Support group for parents of children taking music exams!

(1000 Posts)
Wafflenose Mon 14-Nov-11 22:03:28

Hello, I'm feeling excited, nervous and wobbly because my daughter is taking her first music exam in three weeks. I'm a music teacher and am very used to getting children through the exams, keeping the parents informed, helping to focus practice, etc, but this is my first experience with my own child doing an exam and for some reason it's more scary than putting other people's children in! I think she will be OK (and the other thirteen I have entered this term) but I'm not!! Any tips for the 'other side' (parents rather than music teachers) for how to keep us both calm on the day would be gratefully received! Does it get easier as they become more experienced? Am thinking not...

She is taking part in the local music festival tomorrow, to gain performance experience. She's wildly excited, and I've got the jitters!!

MordionAgenos Tue 18-Dec-12 22:09:33

We've just had an email from the flute teacher - DD2 got a merit for her grade 2 which considering she was in hospital only a week before and has only been learning for 3 terms is way beyond what I was expecting, actually. grin

Viewofthehills Wed 19-Dec-12 06:11:31

That's brilliant Mordion. Has she still got recorder to come?

MordionAgenos Wed 19-Dec-12 08:09:40

Thanks smile Yep, still waiting for that. Her teacher is away at the moment (I see from Facebook) so I guess we might have to wait for a bit longer. DD1 doing her singing exam today - that one we definitely won't hear about till term has started again. They never send the results on!

orangeberries Wed 19-Dec-12 13:37:43

Hi wafflenose thanks!! They were taken the same week, I think DD1 was a nervous wreck as they got stuck in a traffic jam for one of them and were nearly one hour late for her piano one!! Both teachers said they had never seen her so nervous, she could hardly walk!

I had posted on here a few months ago as I wasn't sure where doing them at the same time was a good idea, everyone advised us to go for it - I think in retrospect it was the right decision!!!

circular Sat 22-Dec-12 13:47:47

Just a quick update, DD1 got a distinction for TG G6 recorder. Hoping now to go straight onto G8. Is that do-able in just under 2 years (in time for UCAS/CUKAS).

Also merit for ABRSM G3 piano for which she is beating her self up slightly, even though she knew it had not gone well.

Good luck to all those still awaiting results and Merry Xmas & Happy New year to all.

Theas18 Wed 26-Dec-12 17:05:01

Mordion and circular those are bril results- wll do to them smile

Ds finally got his grade 8 recorder result - a respectable merit at 127.

Ok not the distinction he was hoping for but not the fail he thought either...

He's performed lots over Xmas including a bass duet with his friend - a medieval arrangement of there is no rose of swych virtue - which was lovely. Hopefully performing that at the school carol service and at church will boost the feeling that he CAN do it. You have to be bloody brave to sing in front of a boys school and parents, even one which is supportive of music !

MordionAgenos Wed 09-Jan-13 16:57:07

We finally got the last two exam results -DD2 got a merit for her grade 3 recorder to go with her grade 2 flute merit, and DD1 got a high merit for her grade 7 singing, which she is delighted with. DD2 was a little disappointed but I had to remind her she'd been in hospital a week before the exam and could barely hold her recorder for more than 10 minutes without flaking out, so I think she did brilliantly. No exams for her this term, having done 2 last term and 3 the term before. DD2 might do 1,2 or no exams this term - she's (more than) ready to do grade 7 flute and grade 5 piano but she has her GCSEs coming up and I have to keep reminding myself, she's only 14. I think she might skip both those exams and just move on in the autumn.

This term is festival term though - DD2 is performing in both the dance and music festivals, DD1 is definitely playing her first study instrument in the music festival and might sing in a couple of classes, but that's it - I'm not letting her do umpty thrumpty classes because she just doesn't have the time. And I'm restricting her song choices to stuff she already knows. DD2 is doing about a billion singing classes, and playing the recorder (but not the flute - although she is on the fence about that and may change her mind)

Theas18 Wed 09-Jan-13 23:24:31

Theory results through for dd2 - 8 week wait- grrr!!!

She's only gone and got a distinctiongrin. Chuffed doesn't really cover it!

