Dd is destined to fail music theory exam

(32 Posts)
LettyAshton Mon 01-Oct-12 11:13:02

Dd, aged just 9, is learning the piano and her teacher has entered her for a music theory exam in November. Now I thought this was Grade 2, but it turns out it is Grade 3.

Now, frankly, she is nowhere near the standard required for this. She is within hailing distance of Grade 2, but she is going to crash and burn badly - she just can't get a handle on compound time among other things.

Ds sailed through his music theory exams at the same age as dd so I suppose the teacher assumes that dd is a carbon copy.

The teacher and dh are both saying "Oh, she'll be all right" but I don't think she will.

Is it a) possible to change the grade of exam at this stage and b) should I insist she is pulled altogether? It seems a bit defeatist but I don't think failure will teach her much of a lesson.

abittoofat Fri 01-Feb-13 22:29:40

How did she do?

Tinyfeetbiggob Fri 01-Feb-13 14:49:15

The material for the AB Gr 5 theory is actually fairly in depth - having taken the exam myself as a child, even though I def didn't enjoy it at the time I later found what I had learnt useful in preparation for GCSE , A Level and degree study . Especially as a lot of the syllabus wouldn't have been directly covered within instrumental lessons alone.

That said with past papers and good workbooks being easily available I wouldn't consider taking the exam for grades 1 -4 necessary if the work had been understood and completed to a good standard - I suppose it depends on the teacher in questions opinionsmile

lingle Fri 01-Feb-13 14:27:05

"tbh if you are a competent musician then you should be able to pass the exam without much effort"

not so much "to be honest" but rather " to have fixed opinions" there I think.

lingle Fri 01-Feb-13 14:26:09

Just to report that of my "own volition I phoned the exam centre and asked for dd to be put in for Grade 2 instead of Grade 3. Now I have to face the teacher... [fear emoticon]"

well done!
how about just letting it be your little secret? he'll never know till he sees the certificate.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Thu 31-Jan-13 23:22:18

morethan - tbh if you are a competent musician then you should be able to pass the exam without much effort, maybe not a high mark but still a pass.

OP - why are you frightened of the piano teacher?

Schmedz Thu 31-Jan-13 23:18:23

If you take Trinity board exams you don't need ASB grade 5 theory at all to do your grade 6-8 exams!
Although I think it is important to have a good understanding of theory to inform your practical skills and musical interpretation. Understanding the grade 5 theory topics can make learning new pieces so much quicker and easier!

morethanpotatoprints Fri 19-Oct-12 15:35:06

Just for the record, if you are doing ABRSM exams you do not need grade 5 theory before progressing further.
You can just as easy take practical Musicianship or solo jazz exam gr 5 both have no written exams and are definitely more applicable and beneficial to those who want to be musicians rather than those being taught an instrument to gr 8. Not that I think theres anything wrong with this, if that is what you want. smile

maggiethecat Thu 18-Oct-12 09:38:40

Letty and son trotting in with pencil and rubber may have been viewed by other parents in same way she is viewing the awful girls and their parents.

It's easy to point a finger while chanting 'honestly, I'm not a pushy parent'.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 17-Oct-12 17:24:07

Colleger, I think Letty was using the kilts as a way of pointing out that the parents were pushing their children and the mint cake bit made me laugh. Maybe the kilts were horrific, we don't know.
I don't think she was particularly being nasty, just painting a picture. smile
I wouldn't want my dd chanting musical terms in that situation and agree with much sympathy for the poor boy.
Why do so many parents push their wishes and aspirations onto their dc?
I know its hard not to cajole when you have invested time and money into lessons, but it has to be their choice.

Colleger Mon 15-Oct-12 07:45:30

I think that's unpleasant of you to call girls awful and talk with disdain about their attire. hmm

Teamthrills Sun 14-Oct-12 23:02:03

Oh no, we really need to start doing some proper work on theory!

Dd is almost 9 & due to take grade 5 violin in March. She has been slowly working through the books, but it's very difficult! She's going to need to do grade 5 next yr so she can move on to grade 6 or 7. I have heard of some theory residential weekend courses, which we might have to look in to as a quick option.

