Practice for exam - grade 7

(18 Posts)
Iddi9 Mon 10-Mar-14 17:35:49

Help Me! I keep telling DS that 10 minutes every day for grade 7 is of little use. DS says the more practice he does the worse he becomes.... obviously this is because not enough practice is done - going round in circles ARRRGGGHHH!!!!!!!! Help me please - how much practice does your DC do leading up to an exam.

Hulababy Mon 10-Mar-14 17:38:01

Surely by grade 7 he should be able to sort all this out himself and not need reminding. If it is important to him he will do what he needs to do, and get the mark her is capable of accordingly.

Ho old is he?

OldBeanbagz Mon 10-Mar-14 17:47:42

DD is doing 30 minutes a day for her Grade 4 exam and 20 minutes a day for her Grade 2 exam. She'll be taking them both just before Easter on consecutive weeks.

DS is doing 10 minutes a day but is not taking his Grade 1 piano until Summer.

How old is your DS? I would have thought his teacher might have told him how much practice he should be putting in, though by Grade 7 he should realise that 10 minutes just isn't enough!

1805 Mon 10-Mar-14 18:56:27

Ask his teacher to set particular goals to reach each week, with clear expectations of what they expect. And to tell him off if he fails to attain them!!!!
Also, depending on the instrument, I would have thought that stamina issues would be arising with such little practice at home. How long are his lessons? When I have been aware of little practice at home, I make a point of making them play hard during the lesson and then asking them why they can't keep up????

On a wind instrument, I would expect at least 30mins 4 times a week as a general rule. More regularly if there are week areas coming up to an exam.

I was sick of hearing myself point out that there were no up and coming exams in Minecraft. I genuinely believe that my DS intended to get the instrument out after school but then suddenly it was bedtime. There's no way he could have played before school as he's barely human in the morning.

On the run up to grade eight we agreed on half an hour on the evenings when he didn't have band practice which was four times a week. For grade six it was more like twenty minutes three times a week if I kept nagging.

Your DS is not helping himself, at that level you can't expect to launch straight in and nail it, he needs to be warming up in whatever way is appropriate for his instrument. Ten minutes playing is closer to five minutes if you take into account a warm up, that's not long enough to play the three pieces straight through even without going over the tricky bits. Can his teacher have a word about effective practice?

JulieMichelleRobinson Mon 10-Mar-14 23:04:30

Depends what it is, but practice should have specific aims. What are your goals for this practice? Today, I want to memorise my A-flat major scale. After that, I want to work on this particular tricky passage (one phrase) in my third piece until I can play it correctly five times in a row, then run the whole piece through. Then I want to play my other two exam pieces once each, concentrating on dynamics.

It may only be 10 minutes, but it's better than an hour of faffing.

OTOH, if practice is "I'm just playing everything through" then it won't be effective. Maybe your son won't be persuaded to practise for longer, but maybe his practice can be made more effective?

JulieMichelleRobinson Mon 10-Mar-14 23:11:18

FWIW, at grade 7 violin (13/14yo) I was probably doing about 45 min five days a week, at grade 7 piano (16/17yo) probably about an hour. But that was regular practice, not "oh my, I have an exam coming!" practice, and I covered a lot of repertoire.

Iddi9 Tue 11-Mar-14 00:15:54

DS has always been like this I just feel enough is enough and it's time to put in some real effort. Trouble is in past he always passes his exams with credit or distinction so thinks why break what has always worked but I think this time could be the time he regrets it.

FriendlyLadybird Tue 11-Mar-14 09:57:03

At Grade 7 I'm afraid I was easily doing an hour a night, every day (except lesson days). It would take more than 10 minutes just to warm up.

And I was very good. If your DS has got this far, with merits or distinctions after only 10 minutes a day practice, he must be a genius. So it's a shame he's not doing more, but if he is not motivated to practice, either by wanting to do better at exams or simply because he enjoys playing, I can't really see the point of your pushing him.

LurcioLovesFrankie Tue 11-Mar-14 10:01:10

Does your DS play in any ensembles? Orchestras, chamber groups, quartets? Because at that stage the thing that really motivated me was competition - wanting to keep up with my mates!

DeWe Tue 11-Mar-14 13:37:30

He may be fine. Dh got to grade 8 piano on 15 minutes a day. He got distinction at grade 8. His teacher thought he was doing about an hour a day.

Iddi9 Wed 12-Mar-14 06:17:52

DwWe that is what I guess I was hoping to hear more of for reassurance that it could be okay. He just seems to have lost interest but to have come so far sad

Martorana Wed 12-Mar-14 06:24:08

I would just leave him to it, but stop after this exam. He obviously doesn't want to carry on- it's not compulsory you know!

Theas18 Thu 13-Mar-14 09:45:42

How old is he?

My kids that have done grade 7 actually seem to have done it on what I'd consider seriously little practice. However like DeWe s DH they did well. They were 15-17 yrs though and did practice with reasonable focus - it really doesn't help to just keep playing though the pieces (and they are long ones at grade 7) but to keep doing the 10 bars you don't get.....the anchor it into to piece etc

But the scales... Argh!

Theas18 Thu 13-Mar-14 09:49:04

Op if he's getting worse with practice he isn't locating and sorting the difficult bits, he's starting at the top and stumbling at the same place, effectively " learning his mistake" rather then forcing his fingers/brain(breath?) to do the right thing and always do the right thing.

Maybe ask his teacher to have a session on why you practice and how you do it?

ReallyTired Mon 17-Mar-14 22:09:23

I think he needs to experience a taste of failure to learn that if you want to pass difficult exams, it requires work. Is it really the end of the world if he fails grade 7? The grim lesson of failure may mean that he does more work for his GCSEs.

BeckAndCall Tue 18-Mar-14 06:58:50

Does it depend on instrument, I wonder. Some instruments need a good warm up and others don't?

For my DDs main instrument, she didn't need to practice much at home ( too big, no space!) but managed grade 8 distinction no problem ( but played 4 times a week in orchestra/ ensemble) but last week took grade 8 piano and was practicing about an hour a day ( but maybe out of choice?)

Plus, due respect to trinity guildhall, but if it's ABRSM, there is also an awful lot of scales and aural to get through too which isn't in the trinity syllabus so that adds to the time preparation factor

So it's not totally out of the question that he'll be fine. But more likely it's that he's not practicing well if he thinks he's getting worse - his teacher needs to help him with the practice technique - playing from before the bit he finds difficult ( running into it) and not moving off that section until he's got it.

rewa Fri 06-Jun-14 07:29:11

OP how did it go? My own DC amazed me and passed only just 10 marks clear but now thinks practice of 5 mins before lessons was actually 15. Which planet i live on i don't know because i could have sworn only 5 mins was actually done!

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