Music Exams For? Against?

(63 Posts)
morethanpotatoprints Mon 24-Jun-13 22:34:30

Just that really.

I would like to know why some people choose the exam route and why some don't.

What are the advantages and disadvantages.

What is the point?

My dd has done exams, and is doing one soon, so I am not really against them. However, have recently found I'm not for them either.

Smithlings Tue 25-Jun-13 10:29:11

My DD1's clarinet teacher seems to think that if she doesn't rush from one exam to the next she will lose interest - she did Grade 1 in Apr and is meant to be doing Grade 2 in July. Not sure that's true. I could do with a little less pressure tbh!

I think it does give them a sense of achievement to do an exam, but I don;t really see why they have to do them so quickly - it's nice to have a bit of time off between working for exams and play fun stuff - and consolidate skills.

For some things, like joining orchestras for example, you often need to have a certain grade, so then having done the exam helps.

musicalfamily Tue 25-Jun-13 10:42:23

I think it is a balance between exams and performance opportunities, a bit like with other disciplines (ballet, for example).

It's good to have exams as a baseline of achievement but it is fundamental to try and keep it fun and also work on performance opportunities, as after all that's what music is all about...

So to answer your question I'd say a bit of both..

GooseyLoosey Tue 25-Jun-13 10:45:02

My dd has at the moment chosen not to do exams. The routine of playing the same pieces over and over again for months nearly killed her love of the piano so we agreed with her that for the moment she should just have fun with it. Have noticed that lots of people ask what grade she is on so she does learn the exam pieces for fun so she can tell them.

jessjessjess Tue 25-Jun-13 10:50:41

I play two instruments and gave up doing exams as a teenager as I used to get nervous and didn't enjoy the theory side. As an adult, I regret not getting grade 8 on my main instrument as it would have opened some doors that are now shut.

I think the key thing is not to do all the exams but skip to the level that suits you best - I went straight to grade 5 on my second instrument and that was pitched about right for me.

MusicMake Tue 25-Jun-13 10:55:40

Agree with jessjessjess. Best not to take all the exams but perhaps every other grade. It is good to get grade5 and grade8. That way it is not a constant cycle of exam preparation and there is time to play just for fun.

VinegarDrinker Tue 25-Jun-13 10:55:44

Totally depends on the child and what motivates them.

I agree with whoever said performance opportunities are very important too. My DH holds termly pupils' concerts which are informal and sociable and give them all from beginners to very experienced performers a chance to start to learn to play in public - and they inspire each other too.

I would say overall though finding a way to play with other people seems to be the best way of getting kids into really loving playing.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 25-Jun-13 10:57:02

Goosey.

I have to admire your belief, it is so easy to get bogged down with exams and follow the fold.
It is true that so many people judge ability by the last/ present exam your dc are doing.
I am increasingly finding this so sad. Why not just listen to the child play and then make up your mind if it is good or not.
After this grade our dd is considering which instruments to continue and what if any exams to do next.
It just seems to be constant exam prep for one instrument or another.
I also think many teachers push dc through exams for their benefit, meeting targets etc, rather than the benefit of the child.
It is interesting hearing other peoples views.

musicalfamily Tue 25-Jun-13 11:58:43

Also just to add to my previous point, we have a teacher who will not let them do the exam pieces for more than a month or so. His view is that if they can't do a piece well for an exam within a month or so then they are not ready. It also means they are not as polished perhaps and may get lower grades, which might not suit some parents. But I am happier with the fact that my children will have enjoyed all sorts of other music before each exam. If it was 3 pieces for 6 months I would put my foot down and refuse to let them to the exam, I think....

schilke Bosnia-Herzegovina Tue 25-Jun-13 17:22:19

They can be a confidence booster. Ds2 gets extremely nervous beforehand and comes out either in silence saying he's failed. He hasn't yet. It is the same for school exams. I'm just hoping that the experience of doing music exams might help when he does his GCSEs etc.. Hopefully he'll have worked out how to deal with the pre-exam nerves. He actually performs well in exams, it is just the before bit that stresses him out!

He also likes ticking them off, so has done all the grades in order. Only the one theory though!

Plays lots of different pieces not just exam pieces - that would be very tedious!

teacherwith2kids Tue 25-Jun-13 17:26:52

My children's clarinet teacher seems to be suggesting the 'landmark exam' route.

