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would you change teachers 3 months before an exam

(15 Posts)
rubberdubber1970 Thu 27-Nov-14 11:28:13

My son (8) is supposed to be going for his grade 2 piano in march, however the teacher is rubbish and he is really struggling and has lost motivation.

I don't think he will be ready without a lot of nagging !

he has learnt one of his songs so just 2 more to do. Fortunately his scales are passable.

I want a different piano teacher, my quandary is do I do it now and maybe get him a good teacher that can get him through the grade 2. Or stick with the teacher and hope for the best

He plays the clarinet as well and will be going for the grade 2 in March also. It's the difference in teachers that have made me see how bad the piano teacher is

Seeline Thu 27-Nov-14 11:33:16

A few random thoughts grin
IMO clarinet is easier than piano (only one line of music, one note to play etc) and therefore it will be easier to reach the required standard, and also I think pieces for wind exams are easier than those required for piano grades of the same level. A muddled way of saying grade 2 piano isn't necessarily equivalent to grade 2 clarinet, and therefore is the teacher as bad as you think?
Has the exam actually been booked yet? If you really want to change teachers, and it isn't booked, then perhaps delay it until the summer session to allow for any little hiccups.
Does your DS want to change teachers?
Does your DS enjoy the piano and want to continue?
Do you have an alternative teacher lined up - personal recommendation?

rubberdubber1970 Thu 27-Nov-14 11:55:56

Yes I put the 2 grade 2 books together and laugh at the difference.

No the exam hasn't been booked, my ds is happy to change teachers he says the teacher doesn't push him or expect much from him.
He used to enjoy the piano but enjoys the clarinet more.

I have a few teachers that I have sourced, but not that he could go straight to.

The piano teacher doesnt seem to have any focus, lessons are all over the place.

Fleurdelise Thu 27-Nov-14 12:19:49

My opinion as a parent of a DD playing piano. Is your son preparing on the new syllabus or the old one (2013-2014)? If it is the new syllabus then you could change teachers and if he is not ready in March then he can take it in the summer session.

If it is the old syllabus then he needs to take the exam in March by which point I would stick to this teacher and push for a lot of practice at home to ensure he is ready. Good luck!

rubberdubber1970 Thu 27-Nov-14 12:44:19

hi
it's the new syllabus, he only likes 1 of the tunes in the abrsm book - the teacher hasn't got any of the other books / tunes that he could try. We are limited to picking the 3 out of the 9. Another minus point for the teacher !

Fleurdelise Thu 27-Nov-14 13:00:07

If you go on the ABRSM website you can see all the syllabus including the pieces not included in the abrsm book. Then you can go on YouTube with your son and listen to them and choose alternative pieces he may like.

My daughter is doing grade 1 preparation and we bought the book with the cd. Once we listened to all of them she actually chose b6 and c6 which are alternative pieces so I ordered the books for those myself. As far as I am aware is not the teacher providing the books but the parent.

We are lucky with our teacher from this point of view, she allowed my daughter to choose her own pieces rather than suggest/impose which ones to play. My dd's friend is with a teacher that is choosing the pieces rather than allowing the child to do so.

JulieMichelleRobinson Thu 27-Nov-14 13:08:10

Just saying... the piano teacher has done the hard work of teaching your son to read music already - which is one reason clarinet has gone faster. Also, you aren't limited to picking 3 of those 9 tunes - you, yes, you, could buy the alternative books. So maybe the teacher is bad, or maybe your son has lost interest because the baby steps on the clarinet are so much easier and it's taken his focus off the piano.

Also, could the problem be partly due to your focus on exams? So, your son doesn't like any of the exam pieces? That can be solved by not doing the exam. Or, if you insist on exams, looking at another exam board, e.g. Trinity (there are a lot of jazzy grade 2 pieces this time round and you can choose any three, there aren't separate lists) or ABRSM or LCM jazz piano?

JulieMichelleRobinson Thu 27-Nov-14 13:08:57

(Of course, it's possible that the teacher is rubbish, but if your son is losing motivation to work for his grade 2...)

rubberdubber1970 Thu 27-Nov-14 13:12:35

I didn't even realise (until my ds started the clarinet) that there were other pieces that could be played.
Our piano teacher never mentioned it (she might not even know herself !!)
I thought we had to choose 1 from each section from the ABRSM grade book.

Does the CD have ALL the tunes are just the 9 from the book ?

Fleurdelise Thu 27-Nov-14 13:19:30

The cd has all the pieces but looking at my expense I would not buy it now as you can find all the grade pieces on YouTube (I haven't checked all but I found all the grade 1 there).

Just go on the abrsm website, select 2015-2016 syllabus and then search for the pieces on YouTube. Then if he likes any alternative ones abrsm website tells you what edition to buy.

Saying that it cost us quite some money to get three different books but DD is happy and the books can be used in the future as they have more than one piece.

rubberdubber1970 Thu 27-Nov-14 13:53:02

He really enjoyed the 3 from grade 1.
No I'm not fixated on exams however I think that it gives them a goal to work towards.
I totally understand that the clarinet is so much easier, but I'm not so sure that he has been taught the basics.
In fact the teacher had to practise the music in the grade 2 book as she couldn't play them straight from the book

<sigh>

Worriedandlost Thu 27-Nov-14 17:32:56

I changed piano teachers before grade 2 exam twice-4 months before the exam and then two months before the exam and I am glad I did it.

SarkyWench Thu 27-Nov-14 17:36:15

I would find a new teacher ASAP and then let them advise you whether to withdraw from the exam.

JulieMichelleRobinson Fri 28-Nov-14 10:34:08

I think my point was that a decision to change teachers - if you're not happy with the teacher for some reason - is perfectly legit (but please honour any notice period!). However, it won't necessarily solve the problem of not liking the exam pieces; in which case you may need to look at other boards/assessments.

There, that was much better put than the first time round!

teacherwith2kids Sat 29-Nov-14 15:44:27

Like previous posters, I would separate the teaching from the exam issue.

For one thing, how much 'non exam piece' playing does your chld do? DS - 1st instrument clarinet, second sax - played a ratio of about 5-10 non exam pieces for every exam piece even in the run up to his grade 5 clarinet (the first exam he took), and is doing the same for his grade 4 sax (again the first exam on the instrument, about a year after taking it up). He also plays in orchestras and jazz bands, so the exam pieces are a very, very tiny part of his overall musical experience. His teacher takes enormous care selecting which pieces he should do for the exam - often playing through many before setlling on the few he is eventually to polish.

You do seem very focused on the exam process - DS will probably take a couple of exams on each of his instruments, most likely 5 & 8 for clarinet, 4 and 7 or 8 for sax. As a result he really enjoys playing, has a fairly quick turnover of pieces and has time for duets and groups and a LOT of improvisation (he's a jazz player at heart).

Why don't you ditch the Grade 2, find a new teacher, do lots and lots of 'non exam' learbning with the new teacher, then maybe do grade 3 or higher at a later date? One of my DBs is a professional musician, but again only took a few 'critical' exams - as far as I remember, grades 3,5 and 8 in his second instrument, Grades 6 ad 8 in what became his first instrument.

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