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January Music Thread

(635 Posts)
Wafflenose Mon 01-Jan-18 00:21:04

Happy New Year!

This is the new thread for our continuing (6 year old) conversation about all things to do with music - lessons, exams, auditions, theory, scales, practice and whatever else you want to talk about.

I am Waffle, teacher of woodwind, amateur composer, and unpaid consultant watching and commenting on all sorts of woodwind videos that people send my way! I am mum to Goo 12, and Rara 9, who both play instruments, do South West Music School and NCO. Goo plays flute and piano, and has Grade 8 and Grade 5 pending for some time this year. Rara plays cello and clarinet - working within Grade 4 for both, but hasn't taken a clarinet exam since Grade 1, and wants to do Grade 3 this coming term. She's way behind with Theory, so it's theory boot camp again this week. We start back to school late (Jan 8th) so that's good.

raspberryrippleicecream Mon 01-Jan-18 00:38:03

Happy New Year

I have DS2 15, heading towards Grade 8 piano and Grade 5 organ before summer. He also plays trombone around Grade 7-8 with no exams and has just started euphonium. Plays at school, in various Music service ensembles and will be heading to NYO inspire in February.

DD is 17, playing saxes, and plays in various ensembles. Main focus is Uni applications, A levels and driving test at the moment.

I also have DS1, brass player almost 20, studying Physics at uni but also hugely involved in the student music society.

Minimusiciansmama Mon 01-Jan-18 01:36:29

Happy new year! ginwinefsmile

I'm mama to a little one who plays clarinet and piano. She's working towards G5 clarinet and has just taken G3 piano. She's v excited to be in regionals for NCO this year but already looking forward to this year auditioning again to try for nationals, sigh! This year she's hoping to start bassoon and we are excited for lots of new adventures!

Trumpetboysmum Mon 01-Jan-18 07:43:00

Happy New Year all . I'm mum to ds 12 ( nearly a teenager now shock) and dd 10. Dd has 2 maybe 3 ( I hope not) music exams possibly this term grade 1 for both piano and cornet and maybe grade 3 in performance. Ds is excited to be in the NCO again this year ( under 13's) studies with AYM at Snape Maltings and is about grade 8 trumpet now although no plans to take the exam in 2018 ( I think) . He also plays piano and I have plans that he will take grade 5 theory this year !! I enjoy singing and as we start a new year I am promising myself that I will make more time for music making this year as well as being ds's PA and taxi service!!

WindMum Mon 01-Jan-18 08:13:22

Mum to DD age 11 taking grade 6 piano, grade 6 clarinet, grade 6 theory (yes continuing after grade 5) and grade 3 (and more than likely grade 5 too) singing this year. She's in NCO for her 3rd year this year (u11s) on clarinet and looking forward to starting back with regionals soon.

This term concentrating on Festival participation - 4 woodwind classes (7 pieces all grade 6-7 standard) and 6 piano classes (8 pieces from grade 1-7 standard, age class is a grade 1 piece, including a full concerto) great for developing performance skills and getting feedback from ABRSM examiner who is the adjudicator! Also scholarship entrance exams and assessment tests this month.

Lots of practice going on over the holidays!

Mistigri Mon 01-Jan-18 08:18:57

I am still reading the thread regularly even though I don't post much smile

I have DD16 who plays piano and guitar, but she is in the French equivalent of Y13 and mocks/ university applications are eating into music time this year. She is in the third cycle of the French conservatoire system (equiv. diploma) but has no formal exams planned. Concert coming up in Feb at which she will play the Fantaisie Impromptu and will also accompany some of the younger string players.

DS14 plays electric guitar rather well but I doubt he will ever take exams. Takes lessons with a local jazz professional. He has also started teaching himself piano, and I'm toying with the idea of getting him some private lessons as I think he has potential to be quite good (he can only play two pieces but they are both about grade 6 standard).

stringchild Mon 01-Jan-18 08:29:45

Dd is a year 7 music scholar, choirester, and torn between music and science! In the NCO for 5th year (clarinet); in love with her cello post grade 8 - so much more relaxed and excited by her learning now doesn’t need to think about grade exams

Trumpetboysmum Mon 01-Jan-18 08:42:25

String that's exactly why ds isn't taking grade 8 ( though I'm sure he will at some point) he's so motivated by practice when it's all about playing interesting exciting music and getter better to be able to play it- without the pressure of exams

stringchild Mon 01-Jan-18 09:01:13

Trumpet - i wish i had known what a positive difference there would be; its like a weight off her shoulders and i would say her technique is really zooming on in a way it hadn't for a while.

Mendingfences Mon 01-Jan-18 09:06:07

Happy New year everyone!
I have 3 kids, dd1 is 12 and plays violin and piano, dd2 is 9 and plays flute and newly double bass, and ds is 7 and plays drums and piano. Both dd's are in a talent program but no grades for any of them.

Not sure what the year will bring. Dd1s teacher thinks she really need to join our JD equivalent but the system here means we need support (and payment) from the local music service type organisation, and that is proving challenging...... I need to try again and get answers but basically he wont give us a straight answer and his boss is even worse, when i pointed out he was making descisions without the facts she told me he har gathered all the facts before he made the descision and it was irrelevant that the 'facts' he had based his descision on were untrue the descision stands and will not be revisited confused
It's all a bit like trumps alternative facts..... luckily out neighbouring district has pretty much adopted the kids and put them in their regional talent program (different region)

RueDeWakening Mon 01-Jan-18 09:39:03

I've missed a few of these threads, we have 3 kids but only DD (10) plays an instrument at the moment, she got a merit in her grade 2 exam in the summer but changed teacher in September so last term was about playing for fun, showing what she could do etc. Which culminated in her playing a solo at the school carol service just before they broke up.

