Spring/ Summer Music and Musicians Thread

(982 Posts)
Wafflenose Sun 10-Apr-16 11:25:35

My children go back to school tomorrow, and it's my birthday this week, so it must be properly spring in the UK now, and time for a new thread! Please jump right in by telling us about your DCs' learning (or your own), or by asking any music/ music exam related questions you like. We have lots of experienced music parents and teachers on here, as well as lots of new ones.

I am a music teacher, and mum to Goo (10) and Rara (7). Goo started the recorder and flute when she was tiny (age 3 and 6 respectively), has recently added piccolo, but not very well yet, and is starting piano lessons in a couple of weeks. She has no exams this term, but will probably do Grade 6 Flute in the Autumn and Grade 8 Recorder next Spring. She plays in her school orchestra and recorder groups, South West Music School and NCO, and has her first concert with County Wind Band tonight, after a trial course. She hasn't auditioned to become a member yet, and might not for a few years yet, due to age and time factors.

Rara isn't so musically inclined - she prefers to read and draw, and is also very physically active. However, she is due to take her Grade 2 Cello exam this term, and Grade 3 Recorder in the Autumn - she's currently getting to grips with the treble and loving it!

ealingwestmum Sun 10-Apr-16 12:11:54

Have a great birthday week Waffle!

We have a week and a half of hols still to go. DD in Y7 (12). Waiting for G4 singing results from last term (I am ashamed to say I did not hear even one of the pieces), but that's senior school life now, little practice at home, time grabbed at school as and when in breaks/mornings etc due to extra curricular juggling and weekends in between multiple sports. Being musical and sporty doesn't mix well as the levels get more advanced.

Piano G6 for summer, if we can get a slot in the first 2 weeks of session opening due to rest of term clashes, not sure how easy this for teacher to stipulate dates preference on form...hope he's successful!

Fleurdelise Sun 10-Apr-16 13:02:28

Misti continuing from the last thread, I am inclined towards clarinet also, so is my husband so maybe we'll use our influencing power with DD to convince her it is better. grin

Unfortunately we've established Waffle doesn't live nearby to take on Dd's training so I now need to find a teacher. I am really tempted by the local music centre as they then have 1 to 1 lessons and then the DCs can join the wind band.

Has anybody got any experience with the local music centres around the country? We are in Herts.

Would it be too early to email now for September? I am worried that the may have a waiting list.

raspberryrippleicecream Sun 10-Apr-16 13:09:20

We have an Exam free term - except for GCSEs and A levels!

I have DS1 Y13, who has Grade 8 Tuba and Trombone, plays in a variety of ensembles in and out of school.

DD, Y11, Grade 8 alto sax, plays bari sax in ensembles, plus learns piano for fun (no exams).

DS2, Y8, who is a cathedral chorister. He plays piano, working towards Grade 7, possibly autumn, clarinet, working towards Grade 6, and trombone (5-6 standard). He too plays in ensembles in and out of school, although not as many as he would like too as they clash with his Cathedral commitments.

He has an exciting term planned while poor older DCs are into exams. He is off to London to take part in a big Cathedral music event, he is taking part in a local Arts Festival in a variety of ways, and is set to enjoy what may be his last term as s Chorister.

motherwithheadache Sun 10-Apr-16 13:14:13

1 brass exam, and 2dc who are starting to think about some exam pieces. I think dc1 is working on some guitar pieces (Rockschool), but that will be a while to go as not really interested in exams

raspberryrippleicecream Sun 10-Apr-16 13:18:54

Fleur I'd be inclined towards clarinet too. My god-daughter though was never comfortable with a reeded instrument, and her Mum is a clarinet/sax player. She has ended up a trumpet and flute player with Grade 8 in both, having tried harp, violin and sax on the way!

DS2 started clarinet at 7, a year after piano, and was in junior orchestra within weeks. It won't take your DD long to get going!

I'd start asking now. Our music centre doesnt do lessons though, only in school and privately. But they run some good music groups which are open to all.

woolleybear Sun 10-Apr-16 14:00:12

My dd is 9 and plays clarinet. No exams for us this term, but a concert in two weeks which she practiced for in the first week of the holidays but hasn't in the last two weeks so we need to get onto that. To be fair she spent two days of that playing solidly for a music course and then has had long days in the last week.

She is also desperate to learn a second instrument but just doesn't know what, though possible oboe or saxophone. She has tried an oboe and liked it but we haven't been able to try a saxophone yet! The clarinet she was really adamant about learning so maybe I should just wait for it to become like this for something else!

teacherwith2kids Sun 10-Apr-16 14:21:20

"Has anybody got any experience with the local music centres around the country?"

