September Music and Musicians Thread

(524 Posts)
Wafflenose Fri 02-Sep-16 20:18:49

Hello to all musicians and parents of musicians, both old and new, beginners and advanced! Feel free to share whatever you like, and ask away about anything to do with music, exams, concerts, repertoire, practice, etc.

We are all heading back to school and work this coming Monday. My daughters Goo (10) and Rara (8) will be going into Year 6 and Year 4 respectively. Goo plays the recorder, flute and piano (just took up piano in April) and I have slapped a ban on exams for about a year - she has been doing too many. Rara plays the recorder and cello, and will be doing whole class brass lessons during Year 4. She's taking Grade 3 Recorder this term, and is about two-thirds of the way through the Grade 1 Theory book, doing it in her own sweet time and bloody annoying unique way. Goo's main project will be NCO and county auditions... not that she's busting a gut currently!

TheSecondOfHerName Fri 02-Sep-16 22:33:14

Thank you all for your support last term in getting an exhausted DD through her G3 flute. It turns out that she had an undiagnosed ear infection that required two rounds of antibiotics. She is not doing any flute exams this term, but now she has her G3, she can join the junior orchestra at school. She also had a couple of singing lessons over the summer (to increase confidence rather than to work towards exams).

DS2 will be doing Grade 5 theory in November and Grade 5 clarinet in December.

Musicmom1 Sat 03-Sep-16 08:13:13

Thank you Waffle; DD (10) plays clarinet and cello; big tasks this term are secondary school entrance exams and auditions, and NCO audition. G6 clarinet planned for spring, and cello g8 at some distant and happily undefined point!

Musicmom1 Sat 03-Sep-16 08:15:08

Oh and starts JD this term so various auditions for seats in first few weeks which should be interesting given the age range.

raspberryrippleicecream Sat 03-Sep-16 09:07:43

Thanks Waffle.

DS2 (Y9) will be doing Grade 7 piano this term, plays trombone at around Grade 6 (no exams) and clarinet towards Grade 6. He is coming towards the end if being a Chorister, still a treble but will have reduced commitments this term. He is taking the opportunity to try new things, first is NYO Inspire!

DD is going into Y12, plays Bari and Alto Sax plus piano for fun.

And DS1 is heading off to uni, brass in hand, intending to find new bands to play in!

LooseAtTheSeams Sat 03-Sep-16 09:31:39

Back from conference week to a new thread! Many thanks Waffle and hope you and everyone else had a great Summer.
DS1 is likely to have bass guitar (grade 6) and theory (5) this term but we'll see how we get on. He is just going into yr10 and starting GCSEs including music. I think he is just about going to make the deadline for his art project!! We have loads of time before worrying about grade 6 percussion or drum exams and in no hurry.
DS2 is just about to start secondary school. He has no exams this term so can enjoy his cello and piano without too much stress. He has played loads of piano this Summer. I think the cello had one outing a week! He harbours a desire to learn saxophone.
I am a very slow learner on the piano. Might take my grade 4 this term but depends on how well I can juggle work and practising!

Fleurdelise Sat 03-Sep-16 10:23:48

Thank you Waffle!

DD is 9 (finally just turned 9 two weeks agosmile) and going into year 5. I will paste here my previous post as Waffle suggested:

Hello all! Now that the new academic year is starting I am back and I am all yours!grin

For us the summer was total laid back, we've been away for two weeks and then we came back and basically the kids did what they wanted. DD practiced the piano whenever she remembered if she did, with the teacher's approval who agreed she needs to relax for a bit, the clarinet wasn't touched at all as the teacher has been away for the summer and without lessons she couldn't be bothered.

I thought both kids deserve a break before the important year ahead: GCSEs for DS and 11+ next Sept for DD. We are DIY though, won't hire a tutor.

This week we are getting back on track, piano practice was a whole hour last night and she actually came away from the piano stating she loves the pieces she is playing now. I guess she missed being committed to her practice. We'll go back to clarinet practice sometimes next week.

Piano will be still the main instrument as she is heading towards grade 5 and clarinet seems to happily tick along with 15 min practice at the moment.

We've reassessed the sporty activities they do also so DS is picking up football (again) to relax through GCSEs, and DD gave up dancing and ice skating (thank god as it was freezing for me) in favour of trampolining.

So this is new in the Fleur household, good luck to all of the DCs in the new academic year in all their activities.

Greenleave Sat 03-Sep-16 11:06:35

Hello all, thanks Waffle for new thread, hopefully will be a good and musical term for us all.