She's going back to grade 3 pieces this term, having convinced me to fork out for the separate book with the Hedwig's Theme music in which is an alternative piece on the syllabus - any views about picking the alternative pieces? Do they come as a blessed relief to the examiners grin or are they a risky option?

Icouldbeknitting Mon 01-Jan-18 09:46:16

I have a 17 year old brass player, the main priorities here at the moment are driving lessons and A levels. Christmas is a busy time for brass bands, unless you live in a tourist area where the summer is busier then it's the time when they make the money that they need to cover their costs for the year ahead. The two weeks holiday between the last Christmas job and the start of rehearsals is lovely.

He still has an audition outstanding, I expect to be hearing more of his pieces once he has the date.

Trumpetboysmum Mon 01-Jan-18 10:13:50

Good luck with the audition Icould. Ds should probably join a brass band at some point ( I know of one with lots of young players which would be good) it's just fitting it in ....

Wafflenose Mon 01-Jan-18 10:44:27

Rue definitely a blessed relief!!! Having said that, I do know of several children who have picked that piece... it's a favourite!

TaggieOHara Mon 01-Jan-18 11:13:45

Happy New Year everyone!

I am mum to two DS's: DS1 (12) plays the piano to grade 6 standard, but we have decided not to do any exams for the moment. He has a huge amount on at school, and he just wants to play for pleasure.

DS2 (9) plays the violin and piano. He is also a chorister. He is preparing for his grade 2 piano. He hasn't done any violin exams yet, but will probably do grade 7 in the summer term - Trinity because of lack of grade 5 theory. We are thrilled that he got into the NCO regionals this year.

I spend a lot of time worrying that I am teaching him wrong (I teach him the violin myself, despite not being a professional teacher) and that he doesn't have enough time to practise because of his chorister commitments. <just summarising all my future posts on this thread smile>

WindMum Mon 01-Jan-18 11:21:29

Rue - I'd say the alternative pieces are just the same as the pieces in the exam collection book - but obviously cheaper in a collection!!! The pieces are examined on their own merit against the marking criteria in the syllabus so I don't believe there is a safe or risky option and it should be down to what your DC enjoys playing (i.e. practising!) and which pieces suit them physically. We've had to avoid some pieces because DDs hands were too small to manage the piano chords/stretches when she was younger.

Kutik73 Mon 01-Jan-18 11:27:14

Happy New Year, everyone! A big thank you to Waffle for keeping this thread going (6 years)!

DS (10) plays piano and violin. He also loves making up his own tunes. He keeps a recorder by his bedside as tunes often come up night time. He sometimes writes them down next day, but usually just leave them on the recorder. I'm saving them just in case - it could be an idea bank once he starts formal study in composition.

DS is the same as some of DCs here who doesn't particularly get motivated by exams. So no exam for his first study (violin). But he will probably take one for piano this term. Anyway he has already known some of the pieces in the current syllabus (performed a couple of them at concerts in the last two terms) so there won't be much emphasis on the preparation but it'll rather be just a passing point. He has taken three piano exams in the past and all of them were taken when he was a well above the standard, so no panic luckily!

Kutik73 Mon 01-Jan-18 11:49:56

Ah, but scales became devilish at G5 and DS did work hard on them prior to G5 exam. So probably scale boot camp may happen again at some point!

Trufflethewuffle Mon 01-Jan-18 15:11:09

Happy New Year everyone!

Busy term coming up with lots of performances and GCSE and A2 stuff. This term also brings a grade 8 clarinet for DD and grade 8 sax for DS2.

Great news just before Christmas - DS1 got offers from all the music colleges he applied for, and a scholarship offer from RAM which was his favourite so off he goes this autumn! He will be studying organ and has worked so hard, it is well deserved.

Trumpetboysmum Mon 01-Jan-18 16:09:21

Truffle that's fantastic news smile

folkmamma Mon 01-Jan-18 17:34:17

Happy New Year everyone!!

We have DD1 (Noo), 10yr old violinist and second study pianist. Associate member of NCO and will take G5 theory, G6 violin and G3 piano sometime this year. Also loves musical theatre and currently in her second season of professional panto.

DD2 (Moll) 7yrs old, plays cello and piano. Complex character and after a panic 'freeze' in her G1 piano exam before Christmas, am now wondering if exams are not going to be her thing...

Love these threads and keeping up with everyone's news 😊

Icouldbeknitting Mon 01-Jan-18 17:56:19

Congratulations for DS1 Truffle, it's lovely for them to be sorted so early in the process and it takes the pressure off them for A levels as they are not waiting on their results.

LooseAtTheSeams Mon 01-Jan-18 18:00:05

Thank you Waffle for the new thread!
I have DS1 (16) taking GCSEs this year but also trying to fit in marching band, concert band, percussion, drumkit and his favourite, bass guitar. He is working towards a music performance diploma.
DS2 (12) is working on grade 5 piano, cello and theory and may do the cello exam this term; otherwise it will be in May. He plays electric guitar for fun!
I'm also working on G5 piano but trying to avoid the exam for a bit longer!

Minimusiciansmama Mon 01-Jan-18 18:38:10

rue my girl enjoyed hedwigs theme at g2 piano and G3 clarinet! All of her last clarinet exam pieces came from the alternative material.

RueDeWakening Mon 01-Jan-18 18:50:23

Fab, thanks - I was a bit concerned that going off piste and offering a piece the examiner isn't as familiar with could cause problems. And @Minimusiciansmama yes, it's G3 clarinet she's working on! Glad it worked well for yours.

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