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What Standard Is Needed For Grade 1 Piano?


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#1 Guest: akp_*

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Posted 14 October 2005 - 07:00

I've just started teaching and am putting a student in for grade 1 piano for the first time and it's giving me sleepless nights. How good do they have to be to pass???!

At the momentt I think she'll fail - particularly if we get an early exam date. Her peices are all over the place and not one of them is consistent, her aural is OK but not guarenteed to go OK and her scales are a bit wobbly.........I did say I wasn't keen to put in but had promises of more practice etc..!

I guess what I'm after is some idea of how good they have to be!

any suggestions gratefully received as well on how to make the most of the few weeks.


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#2 Guest: oboist_*

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Posted 14 October 2005 - 07:59

I strongly recommend getting hold of a copy of "These Music Exams" from your local music supplier (or on-line on the ABRSM website) which tells you the criteria examiners use to assess the exams.

At grade 1 my understanding is that a candidate who plays their pieces from start to finish without too many errors, knows their scales/arpeggios accurately (even if quite slowly, but evenly, played) and has some aural and sight-reading ability is likely to get through. A candidate who does rather better than this basic level is likely to get a merit or distinction.

I think most teachers would say that the way they find out about standards for grades is by entering pupils and seeing how they get on. However, if your candidate really cannot play any piece without stopping and is struggling elsewhere too by the time the exam is due, I would say think carefully about letting her proceed with the exam. Failing at Grade 1 (at any level for that matter) doesn't encourage a pupil to carry on.

Sorry not to be more help but, without hearing your pupil, it's difficult to know just how she really does play for now.

Best of luck anyway.
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#3 Guest: SirPrancealot_*

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Posted 14 October 2005 - 08:11

QUOTE(akp @ Oct 14 2005, 08:00 AM)
I've just started teaching and am putting a student in for grade 1 piano for the first time and it's giving me sleepless nights. How good do they have to be to pass???!

At the momentt I think she'll fail - particularly if we get an early exam date. Her peices are all over the place and not one of them is consistent, her aural is OK but not guarenteed to go OK and her scales are a bit wobbly.........I did say I wasn't keen to put in but had promises of more practice etc..!

I guess what I'm after is some idea of how good they have to be!

any suggestions gratefully received as well on how to make the most of the few weeks.

 


difficult to say this but should you be teaching if you arent sure what standard they must be? they have to play the pieces competently, get by at sight reading and the aurals- isnt that it? how is she on the aurals?

i think the scales books have a recommended minimum speed, the pieces also but other posts suggest with pieces that some latitude is ok.
good luck!


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#4 Guest: akp_*

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Posted 14 October 2005 - 10:21

QUOTE(SirPrancealot @ Oct 14 2005, 08:11 AM)
QUOTE(akp @ Oct 14 2005, 08:00 AM)
I've just started teaching and am putting a student in for grade 1 piano for the first time and it's giving me sleepless nights. How good do they have to be to pass???!

At the momentt I think she'll fail - particularly if we get an early exam date. Her peices are all over the place and not one of them is consistent, her aural is OK but not guarenteed to go OK and her scales are a bit wobbly.........I did say I wasn't keen to put in but had promises of more practice etc..!

I guess what I'm after is some idea of how good they have to be!

any suggestions gratefully received as well on how to make the most of the few weeks.

 


difficult to say this but should you be teaching if you arent sure what standard they must be? they have to play the pieces competently, get by at sight reading and the aurals- isnt that it? how is she on the aurals?

i think the scales books have a recommended minimum speed, the pieces also but other posts suggest with pieces that some latitude is ok.
good luck!

 



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#5 Guest: akp_*

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Posted 14 October 2005 - 10:28

"difficult to say this but should you be teaching if you arent sure what standard they must be? "


Appreciate what you're saying and although I am a good piano player and communicator it was a long time ago that I took grade 1!!!


Surely as in any profession music teaching is a bit of a learning curve at the start - I am ALWAYS open with parents and pupils about the fact that I am starting out, that I dont profess to have all the answers and have priced my lessons with that in mind. However, a judgment call several weeks before the exam may be for the deadline (and at that a period of several weeks when the exam could be) was difficult to make - I would imagine some experience with this will help me in the future.
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#6 Guest: Amber_*

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Posted 14 October 2005 - 10:39

My son failed his Grade 1 by one mark, and it sounds as though your student is nowhere near as prepared as we thought our son was. Luckily Nils had the personality to overcome his disappointment and proceed to Grade 2, which he passed with Merit. However for some people it could put them off music for life.

