Support group for parents of children taking music exams!

(1000 Posts)
Wafflenose Mon 14-Nov-11 22:03:28

Hello, I'm feeling excited, nervous and wobbly because my daughter is taking her first music exam in three weeks. I'm a music teacher and am very used to getting children through the exams, keeping the parents informed, helping to focus practice, etc, but this is my first experience with my own child doing an exam and for some reason it's more scary than putting other people's children in! I think she will be OK (and the other thirteen I have entered this term) but I'm not!! Any tips for the 'other side' (parents rather than music teachers) for how to keep us both calm on the day would be gratefully received! Does it get easier as they become more experienced? Am thinking not...

She is taking part in the local music festival tomorrow, to gain performance experience. She's wildly excited, and I've got the jitters!!

Oeufman Mon 14-Nov-11 22:35:39

Sorry - don't think it gets any easier. I sit outside the room waiting for the parts he finds challenging in his pieces, and exhaling as he finishes each piece. He always comes out chilled and saying "it was okay!"

Watching him perform in orchestra is very relaxing - though I do wish he would smile! When playing solo, the fact he refuses to place music on the piano and does it all from memory un-nerves me slightly!

Wafflenose Mon 14-Nov-11 22:46:53

Thanks for replying! I did think that it wouldn't get easier as time went on, but it's nice to know I'm not alone. She has just joined the school orchestra so I'm sure that will help (especially with rhythm, and performing experience generally) and I look forward to hearing them play at Christmas! I take it from your post that he plays the piano - and an orchestral instrument as well?

RaspberryLemonPavlova Tue 15-Nov-11 00:58:54

I have found sitting through exams has got a bit easier, 3DCs through 9 exams on 4 instruments so far. I think the fact you aren't in the room helps. Nos DS1 is at secondary he just goes off like a normal school day, clutching his trumpet and arrives back in the evening job done.

Solo playing at festivals/performances - thats a different matter. I love the orchestra playing too though.

RaspberryLemonPavlova Tue 15-Nov-11 01:07:34

As for tips. I'm sure you tell your parents the same things. I know the way to the Exam Centre in advance (have been in 3 different ones), where I can park and how long it will take to get there. I make sure we arrive in good time. I take water. Depending on the instrument I have checked reeds etc myself. I double check all the music. Last time I was there the next candidate had forgotten their music! I think that if I have helped DCs to arrive calm and well prepared they are well placed to do their bit!

Depending on the child I shut up or talk brightly. You will know your child best.

Good luck at the Festival - let us know how she gets on.

startail Tue 15-Nov-11 01:23:30

DD is generally very calm about singing exams, I get a bit nervous.
I get very nervous when she is performing solos, never enjoy the show till she's done her bit.

Oeufman Tue 15-Nov-11 07:55:46

Hi Wafflenose, yes DS is grade 8 piano and grade 5 cello. He is a very young looking 14, so the examiner was always quite surprised at the level he was being examined for, and usually checks with DS (last one asked him if he was sure!).
He loves the piano exams, but despises cello ones - though loves orchestra! Performance wise I have such a fear he will freeze - and with his insistence on no music that would be disastrous! I know I drive him mad as I get nervous (though we do have a good laugh about it) :0
We always make sure we are early and he is relaxed etc. Are the exams at your home? One thing we heard can phase kids is sitting exams on a grand piano if they have only played an upright.

Wafflenose Tue 15-Nov-11 09:22:29

Wow Raspberry, what a musical family! I look forward to mine being old enough to go off and do it at school and come back without jangling my nerves so much!

Star, I think kids who do singing exams are so brave! I have done a few as an adult and found them scary!

Oeufman - Grade 8 piano - wow! He's better than me!

I will be in the room for part of the exam because I'm accompanying her - while she is little I prefer to teach her myself because lessons are so expensive, and it's working at the moment. I know that when she gets older she will probably argue with me and it will be time to pass her on to another teacher! I think they will get a surprise when she plays too - she is 6.1 and doing Grade 1 recorder (TG) and one of her pieces is in 6/8 and uses the high register up to top G. She is honestly going to be fine, but I'm still scared for her! She absolutely insisted she wanted to do the exam, so we have arranged for her to play in church a couple of times, and in the festival as a sort of warm up. Two of the festival classes are today - will let you know how she does!!

Wafflenose Tue 15-Nov-11 09:24:11

forgot to add, no the exams aren't at my house, they're at the school I work at. DD goes to another school, so it's a new place to get used to, but at least she won't have to play the grand piano!

RaspberryLemonPavlova Tue 15-Nov-11 09:47:45

I think piano players have to get used to different pianos anyway. The trouble with the exam is that, unless you are very lucky, they can't go and practice on the exam piano beforehand. (Our exam centres are in churches mostly). On the plus side you don't have to carry heavy/large instruments about. I think it helps if they can play different pianos occasionally when they have the opportunity - friends and relatives houses, at school etc. We have a digital piano, with weighted keys, and I find they transfer to different pianos quite easily.

My DCs piano teacher turns her piano into a 'grand piano' with a stand to hold the music a bit higher, so they get used to looking at the music differently.

I like festivals, except the part when DC are actually playing! Hope you have a positive and constructive adjudicator.

It sound like you have a talented 6 year old, lots of luck.

Wafflenose Tue 15-Nov-11 10:25:02

Thank you! Am now giggling about the mental picture of a piano-playing child trying to carry their large, heavy instrument around, or pull it to the exam centre on a lead! All this stress is making me silly. Will report back this afternoon!

Wafflenose Tue 15-Nov-11 14:48:12

Am very proud and very excited to be able to say that I have taken a very excited little girl back to school! She won both the 8 & Under and 10 & Under solo recorder cups with two distinctions, and received two cups and two medals! I'm now less nervous about her exam and think she is going to cope OK under pressure. So happy for her!

RaspberryLemonPavlova Tue 15-Nov-11 17:55:45

Well done your little girl!!

Am really pleased for you both.

relaxitllbeok Tue 15-Nov-11 18:38:47

Glad you're feeling more relaxed now OP! My strategy is "think of it as something between him, his music teacher and the examiner, and really nothing to do with me" and that works pretty well so far (my DS is taking his second exam this week) but is not readily applicable to you...

He seems OK with them so far, too. One thing I really like is that his school has regular informal concerts which are very much about the joint enjoyment of music. I try to encourage the attitude that exams, marks, prizes etc. are really not important compared with doing your best so that you can enjoy making music and so that other people enjoy listening to you and playing music with you - all these enjoyments go up the more you work. I think this is (a) true and (b) likely to encourage a relaxed approach to exams. Here's hoping.

Wafflenose Tue 15-Nov-11 19:32:55

Thank you both! She is high as a kite but really, really tired so I've put her to bed early and said no reading in bed tonight!

Sounds like a good strategy, relax. You're right, it doesn't apply to me too much - but now I feel it will be relatively relaxing to go and play her pieces with her to a total stranger for her exam. Today there were about 20 people watching, including adjudicators, other children, a few parents and a couple of my colleagues! I was in a shaky state by the time I'd finished playing, but the adjudicator called DD "cool as a cucumber", "a natural performer" and a "whippersnapper". She is playing in assembly on Thursday morning, and in a non-competitive festival class on Thursday evening, which should be nice and relaxing! Absolutely agree with the whole enjoyment and effort thing - we always recognise effort, and winning something totally unexpected today is just a wonderful bonus.

What exam is your DS doing this time relax? I look forward to hearing about how he gets on.

Any other music exam entrants this term?

Oeufman Tue 15-Nov-11 22:01:56

Wow - well done to little waffle! Delighted. We have no exams this term - next term yes! He is doing a big Chopin piece at the moment, but is also attacking the original Simpsons theme which is apparently quite difficult!

Have to confess he has a bit of an advantage when playing unknown pianos - we own quite a large piano shop and his Dad (a piano tuner) insists he plays various instruments. He is also getting quite adept at moving them also :0

Wafflenose Tue 15-Nov-11 22:19:57

Very impressed about the Chopin and moving pianos around Oeuf!

Little Waffle started teaching herself piano out of a book also, at half term. I don't have time to teach her properly myself (she has a 3 year old sister and I work 3 days a week) but I sort of supervise. Recorder wins hands down at the moment though! Had the shock of my life this afternoon. We only did the festival for the experience and a bit of fun!

Colleger Wed 16-Nov-11 16:18:37

Waffle, I'm interested in putting my son in for a festival but we've never done it before. He's 10 and is nearing grade 7 bassoon and can play two grade 7 pieces but the rest are around grade 6 level. Did you apply for one age group and then she got the prize because she was the best in both? I've also noticed some festivals have a mixed woodwind section which seems odd as some woodwind are harder to play than others so if son went up against a grade 6 clarinettist (example, not sure if it's harder) then would he be at the advantage or do they just pick the best performance?

Regarding exams, I find the practice in the build up stressful but am totally relieved when the day of the exam arrives as I am thoroughly sick of three pieces, scales and the practice stress. Certain grades probably carry more stress as they are seen as bench-marks so grade 5 and 8.

Colleger Wed 16-Nov-11 16:19:32

There is also a forum for music on ABRSM.

RaspberryLemonPavlova Wed 16-Nov-11 20:31:18

I don't know if all festivals are the same, but in our local festival you would enter him for 10 and under woodwind. Then it depends on what the adjuticator is looking for, they know the intricacies of the different instruments. You could also enter him for 12 and under etc if you wished, at the grade level he is playing he is probably on a par. I presume that is what the OP did with her 2 classes. IME the higher grade doesn't necessarily always beat other grades. We also have an open class with a minimum Grade 6 standard which he could also enter.

Wafflenose Wed 16-Nov-11 22:25:47

Hi, have been working all day, so checking in now!

Yes it would be 10 and under woodwind, and the next one up if you wanted to. It's the best performance which wins at ours, not the hardest piece or anything to do with relative ease of playing an instrument. If he's Grade 6-7 he could certainly try a higher class. DD entered two different solo classes and unexpectedly won them both. As Raspberry pointed out, some classes have minimum requirements. I entered DD for a bit of fun and as much performing experience as possible. She was only eligible for U8s, U10s and the Parent & Child duet class, which is tomorrow. There is an U13 class, which I thought would be a bit silly, but she says she wants to try next year! I don't think so!! There are also various duet classes which she might be able to do with friends in the future, and a beginners' piano class which she might try next time if she keeps it up.

I joined the ABRSM boards about a year before DD was born, but don't post much there any more.

Colleger Wed 16-Nov-11 23:50:56

What grade is she on the recorder? I heard a performance from a Year 7 pupil at Purcell the other day and it made me realise just how beautiful the recorder can be.

So would it be best to play a lower grade amazingly well? If he played a grade 4 piece in U10's would he be allowed to do this if he was also playing grade 6+ in an open competition as it would feel like cheating in the younger group iykwim.

Wafflenose Thu 17-Nov-11 09:59:38

She turned six last month and is heading towards grade 2. I have entered her for grade 1 this term because I know how unreliable young children can be and at least it is well within her comfort zone!

There is an incredibly amazing piano/violin player at the school I work at, a similar age to your own DS. He played professional level repertoire brilliantly at the festival, but WAS beaten by someone who played something a bit easier but really well. It would be fine to play an easier piece in U10s and a harder piece in the next class up. This is what we did, although with no expectation of winning anything at all! I did feel a bit bad for those year 5 and 6 kids being beaten by a year 1 after she'd already won her own class, BUT she had the harder pieces AND was the only one not to make a major slip, so fair's fair!

Wafflenose Thu 17-Nov-11 10:05:05

meant to add, if he's age eligible, it would not be cheating anyone at all.

SouthernandCross Tue 22-Nov-11 08:40:47

Have just found this thread. I wish I had found it before!
My two eldest DD's sat their Grade 1 and Grade 3 piano exams on Saturday, and now we start the long wait for results. They seemed to do okay although I fear both girls have been overly positive about how they did so I'm afraid they might both be disappointed. Both are convinced they will get distinctions, whereas I'd be happy with a pass!
Has anyone else had children sit in this last round of exams?

Wafflenose Tue 22-Nov-11 09:24:38

Hello Southern, I hope they did do as well as they thought. Please let us know when they get their results!

My DD is doing her Grade 1 recorder in a couple of weeks, so is still practising lots. It's a special visit though, so very late in the session and most people will have sat theirs before then.

mel38 Tue 22-Nov-11 10:08:02

Yes my daughter sat her grade 1 piano last thursday and she too was very positive said it went really well ! but she did also say she played a wrong note in her first piece , she would love a merit as she got a merit on her violin in july but I would be happy with a pass ...........only 3 weeks to wait .....

relaxitllbeok Tue 22-Nov-11 10:17:02

Mine took Grade 2 piano last week. He wasn't very positive about it afterwards, but it didn't sound from his description as though anything too disastrous happened (and he was much the same after his Gr1 where he got distinction; otoh I wouldn't expect him to get distinction this time; so who knows, really?!). At any rate, I know his playing has been coming on really well, and that's what matters. I videoed him just before his Grade 1 exam and just before his Grade 2, and the improvement is astonishing for a relatively short time. I'm really glad we had the Gr1 recording to look back at, actually, as when you're in the thick of always working on the stuff that's not right yet it's easy to lose sight of progress.

SouthernandCross Tue 22-Nov-11 10:25:25

Oh cool re recorder. I am afraid I've confiscated every recorder in our house and we have 12 on the top shelf, as DD2 is the only one who can actually play a tune on it; the rest just BLOW as hard as they can.
It sounds wonderful when played nicely though smile

SouthernandCross Tue 22-Nov-11 10:29:36

Oh cool, there are bunch of us nervous mothers here too.
It was DD2's first exam so I was just pleased all her pieces sounded reasonably okay to me. it sounds like her sight reading and aural went okay too.
DD3 got a distinction last year for grade 2 after a poor pass in grade 1 ( we changed teachers). I don't think she'll get a distinction this year as she fumbled one of her pieces so I hope she's not too upsetsad
Do any of you reward your kids for exam results? I've told them they can have something special if they get a good grade as it represents a LOT of hard work for them!

relaxitllbeok Tue 22-Nov-11 11:35:17

I wouldn't want to reward for exam results as I'd think it'd just tend to increase the stress next time. What I did do, though, was to have a special "celebration" meal with candles and DS's favourite foods the evening of the exam. DH was a bit hmm at celebrating then rather than when the results come out, but I take the view that the thing most worth celebrating is the effort DS put in and the steady improvement he's made, regardless of the results.

Wafflenose Tue 22-Nov-11 12:06:19

This is DD's first exam, but no, we probably won't buy her anything, except maybe some new fun music. She took part in her first festival last week and unexpectedly won 5 medals and trophies in the end - she was so thrilled we didn't need to do anything additional to celebrate. She was then asked to play at school and in the festival showcase concert, so it was well worth doing to practise playing to various audiences. Unfortunately, she has now decided that everything is boring by comparison to her brilliant week - school is boring, her toys are boring and even we are boring. She's also developed a bit of 'attitude' lately - but maybe that's just her age!!

Wafflenose Tue 22-Nov-11 12:08:43

relax, let us know how he gets on when the results come out!

Absolutely agree that it the progress made which we should recognise and celebrate. I have a feeling my DD will like collecting the certificates too, but hopefully that will be reward enough for her - the exam cost over £30!

racingheart Tue 22-Nov-11 12:56:56

Please can I join you? With sad news.

DS1 sat his grade 1 piano today and it was a disaster. I could hear through the walls. He absolutely went to pieces. he adores piano, practises hard every day, unaided, and plays well at home but just crumbles under any sort of pressure. He really messed up his RH broken chords, which he's played perfectly for months; he absolutely blanked on his LH broken chords so told the examiner he couldn't play them at all, and then played Andante (Haydn) ending in the wrong key somehow, having made three complete re-starts mid piece. I feel like crying for him. He was perfect on all these last night. He knows he's failed, and feels so sad.

Any advice?

SouthernandCross Tue 22-Nov-11 13:14:38

Oh racingheart, don't give up hope yet. Seriously, I go to pieces in exams too but have managed to pass complete train wrecks of both Grade 4 and 5 in piano over the last couple of years.
If he played 2 pieces musically, did the rest of his scales okay and his aural/ sight reading went okay he should pass Grade 1, I think.
Last year I bombed all of my scales, cried through my pieces and had to restart 2 ( one 5 times!) and have no memory of my sight reading or ear tests!!!

racingheart Tue 22-Nov-11 13:20:05

Southern - did you pass, despite that? You've just given me hope. He really deserves to pass. I've never met another child who practises every day without a single prompt from an adult. He loves playing but not performing, IYSWIM.

relaxitllbeok Tue 22-Nov-11 13:48:02

racingheart, what does his teacher say? And has he gone to pieces in performance situations before? It's fine for him not to do exams if he doesn't want to; tbh their major purpose is to goad children into practising and your DS doesn't need that! It seems a little bit of a shame to miss out on performing altogether since giving people pleasure with your music is to my mind part of the point, but if it never went past playing for his friends and relatives that would be OK! See how he's done and then maybe have a chat with him and his teacher together to see what's a good plan?

There are things that can be practised about how to react to making a mistake in a piece, and this is worth doing even if he never plans to do another exam or performance. Most people's reaction to making a mistake is to restart, but you can imagine that if they're playing together with another musician and they both restart every time they make a mistake chaos results! So it's a useful skill to learn to keep going, preferably coming back in in time, even if you miss a note or a few; it makes it easier to have fun making music socially. Practising with a metronome, maybe set at a speed slow enough to make the piece easy, can help. His teacher should be able to advise. My DS often finishes his practice of a particular piece, once he's got it near to performance standard, by playing it through "three times perfectly" by which he means (a) with whatever aspect of it he was practising earlier in this practice session correct to his satisfaction, and (b) with no stumbles in the rest of the piece. I think this is a dubious definition of "perfect" and his notion of "perfect" certainly improves a lot over the weeks, but it works for him!

racingheart Tue 22-Nov-11 13:54:40

Relax, haven't told his teacher yet.
Your advice about how to keep going when you make a mistake is great - thanks for that. I'll pass it on to DS.

His teacher is one of the shyest women I've ever met. She gave a recital once to a couple of mums and pupils at her house, and she was BRILLIANT! Like a different person - so flamboyant and passionate. But I wonder if she'd have the bottle to play like that in public. I think she connects with DS and his love of playing for its own sake.

Theas18 Tue 22-Nov-11 14:03:24

Just found this thread as well!

Can I just say yes it does get easier the more exams you and your children do but also depends on the child....

My elder 2 have nerves of steel- the eldest did a choral scholarship audition at Oxford and that was about the 1st time she shook after apparently, but the youngest shakes every time we do one!

As a parent we take things really low key and TBH the kids put the pressure on themselves (typically). Singing and piano exams are relentless and the teacher is a bit against skipping grades. I think this is because her "day job" is at a prep school and she "needs" to feel she has evidence of progress IYSWIM

Much prefer the attitude of our recorder teacher which is "do an exam if you and it happen to have the same agenda" so DS is planning to do 8 in the summer after GCSEs having last done 6 a couple of years ago.

Mostly (apart from recorder) recent exams have been trinity and the results are given the same day which is marvellous.

Nerves are also eased a bit as the school is often an exam centre so they do a normal school day, just popping out for the exam.

DH sometime accompanies the kids and he gets more nervous than they do I think (esp DD1s gd 8 recorder when the pno part was very hard!).

We've had some lovely and some bad adjudicators but over all apart from the expense I really think doing exams is good for the children. Performing and getting well written feedback is great and just having to do it lots is a great way to deal with nerves.

BTW glad to hear good feedback about the recorder! When played seriously it is so close to vocal music in its expressive nature. I know I'm biased but still!

SouthernandCross Tue 22-Nov-11 14:57:38

Racing heart, yes I did pass. The examiner gave me one mark over the required pass mark because she could tell I'd prepared and knew my stuff, it's just my hands were shaking so much they were all over the place. I'd like to sit grade 6 eventually but am slogging through my theory first.
You son sounds a little star. My 9 year old is good at practising now but my 8 year old is is NIGHTMARE still, DD1 was like this for her Grade 1 and 2 as well, so I'm hoping DD2 will grow out of it eventually.
They are both sitting 2nd instrument exams in the next year too, trombone and double bass, so I think having done piano first will help them a lot.

3monkeys Tue 22-Nov-11 21:14:22

DD has her grade 2 violin in december. She can play well on some days but not great on others. I don't know if I'm too hard on her but I'm not that sure she'll do well!

RaspberryLemonPavlova Tue 22-Nov-11 22:12:26

We celebrate the hard work, not the grade achieved as well, and have a treat after the exam.

DCs have done both ABRSM and Trinity Guildhall Exams depending on instrument and teacher, Trinity is fantastically quick with results compared to ABRSM.

Had a session off this term, Grade 5 cello and trombone to look forward to in February.

Good luck to all DCs taking exams this term

3monkeys Tue 22-Nov-11 22:53:35

What age did you start the cello? Would love DS2 to play

RaspberryLemonPavlova Tue 22-Nov-11 23:52:23

3monkeys Its DD that plays, not me. Actually meant to say she is doing Grade 5 sax in Feb. She has just started cello aged 11 because it wasn't on offer at primary school, and I refused to pay (and find the time) for a teacher outside school. So she did violin, with a promise of cello at secondary if she wanted to change.

