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August Music Thread

(443 Posts)
Wafflenose Wed 01-Aug-18 12:33:36

Welcome to the new music thread for August - a place to discuss anything you like to do with learning instruments/ singing. We have child and adult learners on here, and all standards from toddlers experimenting with music to the very advanced.

It's coming up to 7 years since I started the first thread, and I have been flagging a bit lately due to a long illness. When I started the first one, my daughter Goo had just turned 6 and was about to take her Grade 1 recorder exam! She is now 12 (13 in two months), has done her Grade 8 Flute (result currently under appeal), is thinking about Grade 8 Recorder next year (having not played since Year 6) and is learning the piano. Piano hasn't gone well this term. Her teacher has been going on lots of last minute holidays and also has another job now, so Goo has only had two piano lessons since Easter. Teacher has now decided to retire from teaching, so we need to find a new one. Goo has never, ever performed on the piano and hasn't taken any exams either. She has been learning since she was 10, and was recently learning pieces by Bach and Chopin, although I have no idea what she is practising at the moment.

I also have Rara (10) who plays the cello, clarinet and recorder at a good Grade 4 level. It doesn't come naturally to her at all, but she's more inclined to work at things... when it suits her. She plays the clarinet most, but swears she's in love with the cello. Her bass clef reading definitely seems stronger. We have started and stopped theory three times. I think she is more than capable of doing it, but she's distractible, longwinded and feels the need to reinvent the wheel. I have decided to wait until she's ready to do the whole lot in one go... hopefully when she is a bit more mature and developmentally ready. Goo had it done and dusted at the same age and I find it hard not to worry about Rara at times, but in many ways she's just as able... but on her own timeline.

I usually have 80-90 woodwind pupils on my books - mostly recorder these days, although I'm a clarinettist really. I currently have a clutch of little clarinets, a couple of flutes and a good saxophone pupil, so plenty of variety.

folkmamma Wed 01-Aug-18 12:52:53

Thank you for the new thread Waffle and lovely update. Chuckling at Goo now wanting to do G8 recorder and in no doubt at all that she will fly through it!

We have Folk (plays violin and sings in contemporary folk trio), Noo (violin, viola, piano and musical theatre enthusiast) and Moll (cello and piano and whatever she fancies trying to get a sound out of this week.

Noo has just come back from a fabulous week with Pro Corda, which is now her most favourite place to be. She is playing around G6-7 standard on violin, is an associate member of NCO, and will be starting JD in September. She had an incredibly busy term with SATS, JD auditions, theatre auditions, G5 theory and G3 piano (offers / good results from everything!) and is now in recovery, so no music until after we get back from our family holiday on 10th August. By which time she will be 11!

Moll is... well, still Moll. For those that don't already know her, read Waffle's description of Rara wink. One day she will decide what she wants from music (or not...) and the rest will be history. Or so I'm hoping...

catkind Wed 01-Aug-18 14:49:26

Thanks for the new thread waffle, and glad to hear you decided to appeal the g8.
Folk, what an amazing term for noo when you put it all together like that! Sounds exhausting logistically.

My two are relative beginners on this thread. DS is 9, plays piano and has recently started french horn. He is extremely reluctant to look at music and would rather guess, so learning new things is slooowwww. Ended up spending almost the whole academic year playing the same grade 1 piano pieces, and while he got very good results in the exam and music festival, felt like a bit of a waste of time. And I felt like I had to make him practice enough so he wouldn't be disappointed, which was a battle. So hoping he and teacher can be convinced to have a no exam year.

DD is 6 and rather more enthusiastic. She's mid Suzuki book 2 for violin (not doing exams) and hoping to join a local mini string orchestra in September, fingers x'd there will be space. Also started piano last year which she's loving, particularly the jazzy pieces she has at the moment.

