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Skip to Grade 3?

(25 Posts)
musicalfamily Thu 07-Mar-13 21:48:48

My DD1 has been playing violin for just over a year and did grade 1 in December. She seems to have suddenly really clicked with the violin though and after Christmas seems to have already mastered all there is to know for Grade 2 (all the scales, arpeggios and has done nearly all of the Grade 2 ABRSM book). The teacher hasn't said anything about exams at all yet, but before we have a chat I was wondering whether it would be a good idea to go straight onto Grade 3...

Another slight consideration is that in September she will sadly be leaving her teacher as she has successfully auditioned for a Junior Associates type scheme and will be doing violin with them. So I was thinking maybe if she got Grade 2 it was a definite end with this teacher but then again having her do the same 3 pieces for another 4 months just doesn't sit right with me!! Any advice would be appreciated!

Schmedz Thu 07-Mar-13 22:02:33

Let her work at her own pace. The is no need to churn through each and every exam. In fact, the is no real need to take any exam at all unless you want a certificate to prove you have achieved an exam result in that level.
If she is taking part in a JA scene she is bound to be stretched and will naturally improve her playing at a more rapid rate but in the meantime, if she does want to take an exam as a kind of 'closure' with her current teacher, she should probably take Grade 3 in the Summer session, rather than grade 2. She is obviously motivated and capable. Why not chat with her teacher about that possibility? There's not a huge leap between grade 2 and 3 to be honest...
My DD would certainly go spare playing the same pieces for 4 months so she tends to skip exams all the time (I would rather she skips them all together but she quite likes getting the certificates). Added bonus in skipping is that it saves money on those ridiculously high entry fees!

Schmedz Thu 07-Mar-13 22:03:09

* there is, not 'the is'! Sorry for typos!

musicalfamily Thu 07-Mar-13 22:10:11

Schmedz thanks that is really great advice. Like you say, my main worry would be that she would go mad repeating the same pieces for 4 months so I think I will just let her carry on and then see where she gets to in a month or so. I am not that bothered about exams either (I never did any!) but I think like your DD she likes the odd certificate to hang to her wall!

I asked her tonight about what she wanted to do and she said she wanted to skip Grade 2 and maybe take Grade 3. So I think that feels like the right thing to do....

MTSgroupie Sat 09-Mar-13 12:03:31

Both my kids only took odd number grades ie 1, 3, 5 and 7 with 8 obviously being the exception. This way they spend a year just learning exam pieces and then a year expanding their repertoire.

linoleum Sat 09-Mar-13 21:39:23

There is a jump in technique between grade 2 and grade 3 on the violin - you move to 3rd position, and start developing a vibrato. If she can play the grade 2 pieces, why not let her sit the exam? It's good practice to learn a piece to performance level, and another chance to get used to having to play for an examiner.

musicalfamily Sun 10-Mar-13 07:56:39

I will have a chat with the teacher and see what his thoughts are..if the grade 2 exam was available now I would have had no hesitation to put her in for it, the issue is more with it being 4 months away. With her already having done all the pieces, scales and arpeggios it seems like an awfully long time to be polishing the same pieces.

titchy Sun 10-Mar-13 14:01:21

Why can't she do G2 in the summer term, but start practising some other pieces for a couple if months? Then go back to the exam pieces three or four weeks before the exam?

HorribleMother Sun 10-Mar-13 17:17:18

DD is supposed to do this, did G1 last April & (due to scheduling problem) hopes to take G3 coming June.

musicalfamily Sun 10-Mar-13 18:54:34

Titchy that is an option I hadn't considered. Thanks for that. I will see what the teacher thinks.......but it's definitely a third possible option, certainly more appealing than spending 4 months on the same pieces!!

morethanpotatoprints Mon 11-Mar-13 22:27:39

My dd is doing gr3 soon, she has been ready for a while now but there is quite a leap from gr2 to gr3.
I think this is the same for most instruments.
let her work at her own pace and if she does gain gr2 before her new lessons she will stand a good chance of getting a decent mark if she is ready for it.
How about playing music for fun rather than graded pieces. Its just if you aren't careful she won't try new pieces without being influenced by what grade it is, and that would be a shame.

musicalfamily Fri 15-Mar-13 13:23:27

After a chat with the teacher we all agreed that it would be a good idea for her to do grade 2 in the summer. This is mainly as it will be a nice "handover" from one teacher to another. He says she could do with a bit of polishing between now and then but will focus on keeping the momentum going with pieces and other stuff. Also she has just recently joined a new orchestra so that should be quite a challenge.