But depending on your willingness to find a teacher, I believe you can start cello at around 4 with 1/10 cello if you wanted to. There is a thread on here somewhere about someone that age playing. How old is your DS2?

3monkeys Wed 23-Nov-11 08:29:19

He's 6, would start at about 7 as that's when DD started violin. Only one problem, he would prefer drums hmm

Xenia Wed 23-Nov-11 09:13:19

I'm quite relaxed about it now on to child 5 in year 27 of being a mother.... (and I passed 4 grade 8s myself in my time)

I am not sure how many exams my children have all done but quite a lot and one got a music scholarship.

Also bear in mind Associated Board grades 6 - 8 get you UCAS points for university entrance (although that's only useful if you won't get very good A levels and are scrabbling for points but even if they have good ones some job applications ask for them - my 20 something daughter had to look out her grade 8 cello and her singing and piano certs the other day to work out how many UCAS points that gave her).

I agree with "The" about keeping it low key although mine seem to be massively laid back, so may be we should be less low key about it. Anyway it's only music and should be fun, that's my view. I got the twins through grades 5 and 6 and 7 singing exam but I think (unlike their big brother who was very young for his year) we have missed the boat for grade 8 before their voices break which is a pity particularly for me as I love singing with them every day.

As the original poster will know more than most as she teaches, one of the key things when they start to learn is to have the parent sit with them each day and better to practise 10 minutes a day than once a week and easiest if it's at the same time every day. I always accompany on the piano too if they're doing an instrument because I like it which means they always practise the pieces which are accompanied much more than boring unaccompanied studies always always start with a few scales.

(rh, he may still have passed. He might have done well on other bits of the exam. One of ours got the pass mark for a brass exam this summer although that was a pretty nasty examiner I think; a rather mean mark)

thetasigmamum Wed 23-Nov-11 13:04:29

DD1 has her Grade 4 piano the week after next. It seems very late but the school is an exam centre so that's when they are doing it. Piano is her 4th study (first study recorder, second/third study flute and voice) but it is absolutely vital since although she is already at least grade 7 level on her 3 other things, if she doesn't get her piano up to at least grade 5 it will affect her chance of doing music at college. She has some time though since she is 13. But still. Piano is something of a trial for her. and therefore, for the rest of the family!

I am endeavouring to be away the day of her exam. I have managed to schedule work trips for her last 5 exams (and DD2's last singing exam, and DSs last clarinet exam) and this works well for everyone since I completely stress them out beforehand. Mind you, for DD1's grade 6 recorder exam she and DH went to the wrong place which can't have reduced the stress much since they then had to hare across to the other side of town in no minutes flat!

Although I did several grade 8s myself and never used to be that nervous, I find the DCs exams excruciating. Yesterday DD2 had a ballet exam and it was just as bad.The worst thing ever though was DD1's NYRO audition last year when I was sat outside the room and could hear everything. It went fine, but.......I could never have been a music teacher. I'm not very good at attending performances either, I get v stressed then I worry that my stress will communicate itself to them........

Michaelahpurple Wed 23-Nov-11 14:02:08

I am about to embark on what I hope will be a reasonably long secondary-music-exam process, with my 8 year old doing his (and my!) first exam in the first week of December - just grade 1 trumpet. It will all be at school, so I will get no sight of things, and will just be left annoying his teacher by sending in fretting emails about warm-up time etc (I think he already finds me a bit of a fuss-budget!).
My 6 year old is to do singing class 1 in Easter, so all very exciting (and I am supposedly doing to do a singing exam, either grade 5 or 6 in the summer, but currently by the time I have got the boys to do their trumpet, singing and violin practice, I never seem to do mine - oops)

EdithWeston Wed 23-Nov-11 14:05:12

How long does it take to get the results through?

I seem to remember it was about 2-3 weeks, and they are sent via the teacher who entered them. Is that right?

Xenia Wed 23-Nov-11 15:56:06

Can be longer too. I enter the twins for their singing and I get the result accessed by email which presumably teachers do too but when they tell the parents will depend on how busy the teacher is. You can go on the Associated Board web site to look for the exam period dates and there are discussions groups on there for people doing those exams and they sometimes have advice about when results are out etc.

Grade 5 theory (and higher grades ) is worth doing too if they want to get up the grades for a proper exam board and do well. You do sometimes get children who just are not academic to do it and then they have to pick a different board I think which does not require theory but I might be wrong about that.

SexyDomesticatedDab Wed 23-Nov-11 16:08:18

Just as a note - our DS2 has gone through flute grades (now preparing for 7) and took up the piano too (as well as being self taught on guitar / bass). He took his grade ABSRM piano and the marking was somewhat off what we expected - and the mark score didn't help much. Just so you know you can complain - they don't remark but will credit if you win the appeal. Bit of a difficult process we (DW mainly) wrote letter to say why the marking scheme was poor - no feedback at the end of the sheet etc. DS2 did the pieces again at school so sent a recording and a letter from his school to say it was him. We won the appeal so at least next exam will be free. If you strongly disagree with the marking and feel it was to harsh or not good feedback then you can go through this process.

I can't play a thing but appreciate the music - DW and her sister / BIL are all very musical (BIL is in fact an examiner!!).

Wafflenose Wed 23-Nov-11 19:39:17

Wow, have been super busy at work this week, and the the thread has expanded a lot in my absence. So glad there are lots of us going through this!!! As I said, I'm experienced at putting other people's children through exams, but it's a new thing having my own child sit one!

Hope everyone's DCs do well. Can't wait to start hearing some results, although our exams are quite late - on Dec 6th, 8th and 13th!

FWIW, I didn't start piano until I was 15, when I discovered I'd need to for university, and managed to pass Grade 5 before I went, so it's certainly possible for a 13 yr old to get there in time! (Sorry, can't remember who posted about their DD now). Also, no matter how busy I am, I ring my pupils with their results as soon as they come in - I get so excited!

Feeling much better about own DD now. Having heard a few of my school pupils today, I'd say she is sounding more ready than some, and has also been performing lots lately. Poor thing was exhausted tonight though, after a full day at school, followed by orchestra and then a birthday party - she's in Year 1.

ByTheWay1 Wed 23-Nov-11 19:52:06

My youngest DD aged 9 is doing her Grade1 piano on Friday, so I have my fingers crossed for her... She is much more together than her sister was in March (fumbled one piece - restarted another from scratch and failed the Aural section spectacularly - but still got a pass at 111/150) so I am hoping youngest stays "together" for her exam.

Wafflenose Wed 23-Nov-11 19:56:28

That sounds positive, BTW. Let us know how she gets on!

ByTheWay1 Sat 26-Nov-11 09:38:48

Well, she said she enjoyed it - so I'm guessing it went well. This is my girl who talks herself down and doesn't really want to do piano any more.... hey ho, she's carrying on til Christmas for the "fun" stuff.... Jingle bells etc...

ImNotaCelebrity Sat 26-Nov-11 21:47:07

DS (7) got his piano grade 1 result yesterday - 126. About what I expected so really pleased. He got violin grade 1 distinction in the spring, and grade 2 merit in the summer. Exams and performing don't phase him at all, probably because he started young, so it's all 2nd nature. He always thinks he's done brilliantly and comes out telling me he thinks he's got a distinction! At least he's confident!!

SouthernandCross Sat 26-Nov-11 21:52:00

I'mNot- that's a great result. My girls both think they have go distinctions too but I'll be surprised if they do that well. When did he sit his?
I'm just happy if they pass but I know they will be a bit upset if they don't do as well as they think they have.

Wafflenose Sat 26-Nov-11 21:53:26

Well done to LittleWay and MiniNotACelebrity! We still have over a week until the exam, but am feeling much more confident for her now. She has been going through all my music and has been playing quite a lot of Grade 2 stuff really well (!) so I suggested we miss that grade out and have lots of fun until she was ready for Grade 3 in the future. This horrified her - she wants a full set, but I don't particularly want to fork out for every single grade (and she started piano last month too - more expense!)

RaspberryLemonPavlova Sun 27-Nov-11 00:02:08

Well done to all your DCs

One bit of advice I've just remembered (because I am sure it wouldn't be relevant to you, Wafflenose when you asked the original question) is to check your DCs exam syllabus yourself and be certain each part has ben prepared for, even if like myself you are not musical.

I advise this because of DDs violin Grade 2 with Trinity Guildhall last summer. Two weeks before I was going through her scales with her, randomly calling out scales from her book, and asked her about the bowing exercise mentioned in the syllabus printed in the book. She confidently assured me that she didn't have to do that as she wasn't doing the studies. I read it differently and telephoned her teacher who assured me it wasn't part of the exam. Next lesson she said to DD perhaps she should just practice it in case, and a week before the exam said to DD oh by the way you do need to do a bowing exercise too.

No apologies.

This was a County Music teacher I have never been happy with. I would like to stress though, that I have had other County Music teachers that have been absolutely excellent and couldn't fault. DD did get a merit for her exam, changed schools over the summer and therefore teachers, and in fact switched to cello, sighs of relief all round.

ImNotaCelebrity Sun 27-Nov-11 14:29:06

Southern - results took 9 days to come through.

Wafflenose - don't blame you for thinking about skipping some grades. I have the advantage, at the moment, of teaching ds both instruments so have no lessons to pay for, so I don't object to the exam fees. Also, I can leave learning the pieces until the month before an exam as I know exactly how long it will take him to get something right. We don't get the boredom factor, which is great!

Wafflenose Sun 27-Nov-11 15:10:04

Raspberry - great advice. I've inherited no end of pupils who hadn't been taught the correct or complete syllabus, and some of the tales are shocking. I have had kids come to me with a Grade 3 certificate who can't sight read a thing, who don't know any of the note names, and even a couple who hadn't even learned to tongue at this level. One girl was entered for Grade 1 flute and was given the scales to learn from a sheet on the Wednesday before her Saturday exam - I am not exaggerating! Same exam: girl came out and said "I didn't know I had to do clapping and singing, Mummy" as aural had not been covered at all. She passed with 101 marks, then came to me and I found she didn't even know all the grade 1 notes. A year later - Grade 2 merit! It's not that hard to read the syllabus properly! smile

I'mNot - I usually know how long it will take to prepare them for exams, and for some it's longer than others. DD is confounding me though. She learned B, A, G and how to read them (with quavers, crotchets and minims) at her own request at 3.5, played in two concerts then did very little else until March 31st this year, aged 5.5. Suddenly wanted to take it up properly, absolutely INSISTED and was Grade 1 by July. She wanted to do the exam, I said no, she argued and argued with me and I finally said she could do it in the autumn term if she stopped arguing and practised every day. We did the festival for a bit of experience. Now she is virtually Grade 2 and can sight read anything within reason, and although as a teacher I can always point our areas for improvement, she does seem unusually fast compared to the children I teach at a very nice local fee-paying school (they start towards the end of year 1, and the ones that persevere end up taking Grade 1 in Year 3, 4 or 5). I wouldn't let DD pass Grade 1 and immediately start working on Grade 3 - I insist that ALL my pupils play hundreds of other things in between grades, and encourage them to do orchestras etc. So we will continue working at lots of fun music, gradually getting more complicated, but it seems that I do have a monster on my hands!! In the nicest possible way.

ImNotaCelebrity Mon 28-Nov-11 20:03:20

Waffle - she sounds great! What a lovely 'problem' to have.

Wafflenose Mon 28-Nov-11 21:36:36

She is lovely, but very headstrong. Extremely dedicated and determined, but most importantly, she loves it. It's all her choice.

LongAndTheShortOfIt Tue 29-Nov-11 09:05:30

My son is taking his grade 5 piano this afternoon and I am really nervous! Maybe it's the thought of paying out for more expensive lessons if he fails, but I think it's more likely memories of when I failed my grade 5 piano many years ago. I never did resit! Thankfully my son is unaware of my failure!
I hope I can keep things light and positive this afternoon. I don't want him to catch my nerves!
I really need to let go. I've done all I can and it's up to him now. I know this so why am I in such a state?

Wafflenose Tue 29-Nov-11 09:22:27

Good luck to your son!! Is he at school this morning? If he is, hopefully he won't catch your nerves. I'm sure you'll manage to be upbeat and positive for him later. I will be in a similar state this time next week.

LongAndTheShortOfIt Tue 29-Nov-11 10:47:01

Yes, he's at school this morning so hopefully that will take his mind off it. I'm picking him up at lunchtime so he can have a run through before I take him to his exam. Hoping that's the right thing to do!

Good luck to your son. I think it's worse for us than them sometimes!!!

maggiethecat Tue 29-Nov-11 10:57:53

Good luck Longandshort. I am an awful bag of nerves for my dd but I find it helps if I am very organised - music and everything packed ready, know where exam is etc. At her last exam she did not want to use the practice room to do scales or warm up and I insisted that she just ready her bow, do a scale and that was it. She just chatted away until called and I'm happy to let her do that. I realise that very little practice on the day or day before suits her and it probably suits me too bcos if she is not sounding great I don't have to worry about it!

LongAndTheShortOfIt Tue 29-Nov-11 11:52:58

Good advice maggiethecat! Think I will just encourage him to try and relax and just have a quick run through to warm up rather than have a proper practice at this late stage!
Thanks FivehoursSleep for the good wishes!

Yay- my daughters passed their Grade 1 and Grade 3. My 9 year old got 130 and my 8 year old got 127. I am especially pleased for DD2 as she can be very defeatist about piano sometimes, I'm hoping she'll see that she can do it now.

Wafflenose Wed 30-Nov-11 21:49:40

Well done to your clever girls! Those are fantastic marks!!

LongAndTheShortOfIt Thu 01-Dec-11 07:39:49

Well, we got through the exam. I think he did ok. We'll just have to wait and see. He did well with his pieces and scales but his sight reading was a disaster as usual. His teacher asked if he's dyslexic. He struggles reading music but can improvise and play by ear really well. Hoping the theory exam will help with this. Good luck to anyone who's going through exams at the moment!

Wafflenose Thu 01-Dec-11 09:26:11

That sounds promising! I found out a few years ago that half the marks for sight reading are awarded for rhythm, so even if they start with hands in the wrong place or notes are all wrong, they will still get some marks. Lowest mark I've ever seen for someone who had a sensible stab at the sight reading (not one of my pupils though) is about 10/21 - and those ten marks can make the difference between a pass and a fail. So I'm sure it's better than he thinks.

I did my grade 5 last year and absolutely bottled it. mucked up all three pieces, couldn't remember scales and was so choked with trying not to cry I couldn't sing for the aural bit. I did get full marks for the sight reading though and the examiner must have been feeling kind as she somehow found enough marks to let me pass by the skin of my teeth.
So on that basis, I'm sure your son will pass by what you've said.

CURIOUSMIND Thu 01-Dec-11 14:29:32

My Ds1 did Grade 5 piano today. At the waiting room, severl other kids with parents are talking about how nervous they are .One Dad looked so nervous .He even asked another kid: Are you shaking?
What that makes children feel? Just glad my Ds1 was in the exam room at that moment.

Wafflenose Thu 01-Dec-11 14:46:32

Curious, agree with you that was an unfortunate way to behave! It is normal to feel a bit nervous or shaky, but I do remember on the day of my gr5 clarinet being asked over and over by friends, teachers and the steward if I was nervous. I wasn't - but ended up feeling there was something I should be nervous ABOUT and by then time I went in, I'd got myself into a bit of a state! I find it helpful with most of my pupils (and my daughter, who's just done a few big performances - well, big for a six year old - playing in KS2 assembly, a festival showcase concert etc etc) to be as upbeat, positive and calm as I can. If they look a bit jittery, I say something like "it's exciting, isn't it?" which gives them a happy label for the way they're feeling. Of course, a few do get very worked up, but good preparation, realistic expectations and empasising a sense of proportion about the exam usually helps. Adult pupils can sometimes find it harder than children, and parents often worry more than their kids (as I am now beginning to find out first hand!)

I always tell mine that 'butterflies' are normal and are their bodies' way of making sure they do their best.

relaxitllbeok Thu 01-Dec-11 19:09:11

Just to update, my DS got a high merit - which seems about what I'd expect, really, but apparently the school are very disgruntled about this examiner, feeling that overall she marked very hard. Word is that she took 3 marks off the scales of a Grade 1 pianist who played note-perfectly, but with the scales not adequately "shaped" for example! I told DS that the moral is, if you want a distinction you have to practise so well that not even the toughest examiner in the world would have an excuse for not giving you one :-) He seems fairly equanimous.

mel38 Thu 01-Dec-11 20:07:49

My daughter 8 years old moved schools in sept so started a new school had to settle in and make friends and get used to new music teachers in both piano and violin !! she took her grade 1 violin in june and passed with a merit 124 points . After a new teacher it became clear she had a few sight reading issues but she has worked really hard in the last 10 weeks and sat her grade 1 piano 2 weeks ago. She had her result today 118 points and a pass , sight reading was the area that let her down ,we are soooo pleased for her and have to told her to achieve this with all the changes going on is great , But she is so dissapointed to miss out on a merit by 2 marks , any advice on how to make her feel better about her result other than lots of praise . She is currently working on violin grade 2 and says she is going to work extra hard to get that distinction !!

ByTheWay1 Thu 01-Dec-11 20:22:07

WOW - just got my DDs mark - ALSO 118!!!! Spooky...... She is over the moon to be a grade 1 pianist.... we never pressed the pass/merit/distinction thing, so she is pleased as punch she passed. Won't know what she was good/bad at til her teacher gives us the feedback sheet.... but SHE PASSED!!! woooohooooo!!

Wafflenose Thu 01-Dec-11 20:23:07

Well done both! grin

18/21 for perfect scales lacking shape is exactly what they're meant to award, relax - have seen it many times. Same goes for perfect sight reading without the expressive details. I tell my pupils they have to include both of these things if they want to be marked out of the full 21, as it were. It's all covered in 'These Music Exams' - free little book with the marking criteria from ABRSM. I use it to give them mock exams and usually find the marks are fairly close to what they get in the end. Haven't had too many surprises with ABRSM (over a decade and 200 exam entries!) although once they did come back all 10-15 marks lower than I'd expected. I was young and thought it was me - until lots of other teachers started saying the same thing, by which time it was too late to do anything about it. A high merit is brilliant btw!

And 118 with dodgy sight reading sounds good to me too! You could tell her that the average mark awarded by the Board is 117 (a few years ago, it was 116). Also, well over 50% of pupils achieve a pass, depending on the grade it's around 30% that get merits and 12% distinctions, so not that many. The rest either don't pass, or are withdrawn, or disqualified for offering the wrong syllabus, etc. Well done to her anyway, glad it's made her even more determined.

My first lot (eleven doing Trinity) are on Tuesday. Have three ABRSM the following week.

Wafflenose Thu 01-Dec-11 20:24:47

Forgot to say, the AB mark from the pass mark and add on/ deduct from there, rather than starting from the maximum and taking marks off. So it's very hard to get full marks for a section. For scales, a pass is 14, so 18 is really good. Mine seem to generally hover around the 15-17 mark!

Wafflenose Thu 01-Dec-11 20:26:10

x-post with BTW!

Well done to your DD! That's fantastic! grin

MorningPurples Thu 01-Dec-11 20:29:48

What do they want in terms of 'shape' for scales then? I'm working towards an exam myself. Hoping to get my scales even and smooth, but that's about it.

Some of these marks seem to be coming back really fast, which is great. A week or so?

Wafflenose Thu 01-Dec-11 20:32:44

A bit of a crescendo on the way up, mainly. Perhaps a slight dimenuendo when you start coming down. Also really fluent and effortless. Once a pupil of mine was asked to "try to make your scales really sparkling now"!

OK - teacher hat off. Parent hat back on! DD is getting really fed up of practising her pieces now - hope it will all be worthwhile. We've bought a book of Christmas carols to break things up a bit.

MorningPurples Thu 01-Dec-11 20:39:29

I don't think mine sparkle, for sure. I'm aiming not to get stuck, with my fingers just not quite being as smooth as they normally can - the curse of being an adult with stiffer joints I expect.

I can understand about being bored with pieces, even when you have non-exam pieces in there. The exam ones just get jittery with me somehow, so playing them through never seems to do much good.

My piano teacher as a child used to give us a book of Xmas carols to work on each year, which I really liked - good sightreading practice, too. The rest of the time we had one book of songs from a musical as well as the classical stuff. She wouldn't go as far as pop music, but things like Sound of Music or Mary Poppins.

relaxitllbeok Thu 01-Dec-11 20:41:50

Ah, makes sense, thanks. Well done to all :-)

Wafflenose Thu 01-Dec-11 20:48:00

When is your exam, MorningPurples? Sounds like you had a nice teacher when you were younger. I make sure all my pupils play hundreds of pieces (including lots of fun, easier stuff, and sight reading, carols, etc) between grades, because after all it's about learning a skill and enjoying music really isn't it?

CURIOUSMIND Thu 01-Dec-11 22:39:44

I don't think we should moan about the strict examiner.As far as I know, those people are hightly trained.It's incredibly diffiuclty to become an examiner.Believe me they know what they are talking about.
The scales is not just about get the right notes.It should be played as if it's the most beautiful piece in the whole world,logato, even, with dynamic shaping etc.
Then that 's something I don't like about my teacher .He asked (this time again!)who is the examiner see if he knows him. I am not expecting any special treatment , in a good or bad way from an examiner or is he a nice person or not.I just tell my DS to face the professional in a professional way.