Trumpetboysmum Wed 01-Aug-18 15:18:54

Thank our for the new thread waffle . Hoping that you are on the mend now flowers
Ds plays trumpet and is always incredibly busy !! He's a member of Aldeburgh Young Musicians and was away st Snape last week preparing for an amazing concert to celebrate AYM being 10 . He's also a member of NCO under 13s and is away with them from the end of next week . He also plays piano and sings .
Cornet girl !! is 10 but mostly likes to sing , she also plays piano . I think she might actually have to do some cornet practise next year now though as her lessons at school ( where she mostly liked to wing it !!) have stopped but I've managed to secure her lessons at the local county music centre ( at the same time as D's orchestra/ wind band rehearsal- it's not often that things work out !!) grin

Mendingfences Wed 01-Aug-18 15:42:46

Thanks for the new thread waffle
I have 3kids who are all musical. Dd1 is 12 and plays violin and piano and just successfully auditioned for our sort of jd equivalent. She is quite ambitious but also well ....12.....
Dd2 is 10 and plays flute and double bass, she has been a member of our local 'talentlab' for å year on flute and has been invited to take her double bass aswell next year. She is massively enthusiastic but also prone to insisting on doing things 'her way' - luckily she has 2 brilliant teachers who embrace the quirkyness and run with it. She's on an orchestra course next week and we have har words about the conductor being in charge.....
Ds is 8, plays drums and piano and has recently been recruited to a drum group. He's currently an easy going kid who is constsntly dansing and drumming on whatever he finds to hand, although he didnt think much of the fact the string orchestra course didnt want percussionists.....

TaggieOHara Wed 01-Aug-18 19:09:53

Thanks waffle and flowers for your recovery

I have two DSes (10 and 13) who are both musical, but I generally post about DS2 on this thread. DS2 plays violin and piano and is a chorister, singing ~20 hours a week, except in parts of the school hols.

On the violin, he has just got back from a week at Pro Corda (with Noo smile) and is getting set for NCO U10s. The piano is very much a second instrument but things are starting to click into place, finally, and he is enjoying it more.

Wafflenose Wed 01-Aug-18 19:34:33

Rara is going to U10s as well. She knows she got lucky and is probably going to find it hard, but unlike her sister, she will take that in her stride. I have also told her that if she's one of the least far along, she will have an awful lot to gain from it.

stringchild Wed 01-Aug-18 20:22:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LooseAtTheSeams Wed 01-Aug-18 20:31:04

Stringchild you must be very proud of her.thanks to you both.
Thank you Waffle for the thread and I hope you are on the mend and getting a bit of rest over the summer. Good luck with the appeal.
I took up piano in middle age, never having learned it before, and have learned lots from these threads. I may take G5 next term. I have DS1 aged 16 who is working for his music diploma in electric bass and also plays drum kit and guitar. DS2 is 13, plays cello (G6), piano (G5), electric guitar (G4) and is allergic to theory papers but needs to stop moaning and get on with it!

PatricksViolin Wed 01-Aug-18 21:08:43

Waffle, thank you for the new thread. Hope you are getting a much needed rest and feeling a lot better.
I like reading the brief introduction of the musicians on this thread just to remind who is doing what and how which can be quite confusing as so many regulars here. smile

I have a DS who plays violin and piano. Initially piano was considered as his first study but now violin has become his main interest. He did grade 7 piano and now plays grad 8 standard but may not officially complete abrsm with the instrument, at least for a long while, as now it's perfectly and happily treated as a supporting study (and rarely practised...). He's completed abrsm with violin (phew) and is excited about the new journey starting from this September.

Currently holidaying abroad, planning to come back to the uk in mid August. So I'm afraid no much to report anything interesting musically but enjoying reading others' challenges (and exhausting schedule!).

PatricksViolin Wed 01-Aug-18 21:18:06

By the way I don't think catkind's DCs are 'relative beginners' at all, especially DD. My DS also started learning violin with Suzuki materials and he had prob just finished Twinkle at her age. She is rather doing super well tackling mid book 2 at 6!

Meltingwax Wed 01-Aug-18 22:02:22

Thank you to waffle for the new thread flowers and hope you are well on your way to feeling better.

My two DCs are definitely towards the beginner end of the spectrum of musical DCs on this thread.

DS (9) plays piano and viola. He has just sat Grade 2 piano and Grade 2 theory and has been playing the viola for a few months. DD (11) plays piano, cello and recorder. She has just sat Grade 3 piano, Grade 2 recorder and Grade 3 theory. Now she has her first descant recorder exam under her belt, she is also learning the treble recorder.

We have been on holiday for the last 2 weeks so no practice happening at all since the schools broke up. We are back in the UK tomorrow though so hoping to re-establish a practice routine soon.

catkind Thu 02-Aug-18 01:05:52

Aw thanks Patrick, I didn't mean to talk my DC down there. DD impresses me. Mostly. She gets the idea of practice, she has drive, she thinks about things in creative ways. Then sometimes plays like she's never seen the instrument before just to remind me she's still little! DS impresses me too in a way, but drives me up the wall at least as much.