DS has never taken an exam, as he used to be on the in-school 'stages' scheme moderated by the LEA teachers, and since that petered out with the removal of all LEA peris has just continued to play.

His great love is jazz, and he has moved up through e.g. county jazz groups, into the school orchestra, been selected for concerts etc on the basis of his playing rather than any piece of paper.

However, his teacher has suggested that he should do Grade 5, probably at the end of this year. He has, I think, learned all the pieces - in amongst a constant diet of new pieces, learning to improvise properly etc - and returns to them periodically once he refines aspects of his playing on other pieces (so if, e.g. fast runs are proving tricky, he gets some other pieces with lots of fast runs, focuses a lot on those, then returns to an 'exam' piece with improved fast runs IYSWIM).

I don't anticipate him doing any others for a while unless he wants to. Grade 8 would obviously be a final aim, though what may happen instead is that he takes up sax as a parallel intrument and decides which to take forward to higher grades.

DD - currently around Grade 3-4 standard - loves the absence of exams (her main interest is dance and her progress through that is wholly through exam) and may never take a music exam unless she actively chooses to do so.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 25-Jun-13 19:21:30

teacherwith2kids.

This is our problem atm, dd plays both classical and jazz although can see as she progresses to be more akin to jazz, like her dad smile
He doesn't really like exams one after the other and thinks she should just do every other one or not at all until grade 8.
I on the other hand see them as milestones, but not necessarily every exam on every instrument.
We don't seem to be able to agree on this one.

puffinnuffin Tue 25-Jun-13 20:02:31

I think they are a useful bench mark and something to work towards. However it's a bit like learning to read where you need to experience a wide range of texts, print etc in order to progress. Children need to be exposed to a variety of music and musical experiences and not just focus on exam pieces only. Balance is crucial.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 25-Jun-13 21:09:43

I think dd enjoys taking exams and seems to get a huge buzz waiting for the results. It is sometimes difficult for them not to want to do the next one when their peers are talking about their next one. I don't mean her friends aren't nice or the competition is unhealthy as they all support each other, which is lovely if you ever come across the other spiteful dc. grin.

whistleahappytune Wed 26-Jun-13 10:04:32

As other posters have suggested, I feel it's totally unnecessary to do every single exam. Far better to get really comfortable and proficient on an instrument first. My DD's first exam on violin was Grade 4. We may well skip Grade 5 and do Grade 6 when she's ready. It does get tedious being on the exam treadmill.

However, I think there are benefits to the occasional exam. It's very very focusing, for the teacher and the pupil. It's a real opportunity to perform and a great lesson on handling pressure. And there's a massive achievement for the child.

MadeOfStarDust Wed 26-Jun-13 10:08:35

I have 2 girls - they are both different - one is doing grade 3 piano exam on Friday, the other took her grade 1, 2 years ago, and decided she wanted to play piano but not do exams.... our piano teacher is happy with both.. go with the flow - but push a little if needed

Earlybirdie Thu 27-Jun-13 05:55:04

I am not abig fun of exams. They only capture snapshots not always one's real level of abilities. Having said that I am supporting my DD to do violin exam next Tues and Piano exam next Fri. This is a joint decision between DD, teachers and myself. Both exams at grade 5 and DD wants to do it before getting busy preparing for 11+ exam. Pros of exam: she is focused, working hard and leant a lot more than comparative period without exam hanging overhead. However ... Recently she started talking about being worried. There are no pressures from her teachers or me since we all recognise that it is not easy for a young girl to do a high level exam. So I feel that I must keep a very close eye on her emotional development.

I have tried to tell her, attending the exams and trying her best, the results are not important. If she gets a distinction or merit it is a bonus. If she gets a pass it is fine. If she fails we should still celebrate because learning to deal with failure is also part of growing up process. She should try to remember what she has learned from preparing this exam. Whatever results she get is not going to be the end of the world.

So what I am trying to say is I think the most important thing is not about whether children should take exam or not. It is about what to prepare our children.

Another thing is I am of the view taking exam or not should be children's own decision. After all they have to do all the work. They need to own their decisions. Sometimes my DD gets a bit lazy. All I need to say is, what do you want to achieve for your exams. That focuses mind every time.

claraschu Thu 27-Jun-13 06:18:34

You never really need to do the exam (except maybe for UCAS points?). A note from a teacher saying you are "Grade 8 standard" does just as well (for auditioning for the NYO or whatever).

