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Broken's Grade 4 Piano Thread

(145 Posts)
Broken11Girl Mon 10-Jul-17 01:50:38

Hello! I felt I was making the general music chat thread all about me, so would move my ramblings to a thread of my own. I may be being egotistical. Advice, support and wine / gin / brew from the lovely musical ladies I already talk to and anyone else appreciated and much needed!
I played the piano (and clarinet) as a kid/ teen, never felt like a natural musician, especially pianist, but loved it. Got grade 5 clarinet (on second attempt blush ) I returned to piano in April on my cheap Argos keyboard, and had the insane ambitious idea to do grade 4. Said exam is on Thursday.
I used a piano in my local community centre for a while but had to get an actual piano. I have terrible credit grin but the credit union finally agreed to a loan and my digital piano came home about 3 weeks ago.

I have struggled, quite honestly, to the point where 2 weeks ago my teacher felt I didn't know the scales, lacked regular pulse in my playing and basically wouldn't pass. Last week, much hard work later, she was amazed quite impressed and feels I will definitely pass. I was all set to continue practicing my ass off.
However, the headphones broke off in the jack of my piano, and despite trying everything on YouTube, and raiding Robert Dyas, I can't get the broken off part out. I will be phoning the unnamed for now company in the morning to see if they can repair or replace look out for an angry AIBU if not.

I really needed the couple of days' practice, so very sad right now. I did some silent scales practice, thanks for the idea Alexandra, and have been using the old keyboard for now - lucky I hadn't got around to selling it.

Scales are now there after Cote-like many hours of practice. I was quite discouraged by how much harder it is to remember them all as an adult opposed to a teen, but have got to the point where muscle memory kicked in now. Some of them are a bit slower than the recommended speed, some I can do faster, as long as they're correct and have a pulse...guessing the examiner won't sit there with a metronome and mark me down for going slightly less than minim=52.

Aural is my weakest point. I can do the clapping and features stuff but can't sing. I mean, literally can't. I heard someone describe it as not knowing how to play the instrument that is their vocal cords. I have improved, have been trying to sing along to anything, whatever I put on cds/ iTunes, even TV theme tunes my Family Guy after a wine is amusing and belting out tunes from Les Mis, all to my cat's disgust. I have made progress, can more or less carry a tune with someone to sing along to. I have all the apps and can sort of do the sight singing, may not get all the notes but am not miles away, but the singing back a phrase still eludes me. I think I will just accept I won't do well - by my calculations it's still possible to pass without passing aural. as you get 7 marks just for having a try. I'm also useless at sight-reading, but will try to just keep going and make up notes if necessary to keep the rhythm.

Pieces - Haydn's minuet and trip from Sonata in A flat major, Ninette's Musette by George Nevada, and Uzbuna by Bruno Bjeliniski. The Haydn is probably the best. Ninette's Musette is the most challenging, with pedalling and generally, but have worked hardest on it - after all the struggle, it's probably my favourite now. Uzbuna is fine, love it as it's quirky and bouncy, teacher even said it was full of life.

I have been dealing with a lot including physical and mental health issues and music has been such a sanctuary.

Nerves are my main worry, going to try to go in there and even enjoy it shock whatever happens, I'm glad I did it, despite my many complaints indicating otherwise.

NeverEverAnythingEver Mon 10-Jul-17 07:57:11

It sounds like you've put in a fair amount of effort! Well done for impressing the teacher. smile Good luck with the headphones!

I think you can pass without the aural. For sight-reading - someone recommended Paul Harris' Improve Your Sight-reading. I think they are quite nice books, though perhaps you shouldn't worry about this a couple of days before your exam ...

Good luck!

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Mon 10-Jul-17 08:00:08

Omg you're brave,I'm learning as an adult but not doing grades as it would kill me!!! Good luck grin

CoteDAzur Mon 10-Jul-17 09:02:50

Best of luck, Broken! I'm sure you'll be fine at the exam but it must be so frustrating to see your lovely new piano just sitting there & not being able to play it.

Just one thing, though - if your old keyboard has smaller keys & your exam will be on a proper piano, try to get some practice time on a piano or at least a keyboard with regular keys before the exam. It can be difficult to adjust back to full size keys during the exam.

Broken11Girl Mon 10-Jul-17 23:49:21

Thanks all!
Yes Never, I might get that book for grade 5 at some point.
Wishing I hadn't right now DameDiazepam! Cool name.
I had that worry Cote, it's been weird readjusting to the keyboard. I haven't done too much for that reason, just enough so I don't forget. I guess if I don't know it now I won't by Thursday. Yup so frustrating!

I called the company and they asked me to email photos, which I did. Understandably they were reluctant to collect a piano otherwise. They will repair or replace, just unsure if they can by Weds.

LooseAtTheSeams Tue 11-Jul-17 08:48:03

Broken you've done so much work I am sure you'll be fine in your exam. Try to just think of it as a chance to perform your pieces and don't stress about the aural. The singing is worth about 4 marks .in the end so really shouldn't affect your overall mark.and not worth any worry.
Hope there's a speedy repair for your piano, though!

Broken11Girl Tue 11-Jul-17 12:56:47

sad
I really needed the few days of practice.