Well done everyone ( and the DC's of course!). Our results came back in 10 days!
Interesting about the scales Wafflenose. My girls both got full marks for their scales so I'm now feeling grateful to our rather old fashioned and sometimes picky teacher. grin I'd better get her something nice for Xmas.
Goodluck for your exam MorningPurples.

RaspberryLemonPavlova Thu 01-Dec-11 23:25:55

How do Trinity mark Wafflenose - do they mark the same way?

Wafflenose Fri 02-Dec-11 09:38:03

They publish the criteria for fail/ pass/ merit/ distinction for each section (as do AB). It's on their website, although I had to hunt for it. If you manage to include all the criteria at a level (e.g. merit level), you would get the highest merit mark. If you had some elements of a distinction, and some elements of a pass, that would be a merit too (best fit). I haven't read this anywhere, but when I'm assessing someone for a TG exam, I listen to them and look at the pass criteria first, then above and below as appropriate. I will investigate to find out if they mark from a pass like AB! The points system is different though:

3 pieces x 22 marks
Technical work x 14 marks
2 supporting tests x 10 marks
Total = 100

Pass = 60, Merit = 75, Distinction = 87.

Timetraveller Fri 02-Dec-11 23:42:51

Hi, I have 3 DCs playing 2 instruments each; I worked out that between them have taken 26 grade exams! But I still get nervous for them.
My youngest DD is taking grade 4 oboe on the 15th. She had a different teacher for her last lesson, who asked her to play 'Air and Hornpipe.' My DD replied, 'I'm only playing 'Air'. The teacher said, 'But you have to play both, they count as one piece'! That was news to us, so she's now learning a new piece, with a week and a half to go until the exam!

tammygirl Sat 03-Dec-11 05:41:03

Oh I can relate to the nerves...I was nervous when my DD sat G1 piano recently, I had to remind myself to play it down so she wouldn't pick up on my nerves. She had no such nerves, infact was excited, wore special hairclip and reported that it was "great and he liked my shoes".

She had been bored silly with her pieces in the lead-up to the exam and not overly keen to practice but as soon as exam was over and she had fresh pieces to play, she was full of excitement again and rushes down to practice each morning.

Exam wasn't mentioned again until results were out; she was busy with Brownie camp and colouring competitions and I tried to pretend I'd forgotten about it.

Merit result 122 points with some lovely comments "a fine musical performance, well done" and she was delighted.
So will continue lessons but won't do an exam next year.

I think the way kids handle these things has a lot to do with parents' and teachers' attitudes - I vividly remember scoring 101 for grade 5 cello and being thrilled to have passed and everyone being very positive. Infact it was only recently I re-framed this from adult perspective and realised I hadn't done well at all!

CURIOUSMIND Sat 03-Dec-11 22:10:28

'I think the way kids handle these things has a lot to do with parents' and teachers' attitudes '------Totally agree!
That's why I don't like our teacher teaching my Ds1 the tips to overcome the nerves, like doing scales first when my boy repeated I don't mind, twice.Because my Ds1 is not nervous at all! I told him:Some people are nurvous because they can't do it perfectly, but you can , you are fearless.My boy ,so, is fearless!
I suggest as parents we should change our attitude.

ByTheWay1 Sun 04-Dec-11 16:22:17

tammygirl - 101 for GRADE 5 - that is brilliant - you passed - many don't - and many, many more don't bother getting that far - so from any perspective I would take that as a positive result!!!

my girls got 111 and 118 for their piano grade 1 - both passes and both had a whole heap of fun getting them - I am in no way at all concerned for them - they do their music for fun not for bits of paper - they wanted to go for the exam since no one else in their class at school had, so I said yes, so long as they practised.....

Wafflenose Sun 04-Dec-11 17:19:20

Well done everyone! grin

Wafflenose Mon 05-Dec-11 21:26:21

Well tomorrow's the big day! Am accompanying eleven of my pupils in the morning, including DD1 for her first ever music exam. Now that she's performed and practised so much, she's actually the least of my worries, but I need to make sure it's a happy experience for her!

Good luck to all your pupils, esp your DD and also to you! Aren't you just a little terrified?

maggiethecat Tue 06-Dec-11 09:42:21

Hope it goes well for all of you!

singinggirl Tue 06-Dec-11 09:49:07

Never put down a pass of any sort - there are always more people who couldn't pass an exam than can! Am bursting with pride over DS2, who woke up with earache on the day of his Grade 1 viola, went straight from the doctors to the exam, then got spooked in the waiting room because a tramp had wandered in off the street. He didn't play his best (unsurprisingly) which I know as I was accompanying him. His teacher just phoned to say he passed with 107!

ByTheWay1 Tue 06-Dec-11 11:24:57

WTG - deputy head at my kids school passed grade 1 piano with 101 - never did him any harm!

Wafflenose - how did it all go????

Wafflenose Tue 06-Dec-11 19:41:21

I am back! Have gone down with a bad cold so feeling pretty crappy, but we all managed to get through today!

First was my Grade 6 clarinettist, very nervous and doesn't really enjoy performing (wanted the ucas points though!) and she did fab!

Grade 7 clarinet boy, doesn't practise enough, but has a wonderful sense of performance, and said he played his best ever, which is encouraging!

DD1! She didn't play as well as in the festival, and although she's confident it was a new experience and a bit overwhelming for a 6 year old, which is why I ummed and ahhed over entering her. Her pieces were reasonable, sight reading "easy", aural OK she thinks, study OK and her exercise went wrong. So hopefully she will have passed!

Other four Grade 1 recorders were a mixed bag. They all kept going OK but all had a few wobbles. Generally I think it wasn't their best playing, but have stressed to them that success begins at the pass mark! It's a bit of a competitive private junior school, and some of the parents are pressuring them to achieve distinctions sad It's wonderful when somebody gets one, but I'd NEVER set it as a target!! Sad for those one or two kids really.

My four Initial Grades went pretty smoothly, and I was delighted with them. They were all Trinity exams, so hope to hear the results tin the next few days. I have entered some for ABRSM next week - two Grade 5 clarinets and a piano Prep Test. Also have a variety of plays and carol services to attend/ play for, so it's on with the next lot!

And yes, it was a pretty terrifying morning! The hardest bit was accompanying the Grade 6, but the piano part went fine grin

RaspberryLemonPavlova Tue 06-Dec-11 23:04:24

That sounds great Wafflenose. Trinity is usually usually great at turning results around fast.

Have always admired accompanists for exams, would hate that pressure.

pugsandseals Wed 07-Dec-11 16:33:02

Can I join please?

DD took her Grade 2 recorder today (she's 9 and her first exam) and I am also a teacher. DD did AB where as I mainly use TG so I'm not quite sure what to expect! But her teacher says she did very well and her pieces were almost perfect. She forgot her E minor arpeggio & was unsure about the 2nd aural test (not sure which one that is as they've changed it recently and I don't have the new book yet).
It's really hard being a parent isn't it? confused I find it so much easier when it's my pupils taking exams as it's an instrument/exam system I know well. Just having to stay back out of the way then - lucky school are an exam centre so I don't have to be there for the exam, I'd be a nervous wreck! grin

Wafflenose Wed 07-Dec-11 18:41:37

Welcome pugs! Another recorder pupil! I suppose all you can do regarding the different exam board is wait and see, but it sounds like she was really well prepared!

My results are just in (super quick!!) Final total is one distinction, four merits and six good passes! DD1 got 84, which is a high merit, although she made mistakes in one piece, her exercise and the aural tests. I'm so pleased for her - and relieved!

ImNotaCelebrity Wed 07-Dec-11 20:35:08

Great set of results. Special well done to your DD. Massive achievement at her age.

pugsandseals Wed 07-Dec-11 22:51:17

Well done Wafflenose and also to miniWafflenose grin - I just love how quickly you get the TG results. I've even had pupils being told before they leave on the day before! School are saying DD will have a 2 week wait for her AB results this time, I hope they are being overly cautious as that's a very long time to a 9 year old!

pugsandseals Wed 07-Dec-11 22:58:57

P.S - have you tried the Sarah Watts books? DD loves them, they are really different & all come with piano part and CD!

She might really enjoy 'Fresh Air' if she's just done Grade 1 as it bridges between Grades 1 & 3 smile

PPS - Does she get the "So when are you going to take up a proper instrument yet?" rubbish comments yet? DD is getting REALLY fed up with it!

RaspberryLemonPavlova Wed 07-Dec-11 23:41:30

Wafflenose thats great. Well done miniwaffle.

Well done Wafflenoses daughter. Those of you whose children did exams for instruments they learned at school, do they usually need to go somewhere else to sit the exam, or does the examiner come to the school.

Wafflenose Thu 08-Dec-11 09:20:40

We have had three of the Sarah Watts books pug and yes, she likes them. Not sure how much there is post-grade 1, but she can always revisit her old favourites. Yes, we also have 'Fresh Air'. For now, we are going to do some of that, some of the Bonsor Book 'The Really Easy Recorder Book' and she's also halfway through 'Recorder From The Beginning Book 3' so we can finish that, and play lots of carols too!

We haven't had all the 'proper instrument' stuff yet, but then she's quite young to be learning, and not big enough for many other things yet. Only one of her peers is also learning an instrument - she's just started classical guitar (they are in Year 1). DD also does a bit of piano, and is adamant she wants to be a serious recorder player rather than moving on to something else. Fine with me - although she might change her mind when she gets to secondary and wants to join the orchestra! Her primary school has been kind enough to let her join theirs on the recorder, and she plays the flute part on that.

I teach the recorder at a local private school (not DD's school) and we start them young and do it well. However, most of the really good ones drop it in Year 3-4 to learn something else and it drives me mad! The senior school won't accept recorder for a scholarship instrument, and anyone still having lessons with me when they get to Year 7 is encouraged to drop it. Makes my blood boil!!

Wafflenose Thu 08-Dec-11 09:26:14

Just remembered Fresh Air IS by Sarah Watts, duh!!

Thanks for the congratulations everyone!

Colleger Thu 08-Dec-11 11:49:08

I watched an 11 year old girl play the recorder beautifully at Purcell a few weeks ago and I also know a boy who got a music scholarship to Winchester on the recorder so it is still well thought of by musicians who know their stuff! wink

lljkk Thu 08-Dec-11 13:02:57

Hi all -- checking in, I've just sealed up envelope for DD to take Grade 1 violin in February. She's been taking violin for 4 years, btw, so we kind of thought the day would never arrive... I will report back when we get a confirmed date and I have some real nerves going. Any sort of pass will delight me.

kitkat1967 Thu 08-Dec-11 13:06:38

Wafflenose - my DD (just 11) is doing grade 5 recorder and I must say when she moved to a wooden recorder (after grade 3) it made a huge difference to the sound and I was finally convinced it was a 'proper' insturment.
Having said that she also plays the Oboe now (grade 4) and that is a really good combination with the recorder - easy transition and recognised combination I believe.
However, she does not want to play treble so will try the Sopranino next - and recorder will be just for run and ensembles [smiles]
I'm relieved really as she also plays the piano and 3 sets of lessons (and practise) is too much.

pugsandseals Thu 08-Dec-11 13:55:47

It's very annoying isn't it Wafflenose !!! DD has the school oboe at the moment, but last picked it up in August so I would say not too interested hmm . Might try her on the violin again, but we fight like idiots if I try to teach her I worry about her doing 'my' instrument!

FiveHoursSleep - it is quite rare for schools to be exam centres as it only happens in very musical schools where they can fill a day of the examiners time. Otherwise, you take them to your local exam centre (you should find a list of centres on the exam boards website.

Also, if it is more convenient to you you can apply for your child to take an exam directly (& choose your centre) with the board rather than going through your teacher. It has just become common for the teacher to do it as they need to be happy that a child is ready! The problem for some with entering yourself is finding an accompanist rather than the usual use the teacher/teachers recommendation etc.

RaspberryLemonPavlova Thu 08-Dec-11 19:38:20

FiveHoursSleep DCs secondary school has its own exam week once a year.

tammygirl Mon 12-Dec-11 10:21:21

aw congratulations to wafflenose's little girl and to your other students, too. must be v. nerve wracking for you worrying about all those pupils! sounds like they did wonderfully.

Wafflenose Mon 12-Dec-11 22:57:51

Thanks, Tammy. It is nerve wracking. I try to get them all as close to a merit level as possible, to allow for disasters on the day, but don't breathe easily until they're all safely through. There were a few rocky moments last week, although not with DD - doing the festival, showcase concert and KS2 Assembly (despite being Y1) were really big, scary things compared to the actual exam!

Three more to go tomorrow - ABRSM this time, and fortunately none of my own offspring!!

How's everyone else getting on? Any more results for this term?

CURIOUSMIND Tue 13-Dec-11 23:06:32

Results in:
My fearless boy scored 128 for his Grade 5 piano. Not as good as last time, but not bad at all.So very proud of my boy!
Also he performed in front of nearly 300 people today , so proud!

MorningPurples Wed 14-Dec-11 07:54:11

Mine was this week. I was a little disappointed in some of the slips, but I know I did reasonably well, just not as high as I wanted on the pieces and scales. I also had slips in sightreading, and aural. I just don't have a good enough memory for the aural, and it only gets worse!

Well done Curiousminds son. That's excellent for grade 5!
Morning purples, I HATE aural tests. I just don't seem to be able to remember notes, I never have been able to. My teacher thinks I could do it if I was positive and tried hard but I don't have that kind of brain.

CURIOUSMIND Wed 14-Dec-11 11:24:13

My son found Grade 5 aural is hard.That's where he lost marks the m ost.The problem is I know he understands ,but he is not able to generalize the Articulation, charactor in a few words or clear sensence.Maybe his speech is not as good as playing piano.

titchy Wed 14-Dec-11 11:44:10

Dd is nowhere near as good as lots on here! Just done G3 on orchestra instrument and G2 piano (the latter after one year of lessons though!). Merits for both - she's year 8.

I'd quite like to get her started on theory though, with a view to maybe doing G3 theory next summer and G5 the following summer, basically to avoid having another exam while she's doing GCSEs. I've got the ABRSM book of the basic stuff for G1-5 theory - is this enough? I can probably manage to teach her as long as there isn't anything else - is there? And what's the format?

Wafflenose Wed 14-Dec-11 12:50:53

Brilliant result, Curious Junior! I think that is the same mark as I got for Grade 5 piano. About 20 years ago though!!

My ABRSM exams were a bit of a rollercoaster. My Prep Test candidate got a bit over excited and forgot to play one of her pieces (insisted to the examiner that she had only prepared one!) so I marched her back in there to play it to him! One of my Grade 5s made a huge mess of the first piece sad but recovered for the rest of the exam, so I'm hoping for the best. The other one played her pieces beautifully but said she messed up the scales, so it seems like very few of them this term (out of the 14 I entered) have escaped without major errors!! Will post again when I get the results.

Fusegettingshorter Wed 14-Dec-11 21:48:32

Late joiner just read the thread - so thrilled for my 6 year old, got grade 3 distinction on the piano.

A lot of great results on here, well done all.

CURIOUSMIND Wed 14-Dec-11 22:07:41

Wow, Fuse, only 6, doing grade 3!When did your child start?Many teachers won't take 5 yr old ,not to say younger.

Fusegettingshorter Wed 14-Dec-11 22:18:04

Last September so been playing for 15 months now. He did want to start younger, but as you say teachers don't like them too young, so we kept on and on asking at school, and he played on a cheap keyboard we had at home, nothing proper but just messing around.

Finally when he went into year 1, we said give him a half an hour lesson, if too soon, we'll then back off for a year, and try in year 2.

Teacher and ds clicked. He did grade 1 in March, grade 2 in May and now grade 3. He's told the teacher he's not doing exam pieces for now, so they have agreed he'll go for Grade 4 in May.

Wafflenose Wed 14-Dec-11 22:40:32

Welcome, Fuse and well done to your DS - he sounds really good! My DD was 6 in October, started recorder 8 months ago and is playing Grade 2 level stuff now, and loads of carols etc. I'm not sure what to do about more grades for her - she found the aural for Grade 1 tough, and got 7/10 for that section (Trinity) compared to 10/10 for sight reading and 21/22 and 20/22 for her two accompanied pieces. I think she would easily be able to do Grade 3 by the summer but don't want the aural to upset her, or for her to feel pressurised. I suppose she could do Grade 2 instead, but it seems a bit pointless as she's very nearly there already, and when it came to actually learning the exam pieces, I think she'd be treading water for a while. I also don't want her doing another exam right away, so might end up missing grades out in order to give her a break. She has other ideas though, and wants a full set of certificates! She also started teaching herself piano from a book at half term, and is halfway through Tunes For Ten Fingers Book 2. I sort of supervise, but don't have time to give her proper lessons because I have a 3 year old, work as a music teacher and already do recorder with her every day. I'm pleased she's keen, glad I can help her, but have a feeling it's going to be an expensive hobby in the long run, if she remains as keen as she is now.

CURIOUSMIND Wed 14-Dec-11 22:44:13

Fuse,Wow, again!How wonderful!You must be sooooo proud.Many congrats to your Little boy!

CURIOUSMIND Wed 14-Dec-11 22:48:54

Fuse, you don't have to take all the exams at all,My Ds1 only did two exams so far, grade 3 and 5, and not planning to do grade 6 exam.

Well done fuses DS. Everyone has done so well smile
There must be some more results now by now?....

Fusegettingshorter Thu 15-Dec-11 18:14:17

Wafflenose we have the opposite to you, our second instrument is the clarinet, doesn't get as much time spent on it as the piano, due to other areas of life getting in the way.

DS also won't miss any grades out, only because he is so regemented and ordered in life, everything has to be done precisely down the exact path. So he will do Grade 4, but just on his terms.

Due to his age his teacher and I have decided that we will be fully led by him, as don't want to put him off. He's currently spending all his times playing Christmas songs.

Wafflenose Thu 15-Dec-11 21:02:17

Lots of carols here too at the moment smile and also American Patrol, her new favourite! We're also doing some duets, and she is learning some dinosaur piece on the piano (?!)

One of the upsides of having two learning is listening to them play duets together smile
Although we do get a few arguments about who will play what....

CURIOUSMIND Thu 15-Dec-11 21:51:06

because he is so regemented and ordered in life, everything has to be done precisely down the exact path.-----Born to do this.I predict your Ds will be very good at maths as well.

I have a burning question. I will have another talk with our teacher tomorrow,but see how do you think(We have some teachers here):
My Ds1 just done grade 5 piano. We have been following the exams for 18monhs .Now, he has his strong favourate composers, and he has the ablility to crack those much harder pieces. For the first time, we planned to do these pieces as the major pieces to work on rather than the exam pieces, and we are not planing to do grade 6 exam but will take grade 7 or 8 exam.He will do everything else as usual, scales, sightreading n aural.

The reason why he is doing selfchosen pieces is :He loves these so much, listened for millions of times; Something proper for school performance.

My question is :
Exam pieces always covered key technics for the grade no matter which one you chose, but if we let my Ds1 choose the pieces to play, he will natually choose the similiar pieces(most are from Chopin!), hence ,not all the key technics will be learned.
You see my problem here? How do you think, members?

Fusegettingshorter Thu 15-Dec-11 22:16:26

MHO CM would be to do an exam a year. I am a serial instrument player, I can play 6 instruments at grade 4. Never took theory. But my problem was I always got bored with the exam pieces.

So I would start an instrument, race through the 4 exams get bored with the pieces, then rather tackling other music etc would move on to a new instrument.

I would do:
Autumn Term - "fun" pieces
Spring Term - exam pieces
Summer Term - exam pieces then fun pieces after the exam.

If not ready at that time for exam I would put exam pieces aside at end of summer term, and repeat pattern:

Autumn Term 2 - "fun" pieces
Spring Term 2 - exam pieces
Summer Term 2 - exam pieces then fun pieces

Wafflenose Fri 16-Dec-11 12:54:10

Curious, I'm sure the answer is to make sure that whatever is being learned for exams (similar or not) doesn't form the whole 'syllabus', or even the majority of it. I make ALL of my pupils learn hundreds of pieces between grades (far fewer by Grade 6, but still lots of varied stuff for concerts, class performances at school, GCSE music if they are doing it, and so on). We try to cover favourite composers, older stuff, modern stuff, popular/ jazz things (for the rhythms and chord study), duets and so on. Would there be something totally different he'd enjoy too? Something in a popular, modern jazzy or even rock style? Maybe he could have the songbook for a favourite band, or musicals, or Microjazz, or duets for Christmas? It's also a good time of year to do lots of festive music, and again, you can get these in all different styles. My pupils don't go through the grades as fast as some, but their sight reading and ensemble playing are generally good because they have to play something unfamiliar in every lesson.

CURIOUSMIND Fri 16-Dec-11 13:33:31

I just need somebody can talk to me about this!

For our teacher, my DS1 is just part his income resources, as I never heard any sorts of plan .
Ds1 did microjazz, book1,2. He likes jazz. He is doing Christmas Carol as well.But ,Chopin 's style is in his heart above all.(Debussy the second.)

I definitly got what you mean: Play variety, unfamiliar pieces.

He didn't actually have any problem to choose 3 pieces for exams, so far.May be still choose some pieces from exam book to rest my mind? Doesn't hurt anyway.