I agree that an occasional exam (maybe grade 5) can be useful, or a good project, if you don't take it too seriously, but exams are NOT the point of playing an instrument. Too many people are obsessed with them, and they are even more stupid than other public exams, I think.

anothermadamebutterfly Thu 27-Jun-13 11:05:58

I am not really into the exam route at all, be it for music or dance or whatever else there is, but I guess it depends on the child - mine are not particularly motivated by exams, and I think it is good that way.

With music, I think it is more important that they have opportunities to join music groups or orchestras, and get the chance to make music together with other people, provided of course that there is something that suits the instrument and they enjoy being part of a music group. In my experience, you do not need the exam grades to join ensembles - most of them are done by audition anyway. DD plays in a city-wide ensemble and a music group and has never done an exam - some of her friends do them, but she has never been interested.

Having said that, DS will be doing a music exam this year, his teacher wants him to, and he wants to, so I will be helping him prepare for that.

anothermadamebutterfly Thu 27-Jun-13 11:09:49

ps - good luck to the ones doing exams this week!!

Lancelottie Thu 27-Jun-13 11:18:33

Ahem.

All those saying they don't agree with exams -- do you have children who voluntarily practise scales?

Only a good dollop of exam terror will get DS2 anywhere near scales practice (and even then he often avoids it in favour of tootling around playing anything he comes across), but I think I can hear the difference in his playing when he does do scales and exercises.

MadeOfStarDust Thu 27-Jun-13 11:25:07

Always start with 3 or 4 random scales and sight reading - then the fun stuff... ( but I do supervised practise 3 times a week)

Lancelottie Thu 27-Jun-13 11:28:59

Mmm, I used to supervise practice, but DS (mid-teens) would prefer his parents not to exist, let alone hover around interfering with his music.

I do comment if he's been up there for half an hour unable to help wash up because he Must Do His Practice, but all I can hear is ukelele chords (he plays brass)!

anothermadamebutterfly Thu 27-Jun-13 11:49:55

Lancelottie you have a point - I may be speaking too early! My DCs are still young enough to be supervised during practice, so maybe I will be frantically enrolling them for exams by the time they are teenagers.

I learned the piano and viola and never did exams (this was not in the UK) so it is possible! Maybe I was just terrified of my teacher instead...

morethanpotatoprints Thu 27-Jun-13 12:32:11

Lancelottie

My dd plays scales daily on all instruments, whether taking exams or not. It has been part of her daily routine from the offset. Then when she comes to an exam its a case of polishing.
Its important for them to understand why they need to know scales and then they become less reluctant to practice them. It is exactly the same with chords.
I'm not against exams though. grin

LilyBolero Thu 27-Jun-13 13:24:08

One plus point of exams is that they are an 'enforced performance' and if you are a musician, although obviously there is much merit in playing for its own sake, performance is the thing if you want to go beyond the 'playing for fun' stage. It's also an opportunity in a safe environment to do something more formal than playing at home; if you mess up in an exam it's only you and the examiner, mess up in a concert and you mess up in front of everybody listening. Even if you fail, you haven't had that moment of not being able to face everyone as you slink off the stage...even in the most informal of concerts this is a possibility.

And it is also an opportunity to get some comments from a pro musician, which will sometimes back up what your teacher has said, sometimes give the teacher something to think about (eg if a teacher gets all the sheets back and they all say 'pulse was variable' then they get the message that there is something they need to focus on more), and provide a solid marker and framework for technique.

Yes, it is only how it went 'on the day', but that is the nature of performing arts. In the same way that a sportsman may do well or badly on a given day, and that is part of learning, to learn that!

Lancelottie Thu 27-Jun-13 13:30:48

DS will warm up on scales... but would never voluntarily have learnt G sharp minor, which is his current nemesis.

Lancelottie Thu 27-Jun-13 13:31:39

Oddly, DS just lurves playing for an audience and would far rather do that than play in an exam.

LilyBolero Thu 27-Jun-13 13:33:33

Lots of people are like that, I'm the same, but if you are a bit nervous, I think an exam is actually less intimidating, especially if you are likely to go a bit wonky in the middle!