I would seriously urge you to consider postponing until the Spring Term if your student is still at the stage you describe.

The Those Music Exams book is very good, and will give you a lot more information to enable you to guage your student's progress.

Also, in terms of preparedness, remember that your student will probably be nervous during the exam, which can lead to mistakes. So preparing him/her to a level which will ensure a "comfortable" pass is important, so that any mistakes which crop up on the day will just mean a lower pass mark rather than the difference between pass and fail.

Hope this helps.

smile.gif

Amber
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#7 Guest: maggiemay_*

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Posted 14 October 2005 - 11:24

You may not have much to lose by waiting to get your appointment before you decide, and you and your pupil can see how it goes in the meantime. You might just find that socks will suddenly be pulled up and a bit more effort will produce results.

But if you do decide to pull her out, talk it through with her and discuss with her why the progress didn't happen. It might be a matter of more focussed practice, rather than simply more practice. If there was pressure from parents you may need to discuss it with them.

If you try again next time, it might be useful to give her clear "deadlines", eg scales known (not necessarily up to speed) by the date of entry. Notes of pieces safe by the beginning of half -term (I'm in the UK and half-term usually makes a useful landmark - it may be different for you but you get the general idea).

Oboist's advice about the basic level seems good to me - my understanding is much the same.
Good luck whatever you decide. Exams aren't everything - the main thing is that she continues to enjoy playing.
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#8 Guest: amanda41_*

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Posted 14 October 2005 - 12:58

QUOTE(akp @ Oct 14 2005, 07:00 AM)
I've just started teaching and am putting a student in for grade 1 piano for the first time and it's giving me sleepless nights. How good do they have to be to pass???!

At the momentt I think she'll fail - particularly if we get an early exam date. Her peices are all over the place and not one of them is consistent, her aural is OK but not guarenteed to go OK and her scales are a bit wobbly.........I did say I wasn't keen to put in but had promises of more practice etc..!

I guess what I'm after is some idea of how good they have to be!

any suggestions gratefully received as well on how to make the most of the few weeks.

 



Hi!

I'm new to teaching as well, and as yet, haven't entered anyone (but myself) for an exam...

I have a few students who are approaching grade 1 standard, and have started some of them on the pieces, but without telling them they are exam pieces! How they get on with them will let me know whether I should mention taking an exam or not. I'm hoping this will be a good idea, as then they will be nicely surprised to find they have already been working on the syllabus, without actually knowing it smile.gif

Because I'm new to this, I'm trying to make sure students are at a slightly higher level of musicianship then the grade they take. Hopefully that will allow for first-exam nerves, and give them a confidence boost which will motivate them to keep up playing!

It would be nice to hear from an experienced teacher on this (without trying to hi-jack your thread!) - do you think this is a good way to go about things?

Amanda xxx
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#9 Guest: margaret_*

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Posted 14 October 2005 - 14:14

Hi all
I've been teaching for quite a while and I still get sleepness nights over my pupils and their exams. I think you will find that once you have entered pupils successfully for grade 1 you will have the same doubts over grade 2, 3 .....etc. Getting to know the standard expected in exams IS difficult and obviously the more you do it the better you become but the first time you enter a pupil is the most worrying.

If you have the chance to sit on a the lesson of a more experienced teacher I would recommend this. Also arranging for your pupil to have a lesson with another (friendly) teacher while you observe can be useful. I have done this for some novice teachers, especially around exam times. Basically we run through the whole exam thing like a mock. I then (with the prevous permission of the teacher) give a little bit of a lesson and later talk to the teacher about whether I think the pupil is ready of not. Almost 100% of the time they are certainly ready. Teaching can be very isolating can't it?

I do hope you have been able to get hold of These music exams as it is very useful.

Good luck. Let us know what you decide to do.


