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Summer Term Music and Music Exams Thread

(585 Posts)
Wafflenose Tue 22-Apr-14 11:50:05

A new thread for a new term!

If you're a music parent, or music teacher, please introduce yourselves here. It was getting hard to keep track on the old thread.

I am a music teacher (woodwind, 90% recorders these days) and I have:

DD1 (aged 8) who is taking Grade 5 Recorder this term, currently working towards Grade 4 Flute, and also sings, plays the piano and one tune on the ukulele (no lessons on these three). She has completed a video audition for the South West Music School, but we won't hear yet, and quite honestly, I don't think she'll get in this year.

DD2 (aged 5) who is taking Initial Grade Recorder this term, started the cello a month ago, and can play a few tiny, baby tunes on the piano and ukulele (again, no lessons on these).

I only have one pupil doing an exam this term, other than my girls - a Grade 2 Recorder player. I'm doing 11 Music Medals though.

CURIOUSMIND Tue 22-Apr-14 12:09:23

The most serious summer term for me so far: Ds1 has his first piano DipABRSM, and grade 5 violin. Ds2 has grade 7 piano. 1 masterclass, 3 concerts booked so far. But, we are all reasonably confident.

JulieMichelleRobinson Tue 22-Apr-14 13:24:21

I'm not actually a mum but I find this forum useful so hang out here a bit!

I teach violin and piano, with a bit of keyboard. I also play viola, organ, flute and harp to varying degrees of competence. Oh, and I apparently now teach theory to other people's piano students (she's already been entered for grade 3 this term and now needs lessons to get her through... oh the logic).

This term I will probably be entering one grade 1 piano student (if he pulls his socks up), one grade 1 violin student (adult), maybe a grade 3 piano but he missed a lot of lessons due to illness, a whole bunch of prep tests on piano (ages 7-11) and we'll probably be doing some medals on violin.

I will also be entering some exams myself - grade 6 theory because I never sat it and consequently couldn't sit my ABRSM diploma on either instrument (intending to do at least violin in the future as a "reason to practise"), probably grade 8 general musicianship to find out what those exams are like, maybe a viola grade.

Ishouldbeweaving Tue 22-Apr-14 13:30:28

I am a non-musical mum of a brass player aged 14. He's working towards his G5 theory later this year (hopefully), he's an audition coming up for a national youth ensemble and after that he'll be starting trombone as a second instrument. I didn't want him starting trombone before the audition as all practise on the main instrument would be straight out of the window. It's all very laid back and casual at the moment, no instrument exams in sight for the first time in seven years and the audition is still three months off. County wind band has knocked off for the summer and the only other thing on the horizon is a local contest in June. He's not entered a contest before so that comes under the heading of "life's new experiences" and seeing as he's ready now it's not going to be much pressure.

JulieMichelleRobinson Tue 22-Apr-14 13:30:29

Wafflenose -

As for the theory, we did a past paper in the first lesson to establish what she does or doesn't already know. And I know the cheats. Identify melodic/harmonic scales? Well, hang on... you know the harmonic minor, so if it's not that one, it must be melodic! It helps that the scales chosen are pretty much the scales that she's already learnt on piano (she's doing grade 4).

schilke Tue 22-Apr-14 15:08:44

I am not remotely musical, but my dh is a musician. He also teaches brass - mainly trumpet. Dd2 will be doing G2 trumpet this term. Her teeth are a right mish mash at the moment, but she seems to be playing ok.

Ds2 has G7 violin this term. He wants to put it off another term, but that's due to his lack of self confidence. He sounds lovely when he plays and just needs to, in the words of a popular song in this house at the moment, let it go! He can then leave G8 for a couple of years - no hurry at all.

Dd1 did her G1 clarinet last term and got 134, so she's very happy and her confidence is high - hurrah! She lacks self confidence too, so it's lovely to see her playing with confidence for a change.

RaspberryLemonPavlova Tue 22-Apr-14 15:14:29

Another non-musical Mum who has had a steep learning curve with 3 DC playing several instruments.!