VinegarDrinker Thu 27-Jun-13 13:37:36

I disagree Lily - 20 people sitting round tables, in a familiar place, eating cake and cheering you on every step of the way (even if you stop and start again), with your teacher standing right next to you if you want them vs. a one-off chance to play in an unfamiliar environment, on an unfamiliar instrument if you are a pianist, to a scary person in a suit? Oh and knowing that you get marked for it and you can fail. No contest which I'd rather do.

LilyBolero Thu 27-Jun-13 13:45:43

Fine, that's you! Different people are different! My dd would far rather play to 1 person who is trained in being friendly and helpful, with no comments until at least a week after the exam, by which time she's mentally moved on. There's no rule that says everyone is the same!

In fact the thing dd hates most of all is if she plays in a concert, and loads of people come up after and say 'that was amazing!' Because she is so shy she would rather just vanish which of course is what happens in an exam essentially!

LilyBolero Thu 27-Jun-13 13:46:34

And what makes you think an examiner is
I) scary
II) in a suit?

LilyBolero Thu 27-Jun-13 13:47:05

And what makes you think an examiner is
I) scary
II) in a suit?

LilyBolero Thu 27-Jun-13 13:47:23

Sorry double post!

MadeOfStarDust Thu 27-Jun-13 14:04:54

mine have had 4 examiners - all had suits on 2 were scary.....

imnotmymum Thu 27-Jun-13 14:08:47

Definitely depends on child. DD2 had guitar lessons and was practising for grades and hated every minute. We said to her did not have to stopped lessons self taught herself and plays Taylor Swift etc.
DD1 plays clarinet and would do an exam a day if he could !
DD3 self taught piano and DD2 teaching DD1 guitar.

LilyBolero Thu 27-Jun-13 14:09:06

if you have a female examiner, they will probably not wear a suit....

and none should be scary!

VinegarDrinker Thu 27-Jun-13 14:17:20

Well I've probably done upwards of 30 music exams in my life over 20 odd years and about 5 or 6 different instruments, so it's just a generalisation based on my experiences.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 27-Jun-13 14:18:33

We haven't come across any scary ones and only one in a suit. She did say that one looked very strict and even though he seemed to mark harshly at first, reading again it was the best feedback she has ever got.

What i am hearing a lot is that it greatly depends on the child and their personality rather than just the ability to pass the exam.

For those whose dc would like to audition for really good orchestras, ensembles, choirs, schools, JDs etc is it not essential for them to take the exams.
It would worry me that a dc might miss the opportunity they wish for because they hadn't got the relevant exam results.

LilyBolero Thu 27-Jun-13 14:20:21

You shouldn't base assumptions on examiners on experiences from 20years ago though, things are VERY different now. eg my dh had one comment on a violin report "He looks a little stiff". That just wouldn't happen now. Grade 1 piano for me the very stern examiner gave me a good ticking off for doing the repeat. Likewise that would be grounds for appeal these days.

Examiners are trained to be kind, friendly, approachable and definitely not scary!

LilyBolero Thu 27-Jun-13 14:23:28

morethanpotatoprints - definitely! I have had some pupils who it would have been exactly the wrong thing to do exams, and we did a more relaxed 'learn to play from guitar chords etc' thing (I took her on from someone else, and she at that point wanted to give up) and she then started really flourishing, and even got a holiday job playing in an old people's home. SO proud of her!

But then I have had others who would have made no progress at all without the structure of the grades, and others who would never have dared play in public, but just about managed to play in the exams, because they knew it was just the one face looking at them!

All kids are different, and you can't say what is right for one is right for another.

VinegarDrinker Thu 27-Jun-13 14:33:35

My most recent was 7 years ago, he was head of music at a local school and a good laugh and very supportive of the whole set up, which was a sponsored Uni Grade 1-a-thon. Felt a bit sorry for him listening to so many Grade 1s in a row though!

As a kid though I definitely found the examiners intimidating, if not overtly scary.

morethan the only exam my DH took on his first instrument (alto sax) was Grade 8. Didn't stop him playing for NYJO and later going to the RAM.

Anyway long version of my initial post which was agreeing with everyone else that it totally depends on the child.

LilyBolero Thu 27-Jun-13 14:38:05

haha, yes, must have got quite wearing...!

