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(74 Posts)
bubbles1112 Fri 01-Jun-12 23:30:23

dd is about to do grade 2 on the piano, she is 7. Is this gifted? Either way she's pretty good...and just wondered how we can develop her talent. I'd love for her to have as many different avenues in life to go down and music could be an excellent alternative in life!!!!

KalSkirata Sun 10-Jun-12 22:31:47

at 7 it should be fun. ds started at 13 and was grade 8 by 16 but it was all about fun. He plays for pleasure now and for his mates.
Children should have fun, not acquiring labels.

Colleger Sun 10-Jun-12 22:41:00

I'm surprised that it seems odd that there are eight year olds who can play grade 8 and beyond. They are prodigies and they exist, it's not that hard to comprehend surely?

I don't understand what is meant by how did they manage scales or aural or theory. If a child is musical and exceptional then it comes easy to them. Who is to say it is not fun just because they achieve at a stage earlier than the norm? One of my sons had his head stuck in a maths book when he was very young because he loved everything about maths. By the time he was six he was GCSE level without any coaching, it all came from him. I know child pianists who sit down at a piano at six and can play complex pieces by ear. We're all different!

morethanpotatoprints Sun 10-Jun-12 23:49:41

I don't think musical ability has anything to do with passing grades to be frank. All the grading does is identify a person who has played at that level on that day. Some teachers of music allow their students to play and learn 3 pieces, the relevant scales, a bit of sightreading, relevant Aural and bingo exam time. I know children take 2/3 exams a year. The problem comes when they have to show an overall ability at the level they have been awarded. My dh has colleagues who teach at conservatoires and often find they have to turn people away as they do not have the required level even though a bit of paper suggests they do. However, dh has students who are offered places in all of them at audition, some never passing a music exam in their life. I kid you not. Talent is having the ability, not a bit of paper. I appreciate the exams serve a purpose such as motivation to some people, they provide a guide as a level of competence. They boost ego's teachers as well as students.

1805 Mon 11-Jun-12 00:26:47

I mean - identifying up to four chords and their inversions, sing the lower part from a 3 part harmony, cadences, sight singing, identifying modulations, and a general discussion relating to musical features????? = aural requirements
The endless scale requirements in 6ths and 3rds, doms and dims, chromatics in 3rds and more.......
And passing grade 5 theory?
I really struggle to see how plenty of 8 year olds can understand that stuff? Even if they can play amazingly well.

Yes prodigies do exist, but "plenty"????? Where are you?

flexybex Mon 11-Jun-12 01:12:08

How do they reach the keys, or have they got mini pianos?

flexybex Mon 11-Jun-12 01:14:11

I so agree, * morethan* - reached Grade 7 on the piano and have not a musical bone in my body. It was merely a mathematical exercise.

CURIOUSMIND Mon 11-Jun-12 10:51:18

Obviously Colleger had experience with very seriouly talented people. At least I know YM 2012 finalist Yuanfan Yang achived grade 8 at 8 with distinction.
This must be very rare, but not in specialist school or JD.
Talent is talent ,it is out of ordinary.
It doesn't mean you shouldn't play if you can't get grade 8 by8 .

Colleger Mon 11-Jun-12 10:52:06

I never at one point said that they all had passed grade 8, I said there playing level was beyond grade 8 but many have sat the exam. An eight year old cannot just learn to pass an exam with very little talent - that is absurd. Well within my small world I currently know eighteen 7-9 year olds who play beyond grade 8 or have at least grade 8 distinction. Just go on YouTube and you'll find thousands!

morethanpotatoprints Mon 11-Jun-12 11:11:30

Colleger, I don't suggest that a lot of children don't work hard and practice well to pass exams. However, I don't think you necessarily need talent to pass these exams. A well practised person can learn to play scales, 3 pieces etc. A talented musician is one who plays well, sounds beautiful, has empathy and connections with other musicians. I agree with you as I know several young children studying for gr8 or passed the exam already. It doesn't make them good at music, just good at passing the exams. This is a common argument amongst teachers of music the same as other subjects. Do we teach children the subject, or how to pass the exams. There is a big difference. As I said, there is a purpose to exams no denying that most schools, colleges and uni's use them as milestones, they motivate some people to continue. However, this motivation is innate to musicians irrespective of exams.

