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any DCs done the Grade 1 Keyboard exam?...

(10 Posts)
discoball Wed 24-Jun-09 22:05:59

HI,
My DS is taking his Grade 1 keyboard exam tomorrow and is very nervous. Have anyone's children done the exam? What was it like? Do you have to play 100% perfectly? Thanks. Have reassured DS as much as I can and told him not to worry, I know he can play well and if he gets the exam it's a bonus. He can be so hard on himself. Thank you.

Katisha Wed 24-Jun-09 22:09:58

The examiner will be very friendly and it will be over in a shot. It's less than 10 mins.
Unfortunately as the examiners have a shedload of people to get through in their timetable there isn't reallyroom to let them have another go at stuff.
No you dont have to play it 100 perfectly but obviously how you play is reflected in the mark you get.

I usually take them for a treat afterwards like milkshake and a bun, which feels suitably illicit if it's in school time.

discoball Wed 24-Jun-09 22:15:58

Thank you, Katisha. I will definitely take him for a treat afterwards! I wish he didn't worry so much, I told him tonight that exams, in whatever form, aren't the be all and end all and that I love the boy HE is, not what he can/can't do! I think it's just in his make-up to be hard on himself. He made a few tiny errors practising tonight and was saying "I'm rubbish..." and I was constantly reassuring him that he couldn't do any more than he is doing and that it doesn't mean he's a failure at all! I think the confidence thing is a whole new thread, but thanks for putting me straight about the actual exam. smile

Katisha Wed 24-Jun-09 22:20:29

DS1 goes in for the "I'm rubbish" thing as well.
Tell him that it's well known that a bad dress rehearsal is always a good sign!

Actually DS1 gets wound up by piano exams (although there is no need as he is doing fine) but I am going to ask the teacher not to plod relentlessly through them one by one, as she tends to do.

discoball Wed 24-Jun-09 22:23:25

Yes, can relate to your 2nd paragraph, Katisha!! DS's keyboard teacher is very good but also very serious and I think it freaks him out a bit!! I am glad that your DS1 is doing fine, by the way. And thanks for your "bad dress rehearsal is always a good sign..." will think of that tomorrow morning when I'm sending "vibes" through the county! Thank you for all your very helpful advice, Katisha, VERY much appreciated. Goodnight. smile smile smile

musicposy Wed 24-Jun-09 23:54:49

Hi there! I teach keyboard and my DCs take theses exams and I steward music exams too so I talk to examiners all the time.

One thing to tell your son is that examiners virtually never, ever, hear a perfect rendition. They are absolutely not expecting 100% perfection. Lots of children think if they make tiny slips they have done badly, but nothing could be further from the truth. The examiner will be looking at a whole range of things, such as sense of rhythm, understanding of the music and keyboard, clarity of playing (all of which he will be doing automatically as he plays). The odd slip won't make a lot of difference in the great scheme of things.

However (and this is the tricky bit) it's really important not to be over-nervous if possible. Getting too strung up is a recipe for doing not as well as you could.

The following things, I've found, have helped with my own children and pupils.

Impress upon him (and genuinely mean it) that you will be really absolutely proud of him whatever the result. That if he even scrapes a pass you will be so, so thrilled. Point out that it's the work he has put in to get to this standard that is important. If he gets a certificate at the end, that's the icing on the cake.

Point out that if he was to not pass ( and I'm sure he will pass) he might be disappointed, but other than that, it wouldn't matter much. He could still just carry on with keyboard as before. It really isn't that important.

If he will eat bananas, take one with you and eat about 20 minutes beofre the exam. Bananas contain potassium, which gets depleted in the body in times of stress. They are great at making nerves controllable and I know of concert pianists who swear by them.

Get him to talk up the exam. If he starts to say "I'm so nervous" get him to say "I'm really excited" or "I know it's going to go so well" This feels strange but it works.

Lastly, the examiners are usually very friendly and will definitely understand that he is nervous.

I am sure it will all be fine. If he bursts into tears straight afterwards, don't be too alarmed or assume he has failed. This is an extremely common reaction to the release of all that tension and when I am stewarding exams I see it many times each day!

Hope it goes well - good luck for you both!

catwalker Thu 25-Jun-09 17:11:35

Discoball - how did it go? My DS is doing Grade I piano next week so I'm curious to know how your DS did. My DS did a prep test a while back which was a bit daunting - grand piano in a formal setting and I think he might be starting to get a bit anxious!

I'm very grateful to Musicposy about examiners never hearing a perfect rendition. He can play his pieces perfectly sometimes - and other times not! If he knows it's OK to make mistakes he may keep his cool.

mummydoc Thu 25-Jun-09 17:15:24

catwalker my dd1 also doing grade1 piano and grade 1 singing next week, very nervous to point of now refusing to practise at all....i am tearing hair out...will try out all the tips above

discoball Thu 25-Jun-09 19:12:01

Hi, All! First of all, a MASSIVE thank you to Musicposy for a fabulous reply - so much great advice, all of which was taken on board! Thank you so much - I bet you are a fantastic teacher. I have definitely been saying "I'm proud of you, whatever the outcome" and have always said it's him I'm proud of and the person he is, not just his achievements!! Thank you once again for all your great advice and kind words.
Catwalker - thank you so much for your post as well - we won't know the result until next Wednesday when he goes for his normal lesson, but will let you know then! He said it didn't go "too bad at all", so I took that as a positive! Such a feeling of relief, not because I wanted him to pass, but because I want him to not worry about/feel that he has to pass! I wish your DS the very best of luck (and you!) and, like you mentioned, MusicPosy's advice about examiners never hearing a perfect rendition may help! Good luck.
Mummydoc - I feel for you because I know how you feel. Just take on board all of these comments, step back a bit and obviously, I wish your DD1 every success/luck next week. Bye! smile smile smile

musicposy Sun 28-Jun-09 21:42:19

Aah, I'm glad it was helpful blush.

Good luck to all of you whose DCs are taking music exams! The bit beforehand is usually worse than once they get in there, so if you can distract them by having something else to talk about, so much the better. Something funny to discuss is better still, because laughter realeases some of that tension!

It will all be worth it once you have the results - good luck!

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