Thank you so much Waf, for clearing my mind.

Wafflenose Fri 16-Dec-11 13:35:39

Yes! It's fine to have a favourite composer, but good to play other things too!

pugsandseals Tue 20-Dec-11 19:02:26

CURIOUSMIND there are plenty of other pieces in the syllabus that are not in the exam book! You can find the full syllabus on the boards website, then find youtube clips of them to work out what he likes. If he really likes Chopin & Debussy that suggests that he has quite a mature taste & might like to try some of the proper Bach, Mozart, Beethoven sonatas. I'm not a pianist, but it's all I ever hear my DH play!

BTW - anyone else still awaiting results? DD took hers on the 7th & still waiting!!!

Wafflenose Tue 20-Dec-11 19:49:41

I'm still waiting for two Grade 5 results (private pupils, not my offspring!) but they were taken very late at a special visit and I might be waiting some time! Others must have had results by now, I should think...

DD has decided she wants a break from exams next term, which makes her sound like a veteran - she's only done the one! It suits me fine because she would have been ready for piano Initial or Prep Test, and Grade 2 recorder, which would have worked out quite expensive. I think we might end up missing them out altogether. I'm going to be guided by her - she LOVES playing both and lives for school orchestra, so until she decides she wants to take another, she won't. Plenty of time for that! She is already thinking about next year's concerts and festival though, as she rather enjoyed those this year.

Wafflenose Wed 04-Jan-12 11:19:01

I have just received results from December 13th (finally!) My two Grade 5 clarinets both passed with good marks, one slightly higher and one slightly lower than I was expecting! One of them messed up her first piece, and the other one messed up her scales, so I'm pleased and relieved that they did OK.

Has anyone else had results over the holiday period? Who's taking exams this term? I am probably entering a maximum of four children this term, maybe fewer. DD wants to do her piano Prep Test and is having a rest from recorder exams/ competitions for now.

CURIOUSMIND Wed 04-Jan-12 11:35:47

Waf, I just know you will have some news today! Congrats! My Ds1 is planning Grade 5 theory this Marth, the main problem is handwriting. It is so hard to fit so many little things in neatly!

ProfessorSunny Wed 04-Jan-12 11:55:22

My youngest has just turned 7, they have been doing the piano since May and are about to do grade 1 theory.

Wafflenose Wed 04-Jan-12 12:49:03

Ah theory! DD is six and started learning in March, and we haven't done any proper theory yet - just some puzzles in her tutor books. If she is still keen in the summer, we might look at some beginner theory books then. She is Grade 2 recorder and Prep Test level on the piano so we probably ought to get started.

RaspberryLemonPavlova Wed 04-Jan-12 13:26:42

Congratulations to you and your pupils Wafflenose.

DD has Grade 5 jazz sax and DS1 Grade 5 trombone at the beginning of February. It seemed a long way off before Christmas but reality hitting home now!

Colleger Wed 04-Jan-12 17:22:21

That's an early time for exams. My DS won't be sitting any exams until grade 8 now. He did grade 5 bassoon and singing last year so he needs theory and teacher doesn't do any other grades. Quite nice really. smile

Wafflenose Wed 04-Jan-12 19:39:26

I think they start late in Feb this year. Is it at a centre, or a special visit?

I can't believe that I got the rest of last term's results today, and have to think about entering the next lot already!

DD has changed her tune. Immediately after Grade 1 and the festival, she wanted a break, but now wants to crack on with the next one! She is finding Year 1 so easy (she's one of the eldest) that I think she wants a challenge!

ProfessorSunny Wed 04-Jan-12 22:46:08

Wafflenose, it never occurred to me about theory, my oldest has never done theory exams for the violin (do they do them?) but the piano teacher said that my youngest was ready for it, they have done practical and theory right since the start.

RaspberryLemonPavlova Wed 04-Jan-12 23:14:47

It is a special visit to the school, they have enough pupils for a week's visit by Trinity Guildhall.

ProfessorSunny, it depends on the exam board, I think. Trinity Guildhall you can carry on to Grade 8 without doing theory. ABRSM requires theory Grade 5 to continue to Grade 6 or I think there is an alternative of practical musicianship.

We do a mixture of boards depending on teacher, piano is ABRSM to DSs are learning theory. DD doesn't do piano at present, so she isn't doing any thory but we will sort that out as/when she needs to.

Wafflenose Thu 05-Jan-12 09:27:22

The content of the theory syllabus is the same, regardless of what instrument is being studied. ABRSM and Trinity both do theory grades, although I'm not sure if ABRSM will accept Trinity's Grade 5 theory to carry on to the higher grades.

SophiaMurdoch Thu 05-Jan-12 13:08:54

May sound silly but I have no previous experience with music. grin My daughter has been given inital music pieces for violin by her teacher. I was told she has to play two pieces that are contrasting and show of her skill but does anyone have any more information on this, what else would she have to do.Is this also a "proper exam"?

SophiaMurdoch Thu 05-Jan-12 13:10:06

The board is also Trinity Guildhall.

Wafflenose Thu 05-Jan-12 15:00:11

Is it Trinity's Initial Grade? If so, I'm pretty sure it's more than two pieces - for recorder, it's three, and some simple exercises, plus two of the following: listening games, sight reading, improvisation and musical knowledge. This is a proper (pre-Grade 1) exam and marked as such. The Associated Board offer the Prep Test, which consists of exercises, two pieces and some listening games, and is more of an informal assessment than a proper exam. Hope this helps.

ProfessorSunny Thu 05-Jan-12 16:34:41

Both are ABSRM, though different instruments. Maybe the one teacher didn't bother with theory or maybe it's different with violin than piano.

Wafflenose Thu 05-Jan-12 16:55:55

Professor sunny, it isn't different with piano and violin. If he/she wants to do Grade 6 ABRSM, he/she will have to do Grade 5 Theory or Practical Musicianship or Jazz first. Lots of teachers just don't bother, then either change boards for Grade 6, or send them to someone else for the theory, or get them to cram for Grade 5 theory before they take Grade 6! If your child is aiming for Grade 6 or higher ABRSM violin, I'd get the books (Music Theory in Practice) and The AB Guide To Music Theory (which is like the textbook for the work books) and some past papers, and get started.

roisin Thu 05-Jan-12 17:13:23

I'd recommend the TRINITY theory work books - they are far more fun and child-friendly than the ABRSM ones.

ds2 worked through the Trinity Gr1-4 books at home, with occasional help from me. Then did the ABRSM Grade 5 book (which was tedious). And a few practice papers this holidays.

He's doing a couple of theory lessons with his teacher this month and sitting his Grade 5 exam in March.

CURIOUSMIND Thu 05-Jan-12 20:41:26

Waf, do you have ideas how to help a 8 years old(MY Ds1) to make his theory work neater.He understands very well, but the handwriting, the notes ,sharps and flats are not in the accurate place (For example, a notes means to be in between the lines, but look like slightly sit on the line).He is doing ABRSM G5.

SophiaMurdoch Fri 06-Jan-12 13:58:31

Thank you for replying Wafflenose smile

pugsandseals Tue 10-Jan-12 20:33:32

Looks like I'm the last to come back with results! blush (received Saturday via website)

DD did recorder grade 2 and got 130 (Distinction) grin Well done to all those that passed.

However, school are rather upset as it was an AB special visit and all pupils got at least 5 marks less than expected (including 2 failures). Does anybody know how many examinees are needed for a TG special visit? The school can't seem to find out.

RaspberryLemonPavlova Tue 10-Jan-12 23:22:27

As I understand it, according to their website they will make a visit if a teacher/school has 3.5 hours of examinations.

pugsandseals Wed 11-Jan-12 13:42:08

Thank Raspberry - found it now! It also mentions the choice between Specilist & Non-specialist examiners which got me thinking. If you go down the non-epcialist route are you not going to end up with all the AB 'variable results' problems? In which case there would be no point in the school changing. Anyone with any experience of TG Non-specialist examiners?

RaspberryLemonPavlova Wed 11-Jan-12 14:23:39

Does specialist mean that they are only doing one instrument? Any exams DCs have done at exam centres have been a mix, both AB and TG but I've no idea how teachers felt about it, my DCs always seemed ok.

DS and DD's school is having their own TG visit next month, they have a week's worth. I know it was a different examiner for woodwind at the beginning of the week last year, then the second examiner did brass/strings/singing but suppose they may have been a specialist on all 3.

roisin Wed 11-Jan-12 20:50:18

So who's doing exams this term?
ds2 is doing grade 4 piano and grade 5 theory.

pugsandseals Thu 12-Jan-12 13:28:15

Thanks Raspberry that's exactly what I'm trying to get my head around! I wouldn't have thought trinity would risk their reputation by sending someone who knew nothing about some of the instruments they were examining. Difficult to know where to find the answer, I dare say I could always ring them when I have a moment.

RaspberryLemonPavlova Thu 12-Jan-12 20:04:11

Sorry pugs blush should have congratulated your DD on her great result!

When DD did her sax exam with abrsm at a local centre she was in the middle of piano candidates if that helps too.

ImNotaCelebrity Sat 14-Jan-12 21:10:09

roisin - think ds will be doing grade 3 violin. Got to decide by Friday if going to apply in time!

purplepansy Sat 14-Jan-12 22:10:45

My eldest (7) is doing her Gd 1 violin on Friday. I took my nephew for his exam in December and I was totally fine, but I'm now petrified that she's going to mess it up somehow! She's usually totally relaxed about performing, but yikes, I'm terrified!! Have to try and stay really calm this week, despite having to practice aural tests with her (the echo bit is a bit of a challenge, she just seems to make it up...). She will pass, but she really wants to do as well as her cousin who got a merit with 125. I'm so proud of her for just walking through the door though smile

Colleger Sat 14-Jan-12 23:39:29

No two examiners are the same and marks can vary by up to 10 points, although this would be disputed. So it may be worth mentioning this to your daughter.

teacherwith2kids Tue 17-Jan-12 21:43:39

"I wouldn't have thought trinity would risk their reputation by sending someone who knew nothing about some of the instruments they were examining."

I played a very 'minority' instrument at school. I only took 2 music exams (Grades 3 and 7) as I mainly played for fun - but both examinders had very little experience of my instrument, reading scale requirements etc out from some battered old tome and having never heard the pieces before! Just one of those things - not abut reputation of the exam board, just that some instruments ARE uncommon and infrequently encountered whereas violin / piano etc are something all examiners probably hear every day.

thetasigmamum Wed 01-Feb-12 15:38:12

DD1 is doing Grade 6 flute this term, and DS is doing Grade 3 clarinet. DD's exam won't be till March - her school is an examination centre for the local district and they always have the exams right at the end of term. DS's exam is I think much much earlier, his school is not an exam centre so he will be doing his at a centre in town, but he's very familiar with it, he has seen his sisters do singing and piano exams there before. I think that is about 4 weeks away.

RaspberryLemonPavlova Mon 06-Feb-12 14:24:24

Exam week here. DS is doing Grade 5 trombone tomorrow and DD Grade 5 Jazz Sax on Wednesday. DS couldn't be more laid back and DD gettting more stressed by the hour!

CURIOUSMIND Mon 06-Feb-12 21:44:36

I gave Ds1 theory past paper yesterday, didn't realize there are 4 papers in each book.After 1 1/2 hours, I found he did 2 1/2 papers already!
Why there are 4 papers in a year when they (ABRSM)have 3 exam seasons?

Wafflenose Fri 10-Feb-12 09:41:46

Hi all, long break here and lots going on (including my grandmother passing away last week) but I am back!

I do know the answer to the four theory papers each year - one is for March, one for June, one for November and one for Special Visits, hence the names A, B, C and S for the papers (these are the names of the sessions).

I am an experienced and highly qualified instrumental teacher, but still not experienced enough (or good enough at the piano) to become an examiner. It really isn't easy to become selected. They are all much more highly trained than I am, have usually played a variety of instruments themselves, played in professional orchestras, or been conductors or heads of music departments for many, many years. Believe me, they will know how each instrument is meant to work and sound, and that it can be hard to cross the break on some wind instruments, and difficult to play strings and trombone perfectly in tune early on, etc etc. We were required to learn lots about this for A level music, and Grade 8 theory, and examiners have much more experience than this. Being 'generalists' means that they mark on musical merit - accuracy, expression, style etc - but obviously they are going to know that fingering, breathing or tuning is harder on certain instruments. I can only think that if they all marked just their own instrument, the marks might possibly be slightly lower because they would be even more aware of every single imperfection, or know that a Grade 5 student 'should' be able to play in tune or cross the break effortlessly, for example. I would love to be an examiner one day, but am not sure if I'm getting too old to radically improve my sight-reading for the aural tests...

BTW I have only ever had one big shock with ABRSM results. The children normally come within 5 marks of their mock exam marks - usually improving a little between my marking (2 weeks before) and the big day. Trinity, I have only been using for a few sessions now, but so far they have been roughly as expected, except for a potential distinction last term who got a low pass. As all the other results were OK, I can only conclude that he messed up severely. He did look a bit jittery!

ragged Fri 10-Feb-12 14:24:26

DD got a "Good luck!" card from school staff yesterday, for her violin exam next week. Signed by 5-6 people.
She is in y5 & has been taking violin lessons for 4.5 years and this is her first exam (Trinity, Grade 1). Told that she is the first violin pupil ever at the school to take a Grading exam.
So no pressure there, then...

Please wish her luck smile.

Wafflenose Fri 10-Feb-12 14:37:43

What a lovely thing to do! I hope she does well. Good luck, mini ragged!

My DD is doing her piano Prep Test later this term. She has passed Grade 1 recorder and wanted to do Grade 2 at some point, but by next term will have gone way past it, so we will probably wait and do Grade 3 whenever she happens to be ready. She has a couple of concerts to practise for before that, so I will try and do some playing with her over the half term break.

RaspberryLemonPavlova Fri 10-Feb-12 14:42:42

How lovely. I'm sure she will be fine. Good luck to your DD.

wafflenose I am sorry about your grandmother.

DS and DD were collecting the results for their Grade 5s at lunchtime. DS says his exam went ok and he is sure he has passed. DD had a terrible exam, got herself a bit wound up during it and is quite certain she has failed.

I'm glad we've only had to wait 2 days!

Wafflenose Fri 10-Feb-12 15:49:18

Thanks, Raspberry. She was 93 and very ill, which makes it much easier to bear, but it's still sad - she was tiny but so strong, and it will be very strange not having her around any more.

I hope your kids both passed. Hopefully your DD will be pleasantly surprised. Please let us know!

I forgot to add, I have entered four pupils this term - all very low grades (although last term I had two Grade 5s, a Grade 6 and Grade 7, amongst others!) They are: two Initial Grade recorders (entered through school), a piano Prep Test (DD) and a Grade 1 piano (a private pupil who has already been doing clarinet with me for several years). I don't anticipate so many problems/ panics this term!

CURIOUSMIND Fri 10-Feb-12 22:23:32

Waf,Glad you are back.You are so much needed here!
I tried to register on ABRSM forum, but seemed it never worked for me.

About the theory exam again ( abrsm) .I got the letter, First page about Dear Applicant, thanks, exam date, venue, entered by(me), candidate number ,candidate name, grade, roon, SN. Second page is Advice for theory candidated-----mentioned bring your exam paper label with you.

Does the label mean the first page of this letter? Or anything more like a label which I haven't got one?

RaspberryLemonPavlova Fri 10-Feb-12 23:07:14

Happy News

DS1 got a distinction (91) for his trombone and is very happy.

DD got 82 and merit for her sax. She is still not happy but is getting there.

We are gearing up for our local music festival next.

Wafflenose Sat 11-Feb-12 12:14:28

Thanks, Curious. It's nice to be appreciated! grin

They are supposed to send you a label with the candidate's name, grade (e.g. Grade 5 Theory) and possibly their DOB and the Applicant Number on. Who applied for the exam? If it's not you, ask the teacher if they have it. If they forgot to send it to you, just ring the Board and ask for another - there is plenty of time. I have had a couple of kids lose them in the past, and have got them to make their own, saying e.g. "Joe Bloggs, 10/10/95, Grade 5 Theory" and my applicant number and the date. It's to stick on the front of their exam paper, and this has been fine.

Raspberry, please congratulate them both for me! They are fab marks. DD got 84 for her latest (and first!) exam, and was over the moon. If she knows she messed up, she was clearly a potential distinction, and what she did on the day is only a snapshot of that particular time. Have they both got some fun music to move on with now?

It's half term here, and I need to get DD to perfect her Prep Test pieces for piano, and try to motivate her with the recorder a bit. It's all slowed down a bit since the excitement of the festival and her exam, but we have plenty of music to do if she will make a bit of effort. She has chances to perform in March and July, so maybe that will help a bit. She is not going to sit the Grade 2 exam, as we would be treading water until July and I feel it's a waste of money, so concerts it is for now.

Wafflenose Sat 11-Feb-12 12:15:13

Curious, just realised you made the entry. Definitely give them a ring.

RaspberryLemonPavlova Sat 11-Feb-12 12:57:56

Wafflenose thank you.

They have both got individual and group pieces to practise for our festival now, then lots of concerts until the summer, which they both really enjoy.

roisin Sat 11-Feb-12 13:41:39

Curiousmind - the letter you mention should have enclosed an exam label with it. Check the envelope again and contact the board if you didn't get one.

They are allowed up to 2 hrs for the grade 5 theory exam, but are allowed to leave after 40 mins. I have told ds2 he mustn't leave before 1 hour and I would prefer him to stay in 1 hr 20 or so.

Generally when ds2 does a practice test in 40 mins he gets a high pass (due to a few careless errors and some untidyness), but if he takes a bit more time over it he can get a high merit or maybe distinction.

It's a hoop to jump through and so all he needs is a pass, but he's worked hard and it would be nice for him to get that effort credited in a higher grade.

roisin Sat 11-Feb-12 13:54:09

Can anyone recommend some good fun performance pieces to bridge grade 4 to 5 piano?

Wafflenose Sat 11-Feb-12 14:15:06

Burgmuller 25 Easy and Progressive Studies (they start easy and end Gr.5)
Jazzin' About
Jazzin' About Styles (possibly a bit easy)
What Else Can I Play - Grade 4 Piano

roisin Sat 11-Feb-12 14:31:37


CURIOUSMIND Sat 11-Feb-12 16:20:24

Thank you guys! I am sure I haven't got the lable, so will ring the board next monday.

ragged Tue 14-Feb-12 20:09:47

DD passed her Grade 1 violin today, with a distinction too smile.
<<Phew>> Now all fired up to get cracking on Grade 2 syllabus.

roisin Tue 14-Feb-12 21:45:37

Congratulations to her! smile

Wafflenose Tue 14-Feb-12 21:51:38

Wow, that's brilliant! Well done to her! Does she have some nice, fun music to play now? I find that something new and enjoyable usually goes down well with my pupils. DD passed her Grade 1 recorder just before Christmas, so I bought her a book of carols. She loved it and was keen to get on with these, rather than having the break that she might have done otherwise!

ragged Wed 15-Feb-12 12:36:56

Thanks for replies. Not really sure what she'll do next, wait for teacher input. At current rate she'll be almost 15 before she does next grading, anyway. grin

RaspberryLemonPavlova Thu 16-Feb-12 00:02:23

Well done Ragged's DD.

Wafflenose Thu 15-Mar-12 12:28:15

Hi all!

Anyone had any exams/ results for this term?

Two of my pupils did Initial Grade Recorder (TG) on Monday and we are waiting to hear their results. On March 26th, DD is doing her piano Prep Test, and another pupil is doing Grade 1. They are both sounding OK, and DD played one of her pieces in assembly yesterday (and the recorder!) as a warm-up, and did well on an unfamiliar piano. Low stress term for me really! Next term I will probably have 8-10 candidates on recorder, clarinet and flute, as well as half a dozen concerts, so that will be much busier. Enjoying the relative lull at the moment!

Beanbagz Thu 15-Mar-12 15:11:43

DD (10) is taking Grade 2 Guitar exam on the 24th. It's her first exam but i think she'll be relaxed about it as she's taking it at her piano teacher's house (is this unusual?).

She has music competitions at school next week too but didn't get through on guitar in the Advanced Instrumental class so she'll be competing in Preparatory Piano (only started in Sept) and Recorder.

ImNotaCelebrity Thu 15-Mar-12 23:22:17

DS (7) is doing grade 3 violin on 28th. He loves doing exams, so is Mr Laid Back. I get nervous on his behalf!

Wafflenose Fri 16-Mar-12 10:08:03

I look forward to hearing how both of them get on!

DD is laid back this time, because she did Grade 1 recorder last term and knows how it all works now. She loves to perform. She could do Grade 3 next term, but balked at the thought of it, so I have backtracked and said that she can do Grade 2 if she really wants to!! (Bit of a waste of money, but at least I'm not paying for her lessons!) Then over the summer I think we should probably get started with the theory.

Wafflenose Thu 22-Mar-12 10:53:27

Just in case anyone still reads this!

My two Initial Recorde 68 and pupils got 72 - both passes. I looked up the marks from their 'mock' exams with me and they were 72 and 76, so each 4 marks higher. However, they are 7 years old and both got very excited and made a few slips, so they still did well. Both are happy and don't really care about the numbers too much grin

DD's piano Prep Test and another pupil's Grade 1 are on Monday, gulp! Both are trying so hard that they're getting in a bit of a tangle, so I hope they can calm down a bit. DD has a fun concert to play in this weekend, which will be a good warm-up for her.

