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To appeal against my DD's Grade 3 piano result???

(193 Posts)
Sticklebug Wed 23-Nov-11 20:59:52

Please tell me if IABU and just being a precious mum or should look to appeal (not even sure if I can).

My DD had her grade 3 piano exam a couple of weeks back. Her piano teacher predicted an easy distinction for her (134 and 138 in 2 mock exams - her teacher is also an examiner) and my DS's teacher who has heard her play agreed she should get a distinction. I could hear her playing in the exam from the waiting area and although I am completely unmusical it sounded exactly as it had at home and she made no mistakes.

She went in confident and came out beaming with the view that it had gone well. She knew that she had made a minor mistake in her B piece and she had to start one of her scales again, but apart from that she believed that she had done well. She got a merit in her grade 2 (4 points off a distinction but failed sight reading) and a distinction in her grade 1 and she felt that it went as well as her grade 1.

I have just received her results online (which, unfortunately I let her read with me as we had every confidence they would be good) and she has scrapped a pass with a score of 105. She cannot believe it - she tried so hard and played so well and her confidence is knocked completely. Her friend got exactly this score in her grade 2, but she knew she messed up completely and had to restart one piece twice and did not complete another.

She is so confused and now says that she wants to retake it but would be so nervous as she thought she had done so well.

She has always been so confident in exams that I do not want this to affect her.

We have not had the details yet as they come in the post a little later. Her teacher is 'gobsmacked' and will ring me tomorrow to discuss.

Is there any right of appeal?
Am I just feeling so awful because I hate to see my quiet, confident little girl so destroyed? Or should I look to take this further for her?

hiddenhome Wed 23-Nov-11 21:05:58

Hmm, does sound unfair, but playing is not the only part of the exam. How did her sight reading and aural tests go? You can lose quite a few points if those areas go to pot. Is it an ABRSM exam or Trinity?

squeakytoy Wed 23-Nov-11 21:06:15

I would let the teacher deal with it, or at least wait and see what the teacher says tomorrow.

I would say though that your child needs to understand that she cant always get as higher mark as she wants, and she mustnt let it upset her so much.

mickeyjohn Wed 23-Nov-11 21:06:21

How old is she?! I failed my grade 3 thre first time when I was 10 and was GUTTED! But every examiner is different....I took it again and got 135, but played largely the same as I recall. To be honest, at least she passed and at the risk of sounding really old skool, you do have to learn that not everyone thinks you're brilliantly talented at everything and you won't always get the marks you want, even when you've worked really hard. Hope she;s doing ok - she'll get over it, promise! (I did!! Went up to Grade 6 then gave up though as boys were more fun by that stage, hahaa!!)

Sticklebug Wed 23-Nov-11 21:07:23

It is ABRSM. She got 16/30 for one of her pieces and 18/30 for another. Her teacher gave her 27/30 and 29/30 for the same pieces in the mock exam that she did with her last week. The sounded exactly the same to me!!

daveywarbeck Wed 23-Nov-11 21:10:01

If she failed the sight reading element in her grade 2 exam, the harder sight reading in grade 3 may have let her down. She passed, she should be pleased.

How long has she been playing? Perhaps she should give the exams a miss for a while, concentrate on enjoying playing and improving her technical skills i.e. scales and sight reading.

Sticklebug Wed 23-Nov-11 21:10:33

Thanks mickeyjohn. She is 10. I agree about not everyone thinking that you are talented at everything, but she has had consistent feedback on piano that she is pretty good. She keeps comparing her experience to her friend who got 105 in her grade 2 last term and completely messed up the exam (was in tears at one point and only played half a piece!).

I know that she will get over it - she is a really strong little girl, but she is just so confused! She wants to re-take to get a better mark, but am not sure that is a good idea!

Hardgoing Wed 23-Nov-11 21:10:52

See what the teacher says, but it might be better just to be disappointed and let it go, and realise that the marking of exams is quite subjective. Of course, if she is desperate to retake, fair enough, but what if she resat it and got a similar mark, or just a merit and not a Distinction. I might be tempted to move on.

I am sympathetic though, my daughter has a ballet exam coming up and she has asked me a couple of times whether I think she will get a gold or not and I've said it's really likely (not impossible, but not likely) on the basis that she probably won't and if she does, it'll be a wonderful thing and she won't remember what I said. I think sometimes tempering expectations is necessary, without putting anyone down.

Sticklebug Wed 23-Nov-11 21:12:34

daveywarbeck - she got 14/30 this time for the sight reading and 12/30 in grade 2.