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#10 Guest: elliewelly_*

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Posted 14 October 2005 - 15:02

I entered myself for a few grades first, to assess the standard required. Then when I started entering students, I was unduly cautious - and surprised by a string of merits and distinctions! In five or six years I've probably made about 100 entries, had 3 or 4 fail (two of those weren't surprising - tried to get one of them to pull out and the other to practise, to no avail!) most pass comfortably, and a few brilliant results too. Having this experience doesn't stop me worrying during every single session though! For next term, the entry has to be in so soon after Christmas that I've given everyone a list of the scales, notes and pieces that MUST be good enough, or they won't be entered - end of story.

My friend who started out after I did has sent some of her students to me for a lesson/ mock exam when she's been unsure of their standard. I use "These Music Exams" to mark their performances - usually quite accurately. If I had someone I was unsure about, I'd consider asking another teacher to hear them. In fact, there's one child I really want to do this for next term - Mum thinks she's up to the standard her older sister was when she did Grade 1 earlier this year, and I'm not so sure. The older sister got 106 marks, so I don't want to enter the little one unwisely.
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#11 Guest: dcmbarton_*

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Posted 14 October 2005 - 16:12

QUOTE(SirPrancealot @ Oct 14 2005, 09:11 AM)
QUOTE(akp @ Oct 14 2005, 08:00 AM)
I've just started teaching and am putting a student in for grade 1 piano for the first time and it's giving me sleepless nights. How good do they have to be to pass???!

At the momentt I think she'll fail - particularly if we get an early exam date. Her peices are all over the place and not one of them is consistent, her aural is OK but not guarenteed to go OK and her scales are a bit wobbly.........I did say I wasn't keen to put in but had promises of more practice etc..!

I guess what I'm after is some idea of how good they have to be!

any suggestions gratefully received as well on how to make the most of the few weeks.

 


difficult to say this but should you be teaching if you arent sure what standard they must be? they have to play the pieces competently, get by at sight reading and the aurals- isnt that it? how is she on the aurals?

i think the scales books have a recommended minimum speed, the pieces also but other posts suggest with pieces that some latitude is ok.
good luck!

 



Well, I would consider myself to be a compitent teacher, but as has already been said, I took Grade 1 nearly 12 years ago, so I can't entirely remember what standard was required. I think examiners are looking for initiative, musicality, confidence and enjoyment, more than they are looking for every note and rhythm to be right.

David

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#12 Guest: jm-hamilton_*

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Posted 15 October 2005 - 15:45

When you first start teaching it is difficult to judge whether your pupils are of a good enough standard to pass. It took me ages to enter my first pupil for an exam as I had no idea what standard was expected and I was terrified she'd fail. I even told her parents that I thought she might fail - she got a Distinction!! Even now, hundreds of years of piano teaching later I still worry whether they are ready - but then I do worry about everything (and if there's nothing to worry about, then I worry that there's nothing to worry about, and if ...........................!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Can you ask another friendly teacher if they can hear your pupil go through their exam stuff and give you some advice? It does rather sound from your posting as though they are not ready yet.


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#13 Guest: akp_*

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Posted 26 October 2005 - 06:59

Thanks for all your comments and tips - I really appreciate that and will definately be using some of those next term!

I've been on holiday for a week, and have since had the pupil for some extra "practice sessions" and although looking at the "these music exams" book (very helpful - thanks!) I don't think we're out of the woods yet I don't feel it's such a lost cause. I think the lesson before I made my post they must have been having a bad day....

I'll let you know how it goes! Although I was reassured to hear that some of you still worry about pupils because I can never imagine myself not doing that!


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#14 Guest: akp_*

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Posted 10 December 2005 - 00:32

Thanks again for your replies and I just thought I'ld let those of you that replyed that I heard today that she passed with 115 at that !!!! biggrin.gif biggrin.gif

I think I will always be concerned for my pupils but it was worrying with her being the first time I'd entered a pupil. She did pull her socks up significantly and we were blessed with a late exam date so all in all it could have been worse and I feel like I've had a learning curve experience! I've taken on board some of the advice and can I just say as a teacher starting out even though I don't post a lot on the forum I do read and learn a lot from you more experienced sorts so please keep it up!!

Think I'll go and celebrate now..............


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#15 Guest: carys_*

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Posted 10 December 2005 - 01:30

That's great news, well done both of you.
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