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Grade 2 piano dilemma

(32 Posts)
bumbez Thu 10-Jan-13 13:07:04

Dd aged 9 has been learning piano for 2 years now and has for the past few months been working towards grade 2.

Just before Christmas she broke down in tears at her lesson saying she didn't want to do the exam, that day was the deadline so it was decided to leave it for the time being. That night she became really unwell ( flu) so the tears earlier were probably to do with that.

We had a lovely Christmas and and she barely practiced - I never really nag her and was wondering if she should even continue to have lessons.

She had a lesson yesterday and I expected her to be really rusty but she wasn't, it also transpired that she can still do the exam if she wants in March. She immediately said no thanks, but I sort of cajoled her into it by saying its a shame all the work she's put into learning her pieces and how she would get a certificate in assembly ect. So she has agreed.

Part of me thinks exams are part of life and I'm right to gently coax her into going for it but I don't want her to feel pressured or upset wwyd?

chocoluvva Thu 10-Jan-13 13:20:02

Why are you keen for her to do it in March?

titchy Thu 10-Jan-13 13:40:00

She'll (the OP that is) probably be bored stiff of the pieces if she waits until June to take it!!!!! I'd make her take it, but I'm a mean mummy grin Deadline is next Friday for on-line entries by the way....

lljkk Thu 10-Jan-13 13:40:58

Doesn't need to do exams if she doesn't want to. They are entirely optional & some people argue that music exams are bad for learning. I would chat to her teacher about how she can progress without exams.

LilyBolero Thu 10-Jan-13 13:44:55

I'm presuming she's doing the old syllabus, hence the deadline to do it in March?

How are her scales, sightreading and aural? If they are all fine, then it may not be too stressful, if she's got to get those up too, then she might be pushing it as it is a short term.

Don't make it a horrible experience for her, but there's nothing wrong with exams in principle!

neolara Thu 10-Jan-13 13:48:53

Why do you want her to do an exam at all?

I think exams can be motivating when kids see success as a sign that they are doing well. But if they are just worried that it will show them up as being incompetent, they can be very demotivating. I wouldn't want to do something that would prove to everyone how rubbish I was.

I'd have a chat with her and try to find out what the issues are. Is she worried about the exam? Is she bored of the pieces? Does she want to play other kinds of music?

Exams are part of life. But music exams don't need to be. Presumably she is learning the piano because you want her to enjoy music. If music exams are lessening her enjoyment, what is the point of doing them?

LilyBolero Thu 10-Jan-13 13:53:21

The benefits of exams are providing a framework for learning, providing milestones, and hopefully getting some useful feedback from experienced professional musicians on how they are getting on.

They certainly aren't compulsory though!

3birthdaybunnies Thu 10-Jan-13 13:55:46

Does she want to continue? You said that you wondered if she wanted to continue, have you asked her? Dh wanted to give up violin, but his parents insisted, until he deliberately embarrassed everyone, then he was allowed to stop!

Dd2 is in a similar position with ballet, we have agreed that she will do her primary exam and then stop. Dd1 did her first ballet exam, but then circumstances beyond her control meant she had to change to a different class. If dd2 doesn't do this exam then she won't be able to do it later, she would move up anyway, even so she knows that she could opt out if she really doesn't want to (she is nearly 6).

The agreement I have with both dc is that if they want to give up an activity (other than swimming which continues until they are competent) then they can, but they need to give me notice and continue to the end of the block of lessons which have been paid for. Dd1 also has to practise piano at least 4 or 5 times a week cos the lessons are so expensive, don't want to throw money away

I would maybe encourage her to do the exam (if teacher thinks she will pass), but suggest that she thinks about whether she wants to 1. Continue at all 2. Continue without exams 3. Continue with exams. It doesn't have to be a decision forever, but if she hasn't done any practise for a month, maybe she doesn't have the passion to keep it going long term.

BarbarianMum Thu 10-Jan-13 13:55:48

I think she should do it. On the understanding that, after this one exam, she does not have to keep taking them unless she wants to.

It may be that the buzz of passing will make her want to take this route, or it maybe that she enjoys learning but is not really an exam person. Or she may take them but always get cold feet beforehand. But at least, after taking one, she won't be making up her mind based on a fear of the unknown.

OldBeanbagz Thu 10-Jan-13 13:56:19

I think if your DD feels that she's not ready to take the exam in March, then you should respect her decision. It won't hurt for her to do it in the Summer Term unless she is actually terrified of taking exams and hoping to delay as long as possible in which case i would question whether doing exams is really for her.

We've had a bit of a dilemma ourselves with whether to delay my DD's Instrument 1 exam by a term due to other school, music & drama commitments but then it would clash with Instrument 2 exam/end of school year.

My DD (who's 11yo) kept asking me over and over again what did i think/what would i do/what did i think she should so? I told her that ultimately she has to decide what she can cope with and that i will support her whatever she chooses (i think she has picked Spring exam).

