Grade Five Piano in first term of secondary school?

(8 Posts)

My eldest DD did her Grade 4 exam a year ago, and the plan was to aim to do her Grade five next Easter. Our teacher is quite old fashioned and has a list of pieces she likes them to work through between each grade and keeps their scales up as they do these extra pieces.
The teacher has just emailed and said she's willing to start DD on her Grade 5 pieces now ( she knows all the scales and arpeggios already) in preparation for the Nov exams. DD is pretty quick at picking up pieces and good at practicing. She also sits her Grade 3 for her second instrument tomorrow, so won't be especially focusing on that.
The problem is that she starts Year 7 in September at a selective school 1 hours commute away.
Is Grade 5 going to be too much for her in these circumstances? There is no rush for her to do the exams really but I know she'll want to do it if she's offered the opportunity.

flatmouse Thu 04-Jul-13 14:39:35

Ask her? I think she's old enough to commit (or not), and homework is only going to get worse as time goes on (IYSWIM). If she feels she can, and teacher feels she can - go for it!

Theas18 Fri 05-Jul-13 07:08:19

Ask her but my inclination would be to defer a term unless she's mustard keen. Piano 4-5 isn't an easy jump.

An hours commute and a new school with a degree of academic "uplift" to get used to? I wouldn't do it for mine. She also needs to be getting stuck in to the extra curricular stuff and not deferring clubs etc because she's going to the music block to practice (the kids will have formed friendship groups in the clubs by january and she might not want to go then, exploring the other side of school is all part of the whole experience)

Also where will she do the exam? If school is the centre it is great, if not she'll be missing time at Xmas and if it's anything like our schools there is a heck of a lot going on then, a lot of it musical. They are in and out of classes for rehearsals ( and so catching up work) as it is, but an extra half day for an exam might just be the thing she doesn't need.

Force your teacher off piste and shake up her " stuck in the mud" ways. She needs to extend DD without using the exam pieces yet.

Allow your DD to both enjoy her 1st term and shoot at grade 5 from the position of " heading for grade 6" standard at Easter. She'll get a better mark too.

Theas18 Fri 05-Jul-13 07:17:42

flatmouse actually that isn't my experience at all re homework. Both DS and the DDs have found the homework load in term 1 at grammar is really quite big ( as if they want the kids to up their game quickly on entry to the school) then by term 2 either they've adapted or there is less homework set.

MadeOfStarDust Sat 06-Jul-13 07:57:49

same experience with homework as Theas18 - they started high and eased off - we went for June/July grading this time - but will pull the next one back to spring or push it out to November...

LIZS Sat 06-Jul-13 08:09:50

I'd give her the term to adjust to new routines and responsibilities and opt for Spring exam.

BeckAndCall Sat 06-Jul-13 08:19:54

I'd say it depends whether your DD sees piano practice as homework or as relaxation? If she sees it as one more thing to do, then I'd try to delay but otherwise, I don't see the problem as she may enjoy having something she has to do but which is also fun ( not that new school and homework are not fun!).

But you don't have to decide now - the syllabus will stay current until Easter and the last entry date will be early October so you can Assess it then.

And my experience is like Theas's - the homework in year 7 at a super selective might take you by surprise. For us, it was a lot. Also on top of a one hour commute, and an 8.30 til 4 day, plus after school activities.

So be prepared to be flexible with the music exams.

glaurung Sat 06-Jul-13 22:25:28

It depends hugely on the child - some cope easily, others find the transition less easy and may take more time to adapt. I've seen dc do grade 5 in the first term secondary with ease followed by another grade 5 the following term, but they were very academically able too.

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