Wave to Fleur and Loose!!!

I have 1 musical 8 years old, playing violin and piano(G3 both). We are thinking of piano exam this term, piano has been smth that I dont need to sit next to or nag to as its much less challenging than violin for us. We are looking for a violin teacher so anyone knows any good violin teacher in SW London please pm me. Thank you

Fleurdelise Sat 03-Sep-16 11:19:40

Good luck to all the DCs doing an exam this term, for us I think it may be grade 1 clarinet but not too sure, back for lessons next week. Back to school on Moday for DD and Tuesday for DS going into year 11.

TheSecondOfHerName Sat 03-Sep-16 11:23:27

Hi LooseAtTheSeams DS2 is also going into Y10. He'd like to do G5 theory this term as he wants to get it out of the way before the GCSE courses become more time-consuming. Having seen the pressure his older brother was under in Y11, I think that's sensible.

DS2 is fairly confident with most aspects of theory but is struggling with the number of Italian words to learn (plus a few French & German words too). Some of them he can guess from learning Latin, but some he will have to just memorise.

TheSecondOfHerName Sat 03-Sep-16 11:26:19

Fleurdelise sorry, I didn't mean to put you off Y11. It's just that there are a lot of demands on their time: controlled assessments, then mocks, then A-level options, then GCSE revision for exams starting in early May. Part of DS1's problem stemmed from organisational difficulties - I'm sure your DS will be fine.

Fleurdelise Sat 03-Sep-16 11:34:26

TheSecond don't worry I know it will be tough, that is the reason I kind of let them do what they wanted for the summer, both of them will have a stressful year ahead, DS more so. Now the problem is getting back into a routine, DS is still asleep for example. confused

onlymusic Sat 03-Sep-16 11:58:57

Hi all, and thank you Waffle for the new thread flowers
I have dd1 who is playing violin and piano (not serious piano from this term, we stopped at grade 4 level and decided to carry on for fun only for the time being), and ds2 who is violinist too smile. Dd may take theory exam this term, probably grade 3. And we have some concerts during the autumn term and these are our forthcoming plans.

I have a question to the young piano players (10yo and beyond). How long does it take your dc to learn a new piece? Dd was learning a new piece yesterday, she only played 8 bars but to make them sound more or less nice it took her at least hour. I feel it is probably far too slow....

Mistigri Sat 03-Sep-16 12:04:39

Hi all! I have DD15 who plays piano, guitar and bass (sax is on a gap year). She will be finishing her French "cycle 2" in piano this year, roughly grade 8. Exams are structured differently here with more emphasis on public performance so she will need to build up some repertoire. She hasn't played much over the holidays because of being away for the best part of 6 weeks, but she has almost finished the Schubert impromptu she was given as holiday homework (verdict: it's long - and she will expected to play from memory in her exam - but repetitive and not technically difficult). Guitar just keeps on keeping on: same teacher and same group this year (adult jazz ensemble). Not sure yet if she can fit in bass lessons due to school timetable.

It's the first properly important year in her school life - equivalent Y12. She has her final French literature exam and science project in June, which count towards her baccalaureat, but more importantly, her marks for this year will determine whether she gets accepted for selective post-18 studies in two years' time. She is still unsure what she wants to do, so it's important for her to keep her options open. Fortunately she seems to have started the year as she means to go on, and she has gone round a friend's house to do maths homework this afternoon (one day into term and before they have even had a maths class they have several exercises and two pieces of marked homework to do lol).

I also have a DS who dabbles with piano/ keyboard, but not formally. He's in Y10 which is the last year of Middle school here. He does have exams but he would have to work hard to fail them and they don't matter anyway (though I am of course not telling him that!).

Mistigri Sat 03-Sep-16 12:09:31

only depends on the piece, how hard, how long, how much repetition there is. I don't think there is any rule of thumb. DD learnt Schumann's Traumerei in her second term of piano, it's only a page but it took a looooong time lol. The piece she has been learning this summer has been relatively quick because of the repetition of similar patterns throughout the piece.

Pradaqueen Sat 03-Sep-16 12:10:49

Hello everyone! Busy two terms ahead. Miniprada is 10 going into year 6. Hoping to get G7 violin done this term and maybe G6 piano. Also 11+ exams on the 10th and 17th then independent entrance exams on January plus (hopefully) music scholarship auditions. She also wants to try for NCO this term (prep will help for possible music auditions) plus a competitive music festival in Nov. She is also lead violinist in the local junior strings orchestra. Good luck to everyone this term with exams!

