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Junior Strings Project At Rncm Manchester


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#46 Guest: violincjj_*

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Posted 22 August 2005 - 18:06

Hey thanks violincjj!

I've just realised how out of touch I must be with where she's up to. I thought she was just starting to learn a few handsigns, but she didn't seem to know all of them. I presume the comment on the report means that some of the very simple songs based around a couple of notes are now being sung in Solfa, which I didn't know.

Does your big kid still enjoy music?


Oh yes....very much so. He is trying for a Cambridge organ scholarship for next year and plays piano/violin/trumpet all to Gd 8+ level plus sings and conducts. Amusing to recall that he failed the Junior RNCM audition many years back.....! laugh.gif
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#47 Guest: zoda_*

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Posted 22 August 2005 - 18:18

that's wonderful to hear.

it certainly doesn't sound like they put you off at JSP!
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#48 Guest: violincjj_*

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Posted 23 August 2005 - 08:15

JSP IS wonderful. I enjoyed the parents classes loads and learned SO much from them that I use in my own teaching. smile.gif
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#49 CJEd

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 10:45

Hi

I would be interested to know how children manage their time, if they attend one of the junior saturday classes for the day.

My daughter (8yrs old) will take Associated Board G5 theory on Thurs this wk, G3 violin on 22nd, G4 piano on 28th and G3 singing on 30th Nov... a frighteningly action-packed month for her, which she is totally taking in her stride. As a consequence, right now, with everything looming, she is practising for 1 + 1/2 hrs per day before she goes to school.

Unfortunately she also RAD ballets to G3 standard, ISTD taps and modern theatre to G5 standard, is a national finalist for ISTD ballroom, latin and freestyle disco and horse-rides and reads like mad in her spare time.

We are trying to work out what is best for her. At school, she is by far top of her class and finds everything easy. However, homework (whilst still v. simple to do) is increasing in volume now (yr 4) and we can forsee that something will eventually have to give, in order for this simple homework to take precedence.

How do children whho attend the saturday schools cope for time? Right now, my daughter has private lessons after school and on Saturdays for her various interests. But it is time-consuming, with serious practice alongside.

Any answers anyone?
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#50 parent_l

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Posted 01 November 2006 - 15:40

I start this by saying that my daughter does NOT attend an all day saturday school so none of this will directly answer your question .... however she does attend a three hour music session six weeks in every term on Saturday mornings so we have some experience of trying to cram too much in. However neither of our children are doing nearly so many extras as your daughter - she deserves commendation for doing so many things to such a high standard.

My slightly random comments are :

• There must be some efficiencies gained in attending a Saturday music school : most of your lessons take place there rather than sprinkled across the week - with all the attendant drop-offs and collection. For us we get group lessons, orchestra and theory all dealt with on Saturday morning - we also consider that chunk of playing to be the practice session for the day!

• As for homework - It is all too easy to make the extra-curricular activities take over the time that should be given to all important academic work and to cram school work into the last corners of the day - we should remember that extra curricular activities are extra, and generally not core. It is easy to trivialise schoolwork with the onslaught of extras ... we have certainly managed to do this on occasion. Academic work, reading, the whole world of secondary school subjects etc are all very exciting and shouldn't be diminished and squeezed out.

• Practice in the morning: while our children were at primary school all practice was done before school. It was brilliant and worked really well. It became impossible once they were at Secondary school - earlier starts, longer journeys etc.

• Practice: once we realised that practice couldn't be done in the morning - and that there was far less time to practice we had to start making practice much more focussed and efficient. As ever I turned to reading books (a good way of putting something out of our mind) - two were particularly helpful : The Practice Revolution by Philip Johnston (available from http://www.practicespot.com) and Teaching from the Balance Point by Ed Kreitman.

• What gets kept on ? in the end it is up to the child to decide what they keep on / give up. We have found that some activities have finite interest - the child learns a lot, and then reaches the point at which they feel that they have learnt enough. Possibly early successes aren't repeated, or an inspirational teacher retires / leaves and the activity becomes less attractive. Sometimes they just grow out of things.

• holiday courses are very good.

Good luck to your daughter for her raft of exams this month. You'll all be glad when November is over with I imagine.
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#51 CJEd

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Posted 06 November 2006 - 12:18

Thanks for the wealth of input!

Also for the compliment to my daughter! Yes, I think my daughter is pretty special with her combination of talent, enthusiasm and dedication.

Yes, it is interesting to think of having all lessons amalgamated, by going to something like the RNCM and thereby maybe even saving time rather than it being more, although we would still have piano to fit in separately. In specific music subjects only, we currently have G3 singing on a Wed eve locally for an hour (15mins round trip in the car), G3 violin for 1/2 an hour on a Thurs eve with a round trip of 45mins driving, G5 theory (up to last week) / composition continuous on a Thurs eve for 1/2 an hour but with a round trip driving of 1hr 10mins, strings intermediate orchestra for 1 1/2 hrs on a Fri eve with a 45min round trip drive and G4 piano for 1/2 an hour on a Sat eve with 1hr 10min drive. Daren't add it up! Also the notion of the Sat session being inclusive of practice takes another element away. Sorry to bore everyone with details you don't need!

Yes, we are not under-estimating future homework, just the current state of affairs. Our worry remains that academic stuff will play an increasing role, hence our worry for how music (and anything else) will still fit in.