ByTheWay1 Tue 09-Oct-12 10:57:27

My daughter has just decided she wants to carry on now she has her grade 2 piano exam so the piano teacher has suggested she starts looking at the theory side of things too -

I know he explains stuff in the class, but she has focused so much on the playing that she would fail grade 1 theory at the moment... so we are looking at doing one or 2 of the theory papers before grade5 - purely so she gets some practise and does not feel overawed by the whole "you have to get grade 5 theory before you can do X,Y,Z"

LettyAshton Thu 04-Oct-12 10:04:46

Just to report that of my own volition I phoned the exam centre and asked for dd to be put in for Grade 2 instead of Grade 3. Now I have to face the teacher... [fear emoticon]

Ds did Grade 5 when he was 10, too. He liked doing music theory exams, trotting into the hall with his pencil and rubber. I used to get worked up when I saw all the pushy parents. I remember one mother stuffing Kendall's Mint Cake into her dd's mouth, and the awful girls in their kilts chanting musical terms. And one whey-faced lad who looked as if he were about to be sick when he parents said "To get a scholarship you MUST pass with distinction..." Poor boy.

APMF Thu 04-Oct-12 09:24:47

To the incredulous poster who asked why a 9 yr old is doing Grade 3, mine did G5 when 10. One got a distinction while the other got a merit. I'm not stealth boasting (honest smile ). I just don't see the big deal of a 9yr old taking a G3.

DeWe Tue 02-Oct-12 12:59:22

Dh loved doing theory. He still only did grade 5 and 8.

UptoapointLordCopper Tue 02-Oct-12 08:30:27

I did all my theory exams. shock Quite enjoyed them too. shockshock

PropositionJoe Tue 02-Oct-12 08:03:38

Maybe if you make clear you aren't expecting the money back he will become more flexible.

picturesinthefirelight Mon 01-Oct-12 21:43:28

I'd already paid too. The teacher admitted he'd maybe with hindsight entered her too early & we agreed to go halves on the next entry fee.

Haberdashery Mon 01-Oct-12 21:40:14

Just write off the money, then, and say she won't be doing it, Letty. Honestly, not having done grade 3 theory will not matter to her one jot, even if she decides to become a professional pianist. She can take grade 5 when she wants to and is ready.

MirandaWest Mon 01-Oct-12 21:36:46

There s no point in doing theory exams apart from grade 5. You need that t do grade 6 and above but I don't know why anyone would do the other ones.

Katisha Mon 01-Oct-12 21:35:07

We have an exam focused teacher as well but I have made it clear I don't want the DSs put through every single theory exam. The teacher is patently not happy with me though...

LettyAshton Mon 01-Oct-12 21:23:53

the teacher says he's (or rather I've) already paid - but that's a lesser consideration in my view than putting dd off. She is quite anxious about it and says there's no way she can pass Grade 3.

Haberdashery Mon 01-Oct-12 20:44:37

I can't see the point in taking anything other than grade 5 either. I had violin lessons for about 10 years and even passed grade 8 and I'd have been seriously put off by having to do pointless boring theory exams. Oh, and I only just scraped a pass in grade 5, aged 11, but was genuinely a reasonably good amateur player. Can you not tell the teacher that she simply won't be taking it as there's no point and it might put her off what she currently enjoys?

flussymummy Mon 01-Oct-12 20:17:46

I agree Strangeglue. Does your DD get on well with her piano teacher? There are so many fun thing to do when you're 9- theory is not one of them!! (I'm a pro string player and promise you that it's not that important!) If she suddenly finds it fascinating at Grade 5 level she can carry on up to Grade 8 if she likes, but from a playing perspective it makes no difference (except perhaps to take time away from playing the instrument and developing a love of music!) I was coerced into theory at the same age, absolutely loathed it and had a wonderful teacher who realised how much I disliked it and stopped forcing the issue. Three years later I passed Grade 5 theory with a few months of tuition and never had to think about it again!

StrangeGlue Mon 01-Oct-12 19:44:10

Why bother with any theory exam rather than grade 5? Pointless, boring and steals focus from instruments IME.

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