Anyway back to your DD, do exams really have to be a part of music? Can she not play piano for the fun of it?

chocoluvva Thu 10-Jan-13 13:57:40

Music exams are very useful for some children in some circumstances - eg motivating them to practise and getting recognition of achievement.

But playing the same few pieces for a very long time can have the opposite effect.

I know a 16YO boy who's an outstanding (classical) musician. He goes to a specialist state school and is a multiple prize-winner - who did one of the early AB exams many years ago but no further exams.

LilyBolero Thu 10-Jan-13 13:58:10

If she is on the old syllabus, which it sounds like she is, she would have to learn all new pieces to do the exam in the summer.

chocoluvva Thu 10-Jan-13 14:00:08

Yes, that would probably be more interesting.

Remember that you don't have to sit eg, G2 before you sit G3.

OldBeanbagz Thu 10-Jan-13 14:10:23

LilyBolero it's Trinity i think. Grade 3 guitar.

LilyBolero Thu 10-Jan-13 14:13:02

I was meaning for the OP actually, but good luck to your dd for her guitar playing, whatever she decides about the exam! smile

sittinginthesun Thu 10-Jan-13 15:11:33

Just had a similar situation with my DS and grade 1. We have decided to go for the summer, instead of Easter - well, actually, the teacher and I let DS decide.

He is also 9 years old, and did his Prep Test last year. He loves playing, is easily at grade 1 standard, but I think the the thought of just concentrating on the Grade music was putting him off. He's currently teaching himself ALL the scales (I mean all, not just Grade 1), and we'd rather respect his enjoyment of playing.

bumbez Thu 10-Jan-13 15:52:20

Thanks for the replies.

She would have to learn all new pieces if she did it in June,

I have no doubt that she will pass, she is fine with everything bar military minuet and even that is coming along.

I have often asked her if she likes the lessons - she does.

When she passed grade 1 there was a definite buzz.

I know she doesn't have to do exams and I will of course respect her decision if she chooses not too. Her teacher is lovely and has already emailed me just to check how she is and for me to ask her one more time if she is sure, which I will do when she gets in ( football match).

She commenced piano lessons for the simple reason that she has lovely long fingers and is quite bright. Neither myself or Dh can play a musical instrument sadly, but I am in awe of anyone that can including dd. smile

ByTheWay1 Thu 10-Jan-13 20:16:57

I have 2 girls doing piano - one who is going for Grade 3 in the summer and wants to do all the exams, one who has her grade 1 and has been working to doing G2 in the spirng, but has decided she will not be doing any more of the exams.... she will continue lessons, and as long as she is progressing and practising, both I and her teacher are happy with that...

bumbez Thu 11-Apr-13 18:10:07

Just an update - results in and she got a distinction confused I am so proud grin

PenguinBear Thu 11-Apr-13 20:01:31

Ah well done to DD op smile

freetrait Thu 11-Apr-13 21:00:42

Fantastic! smile.

maree1 Sat 13-Apr-13 18:05:24

Well done on result. To help build confidence for exams in the future try getting your DD to play for your friends from time to time when they visit. It might help reduce any anxieties that she might have about exams and playing before a stranger. Also, if her school doesn’t do it already look into whether they might arrange for some opportunity for the children to practice their pieces to the parents of other musicians.

Ferguson Sat 13-Apr-13 21:33:52

Children should be able to CHOOSE whether or not they learn an instrument, and how seriously they take it. Our DS did a couple of grades on piano, did trombone for a year, then went on to saxophone, eventually getting Distinction at Grade 8. He also did GCSE and A level music, but everything he did was always his own choice.

Now aged 30 he plays at jam sessions and occasional paid gigs, and last year bought and is having lessons on bass guitar.

Nowadays music exams do NOT have to be only Classical, but lighter genres also have exams. Music can be a good social activity, joining ensembles or orchestras, jazz bands or whatever.

But it should always be an ENJOYABLE experience for the child, and not (as can happen) be an ego trip for a parent who themselves wish they could have played when younger (not that I'm suggesting that in your case).

So let HER decide how far she takes it, and I wish her a happy and satisfying musical experience.

Magrug Sat 13-Apr-13 23:34:24

She did well! I hope you said 'told you so' to her! wink grin

dinosaurinmybelly Sun 14-Apr-13 01:45:49

There is a counter argument to what Ferguson has said. There were 5 of us and my parents had to really scrape to send us to piano lessons. We knew we had to practice 30 mins a day and we were all doing our exams until we got to grade 8. Then we could give up. We all gave my poor Mum such a hard time - can you imagine getting 5 kids to practice 30 minutes a day and then going through the exam process with all of us unwilling participants?

The eldest studied Music a University and has been a music teacher for 30 years. The rest of us dabbled in other careers, but have all come back to music as our real love. Ferguson is right, it is so wonderful to play an instrument, not only for yourself, but it enhances your social life when you can participate in ensembles, choirs, amateur productions, or indeed teach others. We also love to visit Residential homes for the elderly and play for them - something my father encouraged when we were teenagers and which has brought all of us a great deal of satisfaction.

Well done bumbez for navigating this difficult time. Your daughter will thank you one day..

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