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ABRSM Sightreading - easy to fail?

(6 Posts)
maggiethecat Thu 15-Sep-11 11:49:38

Dd just got her grade 3 certificate, Merit, with examiner's comments. She failed sightreading which I know she was not strong on this year (last year she did very well in the grade 1 sightreading so don't know if jumping a grade made a difference).

She is said to have played with purpose but unsuccessfully identified the key of the piece. Now I have never learned music but I gather that if you are playing the piece in the wrong key then it must be impossible to pass the sightreading element - is this correct?

RunAwayHome Thu 15-Sep-11 12:24:30

The assessment criteria for sightreading are here:

ABRSM Sightreading

According to that, failure to recognise the key signature does seem to result in a pretty low score, although presumably if she did well in other elements such as rhythm and continuity and otherwise generally correct notes, this could to some degree offset mistakes in awareness of the key.

Which instrument? The keys that she would be expected to play in the sightreading element are generally those that she will have done the scales for. You can get a variety of practice books with examples in (including some produced by ABRSM itself). Some of the instruments have new sightreading specifications this year (bowed strings, I think).

maggiethecat Thu 15-Sep-11 13:34:49

I've had a look and I suspect that she probably redeemed herself with continuity etc otherwise she would have got much lower than 13.

I presume that she would have been examined in the grade 3 scales. However, if it was a grade 2 scale it's likely that she never learned it (only decided in Feb to put her in for exam, after departing from the exam route for 8 months).

Having said all that, she considers her sightreading to be 'rubbish'.

maggiethecat Thu 15-Sep-11 13:44:08

Forgot to say - violin

RunAwayHome Thu 15-Sep-11 14:19:47

It's not so much that they would have asked her to play a scale from the Grade 2 syllabus, but I'd imagine that she would be expected to recognise the keys of any of the scales that had been learned so far (so even if G major is only on the Grade 1 or 2 list for scales, she'd still be expected to be able to play a piece in it and correctly notice that the Fs should be sharp).

It'd be worth looking at the new spec sightreading for the exams from 2012 onwards for bowed strings, so that she is practising at the right level, if she's going to go on to the next grade. I think the new pieces are shorter than before, but with more details to be noticed.

maggiethecat Thu 15-Sep-11 16:07:53

I understand what you say - I think that because of how lessons have gone in the past year there were gaps in her scalework (never learned the grade 2 ones - I think I should have pointed this out to the new teacher in Feb)

Good lesson to learn though.

Will look at new specs.

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