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Advice needed re ABRSM grade 1 violin

(18 Posts)
hairygodmother Thu 19-Jan-17 07:55:42

Hi there all,

Hoping all of you with musical children with your massive experience will help me here. My 10 year old has been learning the violin since last September (getting on for a year and a half). She's got a good ear (been in v good local choir for three years) so adjusts tuning as she goes etc. She's been hampered slightly by learning in a class of three but we've switched to individual lessons this term.

I am a musician myself but of course haven't done any Associated Board exams for a long time so have forgotten how it goes. I thought we were going to put her in for grade 1 this term (closing entry date tomorrow!). She's already got one piece nearly ready and is doing the scales and arpeggios. We haven't chosen the other two pieces but have played through them. But her teacher has said to wait until next term so that she'll have the pieces securely. I think she's a pretty good reader and we can knuckle down and practise, surely we can learn the pieces in two months? I think it will drive us nuts (especially me) if we have to wait till the summer and are playing them all that time.

She will need to practise more sight reading too but the aural tests won't present any problems.

What should I do? Go against teacher's advice and put her in anyway? I'm sure she'd be ok. Or wait until the summer (at the expense of my sanity)? I'm very conscious of her age and wanting to move her along, as is she (deep down). But if we do push it, maybe she won't do as well as she could do and that would be a blow to her confidence (she's quite unsure of herself).

Any input gratefully received, thanks!

Wafflenose Thu 19-Jan-17 08:00:10

I think all you can do is have another chat with the teacher, but I certainly wouldn't enter her without the teacher's consent. At the date of entry, my candidates have to know all of the scales and arpeggios off by heart, and have made a start on all the pieces. This term, exams start on March 6th. Do you think she will be ready by then? If so, give the teacher a ring and have a chat. Alternatively, you can request an earlier date next term (June) and learn all kinds of other fun things at the same time as preparing for the exam.

raspberryrippleicecream Thu 19-Jan-17 08:05:51

Another option , especially if she is switching to individual lessons, would be to aim for Grade 2 next term instead?

hairygodmother Thu 19-Jan-17 08:06:29

Thanks so much for quick response. I have absolutely been talking to teacher about it, don't worry! Just wanted other perspectives. Mainly because, crucially, I am a wind player and not a string player. You make very compelling points and that is all very useful, thanks.

hairygodmother Thu 19-Jan-17 08:09:55

I had thought about that, raspberry, but perhaps to domgrade 1 so that she's really confident and gets a good mark? I just know I'm going to go nuts with the muppets theme Tune running through my head until the summer grin

se22mother Thu 19-Jan-17 09:26:47

Dd has an Abrsm exam in little over a month (special visit) but if as waffle says regular dates start on 6th march it still isn't long to learn two more pieces. I'd be guided by the teacher

cingolimama Thu 19-Jan-17 09:35:39

TBH, I think it's nuts to do early exams in violin. I believe it actually hampers development with string instruments, as there's so much basic technique to learn (with both the left fingering and the bow hand!). Honestly, I'd skip them until she was ready for Grade 3 at least.

hairygodmother Thu 19-Jan-17 12:39:10

Thank you all so much for your replies. Of course I'm going to be guided by her teacher and everything you've said pretty much bears that out. As to not doing the early exams at all, that seems actually quite sensible (all the many years ago when I did mine, woodwind didn't start till Grade 3 anyway) and I'm pretty sure my daughter would be in favour of that too.

Just going to have to resign myself for the time being to hearing the same pieces for a while. At least it gives me more time to practise the piano part ...

Noteventhebestdrummer Thu 19-Jan-17 13:27:55

She may as well learn more of the pieces if you're going to delay the exam (I wouldn't, personally) so that she practices reading, enlarges her repertoire and has a wider choice for her exam programme

Witchend Thu 19-Jan-17 18:19:09

I would say too late for this term by my dc's experience.
They'd have been playing through the pieces alongside other things since last term at that stage.

I'd also say it is much better for them to go into grade 1 and get a high merit and feel really proud than rush the previous term and scrape through/fail.
My teacher put me into grade 2 violin after 4 terms. My parents hadn't a clue, and I didn't mind at all. I passed with around 106. However looking back I'd have been better doing grade 1 and getting a really good score, and feeling that I really did well at exams rather than just passing.

Ferguson Thu 19-Jan-17 19:39:48

And she doesn't HAVE to play the Grade pieces every day. In fact she may get fed up and stale if she repeats them too often. Relax with some lighter pieces for a while, then perfect and polish off the exam pieces nearer the date.

onlymusic Thu 19-Jan-17 21:56:14

Violin parent of 9yo here.... grin
I didn't quite get what her scales and arpeggios are? Good, not so good?
Assuming they are more or less ready and she is prepared to put her time into daily practice (30 mins minimum) I would go for exam, esp you said she played through the pieces (they just need choosing and polishing, right?)
Same situation here, one piece is done, second is almost done, third is not even started (higher grade though). I decided to give it go, though it is even more at stake, we can ruin our record of high marks hmm

onlymusic Thu 19-Jan-17 21:57:56

Saying that I would of course make the teacher to enroll her for exam, would not go for the confrontation

onlymusic Thu 19-Jan-17 22:05:34

Yes, and like the idea doing grade 2 instead but later, but some teachers are just not happy to do it, I suggested to skip a grade to ours, he was not not happy to do it, though he has his point, mine is very unstable during the lessons, she managed to pull through the exams so far, but every time she has an exam it is like-will she?? or will she not? sad

hairygodmother Thu 19-Jan-17 23:20:17

Thanks again for your wise and measured responses. Teacher has said that she will keep things moving in her lessons but that she'll be much better prepared for it next term and of course, really, I know that she's right. Clearly would be nice to get a 'high merit' but, hell, lets aim for a distinction grin I think best to go for an exam when she's secure because the poor child is not me and I shouldn't expect her to be. Maybe we can skip a grade later when she's more confident, but I hope that the boost of a good mark (I hope!) will give her more confidence in her ability now. We came late to instrumental playing because she started singing when younger, so we're catching up.

Good luck to all of our kids, may their potential and talent always shine wink

violinandpiano Fri 20-Jan-17 10:59:08

My DD did violin grade 3 a year ago. The teacher kept teaching new pieces not only exam pieces until the last two weeks. When she did the exam, she was about grade 4 level. So she was very confident with grade 3 exam.

onlymusic Fri 20-Jan-17 21:50:54

I am sure you made the best choice for your dd, hairygodmother. Perhaps teacher also has her own considerations. Good luck anyway!
(and I just discovered that we have only 1.5 pieces done and not two as I thought...)

1805 Sat 21-Jan-17 13:20:45

as a teacher, when the timings don't match up with exam sessions, it is easy to delay the lower grade exam, and move on to harder material, then re visit the lower grade stuff closer to the next exam session.
Maybe this is what your teacher is thinking of doing too. It's quite common.
Good luck!

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