RaspberryLemonPavlova Wed 09-Jan-13 23:55:40

Well done your DD Theas18 - worth the wait. And well done your DD2 MordionAgnes.

Festival term for us too, with lots of individual and group classes. We only have one local one and we all really enjoy it.

DS1 is doing Grade 5 tuba at the end of March, which I can't get too worked up about as it is his third Grade 5 brass exam! Hopefully by summer he will have done Grade 5 piano and Grade 5 theory.

incogneetow Thu 10-Jan-13 21:52:52

£52 for grade 5 exam entry fee shock shock
Flipping heck!
I think he will definitely be skipping the next one or two!

ebutcher88 Thu 10-Jan-13 22:03:34

It costs a lot unfortunately!! My two daughters attend an amazing music school in the surrey area they specialise in vocal and flute tuition doing concerts etc. They were a godsend when we swapped teachers and the kids sailed through exams etc. If anyone is thinking about changing I can highly recommend them I went to a concert recently and was amazed! If anyone wants their website its www.thesurreysoundofmusic.co.uk. hope you all do well in any upcoming exams!!

circular Sat 12-Jan-13 20:00:30

Well done to your DD's Theas18 & MordionAgnes - great results.

MordionAgnes - Is your DD2 really jumping from Grade 2 to 7 flute in one term?

MordionAgenos Sat 12-Jan-13 21:14:40

grin no, typo. It's Dd1 who is doing grade 7 maybe this term (or skipping it completely and doing grade 8 at Xmas). We're having a meeting next week to discuss her scheduling - she has her GCSEs starting in May and she will still only be 14 (although 15 by the end of it). I'm a bit concerned about the amount of stuff she is supposed to be doing this term - exams, festivals, auditions, in addition to her school work. On the other hand the flute exam (as opposed to the piano exam) should be a breeze, the only reason she wasn't entered last term was that we were waiting for her to get a new flute. So, basically....I don't know what to do for the best.

circular Sat 12-Jan-13 21:38:14

Mordion - Ah I remember now, your DD1 is working a year ahead isn't she, and wants to do music at Uni too?
Difficult times, as they need the grades for the applications, but not a good idea at the same time of GCSE's. If she's already done the bulk of the work for the flute, maybe it would be best to get it out of the way this term.

We have just had the discussion re next recorder grade as DD wants to skip Grade 7, and start working towards Grade 8 after GCSE's. Trouble is, December is the best time (especially now no AS modules in Jan) but will be tough getting to that standard by then.
Is Grade 6 to 8 do-able in a year? Teacher thinks possibly for a pass, but not if she wants a distinction.

Doubt she will do any grades this term, violin an outside chance, but she has skipped all grades on that so far. Early maths GCSE, performances and sixth form interviews to keep her busy.

Theas18 Sat 12-Jan-13 21:48:22

Mordion having been through this twice so far I would definitely suggest you try to avoid grades over gcse time -grade 8 at xmas (given that there will be no January AS modules in 2014) would allow her to really give her best till both sets of exams and still, if she wants, get to diploma standard before she finishes school.

GCSE are a huge work load and in ce
rtainly wanted music to be a break from that and a way to destress rather than having to be note perfect and highly self critical in that area too.

This holiday dd1 told me what I'd already guessed, that her recorder lessons at busy times, were about 50% chat. I'm quite happy with that, a bit of"therapy" from a non family, non school, trusted adult that made her happier and more relaxed was ok by me, even though I was paying.....after all the lessons always over ran!

Theas18 Sat 12-Jan-13 21:57:11

Circular, you could try and get an early spring date for your grade 8 rather then going for xmas (which will probably clashwith all sorts of performances etc! ).

I'd say it'll take a lot if work to do 6-8 in a year, unless she's actually working well above grade 6 standard anyway, and her recent grade suggests that could be the case.

Caveat-my lot didn't take recorder gradesfrom leaving primary (terribly grade focused) until doing 8 in 6th form.

Also mention to your SF it might be wise to keep the grade 6 repertoire on a back burner for practicals at AS etc. out experience is better to do less difficult stuff amazing well rather that hard stuff that sounds hard iyswim. It also seems, at least for us, that doing the practicals on recorder is good as the examiners seem stupidly impressed that it can sound amazing!