Colleger Mon 11-Jun-12 11:18:13

I can tell you categorically that the children I know are at top music schools and JD and would not be there if they were merely passing exams. A number of the teachers don't even subscribe to the exam system and I know concert pianists at senior conservatoire who have never sat an exam in their life. These kids play musically and beautifully. In life there will always be kids with far more talent than our little Johnnys and just because we can't relate to it does not mean they don't exist!

Colleger Mon 11-Jun-12 11:23:15

Sorry, missed Curiousminds post.

I'm not trying to put anyone off playing but just trying to give them a sense of perspective. Then one has to work out how good their teacher is. What qualifications and experiencedo they have? I'd be a little concerned if a teacher told a parent their child was so musical so soon at a low level.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 11-Jun-12 11:38:51

Post 2. I would also like to say, you need to be a pretty tough cookie not to fall into the trap of parental competitiveness, even if you are totally against this type of thing. When I talk about dd auditioning for JD's at 11 (currently 8) people always ask, what grade is she. When I say soon taking gr2 violin working towards gr3 Singing, I hear see the urgency rising in their voices. "You know they need a distinction at grade 5". No they dont, they need to be working at this level.

At one time I would stand my ground when their dc had done so much, now I just walk away knowing how disappointed they will be when reality dawns. I know my dd has no worries about her audition when the time comes irrespective of what grade she is because she practices well, plays with the instrument and won't be pressured/lose the fun she has, due to learning pieces for an exam.

Colleger, you are entirely right about many having gone to grade 8 at this age. However, they stand no greater chance than a naturally talented and able child. Sometimes it is the reverse, as there are many gr8 clones and not as many of the latter examples. My dd is working above gr8 in some aspects especially Aural, swing and improvisation. No grade can teach this as it is an in built sense of music.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 11-Jun-12 11:45:55

Colleger, your post wasn't showing when I sent mine. We seem to be agreeing in most parts, lol.

Colleger Mon 11-Jun-12 12:35:21

My son is at a music school and he's never once been told that he's any good! Lol!

There are lots of levels at JD. There are grade 8+ violinists by 11 who are every bit as musical and talented and haven't been pushed as the child turning up with grade 5. I think it's unwise to assume a child has only reached a certain level because they've been pushed.

MTPP, why is DD only grade 3 singing? Surely with her advanced supporting skills she could easily sit Trinity grade 8? My son is a chorister and if he bothered to do exams could sit Diploma. Controversial, but singing really isn't that difficulty if you can do the supporting tests in my opinion. That's not putting your daughter down, more why is she not being stretched?

CURIOUSMIND Mon 11-Jun-12 12:54:18

Colleger, I understand your point of view very well(from your other posts as well).smile

morethanpotatoprints Mon 11-Jun-12 13:18:35

Colleger, firstly I'm not sure she would pass, nor would I like to put her under pressure. She has only just started auditioning for solos, working to pass gr2 and singing. I am of the school of thought that theres one way to stop an activity a child enjoys doing being fun and that is to bring examination into it.
I think she is being stretched in her own way, mostly by herself. She is currently working on an Italian Folk song and Ave Maria. She sings pieces from the abrsm songbook and will do exams when she wants. Her dad is one of those teachers you referred to that don't subscribe to the exam system and I must admit if I ever do get tempted to get ahead of myself, he will certainly pull me back. I'm not saying any way is better but its that usual chestnut of what works for one.....dd is really enjoying herself and very enthusiastic and really knows where shes going, even though only 8. I don't want to spoil it for her. As I said she is/will do exams but not at the expense of having fun. I never have to remind her to practice, sometimes we have to beg/bribe or cajole her to stop. Her instruments are her toys and she just loves them. I don't know what more I can say.

