Music exams - aural tests - boys changing voices(13 Posts)
Has anyone had a son doing a music exam when their voice is changing? Does the examiner ask about the most appropriate range for them?
ds2 (13) is doing gr5 piano in 2 weeks; he sings very well, but currently has a fairly small range - less than two octaves. Many of the sample tests we have are C' - C", but he can't sing this at any pitch! The only comfortable C in his range is middle C. He sings and sight reads extremely well, but if he attempts to sing something not in his range, it comes out badly.
How should he communicate this to the examiner?
I have previously in an exam listened to the first playing of the singback piece and told the examiner then that it was too high for my voice. He immediately transposed it and played it about a fifth lower. He repeated it twice at the lower pitch as well, so actually I benefitted from hearing te shape of the piece three times rather than two!
It also used to be the case that boys with changing voices could whistle rather than sing if they chose. Don't know if that's still possible, assumin it would be something your son might go for?
Assuming he is doing ABRSM you can check their website where they describe each part of the exam in detail. They give guidelines for approaching the sight reading and I am sure there will be info on there about repeating the melody...seem to recall whistling or playing it on your instrument is also acceptable.
Double check with the appropriate exam board!
It does say on the website "Candidates with a limited vocal range should feel free to tell the examiner, who will endeavour (not guarantee) to find tests within the range specified."
I'm happy to send him in with a little note saying what his range is, though he likes to think he can sing lower than he actually can, so he might disagree with what I would put...
But I just wondered if examiners routinely check about singing range before doing the aural tests when dealing with pubescent boys. I mean they must be used to it? A test covering a vocal range of C'-C" is entirely reasonable for almost all females, but for a huge proportion of cambiata boys it couldn't be a worse range.
Has anyone had a son taking a music exam at this voice changing age?
Roisin, Examiners are highly trained to adjust to suit your vocal range, not just for the teenager boys.
I think it's a safe and harmless idea to send him with a note.
I am sure this is a very common little problem for them, actually it's not a problem at all.Don't worry....best luck.
I have put many a croaky voice into exams. The examiners deal very well with the situation imo. The examiner will probably check for a suitable range before the singing aspect. Personally I wouldn't bother with a note - it's not an unusual enough situation. Would humming be easier for him? Good luck
His voice is fine, excellent actually, and never croaky - unless he tries to sing out of his comfortable range; and his range is quite narrow.
Thanks or all the help.
In the AB books 'Aural training in practice' it says:
"Usually the music for melodic repetition tests will be played in a medium treble register, but students should feel free to request it to be played in a different register if this would be more comfortable. Examiners will be happy to match tests to the vocal range of the candidate and are sympathetic to changing and adolescent voices that can have a narrow or unpredictable range. Any helpful information supplied by the candidate such as 'I would like this played in a bass register' or 'I currently have a voice range of F up to middle C' is welcome. It is useful to make sure that any student with specific pitch requirements knows how to tell the examiner about them, and knows to do so before the aural tests begin."
That is brilliant Clouds; extremely helpful.
Just what we needed to know.
Thank you :-)
As an instrumental teacher, I send boys in this position into their exams with a little note detailing their range that day on manuscript paper which they can just hand over to the examiner at the start of the exam. I know the student probably should be able to tell the examiner themselves, and the examiner should probably take the time to check, but with nerves and time pressures, these might not happen. The notes have always been graciously received so I assume they're appreciated!
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Just noticed this thread - ABRSM examiners are trained to check the singing range of candidates with changing voices and will give the tests in a suitable key.
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