Next term is much busier. I anticipate entering two Initial recorders, three Grade 1s, two Grade 2s, and a Grade 4 flute and clarinet.

RaspberryLemonPavlova Fri 23-Mar-12 01:14:27

Good luck to your DD and other pupil Wafflenose, and well done to your initial recorders.

We have just had our local music festival and all 3 DC had a great time in lots of classes, individually and with school. They did very well and won/came 2nd in lots of classes so am very proud. But actually just really enjoyed the whole week.

roisin Fri 23-Mar-12 04:36:57

Well done on your pupils' results Wafflenose and good luck to your DD.
Well done too to pavlova's children's music festival results.

We get ds2's gr5 theory result next week, then he has his gr4 piano the week after.

He has lessons at school and I have no way of communicating with the teacher other than through notes in his practice book. I'm quite keen for him to have a term off from the grind of exam prep (he's taken just 2 terms between gr2 and gr4), especially as the new ABRSM pieces come out in June/July. But I don't want to tread on her toes by dictating that he should do some non-exam/fun/performance pieces instead. What do you think?

Beanbagz Sat 24-Mar-12 11:25:24

Well done to your pupils Wafflenose.

We've just got back from DD's guitar exam. It was supposed to be at 10.07 but they were running really late so it was 10.50 by the time she got in. As a consequence DD was getting nervous from waiting around (she was calm when we got there).

She made a mistake at the end of one of her pieces, other than that she thought that she did ok. I couldn't hear her as i was 2 rooms away.

Hopefully we should have the results later today or sometime tomorrow. I think it's so quick because it was held at DD's piano teacher's house and she's going to email the guitar teacher when they're all finished for the day.

So fingers crossed!

Beanbagz Sat 24-Mar-12 20:18:09

A Merit!

DD is over the moon and so am I.

She's on a high this week having won the Recorder competition and having been asked to play both her guitar and a piano duet at the concert this Wednesday.

Am off to celebrate with a glass of wine now!

RaspberryLemonPavlova Sat 24-Mar-12 23:04:10

Well done to your DD. Assume it was Trinity Guildhall as the results were so fast, much less stressful.

Enjoy the concert

Beanbagz Sun 25-Mar-12 08:45:06

Yes it was Trinity Guildhall.

We're keeping DD's appearance at the concert a secret from DH & MIL. It'll be a wonderful surprise when they sit down and open the programme!

Wafflenose Mon 26-Mar-12 10:28:50

Well done, Beanbagz' DD! It sounds like she is doing really well, and enjoying her music too. I hope you all enjoy the concert, and that DH and MIL are suitably surprised!

Wafflenose Tue 27-Mar-12 09:51:34

roisin, most sensible teachers would realise that everyone needs consolidation and fun after doing grade 2-4 in a few months. There's no harm in buying some fun books yourself if she doesn't suggest it. As well as being dull, going from exam to exam isn't a good way to explore a wide range of styles, or develop sight reading, or any of the other things he could have fun with now (improvising, or realising chord symbols, for example). I did grades 2, 4, 5 and 6 in quick succession to get into university (after starting piano late at 15) but ended up unable to do all of those things. It's only playing lots as an adult, and constantly accompanying my pupils, that's filled in the gaps. So I think you are right in thinking he needs a break from exams, and I would write her a note, personally. smile

DD had her piano Prep Test yesterday. She LOVED it, although she was surprised at having to go in on her own, because I went in with her when she did her recorder exam, to accompany grin Here are her comments:

"The tunes [memory exercises] had been well prepared and careful attention had been paid to the expressive detail. Next you can make sure the pulse is always firmly held. 'Jogalong' began confidently and the phrasing enjoyed shape. This kept moving well with some crisp articulation/ staccato and smooth legato to give character. 'Indian Dance' really came to life as you captured the mood most effectively, particularly by your use of dynamics. Listening games were all quick and correct. Well done **, you have made a good start. Now look forward to preparing for grade one."

Not bad for five months of teaching herself piano from a book!

RaspberryLemonPavlova Tue 27-Mar-12 10:31:54

That's lovely Wafflenose, you evidently have a very musical DD.

gelatinous Tue 27-Mar-12 12:54:35

roisin, I can sympathise with the position you are in regarding exams. Ds did grades 2 and 4 cello 2 terms apart and also grade 3 and 5 piano 2 terms apart too, both with lessons at school so virtually no teacher contact from us. We like you hoped for some exam relief, but just left the teachers to it and in one case he then had a good break (over a year) before his next exam (skipped a grade again though) and in the other the teacher pressed on with the next grade just 2 terms later again. What I'm trying to say is don't just assume the teacher will take a break and do something different - if they are of a certain mindset you will need to intervene for it to happen.

Hulababy Tue 27-Mar-12 13:03:23

DD had her grade 1 singing exam last week. I found the whole thing nerve wracking - DD seemed quite relaxed and her tutor, who accompanied her for the first 3 pieces seemed to think she was ok. No idea how she has done as it is our first time for this kind of thing and it will be after the Easter holidays before she finds out now.

CURIOUSMIND Tue 27-Mar-12 14:01:08

Abrsm Theory result out .So pleased Ds1 got a distintion !He worked so hard to improve handwriting, neatness.I am so proud of my boy!

tijuanabrass Tue 27-Mar-12 14:18:38

My first post to mumsnet.
DS sat his Trinity Guildhall grade 1 baritone horn this morning and the nerves got to him. Played is technical work and the first tune OK, but had a small mistake which caused him to stop playing in the second. This must have rattled him as he was unable to play through his third piece at all. He does know his pieces and played them well at practice this morning. It was awful sitting outside, and seeing the liitle white face appear afterwards. My question is, what happens now? Do they offer retakes? Will we have to wait another 12 months? He will see his teacher on Friday, but I thought someone might know what the process is.

Wafflenose Tue 27-Mar-12 14:46:49

First of all, you shouldn't be left to stew for too long. The longest I've ever had to wait for a TG result is a week. The teacher should find out first and let you know, but don't hesitate to contat him/ her after Friday to see if the results are through yet.

Secondly, this might not be a fail. It sounds like only the third piece might be a fail (and maybe not) and if everything else only had minor mistakes, he might be OK.

How often the sessions are depends where in the world you are. In the UK, there are three exams sessions a year - one per term. If he passes, I'd leave well alone. If he doesn't, maybe he can do it again next term, or just do Grade 2 next year. If he's just failed the exam because he made mistakes (rather than an examiner's mistake or a problem with the exam/ venue/ syllabus) then you'd normally have to pay for a retake. For another exam board, they will offer a free retake if the teacher can prove that the marking was low and that the pupil performed better than the marks suggest (which in any case doesn't sound like what happened here). I'd probably chalk it up to experience, only resit if it will help his confidence, and move on with some fun music now.

Wafflenose Tue 27-Mar-12 14:49:47

And a huge WELL DONE to Curious' DS!

gelatinous Tue 27-Mar-12 15:00:03

tijuana your ds has done well to take it at all - there are often some hiccups and as wafflenose says it's not always a disaster. Not a good experience for him with it being his first time - but try and reassure him that nerves get to people at all sorts of inconvenient times and if he has failed it really doesn't matter in the long term. Next time (whether he retakes grade 1 or moves on to the next grade after a suitable time) he will know what to expect and it will be easier.

For Trinity Guildhall the examiner will give the results sheet to the person in charge at the end of the exam session and the teachers usually hear very shortly afterwards. If the examiner is not coming back tomorrow, then that will be tonight - if the exams are spread over several days it may be a day or two, but call the teacher tonight (she will almost certainly know when the results are out if she doesn't have them already) - she will be the best person to advise on the way forward too.

gelatinous Tue 27-Mar-12 15:03:43

the waiting is the worst part hulababy, but good she enjoyed it.

Congrats to CURIOUS ds too - did roisin's ds get his result too? Hope he was happy with it if so.

Hulababy Tue 27-Mar-12 15:08:59

School on holiday lunchtime Friday and not back for three weeks - so long wait ahead of DD. She started singing lessons in September so this is her first exam. Didn't help her getting tonsilitiis twice just after starting the lessons, but okay now. She enjoys her singing and took part in a music gala doing a suet with a friend who is also having lessons. No idea if she is any good tbh as I am not musical, but she is having fun.

She said she had just one hiccup in the exam - doing her unaccompanied piece she faltered at the start of one of the verses (there were 7 of them!) as she tried to quickly remember the verse order, but started singing again a fraction of a moment later. Hopefully didn't hamper her too much.

gelatinous Tue 27-Mar-12 15:20:40

One small falter shouldn't affect things too much hula. We've had the same situation with results coming back after the start of the holidays so us not getting them until the following term too - it's a nuisance, but a hazard of taking exams at school. Just try and put the whole thing out of your mind and enjoy the holiday for now - it's situations like this where I really, really prefer the almost immediate results you get with Trinity Guildhall.

roisin Tue 27-Mar-12 18:48:25

Thank you all for the advice about ds's piano, will pop a note in to the teacher.

No, we haven't had his theory results yet! They said 4 weeks, so I wasn't expecting them until Thursday. I'll tell him to ask his teacher in the morning.

Congratulations to curiousmind's ds: Distinction - well done indeed!

Hulababy Tue 27-Mar-12 19:21:53

Thanks smile tbh dd takes it all in her stride, she'll not think of it again now til schools gonvck and her next lesson!

roisin Tue 27-Mar-12 20:08:41

We've just been looking at pianos today at a dealer: they were beautiful - all shiny inside and out and sounded wonderful.

I haven't spent any money yet, but I'm sorely tempted!

andybat Tue 27-Mar-12 20:14:41

New to music exams, no musical bone in my body!! DS just got the results from his Initial Piano exam, Trinity Guild, he scored 91. Just got the teacher feedback, do you know how long it takes to get the certificate?

roisin Tue 27-Mar-12 22:27:12

I've just had an email from ds2's teacher and he got a distinction for his theory exam. I'm delighted and very proud, but I won't wake him up to tell him the news! Next job is piano exam (gr4) on Monday.

andybat - we've never done Trinity exams, but I'm sure someone will be along shortly to advise you.

CURIOUSMIND Tue 27-Mar-12 22:40:44

Brilliant! Many congratulations to your Ds2.I am sure this result will make him feel very condident next Monday!

waves to roisin -haven't seen you for ages and ages ! Well done to your ds 2 ! My ds took his grade 4 singing exam last Wednesday - he says it went ok, can never get any information out of him...I guess he'll need to do his grade 5 theory next !

Meant to say- at ds's school they always have a recital open to those taking music exams about a week before -a nice chance to perform one of the exam pieces in front of an audience.Ds is very shy,but manages to do this confidently-think it's quite a good idea.

roisin Tue 27-Mar-12 22:53:53

Thank you. How old's your ds MaryAnn?

Has your ds done any theory work yet MaryAnn? I highly recommend the Trinity workbooks, they're much more accessible and well-presented than the ABRSM ones. ds2 basically just worked through gr1-gr4 independently (asking me when he needed any help); I marked the workbooks and the teacher marked the exam practice paper at the end. Then we got the ABRSM gr5 workbook and he had 3 lessons on composition with his teacher and did some practice papers.

It's great to have that hurdle out of the way so it isn't an obstacle in future.

RaspberryLemonPavlova Tue 27-Mar-12 22:55:40

andybat, I would have said about a month, except that the DCs actually got theirs in 2 weeks last month. It was a school visit though.

DDs violin certificate too 6 months to reach us last year, but that had more to do with the teacher and the fact that DD had moved on to secondary school

gelatinous Wed 28-Mar-12 00:24:37

andybat unfortunately Trinity Guildhall are not noted for their speed of getting the certificates out - it can take up to 6 weeks sometimes, though I'm told they're trying to improve.

Congrats to andybat's and roisin's ds for their excellent results smile.

roisin ds is 14- he can do the theory as part of his GCSE music lessons I believe- would be nice to get it out of the way before all the exams.

Wafflenose Wed 28-Mar-12 12:56:42

Trinity certificates take ages. Results are nice and quick, but DD had to wait over 2 months for her Grade 1 certificate. ABRSM take a couple of weeks and are issued with the results. Of course with the Prep Test, DD got her piano one at the end of her exam, which she was thrilled with.

lancelottie Wed 28-Mar-12 14:22:20

A teeny, relieved 'Yippee!' here that DS has finally got through Grade 5 theory (a Pass, but hey, that'll do, kiddo).

gelatinous Wed 28-Mar-12 14:37:49

well done lancelottie ds - a pass is a great achievement and what is needed to move on. In the years to come nobody will ever ask or care what grade of pass it was...

singinggirl Wed 28-Mar-12 16:09:29

Aargh - had six children in for piano exams this week. Grade 1, 2x Grade 2, 2 x Grade 3, Grade 4. My own DS's were the Grade 4 and one of the Grade 2s. The poor Grade 1 had her Grade 1 violin exam two hours earlier. One of the Grade 3's had a complete meltdown the weekend before when she got the words chromatic and contrary motion mixed up in her head. (How? How? She's known these for ages!) Then DS1 had an argument with the examiner - she told him not to play the DC in his first piece, so he gave a lecture about how you don't play repeats in exams but you do play DCs. I need wine

roisin Wed 28-Mar-12 18:01:52

Oh that sounds like a good option MAS.
Congratulations to Lancelottie's DS. (My intention was for ds2 to target a 'pass', but he and his teacher had other ideas so he spent many, many hours preparing and practising. hmm Still, at least it's done now!)

shock at ds1 arguing with the examiner singinggirl - eek! Hope he did well nonetheless and all your other pupils.

lancelottie Wed 28-Mar-12 18:39:27

Thank you! His younger sister has a brass exam tomorrow, just to prolong the term's agony till the very last minute...

singinggirl Wed 28-Mar-12 18:48:02

Just trying to convince myself that it will be ok, hoping the examiner likes sparky children roisin. Hopefully he'll be ok, but I had been hoping for borderline merit/distinction, and he reckons he didn't play as well as usual after that! Oh well...actually I think I'm more worried about my confused Grade 3!

roisin Tue 03-Apr-12 16:49:57

ds2 seemed quite happy with his exam yesterday (piano gr4 ABRSM), so we'll wait and see what the results say.

Wafflenose Wed 18-Apr-12 18:23:05

I got my last result from the Spring Term yesterday - ABRSM from March 26th. It was a grade 1 pianist, who's a first study clarinetist: 125 :D Very happy, and it's on with the next lot. The same girl is doing Grade 4 clarinet this term, and I have a grade 4 flute, 2 Initial recorders, 3 grade 1 recorders and 2 grade 2 recorders. After much discussion, DD has decided to go a grade lower than she could have, and take her grade 2. If it makes her happy and confident, that's fine by me. Anyone else this term?

RaspberryLemonPavlova Wed 18-Apr-12 19:58:39

I think we are having a term off - although there is a slight possibility that DS2 might do Grade 3 trombone, probably a bit soon, which is a shame as he is likely to then end up doing Grade 4 piano and Grade 3 trombone in the same sitting in November. Well done to your student.

ImNotaCelebrity Thu 19-Apr-12 20:47:02

Result in at last! DS (7) got 127 for grade 3 violin. Chuffed to bits!

Wafflenose Fri 20-Apr-12 12:19:39

Yay! That's brilliant. Well done to him!

DD1 is working towards grade 2 recorder and grade 1 piano (although on piano that really is working TOWARDS - we haven't got the book yet and won't for a while) but is flute mad and has been trying to play mine at every opportunity. She does have her 8 adult front teeth, but is still a bit too short really, so we were going to get her a curved head one for her birthday in October. Today, my mum has come across a used one in the paper for £35 and snapped it up, so DD will be getting a surprise! I can give it the once over and have minor repairs done if necessary. Even if it's not great, she will probably only need it for a year at the most, and I have a full size beginner level one she can go on to when she's big enough. So excited!

RaspberryLemonPavlova Fri 20-Apr-12 20:52:38

That's great for your DD Waffflenose. My DD arrived home tonight with the baritone sax we are renting from school. I wish she had been attracted to flute! She has started her Grade 6 alto sax pieces but will be taking it slowly and alternating lessons on her bari.

Well done your DS ImNot a Celebrity

Wafflenose Fri 20-Apr-12 20:59:15

Ha ha, having read about the baritone sax I'm now grateful it's flute too. I would rather she'd picked something a bit more unusual, as I think there might be more opportunities later on, but at least it's small, cheap and very portable! At least she is starting young I suppose. DD doesn't know about her flute yet - my mum lives 60 miles away and I'm not seeing her for another week or so, then I will probably try to string it out for a bit longer. I will probably start off teaching her myself, and pass her on to someone else next term because I don't have time to do three instruments with her with a nearly 4-year old at home with me too.

RaspberryLemonPavlova Sat 21-Apr-12 15:28:17

Entirely separately DD was asked if she would consider playing bari sax in the youth concert band she plays in last night, they didn't know about school. So I suppose she will be in demand. There's lots of time for your DD to play a more exotic instrument later too. At DDs secondary school, the woodwind teacher has all his pupils doubling on saxes if at all possible. DDs other instrument is cello though!

lancelottie Mon 23-Apr-12 12:11:15

Yes, Waffle, I think the reason some instruments are 'rare breeds' is that they are astonishingly heavy and expensive (euphonium for DS in this house with possible tuba to be borrowed from school once he can lift it -- I can't!).

DD's just heard she got her Grade 3 cornet, so can now relax till the next lot. One of them may have piano this term, the other possibly singing (now that's a good, portable instrument!).

Wafflenose Mon 23-Apr-12 17:00:06

Well done to your DD, lancelottie! My youngest has expressed a desire to sing, but she is only 3!!

I think you might be right about the rare breeds actually. They are mostly large, heavy and expensive!

The flute teacher at the school I work at had a massive rant at lunch today, about young children starting the flute, and curved flute heads in particular. I chipped in with my 2p worth, saying I'd rather my DD1 did it properly (with a small flute, lessons, etc) than kept playing mine and got into bad habits/ injured. She was slightly taken aback when I explained that DD is just over 4ft, has all her adult front teeth, can play the first five notes, and is Grade 2+ on the recorder :D We're waiting to hear back to see if she can start lessons at her own school, but it might not be possible until next term. No particular hurry - she's just ultra keen!

roisin Thu 26-Apr-12 18:25:23

Finally got ds2's gr4 piano result: he got another distinction, so he's thrilled. (Just 2 terms since gr2!) Marks all very consistent too, which is pleasing.

He's doing a term of "fun jazz" playing, then see when new exam syllabus comes out which exam to do next and when!

lancelottie Fri 27-Apr-12 10:10:40

Excellent news Roisin (both the results and the 'fun' time, which I see you were concerned about up thread)!

Wafflenose Fri 27-Apr-12 12:19:05

Well done to your DS, roisin! Wow, he's going fast. How old is he?

I have just entered seven children for recorder exams with TG (including 6 yr old DD for Grade 2) and two sisters for Grade 4 AB flute and clarinet. I also have seven concerts and performances this term, including a big community concert I'm organising. It's going to be a busy term!

CURIOUSMIND Mon 30-Apr-12 12:19:11

Your son had a fantastic year so far.You must be very proud!!!

We signed up a new teacher this term. Ds1 is going to do G6 piano and Ds2 is going to do G1.Ds2 only had first piano lesson last week.Before that it was ME teaching him.Ds1 also has two summer concerts, so much to look forward to.

thefirstmrsrochester Wed 27-Jun-12 13:10:03

My dd has just taken her grade 3 trumpet and is utterly convinced that she has failed. It's her first exam. She says that she messed up one of her pieces, the other two were fine, one scale was poor but the rest ok and sight reading .....she says her nerves were shot by them. I am hoping that the results are not as catastrophic as she seems to think. She is devastated. It's going to be a tough couple of weeks waiting on the results.
She was well practiced and able but just was not expecting nerves to affect her.
Oh dear.

pianomama Wed 27-Jun-12 14:17:54

I am sure she'll be fine thefirstmrsrochester.
My DS always comes out with "copmletely blown it" - well, he never has.
Try to forget about it for now and check online (I assume its ABRSM?) in about 10 days - you might be plesently surprised.

DS did his theory this term, thats going to a very long wait sad .Next piano exam in November so saving my nerves till then.

Congrats rosin and DS !

thefirstmrsrochester Wed 27-Jun-12 17:44:48

I hope you are right pianomama, you are very kind to try & reassure me. I had dd play her pieces & scales when she calmed down a bit - they sounded fairly good to me however I am no musician.
I wish I had discovered this thread before.
Best wishes to your son for both his theory results and his piano exam.

Colleger Wed 27-Jun-12 19:46:36

She'll be fine. My son went in completely unprepared once and failed a few sections and still managed a 113 pass.

RaspberryLemonPavlova Thu 28-Jun-12 00:44:29

Another vote for your DD being fine. DS1 explained in great detail why he had failed Grade 5 trumpet, and had a merit. Likewise Dd on her Grade 5 Sax, who had actually burst into tears in her exam and had to be calmed down by examiner. Also a merit. I refuse to worry now until we get the result.

