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June Music Thread

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Fleurdelise Thu 01-Jun-17 08:00:13

Hello all and welcome to the June thread! Waffle did me the honours of asking me to initiate this thread as she has no access to Internet while on holiday.

This thread was first initiated by Waffle when Goo was 6 and now she's 11. It is a thread for all the musicians, big and small, to share their love (and frustrations grin) during the long path of learning an instrument. I first joined when dd was 7 and in the process of preparing for grade 1 piano for moral support. If you read the ending of the May thread you'll realise I am still a nervous reck smile here we are now, two years later, Dd is 9 and preparing for grade 5 piano and grade 3 clarinet, the exams are in exactly 13 days. I also have DS 15 who is in the middle of his GCSEs at the moment, he has no musical interest.

As I couldn't leave Waffle without an introduction, below is a quote from the May thread. The only correction is that I believe Rara has now turned 9. smile

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!

Fleurdelise Thu 01-Jun-17 08:03:55

Kutik I heard a story of a pianist also drawing his own keyboard on a piece of cardboard and practising without a piano.

Trumpet good luck house hunting, I hope you find what you are after, it is exciting but also a bit of a nightmare looking to move.

raspberryrippleicecream Thu 01-Jun-17 08:19:23

CongratulationsFleur and thank you!

I have DS2, 14, piano G7, trombone G7, clarinet G6-7. Organ - absolutely no idea re grades as have no comparison. It's bliss. He's also a member of the Cathedral choir.

He and DD play in lots of groups in and out of school.

DD is 17 and plays sax (G8) and piano around G4.

I also have DS1 who is still enjoying playing brass in uni music groups.

Fleurdelise Thu 01-Jun-17 08:26:37

Raspberry I've just seen your last post on the May thread. I have to say end of June sounds like bliss to me at the moment, I thought I'd still have the stress of dd's exams but now I know that once 16th of June is out of the way I'll be in a state of total relaxation and planning my summer holiday. Ohhh, I am melting only at the thought of it...

Icouldbeknitting Thu 01-Jun-17 08:29:18

Raspberry I think of you every time I see a church organ. DS was playing in a cube of a unitarian chapel build in 1830 something. It could have easily doubled as a barn but for the organ that filled half of the back wall.

DS is 17, plays in two brass bands and assorted wind bands. The war about lack of practise is now fifteen months from the finish because by then he'll be off and I won't be able to see how much he doesn't do.

LooseAtTheSeams Thu 01-Jun-17 08:43:03

Thanks for the new thread Waffle and Fleur. smile
We have 2 exams on the horizon this term, hopefully not until July. DS1 (15) is doing grade 8 electric bass and DS2 (12) will take grade 4 piano. DS1 could have done grade 6 tuned percussion this term but refuses to do 2 exams in the same term! He isn't doing exams in drum kit at the moment but learning lots of complicated technique.
DS2 is working on grade 5 pieces for cello but in denial about the scales because they are hard! We aren't rushing to take the exam...

Trumpetboysmum Thu 01-Jun-17 09:19:45

Thanks for the new thread fleur . I am mum to ds 1 who's 12and will be taking grade 7 trumpet sometime at the end of the month ( writing that makes it seem far too soon😆) . I'm not sure about the wisdom of doing his grade so soon , but he's working hard so fingers crossed it will be ok. He also plays piano and enjoys composition and he's recently been accepted to join the Aldeburgh Young Musicians scheme from September. Dd is 9 plays a bit of piano and loves singing and is currently busy rehearsing for a production of Gypsy which will have a run in a local theatre also at the end of June- so I am especially looking forward to the summer holidays !!

Doubleup Thu 01-Jun-17 09:45:12

I have DD1 (14) who has started working towards G7 on the oboe and should be taking G6 sax next term. Plays in lots of ensembles at school and at the local music centre.

DD2 (10) is due to do G7 bassoon (Trinity) at the end of June, but before that is doing G5 theory. All a bit much at the moment.... She plays in various ensembles at the music centre and is in NCO U11 and the NCO regional orchestra.

drummersmum Thu 01-Jun-17 11:26:07

Good to take stock again of everyone's DC and instruments. DS (15) has locked himself in his room to revise for end of year 10 exams. Got his g8 in drums in autumn, g8 in snare, timpani and marimba in spring and is now preparing g8 in piano for summer exam. He likes composing and is mad about jazz, funk and classical at the moment. Everything else he used to like years ago (indy, punk, etc) is now deemed as uninteresting and not musically complex enough... basically, any music that makes money grin

se22mother Thu 01-Jun-17 11:51:08

Thanks for the new thread fleur. I have dd,8, who plays violin and clarinet. Fortunately we have no practical exams this term, although there are a couple of non music exams, and g1 theory looming. We have done no practice this half term so far blush. A few days away with family, followed by a later than expected return to London last night. We will be dusting off the instruments tonight

ealingwestmum Thu 01-Jun-17 13:22:39

Thanks Fleur for new thread in lieu of hopefully waffle now well settled into her holiday (in spite of that cold)!

DD here 13 (Y8), playing violin, piano and sings. G7 piano in Autumn, god knows when violin G8 will be sat (no violin exams since Y5 G6), but still not stressing about when as she's pretty occupied with some meaty pieces that's developing her play nicely.

Taken to piano more recently (without being asked). Must be her penchant for pop song mash ups as she calls, her warm up. Trying also to muscle her way into more jazz/latin ensembles at school with the violin, in addition to any bit percussion part she can get given to be included, masterfully taught by the school's most talented percussionist grin

drummersmum Thu 01-Jun-17 14:17:15

Lucky him to have her grin

stringchild Thu 01-Jun-17 14:32:40

Thank you Fleur and Waffle smile

DD is yr 6, taking cello grade 8 in less than 3 weeks.....far far too soon! Hasn't done an exam since g5 so aural is going to be a very big shock to the system.

