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Help! Violin scales not improving - exam in 2 weeks!

(5 Posts)
MomOfTwoGirls2 Mon 17-Apr-17 23:42:22

DD2 is Suzuki kid (early book 5). Will do first violin exam in 2 weeks time - Royal Irish Academy Grade 5. I think it's similar to ABRSM Grade 4. She did plenty of 2 octave scales in 1st position last 2 years, but this is big jump.
She has 2 * 3 octave scales (G major/minor & arpeggios), 4 * 2 octave scales & arpeggios (Eb M, Ab M, C# m, E m - all requiring shifting), 2 * 2 octave chromatic & dominant 7th and 2 * 1 octave Diminished .7th.
There is a variety of bowing. Mostly 8 bow slurs, with some 4 note slurs and separate bows for Diminshed 7ths.

We are using scale helper app on my iPhone to track accuracy.
She is practicing 5 scales per day, 5 days per week.
However, she will play each scale 3 times, and that's it!! Won't analyse where problems are and work to improve.
She is focusing on finger pattern, when to shift and bowing.

Problem is that she is doing less well than she did a month ago. (She was using separate bows until then).

She keeps telling me how much she hates scales. We have started to practice scales separately to her pieces. It is not unusual for her to be in tears by end of scales practice. Due to frustration? I think.

Exam is 2 weeks tomorrow.
Does anybody have any tips on how to get back on track???

se22mother Tue 18-Apr-17 06:27:25

No advice really, but if you pop over to the music thread I'm sure someone will be able to help.

Dd got into a panic over her grade 3 scales. Similar tears, meltdowns and refusal to correct mistakes. She got a good pass despite the scales.

Dd started as Suzuki as well.

Ferguson Tue 18-Apr-17 19:21:14

I've looked at the Irish web site for Strings examination, but can't get it to download information (possibly because we use Linux.)

If you know what proportion of marks are for Scales, and if it's not too many, concentrate on getting the Pieces as good as possible - concentrating on style, mood of piece, and a sympathetic interpretation - and try not to worry TOO much about scales.

MomOfTwoGirls2 Wed 19-Apr-17 20:15:33

Thanks Ferguson. That's good advise and helps put it back in perspective. I also think your advise will will help DD2 feel more in control. Thankfully pieces are in fairly good shape, but still room for improvement!

The exam is structured as follows: 15% for scales, 20% for each of 2 pieces and the technical study, remaining 25% for sight reading & aural.
She should pass, but will be disappointed if she doesn't get a good merit.
First exam will be a learning experience!!

Ferguson Thu 20-Apr-17 20:54:51

Obviously, accuracy of notes and timing are of great importance, but I think examiners look for something EXTRA in the musicality and approach to playing.

In Sight Reading I always advise people to NOT think too much about the names of notes, but go straight to it on the instrument.


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