Dcs have had no exams this term, but we are in the middle of the summer concerts, 5 down, 3 to go and we are really enjoying them

kitkat1967 Thu 28-Jun-12 09:20:09

DS (8) has his grade 1 piano this morning. DD has taken loads of exams and DS has already taken Inital on the piano but for some reason I am very worried about this one.
His teacher says he will be fine but some days his hands seem to get in a bit of tangle (I'm not a pianist) and if that happens he stops in the middle of the piece - and on other days everything sounds fab.
The worst thing is that I have to take him as it is not through the school so I will probably get to hear the whole thing through the door!!

CURIOUSMIND Thu 28-Jun-12 09:32:45

I am very worried about my DS2 G1 piano exam ( next week).He is so unpredictable, and very cheeky.

pianomama Thu 28-Jun-12 11:21:49

kitkat - good luck!

CURIOUS - I am sure you know all this anyway but it really helps to make them play their pieces slow first paying attantion to counting, articulation, correct fingers etc. every practice . Otherwise they get this fingers tangling up situation, as they get bored with pieces and want to play everything with the super-sonic speed smile.

Probably applies more for higher grades , I hope that cheeky DS will come across as "playing with charisma" smile . Love reading the exam feedback - I wonder if examiners have some secret code terms only they know what it really means smile

kitkat1967 Thu 28-Jun-12 13:34:43

grr.... didn't take it - found him with the nurse in school with a hig htemp and feeling sick. He had some calpol and we went to the exam centre to try a warm up but he looked awful and said he had a headache.
The staff were lovely though and gave me the number to try and get a slot next week but said they were very booked up.
I'm not worried if he takes it or not (we will just move on ) but he is keen as he has worked so hard sad

kitkat1967 Thu 28-Jun-12 14:23:00

yeah - very nice lady at Trinity Guildhall had found him a cancellation slot next week smile

ByTheWay1 Thu 28-Jun-12 20:58:44

and breathe........

DD grade 2 piano exam over and done with..... can relax now.

She said it went ok except arpeggios (as always..) and a slip in her C piece - her best piece of course... the piece that was not quite ready yet went really well... go figure!!!

Fingers crossed now for the results...

RevoltingChildren Thu 28-Jun-12 23:52:01

Dd has Grade 1 piano tomorrow. She is doing the exam at school and it will be in the middle of the school "Olympic Day" celbrations so she will be weraing her PE kit and coming stright from the sports field!

The next week is Grade 1 tap and Grade 2 modern dance and the week after Grade 2 LAMDA.

Metabilis3 Fri 29-Jun-12 00:35:13

DD1 & 2 had Grade 7 and 1 recorder respectively this week - being trinity guildhall the results came out nice and quickly, we heard today that they both got distinctions. Which wasn't a surprise for DD1 but I was a bit worried about how DD2 would handle the exam, it w her first instrumental exam. But she was fine! grin The grind isn't over though, Dd2 has flute tomorrow, and they both have singing (grades 7 and 3 respectively) in two weeks. Terrible scheduling on our part!

Wafflenose Fri 29-Jun-12 12:03:37

Nice to see so many of you in here, and to hear of some great results for this term. I look foward to finding out how everyone still waiting did.

DD (6) just did Grade 2 recorder this term, and got a merit. My six other TG candidates all got passes, for Initial, Grade 1 and Grade 2. Two pupils did Grade 4 flute and clarinet with AB yesterday, so we have a few weeks to wait now.

DD doesn't have any more lined up for next term, as she won't be ready for Grade 1 flute or piano by then, so we will probably be starting on the theory over the summer holidays. Good luck for everyone else's results!

Metabilis3 Fri 29-Jun-12 12:19:52

DD2 did her flute exam today. The accompanist said it sounded fine (on a par with the recorder exam on Monday) but DD2 felt it wasn't as good as the recorder exam. So we shall see. The focus will now turn to the singing exams since neither DD actually knows all her lyrics yet. DD2 will be doing grade 3 recorder at Xmas (in retrospect she should have done grade 2 and skipped grade 1 as suggested by her teacher, but I foolishly thought it might be better for her confidence to start on grade 1. But really, she is confident enough without having needed that boost). We'll probably wait till easter for her next flute exam though.

Wafflenose Fri 29-Jun-12 13:59:10

Glad it went well, Meta. My DD1 plays the recorder and flute too (and a bit of piano) and will also be doing Grade 3 at some point, although not immediately. How old are your girls? It sounds like they are both very musical, and doing very well! My DD likes to sing as well, but hasn't had any lessons or anything. She is looking forward to Year 3, when she can join the choir, but is currently in Year 1!

RaspberryLemonPavlova Sat 30-Jun-12 23:11:36

Well done mini wafflenose, she has had a good year hasn't she?

Well done your DDs Metabilis.

CURIOUSMIND Wed 04-Jul-12 21:46:23

Any more results out?
Mini Wafflenose is obviouly pretty magnificent!
We just did it today.Lucky, I could actually hear a bit what's going on from outside.Sounds good to me.Huge relief!

kitkat1967 Thu 05-Jul-12 15:47:39

Well we did manage to get the exam done this time.
All OK apparently (I deliberately stood where I couldn't hear) except he stopped in 1 piece so the examiner asked him to start again and it was OK that time. He said the exercises, scales, broken cords, sight reading etc. were all OK so hopefully he will have done enough to pass.

singinggirl Thu 05-Jul-12 18:02:55

Just to say that even when they come out and announce how awful it was - don't panic! I has nine children entered for grades 1-4 AB piano this time, including DS2 doing Grade 2. I have never had so many come out and tell me that everything went wrong - six out of the nine. Two of them actually cried in the exam room. But results are back today and everyone of them passed!

I was nervous given the reactions this time, as you can't help it when children tell you things went badly wrong. But I , like most teachers, don't enter them unless I believe they should be achieving well over the pass mark. This does give them plenty of leeway if they have a meltdown. I am wondering what it was about this particular examoner that caused them all to go to pieces though...

singinggirl Thu 05-Jul-12 18:04:36

examiner of course. Why are my fingers good on a piano keyboard yet incapable of typing properly on a computer keyboard?confused

Hulababy Thu 05-Jul-12 18:14:25

I forgot to update from ages ago. DD got a merit in her grade 1 singing - first music exam shes ever done, so thing she did really well. She got almost full marks in her singing bits but dropped marks for her sight reading - so singing teacher will work on this for grade 2 next year. TBH though I have no idea what that bit involves or how we can help - any ideas anyone? Thanks.

Wafflenose Fri 06-Jul-12 15:54:31

Well done everyone! I've only ever had a handful who've come out crying, and they have always been hard-working girls who really cared about the exam/ result, and made little slips. All have passed, like yours singinggirl.

Wonderful about the merit, Hulababy! With sight singing, it's mostly a matter of learning the intervals between notes, which her teacher should be working on with her, but it can help to use the words (which are optional) as they can help to keep the rhythm going. It does take a lot of practice though, so I'd be getting her to do some in every lesson, beginning with really easy examples. Singing from music in a choir helps some people too.

I got my AB results back today - two good passes for two sisters (Grade 4 flute and clarinet). The younger one got a slightly higher mark, just like last time, but the older one completely flunked her scales and knew it! I think she is happy though.

Hulababy Fri 06-Jul-12 16:38:24

Thanks - I'll have a look with her and see if there is anything we can do to help. Her report from her singing teacher is very good and does mention that it is something there will be working on more next year, but we never see the teacher ourselves to ask as it is done through school.

Joshpoodlehamster Sat 07-Jul-12 10:39:57

Anyone had a marks sheet through for current ABRSM session instrument exams and if so how many days from sitting the exam until the mark sheets arrived? DC sat exam on Sat Jun 23 but teacher now away for the whole summer with no online access and DC forgot to say to him as had to rush away after exam. However the marks sheet might yet reach the school. Just wondering what timescales were at the moment or whether we'd be waiting until after the summer holidays.

roisin Sun 08-Jul-12 13:58:16

Well done to dd hulababy!

Sight singing is just practice: singing in a choir can help a lot, especially one that sings a lot of new repertoire. Church choirs ace for this, if that's your cup of tea.

these books are good. Your teacher will advise what method to use. When drilling sight reading ds2 would sing the "number" of the note on the scale; eg one, five, flat three, two, one, seven, one.

He's fab at sight singing now: much better than I am.

Hulababy Sun 08-Jul-12 15:34:58


We did look at a local church's church choir but at present dd can't commit to the amount if time it required due to family stuff at weekends and her drama during the week.

She does a lot of singing with the school choir but not sure what form that takes.

Metabilis3 Mon 09-Jul-12 18:11:10

We got DD2's flute exam result today - she got a merit which she is a bit disappointed with but since she has only been learning since February I'm delighted. grin She's comparing it to the distinction she got for recorder though, I think. Josh she did the exam last friday week - so, 10 days ago.

She just has her grade 3 singing tomorrow. DD1 was supposed to be doing Grade 7 but she has a dreadful chest infection/cough and has no voice at all. So she has ad to defer till next term. Which is a right pain. sad

Joshpoodlehamster Mon 09-Jul-12 20:14:50

Thanks Metabilis3. I subsequently found ABRSM's own comprehensive website over the weekend which was very enlightening on many music aspects but i didn't feel inclined to enrol there just yet. Ten days' wait appears to be pretty much the case for results online with the exam sheet following a few days later.

This is DC's third exam in successive years so I sort of know how it goes but it was booked originally via school but amended later to our teacher and another date because DC was participating elsewhere on the day of the school visit. I've no doubt our result is ready but we'll just need to ferret about and see if the mark sheet ends up at school.

Good luck tomorrow with the singing for DD2. I'm sure that DD1 will gain another few high end marks by delaying a term even if it is a bit of a pain for her to 'park' her finished pieces for three months when she was ready to wave goodbye to them.

Metabilis3 Mon 09-Jul-12 20:20:06

We have the exam sheet. Our teacher doesn't hold with the Internet. grin

Metabilis3 Mon 09-Jul-12 20:25:34

Thanks for the kind words. smile the problem with DD1 doing her grade 7 next term isn't so much the boredom factor but the fact that she is supposed to be doing her grade 5 piano and grade 7 flute before Xmas. She wants to get them out of the way before her GCSE mocks. None of these are her first study and she is only 14 so it won't matter if she has to shift some back but she had plans she was comfortable with and now they are a bit mumped.

Joshpoodlehamster Mon 09-Jul-12 21:00:57

Yes I see why you are hacked off especially if you need to factor in two or three auditions come October and November.

Never mind, on the positive side just think how high her aural marks will be... and she can use all her pieces again for the music festival circuit in March. Obviously a very capable and willing musician who feels passionate about what she does. You must be proud of them both.

Honestyisbest Mon 09-Jul-12 21:37:38

Any idea when the music theory marks are likely to come out for those who took exams on June 20th?

Joshpoodlehamster Mon 09-Jul-12 21:56:54

In Oct 2011 it took 33 days to come through... we have family birthdays on the day we sat and the day the results arrived...

roisin Mon 09-Jul-12 22:00:54

When ds2 did his theory in March, the website said results would arrive 4 weeks later. They actually arrived 2 days before that deadline.


roisin Mon 09-Jul-12 22:03:07

Just checked and the website now says 6 weeks after theory exam.

Wafflenose Tue 10-Jul-12 09:31:06

Well done to all! Hope Meta's DD1 feels better soon and that the singing goes well for DD2.

ABRSM usually say 2-3 weeks for practical results and 6 weeks for theory. The longest I've ever waited for practical results is 31 days, and the shortest is 8 days - this session (thanks, AB!). That was a pleasant surprise, because on their web site they suggested it would be a 3 week wait this term. I think it helped that we had an early week. As the term goes on, they have more of a backlog generally.

MiniWaffle had her sixth flute lesson at the weekend, and has now covered 15/16 notes she will need for Grade 1, can obviously read the music and do all the tonguing and slurring, and do the aural, and was given some of the scales to learn, which she has done already faints. I've had the odd teenager who's gone that fast before, or adults who've learned an instrument before and gone fast on a second one, but a six year old? Seriously? I have shown her videos of some AMAZING kids on YouTube (playing Grade 8+ at not much older than she is) so she doesn't get a big head. I do hope she won't be doing Grade 1 next term though, as I don't think her sound is anywhere near ready, and she's doing Primary Ballet and Grade 3 Recorder. We also need to start on the theory really, although because of the cost we'll probably wait until Grade 5 before actually sitting one. I expect it will take her some years!

RaspberryLemonPavlova Wed 11-Jul-12 10:41:13

You must be so proud of her!

DS2 did similar on trombone (but he was a bit older at 8, is 9 now), getting to G1 standard in about 2 months (he was a Grade 2 standard piano player at the time), but like your DD his technical expertise didn't match his tone. He will do Grade 2 or 3 in the autumn, depending on where he is after the summer. Although as he is like your daughter, given that challenge he will be sure to be at Grade 3!

All three are coming back from their last lessons for the year with scales and pieces to practice over the summer. They moan now, but from experience they enjoy practising over the summer as they have more time. What are other people's experiences? Do your DC have the summer off?

My DD is currently enjoying a school band trip abroad, a reward for all the hard work!

Metabilis3 Wed 11-Jul-12 12:07:11

DD2 had 11 lessons before she took her Grade 1 exam. Her teacher suggested entering her for Grade 2 not Grade 1 (this was after about 4 lessons) but I didn't want to push her. Also, she is still a bit little to actually have the puff for some of the longer pieces and for two octave scales. She is now playing some grade 3 pieces (well) but I think the scales would be a real stretch for her at this point. She also lacks the puff to do produce decent dynamic variation in the higher octaves - she has to play the high notes loud to get a decent tone.

Wafflenose Wed 11-Jul-12 14:55:04

She sounds very good, Meta. How old is she?

I think my DD1 will step it up and do loads over the summer. She also tends to do lots of story writing, drawing and reading in the holidays. She enjoys those kinds of activities, but is tired during term time and just wants to come home and fight play with her little sister.

schilke Fri 13-Jul-12 08:41:16

Help. Ds2 did g5 violin the other day. He is an anxious boy. He came out in tears. He puts so much pressure on himself. I'm sure he'll have passed, but his previous exams have been merits & distinctions - he will be devastated if he doesn't get a merit.

Dh accompanied him and said his pieces were great, especially b & c. Ds2 said he fell apart in scales - normally perfect - and sightreading - again he is usually very good at this. Dh is puzzled. Ds2 really gets nervous and I don't know how to go about solving this. He deserves a merit - has worked hard and plays musically - just can't believe he fell apart on areas he usually strong at.

Joshpoodlehamster Fri 13-Jul-12 10:08:16

Waiting is certainly the worst part, especially for anxious kids who impose exacting standards on themselves. We have one in our house.

(We've been waiiting since the 23rd and haven't found out yet but our lack of result isn't because of the examining board. Apparently the results this session are coming out in record time so he should know more quickly than in the past.)

As others have said further up this thread most children only remember the bits they got wrong but there will be huge amount he did well and your dh obviously backs that up. The examiner will be able to see the work he has done but whether he gets a merit or a distinction is sometimes just down to luck on the day with the examiner you get. Our experience of sitting two exams previously and being closely involved with other children sitting at the same time is that some examiners are certainly harsher than others but you have to roll with that as that's what life is about...

I think sitting occasional formal music or formal ballet exams is in fact a very positive thing for this type of child because they are getting relatively early experience to what will happen in senior school. It exposes them a little and they don't like it but I think it better equips them to find tools to cope.

If music is to be their thing then they have to contend with the rigours of performance and auditions and so an exam in context isn't really that bad so why get so worked up. That's what i've been saying .... frequently. However we all get sucked in to their anxiety and that's why I'm posting on here.

My DD has had a good day today. She got both the results for her grade 1 trombone ( trinity) and grade 1 theory( ABRSM) today. She got distinctions for both so is very proud of herself. smile

Wafflenose Fri 13-Jul-12 20:12:08

Well done to your DD! That's brilliant!

roisin Fri 13-Jul-12 23:02:39

well done her! :-)

pianomama Thu 19-Jul-12 00:15:09

DS had his G5 theory results - he did very well ! Horrai !! What a relief.That was the longest wait ever. No more exams until November now, time for a nice wine or two..

roisin Thu 19-Jul-12 07:13:05

Excellent! Well done him.

CURIOUSMIND Thu 19-Jul-12 16:18:26

Fantastic news Pianomama!Well done your Ds!
I have been waiting for our practical exam for over 2 weeks already.

pianomama Sat 21-Jul-12 17:31:28

Thanks! Should be out any time CURIOUS - will keep an eye for updates!

CURIOUSMIND Wed 25-Jul-12 19:41:55

After 3 weeks ,longest waiting for practical examresult, found out both my boys got distinctions.The cheeky 6 years old got 145 for grade 1.Mad!He made mistakes here and there all the time, even at the practice room.He is really unpredictable.

pianomama Wed 25-Jul-12 23:09:01

Bravo! 145 !!! Curious - I am speechless. High scorers concert next I guess? Congratulation to both of them !

roisin Thu 26-Jul-12 08:24:57

Brilliant! Congratulations both.

Wafflenose Thu 26-Jul-12 12:54:07

145! Amazing. The highest one of my pupils has ever got was 141, and the highest score I've ever seen with my own eyes (someone else's pupil) was 144. Congratulations to both of them!

CURIOUSMIND Thu 26-Jul-12 13:13:53

I thought 145 is not really existing. But it's only G1.
Thank you, Pianomama,Roisin, Waffle!

schilke Thu 09-Aug-12 14:06:15

Finally got my little worrier's G5 violin result. He got a distinction. All those tears afterwards - he needs to stop being a perfectionist. Had to wait over 4 weeks for result.

RaspberryLemonPavlova Thu 09-Aug-12 20:57:08

That was a long wait but worth it schilke. Congratulations to your DS.

CURIOUSMIND, many congratulations to your DSs also.

Wafflenose Wed 19-Sep-12 22:28:50

Anyone else for this term?

I have just entered DD for Grade 3 recorder. She's been playing the pieces for months, and driving me round the bloody twist, so I thought we'd get it over with and move on!

She's started having flute lessons, and is meant to be doing Grade 1 next term, followed by Grade 1 piano in the summer. We have recently started on the theory (while her little sister is in the swimming pool, usually) as I could see it being a problem if we didn't...

DD loves exams, although I keep telling her they're not the be-all-and-end-all. So we try to make time for concerts and lots of chilled stuff at home. She is desperate to do the festival again. I think she's going to do the 8 & under solo, 10 & under solo, 9 & under duet with a friend, 8 & under beginners for piano, and the Parent & Child duet - non competitive, this one, which I think is so important.

I'm struggling to keep up.

pianomama Wed 19-Sep-12 22:46:11

Just enrolled for November piano exam ..Somehow not very worried just yet as there seems to be lots of time

RaspberryLemonPavlova Wed 19-Sep-12 22:55:39

DS2 is doing Grade 4 piano with TG. The plan was also for him to be doing Grade 3 Trombone in the same session, but his brass teacher was ill today, and as we haven't been given the form or asked for the cheque I'm not convinced it will happen! Actually it may be for the best, he is being made up into a full chorister on Sunday and so gets even busier!

DD and DS1 exams will be next term as school just does them once a year and DS1 wasn't ready for Grade 5 piano.

Lots going on though, all their school and County ensembles are back on and the calendar already filling up of for December with concerts and carol services (and playing carols in the coldest, draftiest, outdoor shopping centre in the country on the 23rd December for 6 hours!) Christmas music is being dusted off and rehearsed. Here come's Santa Claus was being played this evening - or I'm told that's what it was as DD and DS1 both have the bass line (tuba and barisax).

Our festival isn't until Spring, it will be a busy term! Good luck with yours, you are lucky having a non-competitive class for fun. We don't have that luxury!

pianomama Thu 20-Sep-12 11:19:16

Just a little moan - exam fees getting more expensive with higher Grades - I wonder why? The examiners having to listen to longer pieces?

RaspberryLemonPavlova Thu 20-Sep-12 13:31:43

I suppose on a time basis they are in for longer so that would make sense.

But you're right, it does seem a lot more for the same physical piece of paper!

Wafflenose Thu 20-Sep-12 15:36:43

It's silly money. I couldn't believe it - even Grade 3 is something like £46. By the time she gets to Grade 8, it will probably cost over £100. Maybe I'll send her out busking to pay for it! grin

I like festivals. DD is doing five classes, and I've entered for one (gulp) and put a piano pupil in too, so seven classes total - for less than the cost of one exam, and they get performance experience, certificates and feedback. Bargainous. Yes, I do like the non-competitive one, and want DD to learn that music should be mainly about enjoyment. She has decided she wants to play the flute for our parent & child duet.

Good luck to everyone with their preparation. It all seems a long way off now, but I expect it will come round rather quickly!

pianomama Thu 20-Sep-12 15:54:16

DS is doing G7 now ..When he saw how much the exam was (by accident) - he said - the examiners should pay him because he "is awesome" grin . I guess we'll find out in November..

orangeberries Thu 20-Sep-12 19:04:31

DD1 doing Grade 1 piano and Grade 1 Violin in November, I am very proud of her for getting this far with her instruments and look forward to the experience on her behalf!!

CURIOUSMIND Fri 21-Sep-12 22:26:49

Pianomama,Your DS started JD, but he is still doing grade exam?
We don't have exam this term(Teacher is away for two months) but will do 3 classes each for the coming Festival.

pianomama Fri 21-Sep-12 22:34:45

Yes, he hasnt got G 8 yet smile They all do exams but lots lots more as well.

