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Piano lessons - when to stop

(24 Posts)
trixibellefifi Wed 27-May-09 15:14:25

Hello, my two children are currently working towards their grade one piano. I'd like to know what an 'acceptable' grade is for them to finish having lessons but have the necessary talent to be able to play later in life (if they wish).
I don't want to stop their lessons after grade two if they're not at a level that is going to be of any use in later life as all the lessons and the piano will have been a waste of time and money.
Thank you.

flowerybeanbag Wed 27-May-09 15:18:05

If they're only doing grade one I wouldn't worry about when to stop yet. Wait and see what they want to do. If they're keen and enjoying it, keep going, if not, stop.

cazzybabs Wed 27-May-09 15:21:29

i got to grade 5 and can't play for toffee...however it was the right time for me to stop as I gave up practising. You can't force people to do things they don't want to do!

islandofsodor Wed 27-May-09 15:23:26

Grade 8.

Seriously, I did Grade 8 and music at uni but havn't played for 10 years and I have gone downhill such a lot. If I had stopped around Grade 4/5 I reckon I would be able to do only very, very basic stuff.

WHilst they are enjoying the lessons and developing a love for music they will never be awaste of money.

flowerybeanbag Wed 27-May-09 15:24:25

My DH is an excellent pianist, he did his Grade 8 and can now play anything put in front of him even though he doesn't play often.

I wish I'd stuck at it that long for that reason tbh.

cazzybabs Wed 27-May-09 15:25:42

There was no way I could have got to grace 8 - my fingers wouldn't work that way. I couldn't cope with 2 lines of music...I did get to grade 8 clairnet though.

islandofsodor Wed 27-May-09 15:31:50

I can play enough to teach my daughter using PIano Tims and to play the teacher's accompnaiments in her beginner recorder book.

I dare say if I worked at it it I could get back up to par in a couple of years. I reckon I'm around Grade 4 standard now.

stealthsquiggle Wed 27-May-09 15:34:54

I would say grade 7 or 8. My DB had a wonderful piano teacher who said, when he got to Grade 7, that given that he wasn't planning to take it any further (music college, etc) there was not much point doing Grade 8 - so he taught him to play Jazz piano instead, which has proven to be a far more useful life skill grin

infin Wed 27-May-09 15:41:40

I think Grade 6 would be the minimum. I did Grade 8 in 6th form and can now only play pieces fit for a kids sing along. If I pick up a piece I used to be able to play fluently my fingers now feel like iron sausages! I can still sightread pretty well though.

titchy Wed 27-May-09 16:00:58

I got to grade 6, and have always been able to tinkle a bit with my right hand (ooh err missus!) given music. Now we have a piano I am so enjoying properly practising. I'd guess I'm around grade 2 now though, after a year or so of having a piano.

Currently working on Moonlight Sonata!

I have to admit I forgot lots of my theory and bass clef reading though!

lazymumofteenagesons Wed 27-May-09 16:21:19

I stopped at Grade 3 at about 11 years old. Result - I can just about read and play the right hand of a simple childrens song. Not much help really. They will certainly make it quite clear when they want to give up. Once they don't want to practice etc it becomes a bit of a waste of money.

Beetroot Wed 27-May-09 16:28:47

keep them going as ling as you can....

add another instruement soon too

Beetroot Wed 27-May-09 16:30:41

my oldest is grade 6 and now plays jazz rather than take more grades. Although I did hear mention of grade 7 recently - I have kept my mouth shut smile

lynniep Wed 27-May-09 16:35:39

Seriously - depends on the child and how 'naturally' the instrument /reading music comes to them.

I was pretty good at piano at the time, but never got around to taking my grade 6. Could barely manage a grade 1 piece now. I have no doubt I could have passed grade 8 if I'd continued (and bothered practising!), however I still think that my natural talent (lack of) means that I would still be in the same boat now.

2009 Wed 27-May-09 17:58:47

I have told my dc that they can give up their main instument (they all play two) at grade 5.

This is what my parents did with me. Grade 5 is when you start sounding decent and you can actually enjoy playing in a group / orchestra etc. Also, you can't go higher without music theory grade 5.
I dropped piano at grade 5 because I found it booooring but kept up the orchestral side until grade 7 level (never actually took the exam but enjoyed playing with the orchestra / chamber group in school!)

MrsWeasley Wed 27-May-09 18:04:10

hmm just wondering, those of you who used to play but havent for years, do you have a piano at home? If not, do you think having a piano at home would have made a difference?

flowerybeanbag Wed 27-May-09 18:07:07

We have a piano at home. I do play every once in a while but not often.

Partly because DH is so much better so it's daft me limping through something he can rattle off no problem. Also partly because I have long nails now blushgrin

I'm too vain to keep them short so I can still play decently!

Beetroot Wed 27-May-09 18:13:00

after grade 5 it is fun and you can then pick up all sorts of instruments
dd is playing clarinet and piano but wants to play the sax which I have said she can take up after she is grade 5 on the clarinet. She will be pretty much grade 4 or 5 on sax as well straight off.

theory is part and parcel of it and not hard to pass with a little work

infin Wed 27-May-09 19:47:56

I have a piano. I do still play a bit, but mostly easy stuff for school. Playing to a decent standard , however, which is what's needed for most serious pieces requires a decent technique which is only maintained by practice. I have not played a scale or arpeggio in over 20 years let alone the Hanon or Czerny exercises that used to torment me! However, without them, playing well is impossible!! I can slither through a bit of Debussy without catastrophic consequeces but a Bach Invention would simply be butchered!
So, no, in my case, having a piano has not really helped!

stillenacht Wed 27-May-09 19:49:29

I got to grade 7 (damn wish wish i had done grade 8 but am now teaching piano) I did grade 8 oboe and went to music college though. I reckon as i use piano most days i am about a good grade 6 still. I have friends who got up to grade 6 and rarely play who are about grade 3 level now.

Takver Thu 28-May-09 13:17:09

I would have thought that if they are interested enough to stick it out through the basics then at some point in their early to mid teenage years it will either
- 'take off' and they will be playing independently & not want lessons or seek them out for themselves (doubtless asking you to pay!!!) depending on what sort of music they are involved in
- or they will decide that it is not really the thing for them & want to give up or switch instrumenet.
I have grade 3 piano & can't play a note, grade 5 flute & can struggle through a simple Irish tune, no exams at all in the saxophone but at different stages in life have played in teenage rock bands, a swing band and a Spanish marching band . . .

MrsWeasley Mon 01-Jun-09 14:01:02

to answer original question: I think it would depend on how often they play after giving up!

If they give up at grade 6 and dont play again for 20/30 years they will struggle to regain any level unless they keep trying and trying.

snorkle Mon 01-Jun-09 18:51:14

It's a good question. I've a hunch though that it's not a simple as 'you need grade x and then you'll be able to do whatever whenever you want' especially for piano.

For string instruments, I reckon if you get to about grade 6 then you would probably always be able to find an amateur orchestra to join, but with piano you'd need to be an order of magnitude better to join an ensemble. I've a hunch that 7-8 would be good enough for most things you might want to play for pleasure, but if all you want is to play a few carols/nursery rhymes for toddlers, probably around grade 4 would be fine. The ability to play at sight isn't just grade related - some people are just better at it than others. You're never too old to start again & improve though.

pagwatch Mon 01-Jun-09 18:53:27

The time to stop is when you have to fight to get them to practice and when, on hearing thatthey are going to give up, their teacher says
" I think that is probably for the best"
poor DS1

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