Music/ dance exams - how do you explain the concept to DC or "sell" the idea to them?

(12 Posts)
Sugarbeach Thu 29-Aug-13 23:59:41

Dd has taken her first piano exam which, to be honest, she says she didn't want to do but did anyway and she actually did really well ( pass with merit), but the preparation and exam process was stressful for her, although she handled it all quite well you could see she was visibly anxious about it. She worried about not passing (but this worry did not translate to practising more). Even though she passed with merit, she commented that it was 'only just' a merit and that some of her friends have distinction (?!).....

It was a similar situation with her RAD ballet exam.

I'm not sure how to help her or what to say to her to change her mind set to a more positive one towards exams. Or how to deal with the "only just merit" comment, we told her we are really proud of her already.

Sparklymommy Fri 30-Aug-13 07:14:50

I would say that exams are not the be all and end all and if she is working herself up about them then maybe it's worth questioning why you want her to do them, and wether or not it is worth it.

To be honest exams, especially the lower grades, are not going to get her into a school or mean anything of great importance. If she doesn't want to do them then most teachers will not have a problem with her moving on without them.

I have had similar comments from my own dd with regards to the "so and so had distinction". Dd usually gets distinction, but sometimes her marks are just below and we have tried to explain that it's really just one person who is marking them and if they are having an off day or something then it can all affect the marks.

That said, my kids have all enjoyed taking exams and want to take them as fast as they can!

Picturesinthefirelight Fri 30-Aug-13 13:24:00

I don't.

Dd has done dance, LAMDA drama & piano exams. Each time the teacher had explained about it - dance is easier as the whole class generally do them & it's been her choice. In the case if LAMDA we said to her that stagecoach offer the chance to have a bit of private tuition for the exam, what shed have to do & did she fancy it.

This year she told me she didn't wSnt to do a piano exam just learn for pleasure. That was fine as she had a lot on with her dancing.

Exams are not for everyone. They are great for giving motivation & the children enjoy getting. Certificate & in the case of dd her dancing exams often determine what level they are put in in summer schools.

DS1 plays piano and is now given the choice as to whether he wants to do exams or not. His first teacher was very exam orientated and he worried himself sick over his Prep Test and Grade 1, but then we changed teacher (the first teacher wouldn't entertain the idea of not taking exams) to a more laid back one. He chose to not bother with exams for a while, but after a year or so he has now decided that he'd like to do Grade 2 next year. Hopefully now it is his choice he won't worry quite so much about it.

Exams aren't everything. I would far rather have a child who enjoyed playing their instrument, and whether or not that involves exams very much depends on the individual child.

Theas18 Tue 03-Sep-13 08:47:16

Don't do it!

IOf she wants to do exams then great otherwise don't bother. It's an enlightened teacher who can take that approach, but the best teacher we have doesn't push exams at all- the kids beg him to be allowed to do them and skip many grades.

And don't get me started on ballet where you weren't " allowed" to progress with your mates unless you got on the exam treadmill with extra classes/expense/stress. Wish we'd kicked that into touch faster than we did!

However, performances are much more important IMHO. does she play for you/grandparents etc . A play and a clap/appropriate compliment is great for motivation and helping nerves.

cory Thu 05-Sep-13 08:51:06

Exams aren't the only way of teaching music and some countries don't do them at all for performers.

Lancelottie Fri 06-Sep-13 15:00:20

I push a bit at higher grades (DS would never do scales properly without having that focus) but at the starting grades I really wouldn't worry.

DD sometimes feels the need for a certificate because she's a competitive little thing and likes to say she's 'done grade 3' etc. otherwise, save the money if you can!

Lonecatwithkitten Sat 07-Sep-13 13:19:15

It's always DD's choice about exams. So far she has chosen to do them.

Sugarbeach Sun 08-Sep-13 17:54:08

Thanks ladies. Thing is these are the first sets of "exams" she has been exposed to and so she has no concept of whether they are a good thing or a bad thing or why she might want to do them.

So I can't meaningfully ask her to decide whether she wants to do them or not, as she has no frame of reference about exams iyswim.

Grrrr. I get cross when I hear of bad exam experiences. I have apiano pupil who, before me, took a basic keyboard exam, aged 7 and from what the mum and pupil have said the examiner was horrible to her.

I have three pupils all who want to do both - play for fun and do exams. I have told them its a chance to show off your music and hard work and get a certificate for doing well. If it goes less well on the day you can try again....

Hard though, as you have no control over how it will go.

Most of my piano/music teachers had the attitude of 'enjoy the music and just think, it might be the last time you perform these pieces' that seemed to get me going and I had nice examiners....

ZZZenagain Tue 17-Sep-13 09:32:54

some children like the sense of achievement they get from having passed a hurdle or like acquiring certificates.

We have lived abroad in countries where they do not have these exams so my dd has never done them. I really think they are unnecessary if they stress your dd out. What is then the point? It is not as if with piano she is going to be joining an orchestra which might ask for a certain grade and even so you can easily audition. I would leave it for now and have a think about it when she would be say grade 5 level

MadeOfStarDust Thu 19-Sep-13 08:59:10

I have 2 girls - one did grade 1, found it stressful - she is that type of person... and now takes lessons and learns, just for fun - but is still progressing as if going up the grades - just no exams.....

The other loves the pressure of exams - it helps her to be a better player, and has just done grade3.

I have not pressured either of them since they know what they want - can you imagine trying to get someone who does not want to do a music exam to actually do it?

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