CURIOUSMIND Sat 22-Sep-12 19:21:06

Oh,Pianomama, I thought the grade doesn't bother them. I am sure your DS will do very well anyway.
We have difficulty to choose exam pieces ,because DS1 can't reach octave nicely yet, hope he can grow faster this winter!

pianomama Sat 22-Sep-12 23:38:32

No rush at all and JD doesnt insist on grades. Its just nice for DC to get the sence of achievement .Also, UCAS point smile. The teacher should pick his pieces really to make sure little hands dont strech out too much smile.

Can I resurrect this thread please?
I have DD1 doing grade 4 piano and DD2 doing Grade 2 piano in a couple of weeks. wibble
The tension is growing. Anyone else out there?

Wafflenose Thu 08-Nov-12 20:04:24

Of course you can, Five. I had forgotten all about it!

Are your girls feeling confident or nervous? Are they practising lots, and do you have a date yet?

DD1 is taking Grade 3 recorder on December 4th, but has mostly been practising for the music festival lately. That takes place next week, and she's doing five classes - two recorder solos, a recorder duet, piano solo and flute duet. I have various other pupils and groups involved, so am going to be a bit confused I think!

Best of luck to your two.

Anyone else?

I think they are a bit nervous as they are not at the well-polished stage yet.
The exam is the 26th November. DD2 has a band festival the day after and she's 'supposed' to be practicing her trombone for that! She plays the recorder in the school group too but thankfully isn't doing anything with that atm.
I'm just pleased it's all going be over before Xmas and they can concentrate on Carols.

RaspberryLemonPavlova Fri 09-Nov-12 10:20:27

DS2 is doing Grade 4 piano and Grade 3 trombone in 3 weeks, both with TG. He's fine at present. I am too really, just a bit concerned because he hasn't had a trombone lesson for 3 weeks - due to some very good and understandable reasons (and to be fair half term was also one of those weeks). His teacher has arranged for someone else DS2 knows to give him a lesson next week.

DD has a ballet exam this Sunday.

I'll be glad when they are all over and we can enjoy December and all the concerts and carol services they are playing in.

Good luck next week Wafflenose. Has miniwaffle got high expectations after her double victory last year?

Good luck to all DC doing exams!

Wafflenose Fri 09-Nov-12 10:31:12

Yes, I think she has, Raspberry! It was almost unfortunate that that ended up happening the first time she ever entered, because it probably never will again!

She is doing the 8yrs & Under Recorder Solo, 10yrs & Under Recorder Solo, 9yrs & Under Duet (with a friend who only started a few months ago and still squeaks a bit, but wanted to try - they are technically three years too young for this category, as both were still 6 on September 1st, so no big expectations there), 8yrs & Under Piano Solo, and Parent & Child Duet (we are playing flutes for that). She won't win everything, and we have talked about doing your best, having fun, and congratulating the winner!

I much prefer concerts and festivals to exams! It sounds like yours have quite a lot going on between them. Hope the ballet exam goes well, and the piano and trombone when they roll around.

RaspberryLemonPavlova Fri 09-Nov-12 11:33:23

Yes, we talk a lot about it being a 'festival of music' and a chance to perform. I do think they need to learn to lose - and win - graciously.

I too much prefer festivals and concerts. I also prefer hearing them play in groups to solos as its much more restful!

ReallyTired Fri 09-Nov-12 11:37:04

FiveHoursSleep my ds has grade 2 guitar on the same day. Its his first ever exam as his lovely but slightly dotty guitar teacher forgot to enter him in for grade 1.

Theas18 Sun 11-Nov-12 22:56:02

Gosh why haven't I seen this thread before !

I'm an old hand really but I still get nervous....

DD2 the theory dodger, did grade 5 yesterday at last ... She has grade 5 singing at the end of the month ( still doesn't know the pieces -argh! ) . DS has grade 8 recorder 1st week dec- that terrifies me , because he should ace it, BUT as we fond with the eldest, at higher grades to get a fantastic mark, especially on something like the recorder, it so depends on taste and interpretation, which you may well disagree with them about! (DD I think lost marks for very flexible tempo in a solo piece , which she and her teacher , after research though was how it should be played! She also played it at A2 in a practical and got fill marks - go figure!)

MordionAgenos Mon 12-Nov-12 09:07:16

@Theas good luck to your DS. Which pieces is he playing? I agree with you about interpretation at that level. DD1 is doing grade 7 singing at the end of term, this was put back frm the summer when she had tonsillitis. DD2 is doing grade 2 flute and grade 3 recorder. She has so much on, that one, because she is in the city pantomime too, and preparing for the dance festival next February (she's in some ensemble groups so there are regular rehearsals).

Our main music festival isn't till march, in previous years both the girls have entered loads of singing classes and usually win, but Dd1 has her GCSEs so I'm limiting her to two singing classes - but she'll probably do the concerto class on her first study instrument too (in previous years she's done the advanced baroque class but it's time to step up). Dd2 tells me she will do 'the normal amount' of singing plus instrumental classes this time round. I've told her that's fine if she has discovered some form of income I wasn't previously aware of, if not then we have to talk because there's a limit. We are currently at an impasse.

DS still will not countenance doing anything in the music festival even though he's a decent clarinettist and guitarist. Fair enough - his choice. And from a finances standpoint I applaud his reticence! grin

orangeberries Mon 12-Nov-12 14:35:42

Hi everyone,
my DD1 has her first ever music exams beginning of December! Grade 1 piano and Grade 1 violin. She is very confident about her violin, she's only been playing a year but she is very natural with the instrument....with the piano it's been quite a struggle instead, despite me helping her (I can play pretty well) and having had 2 years, I honestly don't think she'll get a distinction, I think she'll be lucky to get a merit because she seems to get things perfect one day and then completely mess them up the next. She can do it but it's very inconsistent.

DD1 another one with a zillion activities and interest so practice hasn't been great but I am pleased she's got this far and that she enjoys playing. She's also in an orchestra for her violin.

Fingers crossed to everyone's DC and their music exam!!!

Wafflenose Mon 12-Nov-12 20:57:41

Wow, what a lot of exams coming up. Good luck to everyone!

I can't believe it's a year since I started this thread, but it must be because our festival started today!

DD played in the 8yrs & under piano beginners' class. She played two tunes from the Initial Grade book - she is not sitting Initial (will do ABRSM Grade 1 at some point) but I thought she'd enjoy the pieces. She played really well, with just a little hesitation, and got a Distinction and came... 2nd! I'm pleased for her as she did her best, but she's not all that happy. She won everything she entered last year, so it's a hard lesson to learn! Very good for her to learn to accept defeat, and learn from the others though.

She has three recorder classes tomorrow, and I am playing in six! Then flute on Thursday (non competitive).

Theas18 Mon 12-Nov-12 22:14:47


Hottettere suite in e minor ( he loves his French baroque )

Rubbra meditation sur un cour desolee (sp?)

And the English nightingale ( this may have been the contentious piece for dd1 lol).

Good luck to all the festival players ! We've never done festivals- I don't even know if there are any locally...I remember doing them as a kid and still have the certificates !

Btw ( burying it in here as people will understand ) ds has finally plucked up courage. He's arranged an audition next Sunday to see if there may be earning opportunities as a dep at cathedral. Fingers crossed- it would be great in many ways, not least keeping him out of rugby and injury ! ( he trained at the club just over a week ago for the 1st time and sprained his ankle so badly e had to have a day off school!).

MordionAgenos Mon 12-Nov-12 22:30:15

@theas I love the English nightingale so much. Athough it's quite difficult not to just mimic one of the well known recordings. But it's just wonderful. I remember playing the Hottetterre myself. DD1 loves that too. I don't know the other piece. I'm sure your DS will be brill. Scales or study?

Dd2 is doing Van Eyck for her grade 3 - she insisted. Tweede Rosamund (or Tweed as we call it).

What will your DS be playing at the cathedral? Is this the one who wants to do medicine or child 3?

RaspberryLemonPavlova Mon 12-Nov-12 22:59:11

Theas18 good luck to your DS with his audition

Theas18 Mon 12-Nov-12 23:11:52

@ mordion . Ds is the one who wants to do medicine ... He also sings a mean bass for a 16yr old- with pretty good sight reading , being the legacy of a chorister boyhood , and 3yrs in an adult choir as his voice broke early.

( no 3 is a dd and she's 13- sings with the girls choir - snigger of the weekend as we chatted in the car about Xmas concerts to come , was dd2 comment about singing The Messiah at Xmas was " well its a great piece to have in your repertoire" lol. Mind you she's sung most of it 3-4x....)

Rosamund is lovely.

Theas18 Mon 12-Nov-12 23:12:16

Thanks raspberry!

Theas18 Mon 12-Nov-12 23:14:35

@ mordion .i think they chose the rubbra because it's almost unknown. There's 1 piers Adams recording from a long time ago and that's it!

MordionAgenos Mon 12-Nov-12 23:35:09

@theas it's good to do something different. As long as its nice. I remember doing the hindemith trio for one of my grade 8s (not surprisingly, the ensemble grade 8) and it was just the most horrible piece - I didn't like it at all. The syllabus these days is much nicer than in my day, I think, overall. I was clearly born Too Early.

DD1s school are doing the messiah too. grin She loves a bit of Handel to play - but to sing? Not so much. She's firmly in the showtunes/great American songbook/folk arenas given the actual choice, when it comes to singing. I think she'll be glad to finish her grades - now she's decided singing is only going to be third study I did wonder if there was any point her doing grade 8 given she usually hates at least two of the songs she has to sing for every exam but apparently I 'don't understand'. Which translates as of course she is going to do grade 8. Madness.

picturesinthefirelight Mon 12-Nov-12 23:41:17

Mordion. Would she be better off switching to the LCM Musical Theatre Grades?

MordionAgenos Mon 12-Nov-12 23:45:14

She's thinking about doing them as well. Because she's a bit of a demon for hard work! grin But she really wants to finish the ABRSM grades first. She has plenty of time, she's only 14.

Dancergirl Tue 13-Nov-12 21:02:20

Interesting reading. I'm only familiar with ballet festivals but I've seen that most of the festivals dd does also have a music section. Do they all go on with their number at the end for the adjudication as in dance?

picturesinthefirelight Tue 13-Nov-12 21:08:45

They don't wear numbers.

At speech & drama & music festivals the children perform individually then after everyone has performed the adjudicator goes through each one if its a small class or makes general comments then announces the names of the 1st 2nd and third and awards the trophy to the winner.

Afterwards (you have to allow enough tune for them to be written out) you collect your certificate and written adjudication and score from the steward.

Wafflenose Tue 13-Nov-12 21:36:01

DD won back her two trophies today, in the 8 & Under and 10 & Under groups.

She also did a duet with a very inexperienced friend, who has been learning for six months, and is a few months younger than DD (so still 6). The festival has really focused the friend's practice and she's made huge strides. They came 2nd in the 9 & Under Duet category, so still have a few more chances over the coming years, because of their age.

I was the only one in my solo class, so I won that one!!

My two school groups both came 2nd.

So three 1sts, four 2nds, and one pupil who finished in the middle of a pack of 11 yesterday!

Non competitive flute class on Thursday.

RaspberryLemonPavlova Tue 13-Nov-12 21:38:33

Ours gets everything written out as they go along, and you always hope the adjuticator will make general comments if its been a large class, but not always the case!

Logged on to see how Wafflenose and miniwaffle got on - hopefully they will be along soon.

@mordion and theas19 my DS2 has just become a chorister and Messiah is indeed part of their Christmas Concert, but at least its fresh to him. Am making DS1 go to the concert as it is part of his GCSE repertoire.

RaspberryLemonPavlova Tue 13-Nov-12 21:41:21

adjudicator. I can spell it.

Well done Wafflenose to you, miniwaffle and all the other DCs.

If you have to pay for your won engraving like we do, it is going to be expensive!

Wafflenose Tue 13-Nov-12 22:20:40

Yes, we do have to pay! Last year, it was £10 to have her two cups done.

I didn't win anything apart from a sheet of paper! They gave me an 'Outstanding' though, which was very nice of them... but I probably would have been a bit embarrassed to get much less, in front of all my pupils, and some rival teachers! (OK, they are not really rivals, but am feeling a bit stung about something that happened with one of my groups... a VERY unpopular decision!)

Now we wait to see if any of mine get invited to the festival showcase concert, a week Sunday. MiniWaffle was in it last year, so I'd be surprised if they ask us again. One of her best friends is having a birthday party at the same time, and MiniWaffle has said that if asked, she would prefer to play in the concert! I'm quite surprised at her dedication in that respect, because I have to remind her to practise most of the time. She is a new 7 year old though, so it's probably to be expected.

Wafflenose Tue 13-Nov-12 22:21:59

The being reminded to practise is expected, that is, not jumping at the chance to perform!

RaspberryLemonPavlova Wed 14-Nov-12 00:30:59

Gosh, I need to go where you go, it was nearly double that here last year. I have two cups from last year's festival to get engraved before the end of January.

I'm starting to look forward to our festival now, it isn't until March but the syllabus has just come out with the piano set pieces and the DCs teachers are starting to work on pieces and groups, ready for entry in January. Plus I'd rather think about the festival and concerts than the exams!

I'm sorry about the school group - its horrible when things like that happen.

mecindylewis Fri 16-Nov-12 10:56:57

Thanks for replying! I did think that it wouldn't get easier as time went on,

Viewofthehills Fri 16-Nov-12 16:09:42

DD1 one doing grade 7 piano in 2 weeks. Argh! She did grade 5 a year ago and pieces are great, but due to skipping a grade the scales came as a nasty shock! Anyone here got any tips for remembering them, except practise +++?

pianomama Fri 16-Nov-12 17:24:00

View - the same here! So many of them comparing to G5. There are no shortcuts though.. slow practice concentrating on correct fingering, first hands separately, then together in different styles..
I am pretty worried about aural though - it seems to require a lot of knowledge that my poor DS is a bit young for..Fingers crossed and good luck to both of them.Which pieces is she doing?

Viewofthehills Fri 16-Nov-12 19:09:19

Hi pianomama She is playing A3 Presto, B3 Conchita Reve, C2 Harlequin.
They are lovely pieces-I'm not tired of listening to them yet.
The trouble is my level of support is now limited to letting her off the washing up. When her teacher is showing her stuff she will play something two different ways- only they sound pretty much the same to me-whereas DD hears the difference and how one is better than the other and then changes her playing accordingly.
Aural isn't so bad. She did grade 6 flute in the summer and so the jump isn't so big. The flute teacher is also kind enough to help with the aural for piano as I guess grade 7 flute will come next.
How old is your son? Which pieces is he doing?

pianomama Mon 19-Nov-12 08:20:59

Again, view - the same here. I cant always tell the difference..
He is doing A3 , B2 and C1. I think all the pieces are very good,it's the rest of the exam I am worried about.Would be such a shame to lose marks for aural (like he did in G5 - pieces and scales were great - 28,27,27 for pieces and 19 scales but aural was rubbish)

Viewofthehills Mon 19-Nov-12 10:18:03

Scales are definitely coming together- she's playing them all, in every different way now the school show is out of the way. Sight reading- not too desparate, but they do vary a lot. She was panicking about some of the aural a few weeks ago, but not too bad now. Pieces good.

Trouble is, she's not easily pleased. Came out of exam last year in floods of tears. Thought she might want to take the exam again it was so awful. Honestly had me convinced that it was a terrible calamity. Got 128.

pianomama Mon 19-Nov-12 11:21:43

A sure sign of a perfectionist.Its good to have high stndards smile

MoppingMummy Fri 23-Nov-12 21:54:30

Ooh, just found this thread!!

Dd1 (9) is doing grade 5 violin next term (not panicking just yet!) She's determined to get distinction again so is working hard on scales & sight reading (definite weak points)!

So, we also need to start thinking about the theory exam - any tips for this? I know someone who did a theory residential & they all passed after doing that!

Viewofthehills Sat 24-Nov-12 08:31:26

DD's flute teacher gave her homework week by week, taking her through all the ABRSM theory books one by one. Followed by a number of past papers. Probably 20 minutes of lesson time plus an hour at home per week. Maybe 6 months from start to finish. Painless, if dull, but she passed first time with a high mark.

Wafflenose Sat 24-Nov-12 09:57:00

DD has her Festival Prizewinners' Concert tomorrow, and her Grade 3 Recorder exam in 10 days. Sadly, she has gone down with tonsillitis and has not been able to practise for a few days (lots of Jingle Bells and Deck the Halls on the piano instead though). She's determined to play in the concert, so I'm hoping the antibiotics work their magic today. She will pass her exam anyway I think, but what terrible timing!

Viewofthehills Sat 24-Nov-12 12:09:43

Hope she feels better in time for tomorrow- rotten luck to be ill like that.

Mine have theirs this afternoon. Am feeling very nervous for them, they seem okay thank goodness.

Wafflenose Mon 26-Nov-12 20:29:34

Ooh, how did they go?

RaspberryLemonPavlova Mon 26-Nov-12 23:14:50

Yes, how did they get on Five hours?

How is minwaffle, Wafflenose, was she well enough to play in the concert?

My DD is unwell this week, so is being kept well away from DS2. He has piano on Wenesday and trombone on Thursday. Its his birthday today and he was a bit miffed at still having to do all his practise.

It will be nice to get them over, looking forward to the Christmas Concerts.

Wafflenose Tue 27-Nov-12 09:46:28

Hope your DD is better soon, Raspberry.

We kept miniwaffle quiet and off all activities for four days. She literally flopped out on the sofa. But having already given up a birthday party so that she could play, she was desperate to do it. I think it might have done her more harm than good to say she couldn't. She played really well, and yesterday my colleague (who teaches the oboe, and was at the concert) was gushing about her, saying she was great, should take up the oboe, and that she had been arguing with her friend over who would teach her! shock I had to explain that she already plays the flute and piano, to be told, "We can't have that!" So I think it went well.

Grade 3 recorder next week. She had nearly a week of practice, but started again yesterday. The flute came out for the first time in a week today. The piano is in constant use! grin

Theas18 Tue 27-Nov-12 09:52:12

Well we are a day off DD2 grade 5 singing and she's had a stinking cold for a week. Is still coughing but did go to choir on Sunday so hasn't sung much and hasn't practised - argh! (but to be fair, other than looking at the words I don't thinks he could have done anything useful).

Still on the loooooong wait for theory result too.

I'm really nervous for her!

They seemed to do okay. Scales, pieces and aural all supposedly okay- I couldn't hear everything. DD1 ( grade 4) had a tricky bit of sight reading that flummoxed her a bit. 2/4 timing, triplets and 3 different accidentals! She was quite upset about that but I think she will still pass.

pianomama Wed 28-Nov-12 11:08:38

G7 tomorrow...DS has flu, headache , tommy ache ...

RaspberryLemonPavlova Wed 28-Nov-12 19:33:11

Oh no, your poor DS, pianomama. Hope he gets through it ok.

DD has flu, but no exams thankfully. She is upset about missing the rehearsals at school this week before the concerts next week though.

How did your DD get on Theas18?

DS2 had Grade 4 piano today. He came out happy enough, but said he had gone wrong on a piece 'Tapping Heels' which was his best piece! And one of his scales wasn't great apparently.

Grade 3 trombone tomorrow then we can relax. And he will have new pieces -hooray!

pianomama Wed 28-Nov-12 19:53:09

Thanks* Raspberry*.Good luck for tomorrow

FiveHouts - I am sure she will do fine - she will still get marks for right notes etc in sight-reading and if everything else went well she is sure to do well. I wonder if in 2 weeks time there will be lots of posts on this thread - happy ones hopefully smile

Viewofthehills Wed 28-Nov-12 21:06:55

Your poor DS Pianomama.
I really hope he feels better tomorrow and it goes how it should.
DD's G7 on Friday, no illness so far, but bugs every where at this time of year.

pianomama Wed 28-Nov-12 21:41:34

Thanks View.. He does play his pieces beatifully, scales are good as well.As for auarl and sightreading - who knows. When he took G5 he said sight reading was much easier then in the practice book , so we'll see. Will have to spike him with Calpol tomorrow smile.
Good luck to your DD for Friday. 7 down only 1 more to go , smile.

Theas18 Wed 28-Nov-12 22:47:27

Well dd2 was a bit croaky/ coughs but managed a very respectable merit, so she's happy. Haven't seen the mark sheet yet though. Ds said the examiner was nice but very picky. ( he accompanied her)

Theas18 Wed 28-Nov-12 22:48:56

Piano mama how did your ds ge on? I'm so grestful the trinity exams have a pretty immediate result. When I was a kid the wait was awful! Mind yo we must be 3 plus weeks into waiting for her grade 5theory result

pianomama Wed 28-Nov-12 23:08:40

Well done mini theas! Hope you get your theory results very soon.

Trinity are great for the results..Ds did Trinity Violin G4 2 years ago and his teacher called the next day.When he asked to speak to the "man himself" I knew he did well smile.

Out piano exam is tomorrow and its ABRSM so we are up for a long wait as well.
Good job he has concerts at school, JD and a festival winners concert in the space of next too weeks - we won't have time to think about the exam smile.

