Support group for parents of children taking music exams!

(994 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!!

houseofboys Wed 31-Jul-13 23:06:27

Hurrah just heard DS got a good pass in his first ever music exam despite major wobble in his set pieces and being convinced he'd failed. Phew! Now hes got to move on to 11 plus in a couple of months.. But holiday first!

morethanpotatoprints Wed 31-Jul-13 23:21:59

Well done ds of Houseboys, many congratulations to him. grin
Enjoy your holiday.

musicalfamily Fri 02-Aug-13 11:49:26

Well done houseofboys!!

Morethanpotatoprints, yes they had lots and lots of performing opportunities this year, they have been to orchestras, festivals, folk bands and also experimented with different pieces. We also do have the fidllers' books!!

I think this is why they both got high distinctions on sight reading without ever formally practising it and some nice comments around performance. I think they both need a bit more focus on polishing and technique but overall I think it has paid off not to spend all year doing exam prep!!!

RaspberryLemonPavlova Wed 25-Sep-13 23:45:37

Another term! What is everyone's DC doing this term? DS2 is doing Grade 5 piano at the end of November, and of course there will be lots of Christmas concerts to look forward to.

OldBeanbagz Thu 26-Sep-13 07:54:46

DD having decided she wasn't going to do piano exams (and almost quitting altogether) has now decided she's going to do the Grade 2 exam after all.

I think the change in teacher has helped but i hope her she puts her in for it this term and not next. Otherwise it'll have been 5 terms working towards one grade!

78bunion Thu 26-Sep-13 09:36:27

We have a grade 8 and a grade 7 this term. I think the first will pass (he's pretty good) and not sure about the second. It all depends on how much they practise. Good luck to everyone else.

CURIOUSMIND Thu 26-Sep-13 12:08:34

I paid £136 for two exams yesterday. It's painful!

78bunion Thu 26-Sep-13 12:53:49

Yes, very particularly with higher grades but I had graduate children totting up their grade 6 - 8s in two instruments (in four instruments for one of them) the other day as an on line job application wanted ucas points which you do receive for grades 6 upwards so it can be useful later on.

Wafflenose Sat 28-Sep-13 19:29:34

DD1's seem cheap and easy in comparison!

She is doing Grade 2 Flute this term, and the music festival beforehand. I have just discovered that she can sing, but we can't afford music lessons (and she's young yet), so it's school music and choir for now!

RaspberryLemonPavlova Sat 28-Sep-13 22:26:00

Wafflenose, DS2 (10) is a cathedral chorister. We are fortunate to live near a cathedral that does not have its own school but takes DC from all over the city. So DS2 gets his musical training, free individual singing lesson and a financial contribution towards his other instruments. Plus pocket money. Worth checking if this is an option for your DD in the future? There is also a more informal children's choir attached to our cathedral with the same staff.

Wafflenose Mon 30-Sep-13 08:16:38

I will check... but our nearest one is attached to a private school, and we would never be able to afford the fees. She is in Year 3 at the moment.

RaspberryLemonPavlova Mon 30-Sep-13 18:18:24

I know we are very lucky to have an unattached cathedral so close, we live 5 minutes away!

Theas18 Tue 08-Oct-13 23:04:03

Waffle nose as you probably know I have/had 3 choristers (unattached cathedral) . You can't beat it for musical experience. Worth exploring as the ones with attached schools usually have good bursaries for singers and a string musical tradition which would suit your dd to the ground .

All 3 kids still singing at a high standard too (only the youngest meow at cathedral)

Huge commitment but worth it.

We have no exams this term - huge relief considering the amazing but hellish bust time pre Xmas/xmas. Ds grade 8 horn in spring I assume ( kid of then or never as he must do it if it compromises A level studies).

RaspberryLemonPavlova Sun 10-Nov-13 23:07:41

Wafflenose, was just thinking it must be about time for your festival. Good luck to both miniwaffles!

Wafflenose Tue 12-Nov-13 09:57:36

Raspberry!! It starts today for us!

Can't believe this thread has been going for two years. When I started it, DD1 was doing her first festival. This years, she is doing 10 classes. DD2 (aged 5) is doing her first ever class this afternoon. A few other pupils are doing duets and trios. I have three large groups in later in the week. I am playing a concerto, and various duets, and accompanying everyone. I'll let you know how they get on!