I think the examiners are entirely different now from 20 years ago tbh, I see a lot of them and there is definitely more emphasis now on making the candidate (whether child or adult) feel as comfortable as possible, and there are strict rules about not putting them off - even if they play a wrong piece, or the wrong number of pieces, they are not allowed to make any comment in the exam in case it puts them off, and it's all sorted out after.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 27-Jun-13 15:50:22

Vinegar

I hear you loud and clear and I agree, I just find it hard practising what i preach. My dh is a pro musician and only took gr6 to get into college, he won the memorial prize and has had a fantastic career to this date.
Our dd is intent on joining JD and dh says she will get in if good enough irrespective of exams. I would prefer to see the piece of paper and I have no idea why. It is normally against my belief to test dc on everything they do. I dislike the school system for this reason, but don't know why I can't be like this with music. it could be because I know its important to her whereas school work can rot as far as she is concerned grin

LilyBolero Thu 27-Jun-13 15:58:47

morethan, although you may not 'need' the exam, if you can do it in a low stress way, it doesn't have to be a big deal. Dd gets very VERY stressed about playing in concerts, even though she is seriously talented and plays beautifully.

Exams come along, she practises what she's told to practise, doesn't get stressed, it's no big deal at all, she is interested in the mark, but it doesn't feature on the scale of 'stress' in her life. Her last exam, dh didn't even know she was doing an exam until the result came through, because there was honestly no stress, or pushing or anything. He got home from work, she said 'look Dad, I got a distinction in my cello exam', he said 'I didn't even know you were taking an exam' - partly because she always practises scales etc, and is diligent all the time, but partly because we do keep them quite low key!

So it doesn't need to be a big deal, it can just be 'going along to play to someone', which tbh they would need to do if they auditioned for anything, so could be seen as good practice!

LilyBolero Thu 27-Jun-13 16:05:49

Fwiw, when ds1 did his grade 1 violin, he didn't even know that there were categories of pass - he regarded it as a 'level', and his mark was his 'score' - so he finished the level, with a score of whatever he got, which I think was a far healthier attitude than worrying about getting a distinction etc!

morethanpotatoprints Thu 27-Jun-13 16:09:12

One of my dhs pupils, a middle aged woman is convinced she wants to do exams and everytime is a bag on nerves. I wonder why she puts herself through it, dh certainly doesn't encourage her to do them as he sees how ill she becomes. She always passes and last time got a merit but showed us one comment which made us laugh.

"Although there were several restarts during this piece, your tenacity allowed you to continue to the bitter end". This was last winter session. grin

LilyBolero Thu 27-Jun-13 16:44:37

LOL ime adults get way more nervous than kids!

morethanpotatoprints Thu 27-Jun-13 20:40:57

LilyBolero

What a brilliant idea for young dc who can't hear any different. They can't worry about what the marks represent.
it always annoys dh when a parent will say ah, 127 that's only 3 off a distinction. Or if you had just 2 more it would be a merit.
yes, but it isn't a merit, or distinction grin

LilyBolero Thu 27-Jun-13 23:53:32

Interestingly, 2 off a merit is not a case of addition, the examiner will have weighed it up in their mind and decided on a pass, as 119 is not allowed to be given, along with 98, 99 and 129, so an examiner really has to commit to the 'category' of mark.

I really the level/score approach ds1 had, as that is how young kids think. When they play computer games, their prime objective is to complete the level, the score is secondary, and so you feel achievement by completing the 'level', not disappointment that it wasn't a 'new high score' iyswim!

LilyBolero Thu 27-Jun-13 23:54:12

Duh, on iPhone, that should say I really LIKE...etc

Theas18 Fri 28-Jun-13 00:00:21

I've said it before, asp hope I'm not boring you!

there seems to be pressure at primary age to do at least an exam per year per instrument. why? mainly I think, in retrospect the teachers like it so they" prove their worth" . some kids like it and maybe need the push. certainly performance opportunities are good.

however, the best teacher we have had changed my view, and i wish we didn't do so many back then. now we do them when the time it's right out there is a reason.

however, having the certificates can be important when applying for ensemblesb scholarships etc . we are fortunate I guess that the teacher in question ifs very well regarded so if he says you are good enough to audition for something they won't say " but your last exam was only grade 5" ( yes but that was 3 yrs ago lol)

Theas18 Fri 28-Jun-13 00:01:44

worth making sure thou get grade 5 theory though!