Viewofthehills Fri 30-Nov-12 17:03:01

Grade 7 done, phew.
One very over-wrought DD exited exam room, but what I could hear from outside was fine. Says she messed some scales up, pieces good, but not as perfect as she wanted them to be, aural good, sight-reading passable. Have to wait and see now.hmm

How did DS do pianomama?

Wafflenose Fri 30-Nov-12 17:41:00

All sound very positive so far!

DD is being sooo laid back. She has only just realised there are four days until her exam, but this hasn't galvanised her into action. She's feeling better, but has been quite tired, and busy with school, so hasn't been practising much. However, it's only a term since Grade 2 so I'm realistically expecting a pass (rather than more) and she will get that even with major mistakes. I don't suppose this weekend will make a major difference in either direction. Hopefully she will just spend a year enjoying it after this exam. She really enjoys exams and is the one driving it all, but at her age she's totally entitled to relax!

MorningPurples Fri 30-Nov-12 19:30:56

Does Trinity always have specialised examiners now? I think they used to but not sure if that's still the case, or if it's like AB when one generalist comes and does the whole lot?

my teacher suggested Trinity at one point because I was struggling with the aural tests for AB, but I'd have to do aural tests with Trinity anyway, since there's no way I'd choose improvisation. Maybe the slightly different aural tests would be easier (it's the memory aspect that gets me on the AB ones). I'm thinking of doing Gr5, or maybe repeating Gr4 with a different board just for more practice as I'm doing lots of pieces still from both lists.

I'd be curious about what difference the specialist examiners make. My instrument is quite rare. I think it has both advantages and disadvantages for examiners not familiar with it. I'd quite like more specific technical feedback, too, especially at the higher levels, which a specialist examiner might give.

Theas18 Fri 30-Nov-12 19:47:30

Morningpurples the only time we've done trinity it hasn't been specialist examiner. Like associated board it has been a generalist. At the higher grades it's been a bit annoying really as some of them " don't get it" really. (re recorder played at high level- surely isn't not that minority an instrument!)

Can I ask what you play?

RaspberryLemonPavlova Fri 30-Nov-12 21:25:29

Morningpurples there is also the option of Musical Knowledge up to Grade 5 with Trinity. DD did this for Grade 1 and 2 violin rather than aural. We didn't have a specialist examiner for the session this week, DS has done trombone and piano, and I have seen guitar, clarinet and flutes going in too! However, the older DCs school has their own examination week and they do have specialist examiners.

DSs trombone went fine, he thought it went better than piano. The co-ordinator is sending out the results to his teachers on Monday which although quick seems to be a long time. They used to be able to ring him sooner than that and be told the result.

wafflenose I'm glad your DD enjoyed her concert. Hope her exam goes well.

Theas18 well done to your DD. Am jealous you got your result so fast.

And on to the next ... DS2 has just brought home his slip for his tuba exam next term!

RaspberryLemonPavlova Fri 30-Nov-12 21:26:03

Sorry, that should be DS1 for tuba!

MorningPurples Fri 30-Nov-12 21:48:59

Yes that's true, could do musical knowledge for now, but sooner or later the aural is going to come, so part of me thinks I might as well just get on with it and keep trying to learn how. Don't want to say instrument under this name, but it's not hugely common, and in some ways seems quite impressive, but in other ways, examiners don't know its limitations, and on my last exam I had comments about something that was actually inherent to the instrument. So a specialist examiner could cut both ways. I'd like the technique feedback though, rather than just the musical/performance stuff, although I know that's important too. I have a friend taking the same instrument, who gives musical performances and who has no nerves whatsoever, loves performing, etc., and has studied music at a high level on other instruments. Despite what I suspect might not actually be that good technique or tone, exam results are really high, which I guess shows the emphasis on performance skills, and possibly the lack of awareness of what sort of tone/sounds are possible at what level. I suspect in that sort of situation, a specialist examiner might be less good, marking down for technique even though 'showman' skills are well developed. I wonder how they decide whether to send a specialist or not - I guess it depends how many candidates there are for each instrument, and whether it's a session specially arranged or just the main session of candidates playing any instrument.

MordionAgenos Sat 01-Dec-12 09:43:28

@Theas Don't your DCs do trinity then? I thought all the establishment recorder teachers still taught Trinity because of (a)loyalty and (b)so many of them being involved with the examining board in some way (DD1 has a lesson with her monthly teacher in a minute and he is doing examining all next week, for example). Mond you, we dont always get a soecialist examiner. We did last term but i think we wont this term for DD2. Well done to your DD on her singing. DD1's singing exam is weeks away, still - they have an exam centre at her school.

We've had a bit of a nightmare couple of weeks - DD2 has been really very sick, she was in hospital for a few days and she has lost a huge amount of weight (and she was tiny to being with). Right now she looks like a spine with some ribs and a head attached. She hasn't been able to practice her flute because she was too weak. So she still hasn't had a run through with the accompanist. sad I don't know what will happen with the exams but its not looking good.

Theas18 Sat 01-Dec-12 13:45:45

Mordion I'll pm you. The kids choose trinity or associated board for piano/singing/theory as the teacher us happy to pick which ever. We alo ave easy access to a trinity centre - ab less so. For somewhat individual reasons that will out us the recorder teacher can't be as flexible.

MorningPurples Sat 01-Dec-12 15:29:48

I had a look at this this morning, a youtube video of a grade 5 exam, and I think I'll be a while yet. OK, not piano, but still, my scales are not that fast or fluent. And the aural tests, yikes. I'm much better at the sight singing than he is, but the not the melody repetition or rhythm clapping. And I've been through every aural samples book I can find, and the online ones, several times. I wasn't even sure whether he was right on the last question where you had to name the period of music - he said Baroque and I can't even tell if that's right. It was a bit too song-like (or is it dance-like?) and legato for what I think of as baroque. A Rondo I suppose, which I guess is more baroque than any of the others, and it didn't have lots of rubato, it did have some independence of lines, and it was all very harmonious, so I suppose that's right. I might have guessed perhaps a little more Classical than Baroque (though that wasn't a choice), just because it sounded like much longer and smoother phrases, simple harmonies. I never know what to say for those things!! I can answer the specific questions ok, but actually putting it into a period is harder.

pianomama Sat 01-Dec-12 21:37:59

view - I think he made bit of a dogs dinner out of it to be honest. He was not well, had a false start on one of his best pieces (dont know how many marks you lose for that) and stumbled on the other piece.This is to say that all the pieces were outstanding - won serious competitions with all 3 of them before.. I could hear him just about through the door. But then I am sure he passed - its just the question of how smile He said he was asked the easiest scales (the number of hours he spent on the harder ones !!!). Dpnt care really anymore, lets wait for the results.
Well done mini view - only 1 more of the horrid exams to go smile. We all deserve a wine. I will log in to ABRSM site in about 10 days to check..fingers crossed till then.

Viewofthehills Sat 01-Dec-12 22:33:25

So frustrating for them when they get things wrong that haven't ever gone wrong before. Fingers crossed.

DD planning to do some other stuff before grade 8. Duet with Dad for music festival and a couple of other pieces. Plus grade 7 flute. Don't know if our piano teacher does on-line checking yet!

Yes to wine

Theas18 Sat 01-Dec-12 22:34:23

Aww hugs for the mini pianolet.

Grade 8 on thurs for DS and everything else re Xmas is already kicking so not ideal at all. Just hope he holds his nerves better than he has done recently when they've destroyed him

pianomama Sat 01-Dec-12 23:14:59

Thanks view and Theas and the best of luck with G7 flute for young viewand G8 for young Theas! These DC do have so much on.. Lovely talented kids they are and we are lucky proud DM-ers (she said pouring the remaining of the wine into her glass).
Re nerves - do remind DS how good he is and how lucky the examiner will be to hear him play grin

Viewofthehills Sat 01-Dec-12 23:39:13

Re nerves - do remind DS how good he is and how lucky the examiner will be to hear him play grin.

Piano-what a lovely suggestion-will save that for next time smile

orangeberries Sun 02-Dec-12 11:44:32

Enjoyed reading all about the grade 7s and 8s on here - my DD1 is doing Grade 1 piano and violin next week and those grades seem miles away!!! Something to look up to.

Teachers say she is capable of a distinction, I do think it will all be down to nerves on the day - I have seen her do everything to perfection and everything so badly, tripping up many times. Keep all your fingers crossed for her next week!!!

MordionAgenos Sun 02-Dec-12 14:15:04

I haven't even thought much about DD1's G7 singing yet. I probably won't, to be honest - apart from, you know, paying for it (the school only just got round to billing us for the entry fee). Whereas I'm very concerned about DD2's grades 3 and 2 this week. But it's not surprising really - singing is only DD1's 4th study.

Leafmould Sun 02-Dec-12 15:46:11

Hello everyone. What a lovely supportive thread you have here. I hope you dom't mind me coming on to ask a question, as you all clearly know lots about music education.

My dd is 6 and has just started learning the violin. She absolutely loves it, practises enthusiastically every day, and has an amazing teacher through our local music centre. She is doing instrumental, musicianship and ensemble lessons, so is getting approx 2 hours lessons every Saturday. For me, grades are not the priority, however it would be helpful to understand what 'average' progress is in terms of grades. It is possible to apply for money towards paying for music lessons if the dc is achieving distinctions also.

Would you be able to fill me in roughly on grades?

Thanks so much x

pianomama Sun 02-Dec-12 17:15:31

It varies so much from child to child.Violin is probably is one of the harder instruments and it would take time to get from beginner to G1 - i'd say a couple of years would be a reasonable expectation? My DS didn't do all grades - I think he took G3 s his first exam at around 8 having started at 6 (with 1 30 mins lesson a week).
He was doing piano as well and played in the orchestra so found sight reading very easy on violin. With the piano he took 3,5 and 7. Some teachers like them doing all the grades but it really is not necessary.

Leafmould Sun 02-Dec-12 18:13:17

Thanks for your reply, pianomama. It is the sort of thing that the music centre are not that good at explaining to new comers. I have no idea whether grades are part of what they are working towards at all. I know some of the children at the centre also have private lessons. Interesting that you can skip grades. I wasn't really aware of that, but it makes sense if a child with musical experience starts a new instrument for example.

MordionAgenos Sun 02-Dec-12 18:26:46

@Leaf I think the reason why teachers and music centres don't always 'explain about grades' is because the whole deal can vary wildly from child to child and from parent to parent. Some parents are hugely into grades, perhaps because of scholarships/bursaries which don't stipulate 'playing at x standard' but instead stipulate 'has passed x grade with at least x mark'. Some kids start off really relaxed, maybe not even wanting to do grades, and then suddenly they need a grade for something that matters to them (e.g. the grade 5 piano thing). Some kids are certificate hoarders (my youngest DD is like that - she was annoyed at skipping grade 2 recorder, and despite everyone thinking she should skip grade 4 singing and go straight on to grade 5 next exam, she is refusing). I know people who only took grade 8. I know professional musicians (well known ones) who have never passed a single music exam (because they never took one).Other people take every grade in order obsessively. Some kids can make very fast progress on one instrument and much slower progress on another but it doesn't necessarily mean the fastly progressing instrument is their 'best' one.

Leafmould Sun 02-Dec-12 18:39:50

Mordion, that's really helpful, I'm glad that it is not like levels in school, that there is an average rate of progress that should be made during the course of a year or key stage, because learning really is an individual thing. If it's Accepted that there will be massive variation, that's really healthy.

Just had a lovely practise with dd. she's really enjoying herself, which is of course the main thing.

CURIOUSMIND Sun 02-Dec-12 23:44:26

Leafmould,For violin, it could take a young child about 2 years to reach solid grade 1 level, but telented fast learners can get there in 6 months or even less, if it's your second study, it could be a lot quicker.BUT, it doesn't mean the quickest to get grade x is the best.

Pianomama, just read your concern bit before your Ds's exam.I am sure this is only one of his still early stage exam, doesn't matter that much if a poorly boy didn't show his best. They will judge on your overall performance, little mistake means 1-2 marks off from my experience.I guess the result will be anything between 130 or 150!

We have done all the competions, Festivals of this year but still to come 3 concerts +school Christmas production piano part.MY cheeky little boy wakes up so early everyday, started playing A starry night in my early morning dream!
Wish all the children who are doing exam this season the best!

pianomama Mon 03-Dec-12 11:23:13

We have 1 major concert left and of cause all the school Christmas events. Last night came home at 12pm returning from non-stop full on weekend. Getting a tired out DS into the car I asked him what does he think about "performing musician lifestyle" and to my surprise he said - "awesome!!!" - next second he was fast asleep in the car.. I think I am going to force feed him chocolate, computer games, lego whatever once the school holidays start .Also been begging to go ice-skating - we'll go as soon as his last concert is done.Roll on the holidays..

RaspberryLemonPavlova Mon 03-Dec-12 22:31:39

Really, really proud of DS2.

He got a solid merit (83) for his Grade 4 piano and just managed a Distinction with 87 for Grade 3 trombone.

Full marks for his aural each time and for his Grade 3 sight reading.

We can enjoy the concerts now!

Good luck to all DC still waiting to do exams.

Viewofthehills Mon 03-Dec-12 23:13:24

Congratulations to your DS.
He said his trombone was best exam didn't he?

MorningPurples Tue 04-Dec-12 07:22:52

wow, very good results.

I am envious of children who seem to find the aural so easy, naturally.

Did anyone look at the video of the Gr5 exam I linked a few posts back, and can tell me what he should have said for the final questions about the style/period?

pianomama Tue 04-Dec-12 07:58:41

Congratulations to your DS Raspberry!

CURIOUSMIND Tue 04-Dec-12 11:48:06

Fantastic results! Congratulations to little Raspberry! Aural and Sightreading full marks!Remarkable!

Theas18 Tue 04-Dec-12 15:23:24

Raspberrylemon. THat's fab! Well done!

Morningpurples I think " finding the aural easy" or not just reflects how much singing the children do on the whole, and how broad their musical experience is. My team sing loads and loads and aural has never been hard for them (though DD2 lacks confidence) . It's more " fine tuning" and knowing what the question will be that the teacher does. (lower grades have a very limited range of questions and it's just knowing how they want the answer phrasing etc)

MordionAgenos Tue 04-Dec-12 17:29:18

Congratulations on the great results so far. Dd2 is still far from well but she is insistent that she wants to do her exams this week. She's missing a concert this evening (but did one yesterday afternoon, because it involved 'singing on the radio' and will be singing the psalm at a secial mass at school on Thursday morning before her exam (I wanted to say no but she was quite upset at the prospect of not singing)). I can sort of see where she's coming from in that singing is much more important to her than her instruments. But still.

WRT aural - when I was at school, none of the peris covered aural in their lessons. The school was an exam centre, so all entries were done through the school, and about 2 weeks before the exams the head of music scheduled each girl doing an exam for a 20 minute aural and accompanying session either during A and O level music classes (we always had tests those days with someone else invigilating) or lunchtime/pre school/after school. I think that if someone had an issue with aural, revealed during that session, then they did some kind of emergency catchup. But I don't think it happened often - our school was ALL about the singing. My kids have a mixture of peri lessons in school and private lessons outside. The only one who does aural is the clarinet peri who teaches DS in school. None of the people who teach the girls in school do aural with them but that's because they know the girls have singing lessons and do loads of other singing stuff in addition, also, Dd2 is ahead of her other instruments in her singing grades. So they leave the singing teacher to cover it which is fine.

Someone upthread was asking about the frequency of exams. One factor which wasn't mentioned is expense. Teachers round here start from the premise that parents won't necessarily want to shell out more than once a year. And when a kid is learning more than one instrument - or, you have more than one kid learning one or more instruments, it can all add up. Also, some schools (and se teachers) don't like kids taking exams in the summer term.

Wafflenose Tue 04-Dec-12 19:20:22

Well done to mini Raspberry!! That's fantastic.

Hope all the sickies are recovering.

I had 7 pupils do exams today. DD made some mistakes in her solo piece, but everything else went well. The others were a mixed bag, and there were some disasters unrelated to the actual playing, which resulted in a change of room and piano halfway through, a child turning up late huffing and puffing, and frantic phone calls between departments. I can't be more specific here, but all of this did have an impact on everyone. I really, really hope they've all passed. It's TG, so we should know by the end of the week.

orangeberries Tue 04-Dec-12 20:36:42

DD1 did violin grade 1 today, it went ok. Her teacher said she made some mistakes she'd never made before in her best piece, but my DD1 said that she could hardly hear the piano and it confused her. Anyway, overall she was happy with how it went, so fingers crossed! How long do results normally take with ABRSM? DD1 now has grade 1 piano left on friday...I think she's a bit more confident though as she's been through it and now know what it's all about!!!

RaspberryLemonPavlova Tue 04-Dec-12 21:28:36

Thank you everyone for your kind comments.

Its interesting the comments re aural and singing. Ds is a chorister (fairly new, was made up in September) and therefore spends hours each week singing and sight-reading.

Wafflenose what an awful session! I thought ours was bad when DS piano was delayed because a previous candidate had to go back in. (She had been asked questions from the grade above apparently).

CURIOUSMIND Tue 04-Dec-12 21:30:47

Please can I seek some geniue advice about something else but really related to the main theme of this thread?

My children won 8 trophies recently, including two overall, and local newspaper coverage . This is usually all our out of school business,but how about now?Shall I tell school or not, take awards to school or not? Make a truly deserved fuss or keep it quiet to ourselves?Particuly when they are doing Christmas production almost everyday.
I had a awkward experience before, trophies were kept in teacher's cardboard for a week for nothing by mistake or for any unknown reason.

RaspberryLemonPavlova Tue 04-Dec-12 21:31:24

orangeberries for is it has varied, Shortest was 2 weeks, longest 4 weeks. Good luck to your DD for Friday.

CURIOUSMIND Tue 04-Dec-12 21:33:27

A genuine question!

schilke Tue 04-Dec-12 21:46:14

Curiousmind - I'm assuming your children are at primary school. Do they have celebration assembly or some equivalent? They have this at my daughters's school. Children can take in their swimming certificates, ballet awards etc.. If not, then I would just perhaps take them in to show the class teacher.

MorningPurples Wed 05-Dec-12 09:39:18

Maybe singing lessons would help with the aural. I don't know. I do sing in choirs, but never on my own. And the sight-singing test is fine - as long as I have music in front of me, I'm not too bad. But I've never learned by ear - maybe that's what I think the children find easier, as some of them are used to doing that a lot in primary school or elsewhere. I can't remember not reading music, and I'd always rather see something and translate it to music than hear it. I guess I'll pick up marks on the sight singing, even if I'm useless at the first test. Can't imagine how it'll be in later exams, when you have to pick out a specific line, and then remember that one! eek. I'm wondering about trying to find a tutor, but not sure what they'd be able to do that all the books/CDs/hofnote haven't been able to. I can also work on the answering questions bit for the last test, the style and period one. I guess if I learn some of the 'right' things to say, that should be another place to pick up some of the marks. (I still want to know the answer to the YouTube videoed gr5 exam I linked earlier, if anyone has time to watch it! The level of the whole thing rather freaked me out, and that was apparently only Grade 5).

pianomama Wed 05-Dec-12 12:46:30

CURIOUS - agree with schilke - in my DS old primary they announced extra-curriculum awards in the assembly. I would just ask their teacher what their view is. It is good for DC to get some recognition in their school.
Now DS is in a prep school, I just email his Form tutor who will pass it on to anyone else . They will mention achievements in the latest news section on schools website, mention it during various school ceremonies etc.
Last major competition, I got email from the organisers on Monday morning when DS was at school doing his exams. I emailed his Form tutor straight away and he came up and whispered the good news into DS's ear in the middle of his science exam !

RaspberryLemonPavlova Wed 05-Dec-12 13:10:12

curiousmind I remember your other thread when she just left them in the cupboard. Not nice.

DS junior school also has celebration assemblies. They don't differentiate levels of achievement though, so for instance a child with a 10m swimming certificate would receive as big a clap as DSs friend who is a county and regional champion is his chosen sport.

DCs secondary school often has items on their on-line news page of students achieving sporting success, and other achievements outside of school.

Maybe ask the head this time?

CURIOUSMIND Wed 05-Dec-12 14:53:34

Oh,You remembered Raspberry.It is that experience made this so straightforward things now an unsure issue.
We have weekly whole school assembly normally, but these two weeks is full of Christmas production from each year group.

I braved myself up asked the teacher this morning. She said she will ask HT.(Different teacher from last term)Hopefully I can get a reply soon.

Pianomama, This is so sweet :'he came up and whispered the good news into DS's ear in the middle of his science exam !'

Wafflenose Thu 06-Dec-12 14:54:46

Results in just now!!

DD (year 2) got a merit for Grade 3 and will be over the moon! I'll take the mark sheet to meet her with when I collect her from school.

My Year 3s from work got a pass and two merits for Initial, and a merit for Grade 1 (this child had a VERY difficult day/ exam so will be pleased!).

My Year 4s both got a pass for Grade 1. These two had to work soooo hard for a pass that I'm probably more pleased for them than for DD, who finds it easy. She has also worked very hard though, so we'll make a fuss of her tonight.

SantaFrontPaws Thu 06-Dec-12 15:00:33

We've got one this week.

I have just heard some practice and am not confident! For some reason, the tune he has been playing now aounds completely different from what he played before. When I asked why it sounded different he said 'that's how my teacher says I should play it'. It did not sound good!