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Doing two Grade One exams at the same time?(18 Posts)
my DS1 is in Y4 and has been learning piano since the middle of Y2 and cello since beginning of Y3. Both his teachers are keen for him to enter for Grade one in the summer.
Do you wise lot consider this a bit much?
In some ways I would like him to as he is ready in piano, short of learning the pieces and has been building up to it for a while in terms of aural, sight-reading and scales.
In cello he is doing really well and loves his teacher. He will be moving schools next year and will have to change teacher and so in some ways if he had got his G1 he will not have to 'start again' with a new teacher. And looking at the information on the internet he seems more than capable.
What is the view of preparing for two exams simultaneously?
And as an aside will the aural be the same for both?
My DD1 has just done this back in December - piano and violin grade 1.
I wasn't sure either but decided to take the plunge. I can't say she practised that much but she did ok - got merit in both. She got distinctions in her pieces and sight reading but the aural and the scales really let her down. I think the guy was very very tough with the aural as she was very good at it! And to answer your question, yes it is the same with both instruments.
I would go for it if I were you!!
Thank you. He is keen to go ahead so that is worth a lot! He will have a lot of change to deal with school wise in Sept so Christmas would not be the best time! Plus his younger brother is snapping at his heels piano wise so it will do his ego good to get there first!
It is hard work doing 2 grades at once, but at grade 1 it should be fine. They won't necessarily fall on the same day (though they might). Aural is the same format for both (assuming they are both ABRSM), but he's unlikely to get the same tune/questions. If he does find it tough, then you'll know to keep them separate in future, but I suggest he gives it a go this time.
If he's happy, then I don't think you should stop him as long as he knows he has to do his practice in both.
Dd1 did grade 4 in both piano and singing last year in year 6 (even on same day!) , and didn't seem to find it a strain even though she had SATS two weeks before.
My DDs have often done 2 exams at the same time. DD1 has on occasion done 3, and DD2 did grade 1 flute, grade 1 recorder and grade 3 singing in the same week in the summer (and grade 2 flute and grade 3 recorder at Xmas). It's always been fine, really, even when DD1 has been doing multiple exams at the higher grades. My big thing aout multiple exams though is the COST. The exam fee, the accompanist fee......
musicalfamily - well done to your dd1. Just for interest, was it ABRSM? The aural is generally very standard, because it is easy to be exact in marking it - there are very clear guidelines for how it is marked. You can look them up online and see if the comment matches the mark - they should match pretty well.
Hi LilyBolero, yes it was ABRSM, I will check that out. It is strange because the violin teacher commented that everyone got a very low mark in the aural, despite all being quite good at it. The piano teacher also said the same (same examiner). Can't think what happened. Maybe they all had a bad day - apparently the examiner was a professional singer, maybe expecting too much? Or maybe they all need to work harder!!!
Why not. Same board, same aural at least !
Agree with mordion though it gets spendy especially at higher grades. At least to start with DH accompanies them if timetabling allows.
There are particular things that you can lose marks on; eg the echoes not being exactly in time, or bang on the note, or being a bit vague in your descriptions. Just for interest, what mark did your dd get?
Hi Lily, she got 12. It says "the clapping and time were missed in A and you missed the change in C. The singing was right but D had an error". I assume these are the pieces...
Shame really because she has a very good ear and I would say that is her strength! Maybe it was down to nerves...
Those aren't the pieces, but the specific components of the aural test - test A is where they have to clap in time to a passage played, and then say whether it is 2 time or 3 time; test B is the singing back phrases ones; test C is where they have to identify where a change (note/rhythm) occurs in the passage the examiner plays; and test D is where they have to answer questions about loud/soft, smooth/detached, etc., things like whether they were sudden or gradual.
Having a good ear helps, but it's not the only thing you need - had she definitely practised the actual style of tests used, rather than auraltraining in general?
At grade 1, the questions are asked in such a way as to mostly have right/wrong answers for the tests where they have to say something. For the singing echoes test, it has to be the right notes and in time to get perfect marks, and the clapping has to be on the beats in the clapping one, but there's not really a whole lot of room for the examiner to be harsh/easy at this level. How well the student sings isn't a factor, just whether they get basically the right notes/time. From those comments, it sounds like there were actual mistakes - nerves definitely make a big difference for me!! I struggle with aural tests, especially the singing back one, anything to do with memory - and that's worse when under pressure. I can also sometimes hear what I intend to sing, but it comes out as something different, again worse when under pressure. When you are nervous, it's also hard to pay attention properly when the examiner is playing the excerpt, wondering what aspect you'll be tested on and trying frantically to take note of all of it, instead of just relaxing and listening. Nerves can also speed up your heart rate and make you a bit shaky, which then means you tend to clap/sing things faster than you might intend.
There is a topic in the 'Education' forum at the moment about Grade 8 aural, and in it there are books/CDs/websites etc listed that all have the lower grade material as well, so might be worth practising some of those under 'stressful' conditions before the next time, so that you can get a sense of where she is likely to go wrong. I've tried all of those myself, and am hoping to find more examples somewhere..
Thanks MorningPurples, that sound like really good and specific advice.
We didn't practise much of the aural because both teachers told me she got it 100% right every time so there was no need! I think they did cover it a few times with her. I think that nerves must have got the better of her so we'll have to practise that next time. It was just a bit of a shock really!!
Yy, those comments match up with the mark ok - possibly even generous! Test A - clapping has to be on the beat - common mistakes are clapping the tune not the beat, and saying 2 not 3 or vice versa is pretty unequivocal. Echoes sound like they were good, again the 'change' is a case of saying whether the change was near the beginning or the end , so right/wrong. Sounds like she got the last test (musical features) half right.
So, to get 12, which is bang on the pass mark, you need to get 'about half' the tests right. From the comment, she got A totally wrong, B totally right, C totally wrong and D half right, half wrong, so it is possibly more like 11 than 12. But if it was obvious she was nervous then the examiner may have squeaked her an extra mark.
It's worth doing so
E aural every week, and the ABRSM publishes lots of books of the tests with the exact rubric that the examiner must use, so being familiar can really help to lessen the nerves, as it becomes more automatic.
(sorry, on phone, that last paragraph should be 'worth doing some aural...)
Yes I had a look at her piano exam and her aural was a bit better at 15, still not great though. I will get some aural papers and go through them with her. Thanks for all the advice!!!
15 is good; that means it was 3/4 correct, which is often 2 questions spot on and the other 2 half right. Familiarity is the key though.
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