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May Music Thread

(785 Posts)
Wafflenose Mon 01-May-17 15:59:14

Hello, and welcome to the May thread. It's a public holiday in the UK, but my school is open and I had to work today, which is why I've only just got round to it! This is a place for parents of musicians of ALL levels, and adult learners, to chat about lessons, practice, scales, concerts, exams, and whatever else they'd like to! We have lots of regulars, some occasional posters, and sometimes people who just pop in to ask a question. It's a friendly place.

I have two daughters. Goo is 11 and in her last term at primary school. She's working towards her Grade 8 Flute (some time next year) and playing from the Grade 4 Piano book (currently refusing to take any exams, and putting off the first proper performance!). Rara is 8, may or may not be doing Grade 3 Cello this term, and is approaching Grade 2 Clarinet.

Both of them played the recorder for years, starting as preschoolers. They reached Grades 7 and 3 respectively, but sadly neither has really played since the music festival a few months ago. They are obsessed with their Flute and Clarinet, and really enjoy Piano and Cello. There won't be many opportunities to play the recorder at the secondary school they will attend, so much as I love it, it's probably a good time to quietly drop it. Recorder has given them both lots of opportunities, confidence, reading skills... and festival prizes!

Goo does NCO and South West Music School. Rara isn't that level at all when it comes to music, but is gifted with her hands. Instead of practising the cello and doing her school spellings today, she completed a lovely sewing kit without bothering to look at the instructions, and also made a lovely crafty construction from card and coloured paper. Both girls are keen on drawing and playing computer games. Rara swims and Goo plays sodding netball and dodgeball, which have both been responsible for multiple injuries over the past few months!

raspberryrippleicecream Mon 01-May-17 16:58:38

Thanks for starting us off again Waffle. We've had a lovely May Day. Beautiful weather, DS2 played a set with his Jazz ensemble and there were other lovely groups to listen to.

I have DD Y12 who plays alto and Bari sax, and has just started clarinet after padding Grade 8 last year. Also DS1 who is in first year at uni, but plays brass in lots of uni bands.

DS 2 plays piano (working towards Grade 8), clarinet and trombone around Grade 7 (no exams on these) and sings in our Cathedral in Youth Choir and as a Junior Choral Scholar. He began organ lessons in January and seems to be progressing well. It means lots of time spent in empty churches and organ lofts chaperoning practice!

LooseAtTheSeams Mon 01-May-17 17:45:40

Thanks so much for the new thread Waffle
I have DS1 (15) who is doing grade 8 electric bass this term. He also learns tuned percussion (grade 6) and drumkit (similar) but is refusing to do any other exams until his bass one is out of the way. He is also doing GCSE music at school and oh! the agonising over the performance pieces! He plays in a drum corps and a concert band with the borough music service.
DS2 (12) is in Y7, plays cello and piano and is in the music service's concert orchestra. Their highlight is on May 8 when all the borough groups play at the Albert Hall!
I am an adult learner of piano, just starting on the grade 5 book. I never intended originally to take any exams - it just shows how influential these threads can be!

Fleurdelise Mon 01-May-17 18:47:51

New thread, yaaay! Thank you Waffle!

Quick introduction: I have DS15 who is doing his GCSEs in two weeks time, he's academic with no interest in music other than listening to it.

I am on this thread due to DD who is turning out quite musical if I can say so, she's taking grade 5 piano and grade 3 clarinet this term. I've joined this thread for a bit of support slightly over 2 years ago when she was doing grade 1 and here I am still nervous having two exams in sight (probably on the same day) but if somebody would have told me two years ago that she will add another instrument and she'll progress quite quick to grade 5 piano two years later and clarinet grade 3 a year after first picking it up I would have laughed.

Trumpetboysmum Mon 01-May-17 20:34:37

Thanks for the new thread Waffle. I have a ds in year 7 who plays the trumpet. He's also in the under 12s NCO as well as playing in numerous county and school bands and orchestras. He's taking grade 7 this term on his trumpet ( I think!!) he also started to play piano just under a year ago and loves this and apparently is starting singing lessons at school. I'm also mum to a dd age 9 who also plays piano but mostly loves to sing

LooseAtTheSeams Mon 01-May-17 21:37:56

Good luck to your DS, Fleur! We have that to look forward to (not sure that's the right phrase!) next year!
I remember when you first started posting about your DD and being so impressed with how much she practised. It's no surprise she's doing so well!
DS2 has been fairly diligent with piano practice recently so should be ok for grade 4 in July if he keeps this up...