Our county one is excellent but doesn't do 1:1 lessons - these are done either in school (although the county music service no longer provides teachers, many schools still have relationships with particular teachers) but does do groups at all levels from First Access right through to county-wide selective orchestras / bands.

It is primarily organised around a few geographically-based music centres, which typically meet for a few hours once a week offering a menu of different groups and activities. You can attend as many or as few of the activities as you like, and can attend more than one centre for the same termly fee (IUIRC it's a little more for the county-level selective groups, but not much)

DS - saxophone / clarinet - does 3 hours (jazz, orchestra, senior wind group) at one music centre and 1.5 hours of jazz at another. Several of his friends also do the county wind orchestra, and DS is hoping to audition for the senior county jazz group (Grade 6+, probably higher because he plays common instruments) for the first time this summer after taking his Grade 6. He's off at the NCBF national final-y thing today with the music centre jazz group.

landrover Sun 10-Apr-16 15:08:29

Hi, hoping you lovely lot can help. My 12 year old has just passed her grade 4 piano (phew!) Scored fine on her pieces (thank god), scraped a pass on her scales but scored very badly on her sight reading (I know, I know :-) and her aural. I am not musical at all but a big support and she really practised very hard for her exam. My problem is that her piano teacher only did a couple of sight reading tests with her before the exam (I did loads with her but obviously have no idea if they were right) and again only a couple of aural tests (although she asked us to get the ABRSM app which we did one or two a night from about a month before). My question is, is this what would normally happen? Are piano teachers generally more relaxed about aural and sight? Is it something that can't really be taught?

I really don't want to get to next year and grade 5 without her having more confidence in those areas. Thankyou all xxx

landrover Sun 10-Apr-16 15:10:06

Passed with 107 (forgot to say). Pieces were 24, 25 and 26. x

Mistigri Sun 10-Apr-16 15:14:55

It's not quite summer term yet here - our holidays are not for another week - though it feels very spring-like today!

DD actually has an exam of sorts this coming term - she has a piano audition to determine whether she goes into the "second cycle" at her French music school (conservatoire) next year. It is kind of a formality, I think, because she will be expected to play at grade 4/5 standard and she is preparing a Chopin nocturne for her assessment. She says her teacher seems rather vague and relaxed about it ...

Noteventhebestdrummer Sun 10-Apr-16 16:53:57

Landrover it all depends on the teacher. Now that you've found out that yours doesn't include sight reading training and aural development in lessons you might usefully ask her to do more OR get lessons in just those aspects from someone who loves teaching them.
Unfortunately it seems to be quite common for kids to find themselves in this situation and it's a shame.

Fleurdelise Sun 10-Apr-16 18:17:28

Thank you for your advice on the second instrument, our county music centre seems to have 1-2-1 lessons in various instruments (including clarinet) from what I can gather from their website. I have sent them an enquiry hopefully they can add DD to the waiting list if there is a long wait.

To quickly reintroduce ourselves, I have 2 DCs, DS is 14 yo and not a musical bone in his body while DD is 8 yo, has played the piano for 2 and a half years since she was 6 and just took her grade 3 exam. No exams planned for her this term.

Landrover Dd's teacher was of the principle that students learn to sight read naturally by being exposed to a lot of new pieces however DD had a poor sight reading result in her grade 3 which now means her teacher made it a focus of her future development. So she practises sight reading in lessons and she also has an exercise a day to practice at home which I know what she has to do.

In Dd's case is the word sight reading that blocks her, she can sight read quite well when learning new pieces. All her new pieces (she started 3 last week) are sight reading but she doesn't realise that is what she is doing. The moment the word sight reading is said she has a mental block because she hates it. So the purpose of sight reading exercises is to show her she can actually do it, and so far she finds them easy. (She started with the grade below to make her feel they are easy).

I would discuss it with her teacher and ask her to address it in lessons but I suspect the teacher will anyway once they have seen the exam result.

landrover Sun 10-Apr-16 18:28:07

Definitely need to look at sight reading thank you. I wish I could help more. Does anybody use the ABRSM aural App? I thought that she seemed to be getting good results but I guess nothing really takes the place of a good teacher! smile

Fleurdelise Sun 10-Apr-16 18:28:25

Can you all clarinet expert people give me some names of the clarinet beginners method books just to get myself an idea of what it involves? Also what is a good clarinet to start with (Yamaha? Or which other brand?) and some advice on size, would a small 9 yo need a different size? Gosh, so many questions going through my head. smile

Fleurdelise Sun 10-Apr-16 18:31:02

Aural is another area that from a certain level I would expect you need a teacher to explain. For example we used the abrsm app on the side but I had no clue as to how would she know the difference between major and minor key, her teacher explained it so well that DD gets really good marks in that area. For grade 5 I think they need to identify the style of a piece, you difinately need a teacher to explain the different styles.