MordionAgenos Sat 12-Jan-13 22:07:23

@Circular I would say grade 6 to 8 isn't doable in the time you are considering unless she was really a much higher standard than grade6 when she did it. Your Dd also really needs to explore the repertoire a bit, too. She needs to play around with extended techniques, she needs to explore playing on more than just descant and treble etc etc. there's so much more to good playing than just passing exams. Hence I'm not that fussed personally about Dd1s third study exams - but she is.

circular Sat 12-Jan-13 22:17:32

Thea18 Yes, good point re Xmas performances. especially as we don't know what school she may be at.

For GCSE, she is performing a grade 5 piece that she kept going. Slightly more difficult than necessary, but it means she can still get full marks if she slips up. One of the music teachers at her school really hates recorders, but she is starting to win him over.

She actually got full marks on one of her grade 6 pieces, and has performed it since, so that would be a good one to keep going for AS - thanks for that.

May have an audition coming up in a few weeks that will be looking for grade 7 standard playing, 2 contrasting pieces. Not sure if it would be best to play one of the grade 6 pieces really well and one harder piece. So only one new one to learn. There's a very tricky grade 7 piece she has performd in the past that sounds really impressive, but she thinks that would take months to perfect.

circular Sat 12-Jan-13 22:25:51

Mordion - She does play on more than just descant and treble - everything except contra-bass and c-bass.
She has had 2.5 years between Grade 5 & 6 (since she started at her music school) working on broadening her music in genera, performance skillsl and on techniques. A long way to go before the techniques are all there yet, though.

Not sure if she was much higher than Grade 6, but she certainly had done far more than just learn to grade.

Wafflenose Mon 14-Jan-13 09:36:48

Hello, I hope everyone had a happy Christmas and new year.

Since I last posted, DD has received treble and sopranino recorders for Christmas and learned to read most of the notes tShe even takes them to school orchestra and has a go! Her flute teacher wants her to do Grade 1 this term, and I'm feeling relatively laidback because I don't have to accompany her or correct her mistakes. She should walk it though.

Anyone else got exams lined up for this term? I only have two pupils (a grade 1 recorder, and a grade 6 clarinet) - but about a million for next term!!

OldBeanbagz Mon 14-Jan-13 09:47:46

DD is taking Grade 3 guitar in Spring as she wanted to get it out of the way before the end of Y6 show/Grade 2 piano exam in the Summer.

She also plays descant, treble and sopranino recorders for fun but there's no recorder group at the high school she'll be going to next September. Maybe she should suggest one since i can't afford the lessons for another instrument!

RaspberryLemonPavlova Mon 14-Jan-13 12:31:02

Grade 5 tuba for DS1, plus GCSE assessment (he thinks)

Mostly its our local festival though

Viewofthehills Thu 17-Jan-13 17:17:23

DD2 doing grade 1 piano.
DD1 and 2 both doing a lot in the music festival.
DD1 has to prepare a piece for GCSE assessment. Has anyone got experience of what's best to choose for this? She has done grade 7 piano/ grade 6 flute.

circular Thu 17-Jan-13 19:20:53

viewofthehills - I presume your DD1 is yr10 if they are just choosing pieces for GCSE?
DD1 yr 11, doing EDEXCEL GCSE. They need 1 solo & 1 ensemble piece.
Grade 3 is the minimum standard, but they get extra marks for a more difficult piece. She was told there was no point choosing pieces above grade 5, and can quite easily get full marks on that even with one or two small slips.

So unlesss your DD1 is working on specific grade pieces that she can play perfectly (and can play these more easily than an old grade 5 piece) there is no point making life extra difficult for herself.

Caveat - check her teachers agrees with this, as I beleve it is marked by them and then moderated.

Viewofthehills Thu 17-Jan-13 21:20:32

Thanks circular. It is OCR, but I guess the same probably still applies. I've just read the OCR marking scheme. It looks as though they have to do one solo and one ensemble or two ensemble, but the second one is their own arrangement of a piece.Hopefully it will become clear in time!

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