The main thing looming in our house is GCSE exams for DS1! He needs to re-do his solo for GCSE as well, apparently it was a few seconds too long.

DS2 is doing his Bronze RSCM singing award in May, at the ends of his KS2 SATS week, so will be busy. His brass teacher wants to delay his Grade 5 trombone until autumn, so he can enjoy the leavers events in Y6, but no decision made yet.

Summer concerts kick off in 2 weeks with the County Music Service concert, followed by the older DCs' school summer concerts the following week. Lots of other concerts coming up too.

Saddest concert will be DS2 last Junior School music concert in June. Can't believe it will be last one, after 3 DC at Junior School.

LilyBolero Tue 22-Apr-14 16:12:42

Just marking the thread, am involved in all aspects of music & exams, including teaching and being parent!

OldBeanbagz Tue 22-Apr-14 17:12:52

Yet another non-musical mum here (there's a lot of us about).

No exams for DD for a while but she starts with a new guitar teacher tomorrow smile

DS will do Grade 1 piano this term but i'm not sure how he'll get on as he has big problems taking to adults sad

janet41 Tue 22-Apr-14 20:42:37

Hello joining you - very very non musical mom here! Still Waiting on result of grade 4 cello for my 8yr old; she then has grade 1 clarinet this term health permitting. I am busy learning music theory as I have promised to do grade 5 theory with her next year - a very big challenge for me as I have never played an instrument smile

Theas18 Tue 22-Apr-14 21:42:07

New thread! We don't appear to have any exams this term..... Just A levels for DS and auditions for higher ensembles for DD2 ( unlikely to succeed as she's grade 7 but only 14 and they re many older kids that need " their chance")

Viewofthehills Tue 22-Apr-14 21:42:14

DD1- GCSE's this term plus grade 8 flute.
Grade 8 piano next term. Music festival next week.
Chetham's Piano summer school in the summer.
DD2- just started Clarinet having given up piano.

I'm not especially musical; cried my way through the piano exams up to grade 5 smile

Rabbitcar Tue 22-Apr-14 23:04:15

This term, DD1 aged 13 doing g6 flute exam and working on g7 piano. DD2 aged 11 doing g5 piano exam and working towards g5 saxophone. Clueless non-musical mother trying to get them to do some practice at some point during the week. Look forward to this thread!

morethanpotatoprints Tue 22-Apr-14 23:21:56

My life revolves around music, so much so I don't know what I like anymore sad.
DD and dh are musicians and spend many hours playing a multitude of instruments.
There are quite often musicians in our house and dh does a bit of teaching from home.
I have the ability to switch off now, when I need to, thank goodness.

DD is 10 and doing 3 x gr4 in summer Violin, Sax and Voice.
She plays in ensembles, orchestra, and choirs.
One is a well known one, which was used in a play scheduled for bbc2 xmas day. I might catch a glimpse grin

I'm usually on here, or G&T (dds voice) or H.ed as she isn't in school.

Shakyisles Wed 23-Apr-14 03:50:53

I was a music teacher, pre-kids. Now I homeschool and run a choir and accompany and teach music a bit now and then. My daughter who just turned 10, is taking her grade 6 violin in a couple of weeks. I want her to take her grade 5 singing at the end of the year, but she's not so sure. She plays a bit of piano for fun, but has no intention of taking exams. I am doing grade 6 theory with her and have suggested she goes to grade 8 theory, as she needs to know the material. She found taking grade 5 theory hard - but passed first time, having just turned 9. Now she is lording it over her younger sister who is having to work for hers!
Younger sister (7) is taking grade 4 sax in the same session - in a few weeks time. She also plays the drum kit and a bit of keyboard. She adores improvisation and listens to pop and jazz. She composes and sings.

Oh - and though I am a pom - we live in New Zealand. This means our exam sessions aren't quite the same as the UK.

NannyPeach Wed 23-Apr-14 08:02:51

I'm a suzuki mum to dd1 (10) and Ds (6) and dd2 (3). The older two play the violin and my little one is likely to start cello some time this year.