Musicmom1 Sun 10-Apr-16 18:54:53

Hi all - DD (yr5; music scholar) plays cello (grade 7 this term), clarinet (awaiting G5 results), jazz sax (no exams) and sings incl in two childrens choruses. Is in the NCO for third year. she is considering whether she wants to be a choirester for secondary school!! V busy term ahead.

Fleur - clarinet is wonderful as it opens up so many playing opps quite quickly - DD still does one jazz group on it and another on sax. She started Christmas of yr3 (is now in yr 5). My only caution is its easy to move quickly on as second instrument but technique needs to watched or else they can hit a bump at G5 or 6. But that's no different to any instrument I guess.

woolleybear Sun 10-Apr-16 18:57:10

Fleur, we started with these two books, Paul Harris's Clarinet Basics and Abracadra Clarinet by Jonathan Rutland. They have got dd through grades 1 and 2 and she will use them a bit in conjunction with the new books she has as she progresses.

Dd started at just turned 8 with a full size clarinet. Many use a sling but dd didn't get on with it so it hasn't really been used. She has a Buffet B12 which was recommended to us as a good beginner instrument, the.

2ndSopranosRule Sun 10-Apr-16 19:04:17

Still anxiously awaiting dd1's violin result. It's only Grade 1 but it's her first practical so it's important to me.

She's 8.5 and has been playing the violin for about 18 months. She plays all the time. She also did Grade 1 theory last term and passed that with distinction.

Surely to God we'll find out this week?! Lessons are arranged via the music centre and it's been the holidays.

I'm tempted to phone tomorrow and ask...

Fleurdelise Sun 10-Apr-16 19:14:12

Wow musicmom am I right to understand that you DD started clarinet just over two years ago and she is already grade 5?! Amazing, she must be so talented.

wolley thank you for you feedback. Gosh I have to say the thought of spending another £200 on an instrument after getting an upright piano summer last year doesn't appeal to me just yet. I guess I'll have to take the hit and get it before the lessons start. Should I rent one initially until it is established she's happy with clarinet lessons?

Pradaqueen Sun 10-Apr-16 19:14:36

Hello all! We have as you all know G5 theory (again!) this term. The Mark sheet revealed miniprada spectacularly cocked up on one question which denied her a pass... We also have G5 violin special visit in May and G5 piano during the summer term. The new (antique) violin is proving to be a massive incentive to practise although her teacher does say it is like driving a Mercedes after a clapped out old banger so no wonder...work to do on sight reading and aural (she hates singing) in both though... Then a break from Sept (assuming a pass achieved in all three) to concentrate on 11+ and CEM.

To the poster asking about theory revision, I made colour coded flash cards for each grade to correspond with the colour of the Eric Taylor books which helped identify words she probably knew previously as opposed to the final G5 words.

Good luck to everyone this term!

raspberryrippleicecream Sun 10-Apr-16 19:16:03

Fleur I'm no help as DS2 uses a borrowed clarinet, which isn't a beginner's one. My friend started him off when he was 7 and used her old books. He actually taught himself quite a lot through orchestra and windband, she only gave him occasional lessons and checked his technique. He did like What else can I play Grade One and Two

raspberryrippleicecream Sun 10-Apr-16 19:20:23

Fleur you should be able to hire one from the Music Service, you will need to buy reeds. Then if mini fleur likes clarinet, they can advise you about buying one through AIPS, which means you don't pay VAT.

Fleurdelise Sun 10-Apr-16 19:30:37

Thank you all! I just wanted to have a vague idea about expenses and what is a good clarinet and what I should stay away from. The Buffet B12 and the Yamaha YCL series seem to be the "must have" ones (attracted by the Yamaha as we have the Yamaha piano, just to keep the trend up LOL). Of course I won't purchase till the lessons are starting and I am talking to an actual teacher to see their requirements. Thank you all, DD decided she will stick to clarinet as there is the Jazz path also. smile

Fleurdelise Sun 10-Apr-16 19:32:26

Oh and good luck to all the dc's exams and projects this term. Ours is to finish Fur Elise to a respectable playing level. wink

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