Broccolirevolution Tue 11-Jul-17 13:01:51

Broken just play on the keys. Imagine the sound. It's the physical activity of playing that you need to keep up. I'm guessing these are weighted keys rather than an electronic keyboards keys?
Enjoy playing to the examiner. Show them how much you enjoy playing. It will be great.

CoteDAzur Tue 11-Jul-17 13:16:42

Broken, do you have a friend who has a piano? Maybe you can ask to use theirs for a bit over the next couple of days.

user1469270520 Tue 11-Jul-17 19:14:30

Long time lurker, have unlurked for this! Can I jump on the band wagon? I played the piano when I was young, got to grade 7 then didn't play for 20 odd years. I always thought beyond grade 5 that I was out of my comfort zone and not really at that level. I bought a digital piano a month or so ago, and have been having lessons. My scales are not taking too much effort to get them back to a good standard, but the playing is NOT coming at all and I'm struggling with grade 3 pieces. I have (well I never had) any sense of rhythm and 'count the beats' means nothing to me. I'm also dreadful at aural (I used to rely on good marks in the scales to get me through pitiful marks in the aural).

Had another lesson today and preparing for grade 4 exam was suggested, hence the unlurking!

I'm sorry to hear you can't practise properly at the moment, but am wishing you all the luck for Thursday. I can't do advice, but I can do support if that's ok?!

[I also need a proper user name!]

buggerthebotox Tue 11-Jul-17 19:52:23

Cheering you on, broken. You can only do your best; the worst thing that can happen is that you fail and take it again.

Not the end of the world <tries to be helpful and philosophical>.

buggerthebotox Tue 11-Jul-17 19:54:28

Go user. Once you're back in the saddle it'll all come rushing back.

I didn't play for 34 years....there's hope. If I can do it, so can you.

NeverEverAnythingEver Tue 11-Jul-17 20:17:41

I didn't play for 20+ years too.

I didn't try to do scales again. grin I just find pieces I like and go at it until I can play them. wink

CoteDAzur Tue 11-Jul-17 22:56:22

User, come join us on the Instrument Players thread [grinsmile

Broken11Girl Wed 12-Jul-17 04:25:57

Thanks all!
Hi Broccoli, yup proper weighted keys. Silent practice is a good idea, has been amazingly useful.
No, sadly no piano owning friends nearby Cote.
Jump on user, welcome. We're so similar! I'm relying on the scales and pieces. It'll come back as Never said, I was murdering grade 2 pieces at first - 20 years here too. All support is welcome! (And yes, get a proper username grin ) Second Cote, check out the general instrument players thread too.

I like scales <geek>

So I have practiced both silently and on the keyboard. I'm making stupid mistakes I hadn't made before hmmconfused great. I know them angry

Piano is being picked up tomorrow. Not sure if replacement is being delivered as well, or another day. Doesn't matter at this stage really.

Broken11Girl Wed 12-Jul-17 17:59:38

Piano wasn't picked up because the morons went to the wrong address angry

Feeling very down about exam and anxiety through the roof. Feel nauseous already. No I won't ask for beta blockers she said...nerves are good for performance...

Slap me if I ever talk about entering an exam again.

NeverEverAnythingEver Wed 12-Jul-17 20:08:36

Oh no!

Hang in there! Repeat to self: Nerves are good for performance!

TheCrowFromBelow Wed 12-Jul-17 20:37:25

Oh no! Just read the whole thread- well done for getting this far.
Don't let the nerves take over - deep breath, do a few more silent pieces for muscle memory. Singing along will help your aural skills too.
I've been thinking of taking it up again - but grade 4 was as far as I ever got so massive well done to you- I got grade 7 on the French horn but found the piano really tricky.
Masses of good luck for tomorrow 🎹

buggerthebotox Wed 12-Jul-17 22:33:41

Thinking of you. Go broken.

Broken11Girl Thu 13-Jul-17 00:32:21

I don't think I played any of the pieces through adequately tonight.
sad

Broken11Girl Thu 13-Jul-17 01:09:34

Feel so deprived of the past few days' practice sad

user1469270520 Thu 13-Jul-17 06:38:32

Just came on to say good luck!

I think it's normal with any exam to have a wobble the day before. Not practising as you would have wanted is not ideal, but you've put in loads of work before that and it won't all be undone. You are bound to feel nervous whatever the circumstances.

Get today done, then get onto the company and get them sorted - tell them you have a grade 5 exam to start preparing for!

What time are you in? Will be thinking of you and look forward to the update!

user1469270520 Thu 13-Jul-17 06:40:56

And thank you for the welcome and encouragement everyone - have read bits of the other thread now. You all sound so proficient and knowledgable but once I sort my name I will take a deep breath and plunge in!

user1469270520 Thu 13-Jul-17 06:49:12

And one other thing... unintended consequence of joining Mumsnet for this is that I need to remember when it is practice or practise!

NeverEverAnythingEver Thu 13-Jul-17 08:19:28

LOL. I don't generally go and pick holes in other people's grammar for fun, though some people seem to like it. I do that in my day job though. I love telling people how to write. grin But not socially. That's why I still have friends. (At least I hope so ...)

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