Colleger Mon 11-Jun-12 13:58:34

I suppose my point is though that there isn't a lot of work with singing exams so there shouldn't be any pressure.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 12-Jun-12 20:21:19

There doesn't seem to be as much as violin or piano, as there are no scales but sightsinging needs to be good and of course theres the unaccompanied folk song. DD has really good pitch and Aural is exceptional, but she has done very little singing from score or indeed music. Her teacher and choir Master give out written sheets of lyrics, which I must admit annoys me. She has her songbooks and sits at the piano and when she does scales she sings as well as plays the piano. But this is only just coming together now. I still think its early days though and feel that it will come together quite alot during next year. Maybe then she might do 2 exams in the year. Would also like to do some jazz grade as as well and the practical musicianship rather than gr5 theory.

Colleger Tue 12-Jun-12 22:26:11

If you HE have you thought about west end shows or English National Opera? DS is going up for a couple of auditions soon but his height goes against him as they like little ones!

morethanpotatoprints Wed 13-Jun-12 21:27:30

Thanks. I have thought of Shows but maybe somewhere a bit more local. I couldn't send her away and no way could I leave family and stay down there. It would be her dream and i know they find nice host families, but I'd hate being without her, lol. We do have English Northern Opera, or whatever its called up here and will def consider this as she gets older and if we HE. Thanks for the thought, gratefully appreciated. I hope ds does well in the auditions. I always think performing under pressure such as auditions, competitions and exams is so beneficial to future performances, if you can do it under pressure youv'e cracked it imo.

Veggiegrower Sun 24-Jun-12 17:36:24

My dd is about to sit grade 2 and was only introduced to a piano 12 months ago. Sat grade 1 in november last year and passed with distinction which I believe is uncommon. After watching youtube it is fair to say that although I would wish there was a special talent or gift in my child there are what appears to be prob thousands of children considerably younger at grade 8 level and beyond.

pianomama Mon 25-Jun-12 12:23:02

Actually , there are not many really talanted children on youtube.

Quite a few of them are over-trained and over-precessed playing pieces way beyond their understanding. Just because they them can play lots of notes very fast does not make them into good musicians.

I really would not go by grades - they just dont mean anything except the fact the child hase been trained to play 3 pieces and certain scales.

A lot of naturally bright kids wizz through early grades - this is just the beginning.

I heard a 13 yo boy playing some diploma standard pieces on piano recently - he has 3 G8s and a G6 on 4-th instrument.

He has done really well and will get scholarships to top schools.He can play in groups and be important part in school's music life.

However he is the most boring piano players who in my opinion will never make it as a pianist as all the magic is missing from the pieces he plays and he enjoys virtiosity for the sake of it. The number of time he has been labled as gifted, talanted etc - I worry about kids like that having to face a reality one day.

I think its really good when parents support music education for their kids, I just would be very careful at labelling a young child as gifted - making of a musician takes years of hard work.

pianomama Mon 25-Jun-12 12:25:29

Oops, sorry about so many mistakes - should try do 1 one thing at a time smile

Moominmammacat Wed 11-Jul-12 12:39:16

There aren't plenty of 8 year olds with Grade 8 ... 1805 makes all the right points. They may be able to play Grade 8 pieces ... but the rest of it? No chance for most of them ... and why should they be able to at 8? There are more important things for 8 year olds to be doing.

CURIOUSMIND Wed 11-Jul-12 22:01:39

Surely there are not plenty of Grade 8 at 8, but there are some.
Anyway, I believe G8at8 kids are fine with theory, scales, understanding, but I don't know how they cope with the octave+?
Do they tend to avoid pieces too strenchy for them, or skip some notes, or use pedal?

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