It's just early days yet. My "should DC take grade 1" type concerns seem a long way off the higher grades and JDs and NCOs many of you are talking about. You're prob right I should stop apologising and just enjoy learning from the wealth of experience heresmile

PatricksViolin Thu 02-Aug-18 04:52:09

All the advanced musicians on this thread (including you actually as you are a very much pro violinist) had the grade 1 or equivalent period and that’s how those amazing journeys started. smile

Soursprout Thu 02-Aug-18 08:02:12

Hi everyone
Your children all sound very accomplished and hard working.
Is everyone on this thread musical themselves?
I’m not musical at all and I find it hard to keep up with what Dd is doing. I can tell when she’s played something wrong and can help with expression and feeling. That’s about it.
She’s pretty self motivated so doesn’t particularly need me to crack the whip either.
I’m becoming redundantsad .. but I think that is supposed to happen smile
She plays clarinet and piano and a little guitar.
Clarinet grade 7 clarinet has just been completed after a 2x change of teacher in the last 2 years due to teachers moving away. She was chuffed to bits to get a distinction.. (literally jumping for joy! smile). She plays piano to about grade 6/7 standard according to her teacher but no exams.
She couldn’t live without playing music I don’t think . I’m reminded of this every school holiday when she practices about 6 times a day ( poor neighbours! )
She’s also into Maths, languages, Art and History
I think her problem will be when she is asked to give up / narrow down subjects for A levels. Her older brother had a very definite idea of what he wanted whereas she seems to want EVERY possible path in life
She’s started to look ahead to A levels now but is unsure if she needs music A level or if grade 8 is enough to keep her options open in terms of music in the future.
Any experience /thoughts re grade 8 and or A Level music would be much appreciated.

LooseAtTheSeams Thu 02-Aug-18 08:05:32

catkind my children were older when they took any grade 1 - yours are doing very well indeed!
Grade 1 is interesting - when dcs are little and it's their first instrument it feels like a big milestone. At least it does with piano and classical guitar where a lot of prepatory work is needed Where I live you can hear little children playing guitar really nicely for what seems like years before they take an exam. However, once they've taken the first one they seem to whizz along! Maybe because they've done a lot of groundwork on technique early on.

Trumpetboysmum Thu 02-Aug-18 08:30:06

Loose I agree re grade 1 - seemed much easier on cornet ( not the music but to get to the standard re practise times) than on piano - or classical guitar. I started on this ( many years ago at grade 2- but it took 3 years to get there I seem to remember ) I think it's the coordination thing and reading lots of notes at once .
Sprout I think some schools don't offer a level music so I think grade 8+ and grade 8 theory would count ? I think it depends on whether you want to do performance or academic music ( for academic music I'm guessing that A level music would be very useful ) I'd look up a few courses to see what they suggest . What year is your dd going into next year?

SwayingInTime Thu 02-Aug-18 08:46:27

I’m really unmusical, properly tone deaf, can’t recognise famous tunes or even identify people’s accents. Reading the descriptions of the input into practice on here it’s obviously a benefit to have musical parents but I think lots of the musical parents on here have mentioned that their parents weren’t musical so can’t hold you back too much. Also I love it when dd teaches me things or talks so knowledgeablely about people’s playing, it’s fun for them to be better at something! In classical music and especially choral work, she’s the grown up smile.

Dd is 12 and about to enter her last year as a chorister. She plays the cello too and will either carry on with that at the same school or leave for mainstream. I don’t know how well we would cope with normal school hours plus lessons and ensembles and her instrument playing might fizzle out but we genuinely don’t know what’s best so having someone else decide (ie at the audition) works for us!

Mistigri Thu 02-Aug-18 09:59:58

Hello! Occasional visitor to these threads. Waffle, what happened with the grade 8 flute? Good luck with the appeal thanks and with grade 8 recorder. I can't imagine that will be too much of challenge. It's a shame about the piano teacher, do you have someone else in mind?

My oldest, who for a long time was the only musician of the family, is leaving home in a few weeks. Not sure if she will keep up piano, though her guitar will go with her. She will be in Paris, and there is definitely no room for a piano in her (16 sq metre!) studio, though apparently there are 3 pianos where she will be studying.

