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Piano grade 3 - what about the singing?

(27 Posts)
EarlyInTheMorning Mon 03-Jun-13 08:28:58

My DD aged 9 will soon take his Piano grade 3 exam. He's ready for the playing but it is clear that singing isn't his thing. Is there a website that he can use to help him practise? Many thanks.

VinegarDrinker Mon 03-Jun-13 08:38:59

You mean the aural tests? I would ask his teacher to do 5-10 mins of aural with him in each lesson. I don't know of any websites but there is also a new app you could use - Google ABRSM aural trainer (assuming it's an ABRSM exam?) - I haven't used it personally though.

MadeOfStarDust Mon 03-Jun-13 08:44:42

The echo part of the aural is really only about 4 marks out of the total - it is unusual to be so bad at echoing that they get 0, so don't get too worked up about it.... get him to practise going dah, dahhhhhhhhh,dah etc along to music - any music - then repeating a bit of it after.. good luck - my 12 year old has her grade 3 at the end of the month.

Primrose123 Mon 03-Jun-13 08:48:20

You could buy this and go through it with him to practise. It's all on the cd if you can't play the piano yourself.

notfluffy Mon 03-Jun-13 08:48:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MadeOfStarDust Mon 03-Jun-13 10:01:21

Ours goes through all the Aural tests too - and we buy the ABRSM book

but he says that it is easy to get bogged down in - for instance - working out if timing is 2/3/4 time when in reality that is worth 2 or 3 marks... whereas getting decent dynamics in just one piece can gain you 5 or 6 marks ...

so it is just a question of where you focus precious time between now and the exam.. we do aural stuff all the way through, so there is a general level of knowledge that is "enough" if we don't get time to work on it.

<disclaimer - but she is doing the exams for fun - not pushing for distinctions/scholarships etc>

EarlyInTheMorning Mon 03-Jun-13 17:46:25

Ah okay, thanks everyone. I didn't realise it counted for so little.

MadeOfStarDust, what does this mean is lay terms ...^getting decent dynamics in just one piece can gain you 5 or 6 marks ...?^

<non musical mum here blush>

Xenia Mon 03-Jun-13 18:26:43

I think there is or used to be an option to do something else instead of sing, but I might be wrong. It is a tiny bit of the exam so don't worry about it.

Dynamics means soft, loud etc. So if the piece if marked f which means forte - loud then you get more marks if you do it loudly. If it says p piano quiet then you follow that. If it show crescendo (getting louder) you get marks for that. In other words you need the child to learn what those things mean. There can't be that many of them at grade 3. I always bought the associated board oral test book and we do them at home for practice.

MadeOfStarDust Mon 03-Jun-13 20:43:41

Hiya - what I meant was that quite often a child in particular will simply forget about the dynamics of a piece - the loud, soft, crescendos etc... they tend to then be marked lower as the playing of the pieces is not marked solely on the accuracy of the notes, but on the overall "musicality" of the piece. They have to play 3 pieces for their test - so there are a lot of marks to be made on dynamics/ musicality...

It can, for instance, make the difference between gaining 24/25 for a piece and 29/30.

boogiewoogie Mon 03-Jun-13 21:27:21

The candidate needs to sing back 3 short phrases that the examiner plays. Pretty easy. Can he hum accurately part of a song after it's been played to him? That's it really. There should be a marking criteria on the board's website. This is the ABRSM's syllabus for the piano grade 3. This is the marking criteria for each section (at the bottom of the page.)

I'm currently using the following as aural test prep.

E-Music Maestro

The aural test accounts for 18 out of 150 total marks but it can still make a difference between a pass and a merit if you do well in it. I don't think it is something that should be overlooked for having little weighting. Having a musically trained ear is an obvious advantage to learning an instrument.

Xenia Mon 03-Jun-13 22:05:10

See also

EarlyInTheMorning Tue 04-Jun-13 07:05:17

Thank you all so much. This is all very helpful. I do sometimes wonder how my DS has managed to make it to grade 3 bearing in mind my utter ignorance in this field. He is going to play Blue Sky Blues, German Dance in A and Allegro in G. I do make him practise but I lack the knowledge to know if he's playing properly so I always say it was wonderful. As for the singing, even I can tell is not quite there!

