thinking how supportive you are.

Have you considered not rushing the exams? I know they can be a good focus but I've realised that especially as you go up the grades the jumps can be bigger. There is so much technique to learn but also a lot more music that the child can enjoy. Our piano teacher was saying recently that sadly some children only learn 3 pieces between each exam.

I'm not saying that's the case with your dd but wonder if she is having the time to enjoy a wider repertoire than exam material?

No, you are right. Studying for grade 4 seems a long way from failing grade 1!

ZZZenAgain Mon 25-Mar-13 18:13:23

she's coming along so well on the violin now. You wouldn't have thought when you started the thread that she'd be learning for grade 4 at this time, would you? She's doing very well. I am sure she passed.

ZZZenAgain that's really good advice. I think we've been banging on about her needing to learn the scales without really thinking through how best she might learn them. It's interesting that I have kind of come to the flashcard idea (I think I'm a visual learner myself) over the last couple of days but too late to make a difference this time.

I'll make sure we are right on it with flashcards for grade 4, thank you.

As for the exam, I think DD was pleased overall. She came out of the exam smiling! Her teacher said her worst piece was her best on the day IYKWIM, but that's the sort of thing that can happen in the exam and I think overall she will have performed as expected in the pieces, ie solid passes but maybe not creeping into the merit bracket. We'll see how she got in the scales when we get the results but fingers crossed she's done enough to pass overall.

ZZZenAgain Mon 25-Mar-13 13:10:58

does learning visually help her? If so maybe try it with cards.

Don't know which scales she has to learn but you can have a card with the name of the scale on the front (G major) and, on the back say F# . Another card with the name of the scale on the front, the arpeggios on the back. And so on. She can just look at the cover and try and remember the rest, flip it over to check.

Once she knows for instance that G major runs from G-G in full notes and the only thing that is different is F#, it is not too difficult. If you have a keyboard, she can see this but if not you make a cardboard keyboard with the keys named. That might help her too.

I am sure there is some free site online for practising this kind of thing but I don't know of it, maybe someone else does.

In any case, exam today huh? Fingers crossed. Let us know how it went.

Hello! I'm the OP (name change).

Just spotted this thread again!

DD is doing grade 3 on Monday smile.

We were hoping she'd sit it last Christmas but her teacher (and me) decided to hold off til Spring in the end.

Will let you know how she gets on. I am really happy with our current teacher. She is excellent. DD is much improved though she is struggling with memorizing the scales and arpeggios. Her teacher thinks it might be a problem with how she learns. She did say her own daughter had the same problem with scales, and interesting maths, for a while, before things clicked. DD has recently improved vastly at maths, having been slightly below where she should be. She's a level 4b, after going up a whole level (that's three sub levels) in two terms. So maybe the violin teacher is right, IDK.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 18-Mar-13 23:03:06

Sorry. This is twice this old thread has only shown me part of the story. Please excuse the last post.
I'm hiding it now

morethanpotatoprints Mon 18-Mar-13 22:59:34

I would be looking for a new teacher.

Firstly the teacher should have known her ability and assessed her as not being ready. He/she should never have entered your dd for the exam. After 2 years of dedicated practice, of doing what the teacher suggested grade 1 should have been achievable. If the teacher was any good.
Finally, the teacher hasn't prepared your dd correctly for the exam.

This is awful, your poor dd. Tell her its not her fault and praise her for trying so hard.
Get the examiners remarks and question these with the teacher.
My dd is 9 and doing grade 3 in summer, has been playing about 2 years. Her teacher wouldn't put her in for this exam until she was nearly ready for grade 4 so she was sure of a good mark.

loveyouradvice Sat 16-Mar-13 18:47:22

Amazing thread.... and what an impressive DD you have! Great news and hope Grade 3 passed with flying colours???

Learnt a lot ... I never did grades and my DD is about to start... hadnt realised there was so much to them!!!!

BeehavingBaby Sun 12-Aug-12 22:04:29

Lovely thread! Just looking for a teacher for DD1 and have read this all the way through.

vlntrix Sun 12-Aug-12 14:28:45

This thread has been going on some time, right? Wonder if DD still plays? How did you overcome the "bump in the road"?

Dunlurking it is a great thread, isn't it? It helped me enormously and I'm glad it's helping others smile

ImNotaCelebrity Tue 03-Jul-12 20:43:37

morethan - the failure was from the beginning of the thread, which is very old. The more recent posts are because Honeymum was updating her dd's successes since changing teacher. She's now doing brilliantly.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 03-Jul-12 18:40:25

I would change teachers immediately. This teacher should know the rules backwards, should have made sure she was ready for the exam. She should definitelt not have been entered unless he knew she would pass. Good teachers will do mock exams and can tell you within a few marks what the pupil will achieve. Sight reading is another part of the exam which needs to be studied the same as aural and scales.

Dunlurking Mon 02-Jul-12 21:00:11

Well done to your dd for carrying on and and getting her grade 2.

Thanks for the thread as well - there was sooo much useful advice on it. Dd did badly in her sightreading in grade 2 violin last year, so we followed advice on this thread, found her a holiday string course and a weekly string group and we are now keeping our fingers crossed for her grade 3 exam next week. Her sightreading is muuuuuch better thanks to your thread HoneyWithLemon

ImNotaCelebrity Sun 01-Jul-12 23:01:55

I remember your previous posts. Soooo pleased she stuck with it and you found a good teacher. It's a real 'feel good story' now!! Well done to your dd - and to you too!

chocolatecrispies Sun 01-Jul-12 20:25:56

This thread has brought back all my memories of music exams, they were the most terrifying exams I ever took and I went to university at Cambridge... Got grade 8 distinction and now never ever play, the memories of being forced to practice and those exams are too awful. Sadly my mum finds this very distressing as she was so involved. Not sure what we'll do with ds but think we'll focus on enjoyment more than exams.

Wafflenose Fri 29-Jun-12 12:24:27

I've just found this and read most of it. As a music teacher, I'm horrified by the poor teaching which led your DD to fail Grade 1 twice (after being told how good her pieces were) but am so, so pleased that she carried on and passed Grade 2! Most children would have given up. Congratulations to her!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now