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How long after starting lessons does it usually take to sit for Grade 1?

(10 Posts)
DataColour Mon 25-Apr-16 10:44:13

DS is 7.5yrs and he's been taking piano lessons for about 14 months now. He is OK, not a very musical type, but competent playing and is progressing OK. He's had about 3 teachers so far due to various reasons and not much continuity. I'm not sure what to expect in terms of exams and timescales.
His teacher is a bit vague really....

VenusOfWillendorf Mon 25-Apr-16 11:00:55

At his age, for piano, about 2 years after starting. With ABRSM they can also do a Prep test before this if you'd like him to have the experiance of an exam setting without the pressure of being graded (he would just get a cert to say he'd taken the test, it's not a graded exam). Other instruments are usually a lot less after starting (6 months - 1 year). It could well take longer if he's had a lot of interuption in the teaching style.
If his teacher is vague, it could be because he/she doesn't think he's anywhere near the stage of taking Grade 1, but you could ask this directly (rather than, when do you think he'll be ready?).
If the teacher just hasn't a clue what to think, or doesn't prepare for exams and this is something that you want for your son, then maybe yet another teacher might be in order ...

shufflestep Mon 25-Apr-16 11:43:30

As a piano teacher I would agree that two years is about average, but the changing teachers could potentially have slowed things down a little, especially if there were any issues with previous teachers that led to bad habits needing to be ironed out. Given his age I would ask about the Prep Test, which my younger students find a great experience.

DataColour Mon 25-Apr-16 12:44:18

Thanks for your replies.

The teacher said he is progressing well, but I don't think she's had much experience preparing students for exams. We do the lessons with this teacher because it's in a music centre which does other intruments too and DS loves attending the percussion group there and he would miss it if we were to leave the music centre and have just a piano teacher at home. I think the percussion group (drumming/xylophone etc) is really helping him with his sense of rhythm and general musicality which in turns helps with his piano I'm sure. So I'm not sure what to do. The piano teacher is lovely and approachable and he really likes her but she is not an experienced teacher IMO so I need to weigh out the pros and cons.

Fleurdelise Mon 25-Apr-16 14:45:31

I think as long as he is enjoying his music it shouldn't matter how long it takes till taking an exam, in the end he may decide he hates exams and doesn't want to take any, this wouldn't affect his piano playing.

But I do get the question as there would be a lot of peer pressure, kids playing other instruments where the progress to grade 1 is faster therefore they are grade 1 after a few months of lessons so your Ds may feel he's not progressing as fast.

From my experience it depends a lot of how much work is the DC willing to put into it. The more practice the faster he'll progress.

DD took grade 1 after 18 months of lessons and grade 3 after 2 and a half years (skipped grade 2) but piano is for her as important as academic work therefore she practices a lot everyday. (Currently around 30-40 min a day). Her teacher doesn't like doing exam after exam either so she plays a lot of non exam stuff also.

At the opposite pole a friend of Dd's, she does piano but the progress is not high on her priority list (she is very interested in ballet and quite talented), she practices when she remembers, about 2-3 times a week and she took 3 years to get to grade 1 (same teacher).

TrainBridge Mon 25-Apr-16 18:18:06

DD1 started learning the piano (at school, so just 20 minute lessons in term time only) age 6. She will do her Grade 1 exam exactly two years later, but in preparation we have had to increase her lessons to 30 minutes and will probably need to increase her practice as well (she currently does 15 minutes, five days a week).

DataColour Tue 26-Apr-16 10:01:32

DS started on 30min lessons a month ago, before that he was on 20mins term time only.
TBH, I'm not very happy with the set up at this music centre. For the past 3 months they have been using a keyboard (not even a touch sensitive one) for the lessons, and I don't think that's acceptable. I was prepared to go along with it as they said it would be a temporary arrangement, but it looks to be permanent, and I can't imagine how a teacher can teach piano techniques such as dynamics etc on a non weighted keyboard.
I'm going to have to cancel these lessons and find another teacher...sigh.

BertrandRussell Tue 26-Apr-16 10:07:09

Might you possibly be taking it a bit too seriously? If he's enjoying it and having fun and working on his musicality then that's 99% of what you need at this age. Grades? 1% at the very most.

DataColour Tue 26-Apr-16 12:46:53

I still intend to take him along to the percussion group, at least for this term. They do drumming or ukulele at school from next year.
Their piano lesson charges are quite high too and having a teacher come to our house is cheaper, and my 5yr old can also learn so it'll be more convenient for me.

PiqueABoo Tue 26-Apr-16 13:44:45

Well it's all in the name (pianoforte) and I wouldn't have been happy with that either. I just picked up DD's first book and it gets around to soft/loud on the ninth page.

I don't really know what "musicality" means, but I'm fairly sure you won't be able to demonstrate very much when playing without a touch sensitive keyboard.

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