MadeOfStarDust Tue 04-Jun-13 08:40:22

Ha ha - my DD is playing Blue Sky Blues, German Dance in A too!! but she went off book to do the L Mozart piece for her other one...

flatmouse Tue 04-Jun-13 08:47:35

My DD also doing her grade 3 in a few weeks - her singing also hopeless! I really do despair of it smile but as others have said - it's not a big set of marks. Can't remember what names of her pieces are but i can sing them all in my head!!! (Constantly).

Startail Tue 04-Jun-13 08:49:33

Aural tests is a rude word in this house.
DD does singing exams she still fails the aural bits and passes on the sings. I'm not surprised non singers hate them.

Thanks for the websites, I'll take a look too.

DeWe Tue 04-Jun-13 10:08:55

Dh doesn't like singing, I think he said it was allowed to play the singing bits on the piano back to them. He's got very good pitch though, but I would have thought that made it harder. He always got full marks at aural.

MadeOfStarDust Tue 04-Jun-13 11:05:59

Early.... if doing Blue Sky Blues the examiner (from experience with DD2 - yes I've gone through this a few months ago with the same C piece!! I wake up humming it in my head now) will give loads of marks for the Dynamics aspect - all his comments were about "a wonderful, colourful, very musical performance, lots of light and shade in the playing"

She made a mistake with a note but carried on , and played slower than it should have been but gained 28 out of 30 for that one because of the dynamics.

flowery Tue 04-Jun-13 11:15:27

Aural is something you're either good at or struggle with. I just had a brief couple of run throughs for each of my exams so I was familiar with what would be asked of me, but didn't need to practice as such, and got the full 18 marks for all except one of my exams, up to Grade 8. It just comes easy to me.

DH on the other hand is hopeless at aural, finds it difficult to pick out a harmony when listening to the radio or whatever, and I think did a keyboard alternative for a couple of his exams. However he is a much higher standard musician than me and got distinction in most of his exams, if not all. I certainly didn't!

So perfectly possible to do well without excelling at aural. Humming or whistling is ok as well iirc if singing is challenging.

flowery Tue 04-Jun-13 11:21:35

Keyboard harmony, that was it, that's what DH did instead of aural in some of his higher grades. Don't know if it's still offered as an option.

Personally I couldn't have played harmonising different types of chords and whatnot on the piano without music if my life depended on it but DH finds that kind of thing very easy.

EarlyInTheMorning Tue 04-Jun-13 11:29:59

MadeOfStarDust, thank you for that. With that piece, it's been a close call with my DS. He likes that piece so much (he's a blues-y type guy, not classical really), he plays it in his own way, adding improvisation and going too fast really. I am hoping he can take it down to basics and play it 'properly'.

MrsHoarder Tue 04-Jun-13 13:15:17

I'm rubbish at the "sing back" but always managed a few marks by remembering the rhythm and "up/down". So a tune would be:

laaaa up uuup dooown down up uuup down
(obviously all sung as "la")

I got nowhere near the right notes, but got the other bits right. If he doesn't know where to start that might be worth suggesting.

DeWe Tue 04-Jun-13 14:26:44

Keyboard harmony was instead of scales when dh did it. He hated scales, and loved Keyboard harmony so this suited him.
I think dd's piano teacher said that was no longer an option because so few people chose it.

flakjacket Tue 04-Jun-13 14:32:04

Thanks for that MrsHoarder. My DD is also about to take Grade 3 but can't do echo singing at all. She can't seem to remember more than 5 notes (think she's slightly dyslexic). I will tell her what you did grin.

Xenia Tue 04-Jun-13 17:44:50

Ah yes, that was what I mentioned too - you used to be able to do keyboard harmony in higher grades instead of aural although I always did aural which was not too hard for me - I have a genetic fluke which is "absolute pitch" so if asked to say what key a piece has modulated to in grade 8 for example I just need to hear the first and last note to know the answer.

I see people have been asking about it and it seems it is no longer an option instead of aural tests even in higher grades -

flatmouse Wed 05-Jun-13 10:48:46

I thought that the singing bits of aural stopped after grade 3 and the whatever it's called (seems to be a verbal theory test). Funny how DD seems to be the opposite of me - my scales were always atrocious (something to do with lack of practice) but my sight-reading was always excellent. Her scales are stunning but sight-reading (in grade 2) left a lot to be desired! Lots of post grade 2 work on sight reading and she's much better at it now.

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