FastLoris Fri 28-Jun-13 22:45:02

I'm a piano teacher and have gradually, but now pretty much completely, abandoned exams. Some of the factors that led me this way:

1. While exams can be a good performance opportunity, in the sense of working a piece up and being under pressure to do it well, they're not the best type of such opportunity for young people, particularly beginners. They need far more informal opportunity, where they can try things out and fail and start again and it doesn't matter. Really, people play music to and with each other all over the world in all kinds of ways, and the western classical academic paradigm of the formal concert that is VERY SERIOUS (upon which exams are based) is only one.

2. Exams too easily end up dominating lesson and practice content. Pieces need to be continued past their relevance, scales and technical work need to be chosen according to exam requirements rather than what is best for the student. Important other skills like improvising and playing by ear get relegated to occasional between-exam diversions.

3. One thing few people realise, but I perhaps do by virtue of having worked for a number of exam boards, is how arbitrary and of debatable relevance is the content itself of many (most?) exam syllabuses. I just don't buy that the particularly requirements of pieces, scales, sight reading etc as laid down by the ABRSM etc. are an accurate summary of what most people should learn as they progress on an instrument. Scales for example should be integrated with key and chord knowledge, analysis and improvisation; they should be taught as part of an integrated package of understanding how music works and how you can manipulate it. Instead, the exam syllabuses promote meaningless rote learning and superficial reproduction.

These problems don't matter too much when a student is very able and practices a lot, because they can do an exam now and then without it having to dominate everything. But for most, with a short lesson each week and limited practice and support from home, there are better ways to be spending the time.

Theas18 Sat 29-Jun-13 16:14:32

Fastloris I love you ! You have summed it up perfectly. It takes a very confident teacher to do this though doesn't it .

richmal Sun 30-Jun-13 08:07:16

Surely the most important thing is to listen to what the child wants to do? DD likes doing exams as she feels it means it shows her she can play.
I also like her to pick the pieces. I would rather her get a lower grade on something she has stuggled to master but found fun than an easy option from the sylabus.
For some reason she also likes doing scales and I tend to get her to leave this to the end of her practice as a treat.

MadeOfStarDust Sun 30-Jun-13 08:13:16

my dd always pick her own pieces - usually the off book ones so it costs us a fortune in buying extra music books... would not suggest an easier piece option as it really does show if a child likes a piece or not..

quip Sun 30-Jun-13 20:00:29

My ds has been playing his grade1 pieces all term. We're both fed up with them. Roll on next week. I won't be encouraging him to do more grades in a hurry.

MadeOfStarDust Sun 30-Jun-13 20:28:28

a term is a bit long for all of them together...

my DD takes a year over a grade and learns around 8 of the pieces (along with any easy piano pop stuff she wants) - the ones she wants to have a go at - then with a month to go she decides which of them she wants to perform at the exam and concentrates on those for speed/dynamic perfecting.... just doing 3 pieces is a sure route to boredom for everybody, it becomes just learning for the exam, not for fun.

LilyBolero Mon 01-Jul-13 08:29:18

Again, although I totally agree that some kids will get bored, my dd totally doesn't ; she really likes polishing and perfecting, and it is hard to stop her working on pieces even after an exam has passed. Kids are different!

Just to add though, although kids may get a little bored, the last stage of learning a piece (perfecting, polishing etc) is the stage that an exam tends to enforce, which kids may miss otherwise, but it is a reality of music!

morethanpotatoprints Wed 10-Jul-13 18:32:45

Hello, just thought i'd give you an update.
dd is doing grade 3 violin soon as we had already paid for it, she has worked hard and wants to do it.
She is then concentrating on good effective and fun practice for a year, then next summer taking a grade 5 violin, then winter gr6 sax and gr5 singing. Not sure about piano as not playing that long, but will do grade 5 rather than early grades.
Your comments have been very helpful, and whilst I'm not against exams found that with all the music she does, there was always an exam on the go. Many thanks again for all your valuable input thanks

quip Fri 12-Jul-13 17:10:59

Last time I posted I was hating the exam. Ds had gpt thoroughly fed up of all his scales and pieces. Then he did the exam and came skipping out telling me he wanted to do all his other grades. He got his result and he's even more keen than ever even though I told him he could have a couple of weeks off practice. So perhaps for ds the exams are a good thing.

morethanpotatoprints Sat 13-Jul-13 17:15:36

quip.

Wow, that is good. Obviously exams are good for your ds. Maybe it was the length of time spent in preparation that was the problem. Some teachers just get them to practice exam pieces for a year and nothing else.

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