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Music theory exams

(11 Posts)
OverAndAbove Thu 08-Oct-15 22:32:56

DDs (11 and 9) have both been doing music theory for a while and DD1 will be doing grade 3 exam in spring but DD2 is going for grade 1 next month

How can I help her prepare for it - not the content, which she is fine with, but the actual exam? She's never done a written test before (or instrumental, although she plays flute and piano) and this will be in a test centre amongst, presumably loads of other people. She's done some practice papers which were ok, but her writing is not neat and her spelling of terms etc is a bit wild. Will she be penalised for this? Her notation, conversely, is fairly good, I think.

On the one hand I'm regretting agreeing to her doing it; on the other hand, she was keen and I suppose it will be good prep for other things? She does really enjoy the lessons.

Any thoughts, much appreciated

Noteventhebestdrummer Thu 08-Oct-15 22:47:02

DS4 took and passed Gd 5 theory aged 7 and the most surprising thing was that he must have written nearly enough to be awarded some marks!
We played pretend exams before the day do he knew what to expect!

Noteventhebestdrummer Thu 08-Oct-15 22:47:43


OverAndAbove Thu 08-Oct-15 22:51:07

Really? That sounds excellent! I don't think DD's writing would have been legible enough to get any marks at that age. I keep imagining her getting distracted and forgetting to do bits. But I suppose it will be a good lesson in that respect...

Maybe I should just stop worrying about it, as she doesn't seem massively concerned

Ferguson Thu 08-Oct-15 23:11:16

And apart maybe from you having paid for lessons and tests, it isn't REALLY a life-changing experience, in the way GCSE or A levels are.

Have they done the relevant 'Theory in Practice' books, which should include everything they need to know. And, in music it's not only about LEARNING things, but ideally they need to UNDERSTAND what's going on in the 'harmonic vibrations' etc, that sound is made up of, and that may not be quite so easy.

But they can only try and relax, and do their best. We wish them GOOD LUCK!

raspberryrippleicecream Thu 08-Oct-15 23:46:56

It'll be fine, the Centres are used to children.

Like any Exam make sure she has everything she needs, spare pencil etc.

DS2 has only done Grade5 (he was 12 so not spectacular).
I told him there was no point rushing as I wasn't collecting him until the two hours were up (they can leave when they want to)

Wafflenose Fri 09-Oct-15 07:32:56

My eldest (currently 9) is doing Grade 5 in March. She did Grade 3 last term, precisely so she could have a practice run with no pressure. Little sister should be ready for Grade 1 next term too - that will be her practice run! We'll just do lots of past papers.

Icouldbeknitting Fri 09-Oct-15 08:06:14

Theory was my son's first exam too, the centre are used to having young candidates and they will spell it all out for them. All the theory candidates are in the same room so not everyone will be doing the same exam as her and when she leaves some may be still working away. You know your child, if they are a slow and steady worker they won't need the same lecture about staying and checking their work that they do if they rush through and want to run out of the door. They can leave before the end of the exam, I went home so mine wouldn't.

Our challenge (with five minutes before we needed to leave) was finding a ruler that didn't have anything musical on it.

ealingwestmum Fri 09-Oct-15 11:15:36

I think sitting a theory exam before the age of 11/12 is a big deal. It's the first time they are experiencing a formal examination, and can be daunting, but as others have said, the centres are fab at putting them at their ease, they tend to sit in their grade lines and there can be such a sense of achievement post exam.

We have only done one OP - G5 when DD was 10. We were late, she was stressed, was told to sit with children that looked 15 plus, and looked tiny as well as completely overwhelmed (compounded by my being late). However, the older children were really kind with reassuring glances at her throughout and she got her head down. For 2 hours. Your point about preparing them for other things is valid - it made her 11 entrance exams process so much easier, and she still holds the theory experience as the contributing factor to her success in these.

If I were doing it again, I would definitely recommend additional G3 at the very minimum as a trial run.

Wafflenose Fri 09-Oct-15 11:36:00

I am so pleased my DD did the Grade 3... it was a useful warm-up to get her to pace herself and experience the exam hall etc, and also confirmed we are firmly on the right track, when she scored 89%. All the others were much bigger than her, and she did smile when a couple of the Grade-5-sitting teenagers came out saying, "I wasn't sure what tristamente meant..." "I know!" whispered DD (who quite enjoyed learning the Italian!)

So we are now halfway through the Grade 5 book, trying to do a couple of pages on Saturday mornings. We'll then have 8 weeks in the New Year to do a bit of Italian each day and a practice paper each week.

OverAndAbove Sat 10-Oct-15 08:15:13

Thanks for the reassurance; it's great to hear of them all doing so well. She really does know the stuff, so I guess I just need to back off and chill out! Oh and perhaps help her learn to spell some of thee key words...

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