However teen 2 who only discovered music this time last year is now on the road to multi-instrumentalism. He is a pretty good jazz/rock guitarist (doesn't do exams, but I think he would be capable of preparing one of the higher Rockschool grades) and now he has set himself the task of learning to play piano this summer holidays. Plays several hours a day and progress has been correspondingly quick (currently 2/3 of the way through a Chopin nocturne shock and he's not playing it badly either ... we were away on hols last week and he spent hours practising polyrhythms on a ukulele grin ). Hoping to book him some lessons ASAP.

raspberryrippleicecream Thu 02-Aug-18 10:10:09

Non-musical parent here.

DS2, 15, plays trombone, piano and organ mainly. Ex chorister still singing on the back row. Older DS1 still very involved at music at uni. DD is a sax player, also hoping to carry on at uni. Life is pretty much on hold until results day on Aug 16th here.

DS2 is out on some kind of work experience with the leader of the jazz group he plays in today, followed by rehearsal.

Sprout, there are a couple of posters with first hand knowedge of applying for music who I expect will be along shortly.

Soursprout Thu 02-Aug-18 10:35:57

Swaying.. Dd and I clash horns easily so Yes in our particular situation I think it’s a very good thing that I’m not musical and it’s very much her ‘thing’ grin
It’s a wonderful gift that you’ve always got I guess..but it’s also a lot of graft too isn’t it.. I am mostly in awe of musical people

Enb76 Thu 02-Aug-18 10:48:42

My birthday comes up this month and as I am a woman who has everything (well, that I want anyway) my mother has sorted me two flute lessons which I'm actually rather excited about. I reached Trinity G8 when I was 16 but I'm now in my 40's and literally have not picked up my flute since. I tried to play some Handel this weekend just to see if I could still blow the thing and apart from speed and tone on the high notes it all seems to be there(ish). That said, my face ached for a bit after playing.

The child (9) is plugging away at piano and guitar - her guitar which she started in October '17 has been a bit of a revelation. It's obviously her instrument and her teacher tells me that should I want to put her in for exams that she would be best off starting with G4. Piano, on the other hand is not as loved though I'm wondering whether her teacher is really helping - she's talented but whereas I did a massive range of repetoire when I was young, she does a lot of exercises (Czerny) and he's such a perfectionist that the pieces remain the same for ages until she has all the wrist movement perfect - she says she's happy but I'm not sure I am.

What I would like to know now is G5 Theory - what age? and better to blitz or go through them all slowly?

folkmamma Thu 02-Aug-18 10:58:09

swaying, soursprout I am indeed one of those 'first generation' musicians, although looking back the signs were there in previous generations but the opportunity for instruction wasn't. I can trace 'musicality' back down the line in our family. Someone always has to be the first though! And my daughters are definitely now benefiting from my experiences, and will surpass me as musicians soon enough. But I don't look back and think 'if only my parents were muscial', or anything like that. They did the best they knew how for me, and in turn set things up very nicely for my two girls.

I also know of a lot of very talented DC's who have excelled without musical parents, some of whom are on this thread. Certainly aptitude and natural talent play a part, but at least as important are drive, determination, patience, tenacity, and commitment. And support from those around you, whether musical or non-musical. Without those things, no amount of talent will compensate. It sounds like your DD is very self-motivated soursprout which is fantastic!

raspberryrippleicecream Thu 02-Aug-18 11:01:45

Enb76 how exciting! Hope you enjoy it.

My older two never actually did a theory exam (though did quite a lot of theory in a club at school). DS2 did odd bits for a few years, then concentrated properly for a few months and did Grade 5 when he was 12. He chose to do Grade 6 last year, blitzed it though the summer and took it last November.

Trumpetboysmum Thu 02-Aug-18 11:14:10

We are blitzing theory now ready for November ( I've entered him for the exam but told him I don't really mind if he passes or not I just want him to understand the theory side of things and he needs the exam to motivate him grin) he has dabbled in theory since he was 10 he's now 13 and it's suddenly seeming much easier to him - because he's done so much playing . I think it depends on your dc some go through all the grades and manage it at a young age . Some just need to blitz it when they have to do it !!
In answer to an earlier question I'm fairly musical - but hated exams when I was younger . I know enough to help - but sometimes not enough to advise Ds with confidence!! That can lead to clashes so I try to just be supportive and be his taxi driver/ PA !! It's this that's most helpful I think

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