Grade 1 Piano(17 Posts)
My youngest has just got a merit in his G1, he is gutted that it's not a distinction. This is due to him being a) a perfectionist and b) his teacher says he's very good, so his expectations were high.
Not knowing about music exams I presume a merit is good, and that on forums and the like the fact it's distinctions that are mentioned, is disproportionately high, just due to the fact that's more what someone is going to come and post about.
Is that a correct assumption to make?
Merits are good, distinctions better.
Did he get a score sheet from the examiner? It will say what he got in each section, and how close to distinction level they were.
Quite often kids lose marks for sight-reading and aural as teachers don't get enough time during the lessons to practice these.
My DS actualy failed sight-reading by one mark on his first exam while getting near top marks for all the pieces and scales but still got a merit overall.
We adopted a rule that he does 1 little sight -reading piece at the beginning of every practice from then on and he is really good at it now.
Good advice from piano.
My DC's music teacher rarely has a result below a distinction. Her students all have to practice sightreading and aural regularly
even though they hate it .
A merit is good, of course it is. Think of it as like getting a B.
The mark sheets will help your perfectionist DS see what he needs to do to improve.
My Dcs have had a mix of merits and distinctions (and one pass, which was actually thoroughly deserved and taught DS1 that practice is a GOOD THING). DD gets high Merits, but is a better musician than DS1, who has had Distinction. DD gets far more nervous in exams though and this always costs her.
I know another very good clarinet player who just missed Distinctions all the way through and got a Distinction on her Grade 8 with a nearly perfect score.
Yes, we do aurals at home and I listen to sight reading. People do lose marks for those quite a lot. I hear scales when an exam is coming up every day too but I wouldn 't worry about a pass. Mine do get passes sometimes (have 5 children most with several grade 8s). I got a pass in most exams until grade 8.
For grades 6 - 8 you get UCAS (university entrance) points and more such points if it is merit and even more for distinction which can even help with job applications later. My mid 20s daughter was totting up UCAS points from grade 8 cello and her singing and piano exams very recently so it is certainly worth doing them as well as its being fun.
A merit is very good. For ABRSM (this varies a bit by grade, but overall) just over 50% of candidates get a pass - including most of mine in recent years - about 30% or slightly less get merits, and 12-13% distinctions. About 5% fail, and the rest are disqualified/ withdrawn/ do not complete the exam or offer the correct syllabus.
With TG, the pass mark is set slightly lower, and the merit boundary is lower too, but broader, so I see LOADS of merits. The distinction boundary is higher at 87%, although this doesn't necessarily make it harder to get one.
My DD1 didn't know merits or distinctions existed until she got Grade 1, and then 2, with merits, so there was no expectation and no disappointment. Hard when they're the youngest and know about these things though.
Thanks for all the responses.
We haven't had our marks sheet yet, so not able to see what the breakdown is.
I would suspect it was his sight reading that let him down, I will take on pianomama's advice to do a bit before each practice.
It was ABRSM, so interesting re the breakdown.
There's quite a lot of information about the exams on the ABRSM website.
Dd got a merit for grade 1 and we're all really pleased as first time round she failed. I'm so proud of her for achieving after that.
I too will be looking to how she could improve for the next grades, but for now a merit is fantastic.
If nothing else, not getting the expected grades does help children see the connection between work and results.
Can I just ask what you do for sight reading practice with your dc? We haven't been asked to do any by teacher so not sure what we should be doing.
I think the ABRSM do books called Specimen Sight-Reading Tests. I'm thinking of getting one for dd, as she is not good at sight reading.
I too would like advice on if there's anything else she could do to improve.
We used ABRSM Specimen Sight-Reading Tests books as well.
We use abrsm sightreading books, but also dd plays any music we have in the house on any instrument she plays. Even if they know how the melody sounds it is still a challenge to play it on a different instrument.
We have also found that just 20/30 mins a day playing/ singing studies helps technique of scale playing, so less time spent practising scales.
We do sight reading every day !! We use the Trinity books, then go onto the ABRSM books then the Joining the Dots ones . Just found a new one online that actually play what it was supposed to sound like so I can just pretend I was listening www.e-musicmaestro.com/exam-practice/free
I find the Paul Harris 'Improve your sight reading' very helpful.
Sorry, that should say, the 'Improve your sight reading' books.
I always advise in Sight Reading to NOT consider the names of notes too much, but rather try to associate the position of the note on the stave with its appropriate fingering. If you waste time on the 'name' of the note, you still have to translate that into its position on the keyboard.
[I will try to send more detailed information in due course.]
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