Could anyone suggest something for DD1 to play for her GCSE music duet? She is looking for a grade 5 or above piano duet OR piano accompaniment to a vocal piece. Her solo piece is a Grade 7 Jazz piece so she would like something with dynamics, legato, articulation etc as a contrast. She has until January to learn it but is sitting her G7 in November.
My DD1 is using the Language of Song book for her vocal and she says that the pieces from there have good piano accompaniment parts. As long as the vocalist doesn't mind singing in another language then that might work.
Has the standard changed with the new GCSes though, with regard to your comments of extra marks past Grade 5? DS1 did his in 2014, and there were no extra marks after around Grade 5 standard. He got full marks playing a Grade 5 piece. I'm interested as DS2 is just starting his GCSE.
DS2 is doing Edexcel too. I think it's still the same, Grade 5 and above is 'more difficult' so carries the same potential marks. Just thinking about your time scales and other commitments there's no point in making life too hard, if a Grade 5 piece played well gives the same marks as a Grade 6 or 7 piece played well
When DS did his GCSE music school wanted him to aim high where I would have had him play a grade five piece and knock it out of the ball park. This is the extract from the assessment criteria for Edexcel, it is still the case that you don't get any more marks for difficulty beyond grade five.
GCSE Performance The standard level of difficulty at GCSE is Grade 4, so the difficulty levels are: ● up to 3 – less difficult ● Grade 4 – standard ● Grade 5 and above – more difficult. Students are required to submit one solo and one ensemble performance, made up of a minimum of one piece each. Each of these performances must be longer than one minute. In addition, the total performance time across both pieces must be a minimum of four minutes. The difficulty levels of the solo and ensemble performances are assessed separately.
I'm not teaching Edexcel so cannot comment on exactly what they require in their new spec. However, the board I teach has given a great deal of guidance on the ensemble and in this board, a solo performance is no longer a necessity whereas ensembles most definitely are.
Pianists do not need to play duets; they could accompany a singer or instrumentalist. They need to demonstrate genuine interaction between the parts to gain top marks, so for example just playing an "oom-cha-cha" accompaniment would not give them top marks for difficulty, nor would it demonstrate any interaction.
The posters above who suggest playing a grade 5 piece when in reality their kids are capable of more are spot on. In that situation, the student should be able to put in every performance detail on the page, something the new specifications are keen on. You may also want to double-check the specification online, in particular the mark scheme and any guidance on the ensemble performance.
I'm just back from parents' evening and was talking to DS2's music teacher. He said that you do get some credit for a higher Grade piece, eg if you got 26 out of 30 for a Grade 8 piece it would be scaled up accordingly. But there are no extra marks available.
Thirding the Grieg Norwegian dance. Or the Coming of the Queen of Sheba, which I did for GCSE back in the day and is about g5. I'd definitely go with something at g5 played really well, over g7 played adequately - as there are no extra marks. Why create more work?