Fleurdelise Mon 01-May-17 22:33:44

Thank you Loose the only thing I can say is that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have a mantra stating "the sooner the exams begin the sooner they are over".

Yes dd does do her practice, I guess she takes after her dad being very conscientious, once she starts something she tends to stick to it and doesn't like not being on her teacher's good side. She is doing a lot currently bless her but I have to say even though I didn't think the exams were achievable this term I realised tonight that this time it is actually the least stressful experience, in the past she had her pieces completely ready and polished by the exam entry date and it felt like there's no progression while waiting for the date, she was starting to make new mistakes, while now I feel like, while the pieces are pretty good, there is still work to do, not massive to worry me but enough to not feel like we're wasting time on just three pieces. Not sure if that makes sense.

Kutik73 Tue 02-May-17 06:15:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Kutik73 Tue 02-May-17 06:30:48

Fluer, just read your last post! I understand your feeling. But all I can say is I truly think your DD will be fine. She is a quick learner, naturally musical and what's more, HARD WORKING. The last one is probably the most important, and she ticks the box. And, she has an amazingly supportive mum! wink

troutsprout Tue 02-May-17 07:33:23

I have Dd ( yr9) who is sitting her gcse music exam in a few weeks shock. She seems to have taken it in her stride and really enjoyed the course.. particularly the composition element.
She plays clarinet, piano and guitar and has just started enjoying uke and drums too
She's had a great time recently with her music .. it has informed , enhanced and helped her with so many other areas of her life.
I am not musical at all so ( so can't help her) but I am in awe at her skills and really really estatic that she has this passion. 😊

LooseAtTheSeams Tue 02-May-17 07:48:01

Trout I'd definitely echo that - I'm convinced doing music has made DS1 a much happier teenager than he might have been! Or just too busy to get into much he certainly seems to be enjoying the gcse music anyway.

se22mother Tue 02-May-17 07:59:14

Thanks * waffle* for the new thread. I have dd 8 who plays violin (G4 early autumn) and clarinet (will probably take g2 in the same session. These threads are an endless source of advice for the non musical parent

Greenleave Tue 02-May-17 09:06:40

Thanks Waffle for a new thread. I have a 9 yrs old who plays violin and piano. We have been lost for some times with violin as we couldnt find one fitting in with our circumstances for the last 9 months or so. Things seem to be slightly better with a new teacher now although we expect it will take her sometime to adapt the new bowing style, requirement. Piano is ok, we have been learning various different pieces, technique non-exam related the last 5 months. To me, who doesnt know music at all then exam is a great track for me to know where she is. There is a new passion for chess where she has been enjoying some successes recently with tournaments, competition, although we might not be able to fully support her as I feel she is too busy and young to take another activity seriously. Music is now still our priority among all others.

ealingwestmum Tue 02-May-17 09:20:04

Thanks waffle. Have a DD in Y8, fast approaching 14. Violin, piano and voice, participating in many school orchestras and ensembles involving violin.

Came home last week from first visit to careers department, stating she may consider a music college for HE. I am ashamed to say DH and I were a little dumb struck and and noncommittal on feedback, stating she had plenty of time to consider.

I genuinely would support her if I felt this was where her real passion was. She's a very competent musician but she does not have the love and dedication that lots of children on this thread have, but is in a slight panic as her peers appear to be more decisive on what they wish to do.

The downsides of a good all rounder I guess, and reality of them trying to find their thing...

LooseAtTheSeams Tue 02-May-17 12:45:10

Ealing it's a massive dilemma for the all rounder! it's so hard for them to know for sure in Y8 or even Y9. DS1 (Y10) has considered various careers (just in case rock stardom doesn't happen) but they have been rather varied. If you go with his strengths it would be computer science or graphic design. But that would be too simple!
DS2 (Y7) has so far come up with working with robots or 'something to do with music'!

ealingwestmum Tue 02-May-17 14:08:31

Thanks so much for the reassurance loose, I am sure there are many prospect career iterations to come in the next few years! My strategy is to continue to nod and listen for now grin

MissyMew123 Tue 02-May-17 14:34:23

Just wanted to join in this month (always follow) as DD 10 is doing two grade 2 exams next month and I think I might need a bit of hand holding to get through! Grade 2 Piano is the worry as I am not sure she is ready but must have faith in teacher. Drums on the other hand are the other way (too confident) and a bit bored doing the same stuff over and over. Anyone else find grade two quite a step up from grade 1 in piano or is it just me?