Only, I would say miniprada is on a par with an hour for 8 bars sounding spot on in an hour. Violin, much much less time. I don't know if it's a coordination thing with the piano which makes it more difficult?

se22mother Sat 03-Sep-16 12:13:41

Thanks waffle for the thread. I have dd 8 who plays violin , looking at g 3 this term, and g1 clarinet potentially also this term.

ChinchillaFur Sat 03-Sep-16 12:29:26

I'd like to join you if I may?

My dd is 7 (yr3) and started piano lessons this time last year. Progress has been rapid and she has been pretty good at keeping going over the summer break.

We also found out in July that she has won a scholarship to learn the Oboe free of charge for 2 years, with an individual weekly lesson and an Oboe included! I don't know what to expect at all ... I suppose there might be expectations of her joining the county music school on a Saturday and/or the orchestra?

Any advice warmly welcomed as this is a whole new world for us smile

drummersmum Sat 03-Sep-16 13:24:33

Hello everyone and thanks Waffle, a nice chance to update ourselves on our particulars!
I have a DS who's going into Year10. Doing music GCSE and very excited to see he has double music periods this year in his timetable. He plays drums, piano and orchestral percussion. Sitting G8 drums this autumn, piano G8 sometime in spring or summer and orchestral percussion G8 in summer. Everything is dependent on being ready, of course. He also wants to audition for JD, so we'll go to a couple of open days and really consider that. His school homework is going up to two hours a day which will make everything previously mentioned very very difficult, as he plays in so many bands and ensembles after school during the week.
I paid for G8 drums exam fee yesterday: 79 pounds. Ouch.

drummersmum Sat 03-Sep-16 13:25:44

only learning a new piano piece takes an awful lot of time - depending on level and duration, of course.

LooseAtTheSeams Sat 03-Sep-16 14:30:43

TheSecond yes, that's our plan with the theory as well. DS1 has chosen 2 coursework-heavy GCSE options so think it will really help if he can get grade 5 done this term. I am slightly hoping that DS2 will inherit the theory lesson after him but he doesn't seem very keen at the moment.
Waves to Green and Fleur!
drummersmum that is ouch! But best of luck to him!

howabout Sat 03-Sep-16 14:57:24

Hello all. I have DD1 (15) working on grade 7 piano and grade 8ish violin and trumpet and DD2 (13) who passed grade 5 piano and grade 4 oboe in the summer and is about grade 6 viola. She is also working on grade 5 theory to get it out the way and improve her sightreading and aural skills - this is already showing results smile.

When DD1 did theory she took the cavalier decision not to bother learning all the music terms and sacrificed the 4 marks on offer - DD2 is learning them because she is less confident about all the other stuff and I have inadvertently become more involved.

We are in Scotland so have been back at school for a month and are looking forward to orchestra season.

Fleurdelise Sat 03-Sep-16 15:39:26

Welcome Chinchilla! No advice to give but if you stick to the thread you'll find lots of useful information and discussions, ask anything and I am sure somebody will try and help.

Only I have noticed that after grade 3 the pieces are not that easy to master and DD's teacher wouldn't sign off a piece as done as easy as before. Technique seems to be the magic word for us these days and DD spent all this week working on just 5 bars of one piece. It wasn't that she couldn't play them, they sounded good to me, it is just that the technique needs to be right and suddenly you hear the difference between pressing keys and actually interpreter a piece.

DD did close to an hour practice on the piano in the last few days, 10 min scales, 5 min sight reading practice, 10 on studies/technical exercises such as Czerny, Bartok, and then 3 pieces she's currently working on, Grieg, Chopin and Beethoven. Not enough but sometimes we need to stop as it is too late, some evenings she may leave stuff out such as studies, or a certain piece to concentrate on other. So spending close to a month - 6 weeks on one piece is not unheard of in this house since the level and the requirements are higher now.

drummersmum Sat 03-Sep-16 16:40:43

It takes about 4 or 5 months for Ds at G8 to reach performance level on one piece. He learns several pieces at the same time though So it can take even longer.

BeBesideTheSea Sat 03-Sep-16 16:56:00

Hello - thanks for the new thread Waffle so I found you all again.

DS (6yrs) has not been brilliant at doing recorder practice this holiday, but has had a couple of extra lessons, which we great as I got to go along too.

He seems to be bored with doing the same things over and over (scales) so I got him a "just for fun" book, but he seems scared to try these. All his confidence has gone.

As have his 2 front top teeth!

I am hoping that getting back into a routine will help.

Grade 1 before Xmas.

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