I agree that she should be pleased that she has passed - that has been my consistent line with her, but maybe need to make sure that her teacher does not raise expectations so much next time. Teacher told her that she 'would definitely get a merit', but should get a distinction.....

WorraLiberty Wed 23-Nov-11 21:13:18

It may have sounded exactly the same to you and her teacher may have marked her highly in the mocks...but sadly neither of you are the examiner in this case.

Wait til the teacher finds out more about it, I'm sure it'll be explained.

But just to echo what squeaky said...she needs to learn that she can't always score as highly as she expects.

Sticklebug Wed 23-Nov-11 21:15:19

hardgoing - agree, when her teacher was talking about a definite distinction I had said a number of times that I would be pleased if she worked her hardest and passed and it did not matter what grade.

Trouble is that she was so close to a fail (in her eyes) that she is now saying that she never wants to do an exam again. Not that worried about her never doing a piano exam again to be honest, but I have always thought that her positive attitude to music exams would hold her in good stead with academic exams in the future....

hiddenhome Wed 23-Nov-11 21:15:47

She should just have a rest, enjoy playing some new pieces then look forward to doing Grade 4. All musicians are disappointed with their grade results at some point, but it's not the be all and end all. It's only worth re-taking grades once you get to the 7-8 and perhaps need good results for other exams or auditions.

TattyDevine Wed 23-Nov-11 21:15:48

Sight reading, and also as you go on if you are "unmusical" and plunk it out mechanically you will start to lose out on that too. Not suggesting this is the case necessarily but it gets to the point where it is more than accuracy, but rhythym, musicality, etc. Some examiners will be tougher than others on these points.

On the point of appeal, I'm not that familiar with your system here but I'd suggest you let it go in terms of appealing but try and understand where it went wrong for next time.

Sticklebug Wed 23-Nov-11 21:16:30

She has been playing for 3 years..practices with no nagging and genuinely loves it...

NearlyMrsCustardsHardHat Wed 23-Nov-11 21:16:31

What were the comments? What were her Aural skills like?

Whats her overall musicianship like?

All skills she could fail on if she gets under the pass mark for any element.

I failed my Grade 7 piano, 6 months later took grade 8 and got full marks. So many things can affect it. Probably best not to dwell on it but move on, work on her weak spots - which it sounds like sight reading and aural skills are her weak spots - and try again at a higher level next time.

hiddenhome Wed 23-Nov-11 21:17:48

Teachers should never talk about 'definite' distinctions, that's just setting people up to be disappointed tbh. I always tell ds1 to aim for a merit and to be relieved if he passes and over the moon if he gets a distinction. I do ABRSM exams too and that's the attitude that I take as well.

NearlyMrsCustardsHardHat Wed 23-Nov-11 21:18:06

As tatty Says musicality is a big thing as you get up the grades and wouldn't be suprised if it starts from grade 4. What is the current syllabus saying these days? Its been too many years to mention since I last saw one!

Sticklebug Wed 23-Nov-11 21:18:18

tattydevine - She is very musical - plays by ear (both hands). Her teacher has commented many times on her ability to feel the music....

Sticklebug Wed 23-Nov-11 21:20:08

That 'plays by ear' comment looks weird now I read it back...what I meant is that she can hear a tune and then work it out on the piano - both the left and right hand bits...

DodieSmith Wed 23-Nov-11 21:21:19

YABU and overly precious.

hiddenhome Wed 23-Nov-11 21:21:39

My music teacher tells me that musicality is more important than note accuracy in the lower grades.

Honestly, try not to worry about it and don't let it put her off. All examiners are different and it's a subjective judgement at the end of the day.

NearlyMrsCustardsHardHat Wed 23-Nov-11 21:21:44

Is she just note bashing or actually playing the music? if that makes any sense!

WorraLiberty Wed 23-Nov-11 21:22:04

Teacher told her that she 'would definitely get a merit', but should get a distinction

Yes but she obviously meant based on her mock exam as she had no idea how your DD would play on the day.

Sticklebug Wed 23-Nov-11 21:22:06

nearly... - have not had the comments yet, those follow in the post. As above overall musicianship good -she got a distinction in her grade 1 clarinet after 6 months of lessons. Aural she got full marks for on both grade 1 and 2.

Sticklebug Wed 23-Nov-11 21:23:56

nearly - and as above she can hear a piece of music and work out both left and right hand and play fluently pretty quickly

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