Trumpetboysmum Tue 02-May-17 16:15:11

Waffle you know how you were saying that dodgeball and playing instruments didn't go well together ... currently in accident and emergency with ds who's hurt his arm at school playing dodgeball !! Maybe he won't be doing grade 7 this term after all !! I hate to limit his extra curricular activities because he's good at 1 thing , but it's so difficult ( his other favourite sports are cricket and hockeygrin) at least it's not rugby I suppose

raspberryrippleicecream Tue 02-May-17 16:33:06

Oh no Trumpet. Maybe it won't be too bad!

Trumpetboysmum Tue 02-May-17 16:52:51

Thank you raspberry hopefully it's just bruised

irvineoneohone Tue 02-May-17 16:57:06

Hi, thank you for such a friendly and helpful thread as always.

Ds had a first lesson after he got results for grade 1 piano. The teacher suggested to get grade 2 piano book. Is this normal to work on next level so soon?
I was thinking that we can forget about exam for a while...
I have no music knowledge, so I should really go with her suggestion, but I really wanted to forget about exam for a while.

Fleurdelise Tue 02-May-17 17:12:55

Oh no Trumpet! Hope it is just a bruise.

Welcome MissyMew dd didn't do grade 2, jumped to grade 3 piano but covered the scales and pieces and yes the scales are a jump as hands together rather than separate but do trust your teacher, I'm sure she wouldn't enter your dd if she wasn't ready. Hand holding here.

irvine it depends what your DS and you want. Personally no, I don't like jumping from 3 exam pieces to another 3 exam pieces as the exam syllabus is not a teaching syllabus, Dd does a lot of other repertoire between exams, only when she has played other pieces at that level her teacher is introducing the exam pieces. The scales however are always introduced after the exam, so once done with grade 1 the next lesson she started on grade 2 scales, when those were learnt grade 3 and so on.

Saying that there are kids who are highly motivated by exams and that is the only way they they learn/practice, knowing they will do the next grade up. But if the plan is to take a grade a year I personally wouldn't like dd to spend a whole year learning 3 pieces.

Wafflenose Tue 02-May-17 17:14:19

Welcome, MissyMew!

OMG Trumpet, I hope he's OK! Goo had a suspected broken wrist in October, after stumbling backwards and falling over the ball at Dodgeball club! She wasn't broken in the end, but out of action for a few weeks.

Irvine many teachers (myself included) would consider that bad practice, UNLESS the child was clearly way beyond the other grade, which might well be the case for your son. I'd get him some sneaky Disney or something to play alongside it!

Rara has just had a mini assessment of all the horrible bits (her worst piece, the D melodic minor and chromatic scales) and her very picky/ perfectionistic teacher has deemed her ready for Grade 3 this term, yay! I didn't mind whether she did it or not, but Rara wanted to, after not being allowed to take Grade 2 this time last year. I was worried it would be at my workplace in 5 weeks' time, but teacher has said we can go to a different school much later in the session. Excellent!

Wafflenose Tue 02-May-17 17:20:45

I should have said, this is for cello. She is collecting Grade 3s! She did Grade 3 recorder in December, has cello this July, and clarinet some time next year - she knows she needs to concentrate on the cello for a bit, will have gone way past Grade 2 Clarinet by Christmas, and has decided to miss it out.

Sittinginthesun Tue 02-May-17 17:25:19

Hello, I'm going to jump in and join

My eldest plays the piano beautifully to about Grade 4, but is refusing to do another exam for now, after his voice broke during his Grade 3 (he still did well, just fluffed the aural).

DS2 (aged 10) is actually more musical. He's playing from the Grade 3 book, but also not wanting to do exams at the moment. He actually prefers jazz piano.

He also plays the double bass - he's been playing for just less than a year, and is somewhere between grade 2/3 level.

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