RaspberryLemonPavlova Tue 12-Nov-13 20:35:15

Sounds a busy week! Good luck and looking forward to hearing about it.

Wafflenose Thu 14-Nov-13 20:12:47

Great festival!

In the 8 & under recorder class, DD1 came 2nd and DD2 joint 3rd. DD1 won the 10 & under, 13 & under, and treble classes. We were the only ones in the open duet class, and I was the only one in the open solo! A pair of my school pupils came 2nd in the 9 & under duet, and together with DD1 they won the 14 & under consort class! For the woodwind classes (which she did on flute) she was visibly tired. 2nd in the beginners, and 6th in the 10 & unders.

Today, I took all the children I teach in her year (Year 3) together with Year 4 and Year 5 groups. All three got distinctions and tied for 1st place! We finished with a non competitive flute duet tonight!

Grade 2 Flute is in 12 days. She hasn't had time to do as much work for it as she'd have liked, so a pass will be fine! smile

RaspberryLemonPavlova Thu 14-Nov-13 23:37:59

Wow, what a great week you've had. Congratulations to you all.

Good luck to your DD1 with her Grade 2.

DS2 has Grade 5 piano in 3 weeks, and then we have all the December concerts to look forward to!

They are all deciding which classes to do for our local festival in March (entries in just after New Year) and DD brought home the letter for her Grade 6 sax today (how much???) also in March.

CURIOUSMIND Fri 15-Nov-13 12:48:44

Well done to Team Wafflen, particularly to the little ones, such a great achievement for them!

Can I ask something else about the Festival?

Is the marking system similiar to Abrsm exam? Or is it easier to get a distinction? How rare is an outstanding mark?

RaspberryLemonPavlova Fri 15-Nov-13 17:53:35

This is a copy of the adjudicators marking description from our local festival. I have never seen any marks below merit, to be honest.

We have had several outstandings over the years, usually in groups. DS1 had an outstanding for solo brass a couple of years ago. The highest mark received has been 94. This was DS1s school 16 piece band, in the Dance band category last year. The adjudicator said she had never expected to hear anything like that at a festival, it left her speechless and she had no comments to give. (DS1 and DD also played on the Music Service Youth Concert Band that came second with 93 - it was a very proud night!)

FAIR or 75-77
A performance limited in its communication

MODERATE or 78-80
A performance showing development of technique and/or communication

MERIT or 81-83
A capable performance showing some artistic appreciation and/or technical ability

COMMENDED or 84-86
A convincing performance technically and artistically

DISTINCTION or 87-89
An excellent performance technically and artistically

OUTSTANDING or 90+
An exceptional performance both technically and artistically. (This category/mark will usually be 90-95 except in the rarest of performances)

Wafflenose Fri 15-Nov-13 19:07:52

Same system here.

I got an Outstanding last year, and saw one other one awarded, to a choir. This year (different adjudicators) I haven't seen or heard of a single one all week - hundreds of competitors. They are rare.

Merit/ Commended are the most common. My pupils have had a few distinctions this week, but only really for what I felt were exceptional performances for them. Some amazing performances got Commended.

CURIOUSMIND Fri 15-Nov-13 22:00:24

I thought it's very rare to get an outstanding mark. First time Ds1 went to a festival, got an outstanding, they said it's the one and only accross all the instrumental category. This time, he got two outstanding, one distinction, it must be this adjudicator is super kind. I would only give no more than just distinction for the same pieces.

Wafflenose Sat 16-Nov-13 12:50:57

Well done to him though... it sounds like he did great!

We have Grade 2 Flute in 10 days.

Wafflenose Tue 26-Nov-13 14:49:21

MiniWaffle (now 8 years old!) had Grade 2 Flute this afternoon, with AB. It sounded lovely from the waiting room, but she burst into tears afterwards. From what I can gather, she had two excellent pieces and one good one, all scales correct but breathing in the wrong place in D major, some aural correct and some maybe not, and the sight reading was "really hard, and I couldn't do it!" - which I very much doubt, because she is Grade 5 recorder, so usually an excellent sight reader. Poor little thing is now convinced she has failed or scraped through, and is worried about what might happen now... er, nothing!

CURIOUSMIND Tue 26-Nov-13 20:44:13

Oh, MiniWaffle, I am very sure she is way better than she thought.
For us, it's tomorrow. Dreadful piano again. Examiner complained last year, they said they are going to change it, but ...we will find out soon.

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