One small consideration was also that her brother is doing grade 1 at the same time and having her doing an exam with him will probably encourage him as it is his first exam and he's only 6!!

Thanks for all your advice and support!!

LilyBolero Thu 21-Mar-13 11:42:04

There is a lot of new technique for grade 3, eg shifts to 3rd position etc, so I think is a good idea to do the grade 2. Also, handing over teachers usually brings with it a bit of a step back, especially on string instruments, as there are different schools of thought wrt technique.

musicalfamily Fri 22-Mar-13 16:30:55

thanks Lily, it sounds like we've made the right decision then!

bigbluebump Thu 04-Apr-13 08:23:01

My dd's first violin exam was grade 5. And on the piano she has also jumped a grade when appropriate.

There's no need to take any exams but certainly not to take them all.

Schmedz Fri 05-Apr-13 00:14:33

I have never come across a grade 3 violinist who is learning vibrato! Shifting is indeed a technical challenge between grades 2 and 3 but OP said her child had already learnt all the scales, and therefore must know 3rd position for some of those at least....unless I misread and she only knows her grade 2 scales/arpeggios....
Ah's already been decided her daughter will sit grade 2 and enjoy learning all her lovely new orchestra music for interest. Happy practising and playing to her smile

mumblecrumble Fri 05-Apr-13 00:27:58

My DD is really keen to learn violin, different from us as I am keyboards, woodwind and percussion. How old was your daughter when she started? And did she start with full sized or smaller instrument?


LilyBolero Fri 05-Apr-13 01:21:30

She's learnt the Grade 2 scales, not grade 3.

noteventhebestdrummer Fri 05-Apr-13 07:27:48

My last Gd 3 violin candidate got a particularly good mark for his B piece, Träumerei, and a comment about good use of vibrato. I often teach it when I teach shifting because its the same movement isn't it?

Schmedz Fri 05-Apr-13 10:05:34

My daughter's teacher always discouraged her from using vibrato 'too early'. She did start to learn it when she did Grade 4 a few years ago. She has recently changed teacher and he is now re-teaching her vibrato and complains she started trying it too early and isn't doing it correctly, despite having no problem with her shifting.
Different teachers, different opinions; different students, different skills I suppose.

mumble my daughter was in Year 1 when she started and her first violin was a 1/8 size...the music shop or teacher should recommend the appropriate size. When the violin is in position on the shoulder, the student should be able to stretch their left hand fingers easily around the scroll to indicate that the instrument is the right size. She is now STILL on a half-size violin and can't wait to move up to a 3/4! She seems to think that all 10 year olds are playing bigger instruments than she is!

LilyBolero Fri 05-Apr-13 19:44:02

In terms of grades, vibrato is not expected till grade 5, but will be credited if used earlier; it's important that using it doesn't affect intonation or tone though, as this is more of a fundamental thing.

My 11yo moved onto a 3/4 violin at age 11.3. He too felt everyone was on a bigger size. My 6yo has just gone onto a 1/4; did gd1 on a 1/8!

musicalfamily Sat 13-Apr-13 09:10:26

Hi mumble, my dd started at 7 on a half and is now on a 3/4 however she has always been very tall/long limbed. Most of the children her age are on a half size violin.

tom3154 Mon 18-May-15 04:05:46

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

MomOfTwoGirls2 Tue 19-May-15 00:27:35

Interesting. We are waiting on Dd1(13) to move to full size, so Dd2(11) can move to dd1s current 3/4s.

We do suzuki method. Dd1 is Middle of book 4. Which I think is grade 3 standard. She has a decent vibrato, but needs to prefect her shifting.
Dd2 is on last tune of book 3, her 3rd position shifting is very accurate, but needs to work on her vibrato.
I'm trying to convince both of them to attempt grade 3, along with suzuki book 4... Both are resisting.

I think grade 3, 5, 7 & 8 would fit it alongside suzuki program. Their violin teacher teaches both Suzuki and grades.

ReallyTired Tue 19-May-15 10:09:21

mumble dd started violin in year 1. She has been doing it for two terms. She is following Suzuki violin. She has a 1/10 size instrument. Hiring is often a good idea as they grow rapidly and tiny instruments are expensive. We pay £7.50 a month for an instrument that would could £129 to buy.

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