Dd1 needs to pass grade 5 theory as soon as possible as she will be ready for grade 7 violin next school year. The problem is, she is currently working towards the 11+ exam and we have neither enough time it money for both at the moment sad.

Dd has amazed me this year after starting cello at school as a cheaper opti

NannyPeach Wed 23-Apr-14 08:05:17

Oops posted too soon.

Cello at school has been a cheaper option for us as a second instrument - dd has zoomed along with it and aware currently waiting for exam results.

Ds (6) will take grade 2 violin in the summer term.

It has been a busy year!

Ishouldbeweaving Wed 23-Apr-14 08:19:26

Theas18 My son auditioned for our County Wind Band last year when he was 13. I told him that he most likely wouldn't get in, for the reasons you said, that they'd probably give preference to older children because if they gave a seat to him he'd be filling it for five years. The audition would be good experience for him so he went along without expecting success. My husband said that audition night was full of A level students, he said they seemed to be all of an age to be wanting that line on their personal statement.

Well he got a seat. ("You were wrong mum") At the end of year concert the leavers stood up and there were four or five or them that had been with the band since they were 13 including a couple of flautists for which I would have thought competition would have been cut throat (as opposed to lower brass where there are fewer of them to fight for a place) It does appear that our County ensembles genuinely are age-blind which really surprised me. I know they should be but I expected them to favour older children because the younger ones can always try again another year.

Ishouldbeweaving Wed 23-Apr-14 08:24:26

Also - it's lovely to hear what everyone else is doing. I don't know any other parents with musical children so it's good to hear of others going through the same revolving cycle of exams/practise/theory/ensembles. I just hear about football tryouts and swimming galas where I try to be interested but really, I'm not.

Shakyisles Wed 23-Apr-14 08:27:38

Ishouldbeweaving - same here. It's a sports mad country. I have been lurking and watching for a while so it's nice to finally join in.

Theas18 Wed 23-Apr-14 15:08:40

Ishouldbeweaving..... We've been around in county ensembles here to see they are age blind if they can be... But if you play a popular instrument (dd is a Clarinettist ) them you maybe grade 7 but there are many at grade 8 plus around too and not that many top tier ensemble places ( she's already in the concert band ie next to top... Though obviously there are a handful of clarinets in concert and symphony orchestra too - probably where she'd like to be ultimately as she's a very experienced one to a part player- and maybe a bit intolerant when there are 6 first clarinets and they don't function as a team lol)

If I was guiding a child re instruments again I'd go for rarer ones! DS has had more fun on French horn than the girls did with clarinet- but all 3 have recorders as serious 1st instruments and recorder to clarinet was easy!

LilyBolero Wed 23-Apr-14 15:59:12

I would always go for strings as a first instrument as it is the most useful if you want to play in an orchestra, both as a child, and even more so as an adult!

Am v chuffed as dd just got distinction in her G5 cello.

schilke Wed 23-Apr-14 16:11:01

Are you a little biased though Lilybolero? grin I'm sure my dh would suggest brass!

JulieMichelleRobinson Wed 23-Apr-14 16:31:49

As a violin and piano teacher, I would point out that strings are jolly hard to start with ;-)

First instrument should be instrument in which the child is interested. If it's the violin, they should be taught to bow correctly ASAP because I hate screechy noises ;-)

Ishouldbeweaving Wed 23-Apr-14 16:56:49

Congratulations on that distinction LilyBolero

I don't remember getting any sort of a choice of instrument, out of the blue my son came home from school with a letter about the music service and announced that he wanted to play the euphonium. I didn't know he'd even seen one, his father tried to sell him on the cornet but he was having none of it. My suspicion was that the euph was the largest shiny instrument he'd seen that day and I'm grateful that the peri teacher didn't demonstrate on a bass because otherwise he'd have been wanting one of those. The County Music Service produced a battered instrument that was polished as much as it could be and he was off. At the time it was a big instrument for a small child but he grew into it.

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