Mistigri Thu 01-Jun-17 16:54:50

Lovely intro fleur.

I am a rather occasional poster due to work and moving house but will try to do better. I have one musician, DD who just turned 16 and plays guitar, bass, piano and sax, writes/ records her own material, and sings. She was a late-comer to piano and just did her first ever "proper" exam, for the end of the French conservatoire "second cycle" which is usually taken after 6-8 years of study and is roughly equivalent to grade 8. She passed so she goes into the third cycle (diploma) class next year.

No other exams but we have our guitar school show on Saturday - I am playing (badly) in an adult group, DD with the jazz ensemble. She will also provide vocals for some of the groups.

My DS14 has got into (rock) music in the last few months but no signs of wanting to play an instrument! He rides bikes (also an expensive hobby) and plays table tennis (mercifully cheap).

drummersmum Thu 01-Jun-17 16:58:20

misti we're all hugely into table tennis here smile

AlexandraLeaving Thu 01-Jun-17 18:37:22

Thanks for the new thread fleur and waffle. Good luck to all those with exams this term. We are (thankfully) exam-free this term but plenty of other stressors to fill the gap.

The Boy is still 13 and still playing clarinet (approaching g8), saxophone (solidly g7, exam next term) and piano (g6ish, and never ever doing another exam!). He's done a bit of song-writing (some more successful than others) and hasn't yet given up hope of a career as a pop star (tho more realistic options of music/maths teacher are beginning to kick in as fallbacks). He's spent the day rehearsing with the music service jazz orchestra and has another day with the main orchestra tomorrow, Sat & (another orch) Sun so is struggling between "I love it" and "I'm so hard done by having to work at half term". Next week we start our four-week trial with new piano teacher. Fingers crossed that goes well....

Fleurdelise Thu 01-Jun-17 19:49:09

Can some clarinetists (their parents) confirm if when playing the scales in an exam does the examiner request either slurred or tongued or does dd have to offer both? So when they say D minor does she play it twice one tongued once slurred?

stringchild Thu 01-Jun-17 19:53:37

Hi Fleur they will say one or the other for each scales they want

Fleurdelise Thu 01-Jun-17 20:26:54

Perfect, dd couldn't remember them asking. I was trying to find some scales for grade 3 clarinet on YouTube but I wasn't successful, if anybody has any links to share I'd appreciate it. We only have one lesson left 2 days before exam so I'd rather find out now how exactly they should sound. The breathing points worry me, there's a tiny tiny gap in the 2 octaves scales where the takes a breath.

We had a great practice tonight both piano and clarinet, on piano sight reading was great, in rhythm with no corrections (couple of mistakes), two pieces sounding pretty good and the third pulled to pieces into four chunks that sound pretty good separately so we've decided we'll keep it that way and then add them together in a couple of days. Not all in one go, connect them one by one over the next week.

On clarinet all pieces seem fine but there are a few squeaks that we need fixing.

Feeling positive today! smile

Fleurdelise Thu 01-Jun-17 20:27:51

As in perfect, thank you string! 🙂

Fleurdelise Thu 01-Jun-17 20:34:58

Just found them on YouTube (the scales) I know now what the problem is, she plays them too fast therefore when she takes a breath it sounds like a gap. Phew! I'll play them to her tomorrow so she can hear how slow they are. I think she is in the mind set of grade 5 where the scales are faster.

I just realised I said I pulled a piece to pieces in the post above. grin I meant divided it into manageable chunks and also taken Misti's advice and started with the end. Now the end of the piece sounds so much better, thank you! smile.

Found this useful also so I thought I'd share for those nervous exam takers.

foundoutyet Thu 01-Jun-17 20:35:48

Yes, dd struggles a bit with breathing and slurred scales (recorder) if more than just one octave...

Mistigri Thu 01-Jun-17 20:55:15

Fleur the way we do it is to start with the end (usually the last 4 lines or so- whatever makes sense musically) then add a few bars on the front each time and play through to the end. With a longer piece (DD's tend to be around the 5-7 minute mark now) once she has worked backwards to the middle she doesn't necessarily play all the way through to the end, but she does link sections so that she develops fluency.

It's good to develop practice techniques now before the pieces get much longer, because unless you can devote hours to practice (DD is lucky if she has 15 minutes on a school night) then making the best use of practice time is important.

Once we have moved she will gain 2.5 hours (!) a day in travel time to school, so practice will be easier to fit in.... in theory!

Fleurdelise Thu 01-Jun-17 21:20:23

Thank you Misti we've broken it into 4 (because it was in halves before) but while she could play it all correctly from a note point of view, she couldn't add dynamics and keep the tempo to all of it. So first half sounded acceptable but still needed more dynamics while second part was much slower and had no dynamics whatsoever.

So now she starts on the second part which has also been broken into two chunks, she plays the first chunk with the goal of adding dynamics and speed it up. Once she spends a reasonable amount of time and we are both happy she's actually achieved something we move on to the next chunk with the same goal in mind. Until all four parts had their fair practice.

It seems to work but yes I can see that with longer pieces you add to it bars rather than chunking it. She did this with a piece for grade 3 before as she wasn't getting anywhere improving it and she did improve it massively.

Fleurdelise Thu 01-Jun-17 21:22:14

And yes to practice time, sounds great for your dd gaining so much time. Dd does around an hour and a half currently due to exams(30 min on clarinet and an hour on piano) but if she practises more efficiently I can see her finishing quicker.

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