We do all our practice in the morn (currently about 1 1/4 hrs... peak awareness time) and hope that this approach could remain the case at secondary sch, as we have 20min drive to primary sch and an 8.45am start anyway. However, will definitely track the 2 books you mention down for extra input.

Yes, we agree that some things will naturally fall by the wayside and a couple already have over the last 2 yrs, but she is really good at absolutely everything, therefore has great teacher relationshps who really encourage her to continue / do well etc. Will just have to see what pans out.

We've yet to discover good holiday schools. They seem to be more just places to ship your children to so you can continue working, in our experience. We've done both local daily for 1wk and South of France residential wk long performing arts schools so far. Suggestions of worthwhile ones would be good. Anyone?

Thanks for the good luck. She seems to have fared v. well in her G5 theory (I sat it too so I've an idea how she got on). Just 3 practicals to go (incl piano G4 for me too!). Hope everyone else's theory paper was a dream for them!
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#52 Kate

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Posted 06 November 2006 - 12:34

QUOTE(CJEd @ Nov 6 2006, 12:18 PM) View Post

Yes, it is interesting to think of having all lessons amalgamated, by going to something like the RNCM and thereby maybe even saving time rather than it being more, although we would still have piano to fit in separately.


It depends... it would be more likely that your daughter would carry on piano and violin as we all have to take piano as a second study anyway, unless we have played 2 other instruments before and never played piano, or we have an 'endangered species' that is particularly in demand! I am in my 4th and final year at Junior RNCM - PM me if you have any questions! Your daughter at the age she is would only study in the morning anyway. the youngest in the department are 8 years old - meaning some spend 10 years there. From personal experience, the majority (not all!) of teenagers who drop out before they are 18 are those who strated young and wanted to experience other things on a Saturday. I'm not sure if I entirely agree that 8 years old is old enough to cope with Conservatiore Junior Department but hey, that's my opinion and many succeed and love it from such an early age

QUOTE(CJEd @ Nov 6 2006, 12:18 PM) View Post

Yes, we are not under-estimating future homework, just the current state of affairs. Our worry remains that academic stuff will play an increasing role, hence our worry for how music (and anything else) will still fit in.


That was my biggest worry - and it was difficult in year 11 during my GCSEs (long way off yet for you though!). Something that struck me when I joined JRNCM was how commited the vast majority of people there were to their academic studies as well as music. I found it helped to notify my music teachers that my academic study was still important to me, and stress to my teachers at school the amount of music I do outside of school. I generally found them much more forgiving that way!

QUOTE(CJEd @ Nov 6 2006, 12:18 PM) View Post

We've yet to discover good holiday schools. They seem to be more just places to ship your children to so you can continue working, in our experience. We've done both local daily for 1wk and South of France residential wk long performing arts schools so far. Suggestions of worthwhile ones would be good. Anyone?


I have friends who used to do a course called Musicale. You might have to google it there, but they all seemed to enjoy it!

Hope some of this is useful smile.gif
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#53 CJEd

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Posted 26 November 2006 - 16:47

Firstly thanks for great input!

Quick question... do you mean she would do both violin and piano still in separate private lessons, or do you mean the opposite... both would be taken care of on a Saturday?

Do you know (or remember!) what she would do in a Saturday morning only session? In terms of both content and level?

In terms of her coping or not... all I can say is she is an extremely focussed child, no matter what the subject area... she is often described as 'intense' by teachers and the like. She doesn't want to do anything unless she is going to give it her 'all' and amazingly for us, her 'all' is usually a fantastic standard. We are in the peculiar and somewhat honoured position that she tackles a huge wealth of interests and all, amazingly well. We tend to find that others we come across have 1 particular subject that with focus, ambition, drive, determination and talent produce excellent results. She does it across the board!

In terms of overlapping commitment, her current private primary school is OK at her taking so much time off for exams, competitions and the like as well as coming in to school each day at the last possible minute in order to maximise practice time but I wonder that a future secondary school will. She is equally committed to her schooling and only ever wants to succeed at anything but I am unsure she will be supported when education starts to 'matter' more.

I will certainly look into 'Musicale' as our hopes for summer schooling are usually disappointed in real terms.

Good luck in your own commitment juggling! We wish you well during November.


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#54 Kate

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Posted 26 November 2006 - 17:38

QUOTE(CJEd @ Nov 26 2006, 04:47 PM) View Post

Firstly thanks for great input!

Quick question... do you mean she would do both violin and piano still in separate private lessons, or do you mean the opposite... both would be taken care of on a Saturday?

Do you know (or remember!) what she would do in a Saturday morning only session? In terms of both content and level?

In terms of her coping or not... all I can say is she is an extremely focussed child, no matter what the subject area... she is often described as 'intense' by teachers and the like. She doesn't want to do anything unless she is going to give it her 'all' and amazingly for us, her 'all' is usually a fantastic standard. We are in the peculiar and somewhat honoured position that she tackles a huge wealth of interests and all, amazingly well. We tend to find that others we come across have 1 particular subject that with focus, ambition, drive, determination and talent produce excellent results. She does it across the board!

In terms of overlapping commitment, her current private primary school is OK at her taking so much time off for exams, competitions and the like as well as coming in to school each day at the last possible minute in order to maximise practice time but I wonder that a future secondary school will. She is equally committed to her schooling and only ever wants to succeed at anything but I am unsure she will be supported when education starts to 'matter' more.

I will certainly look into 'Musicale' as our hopes for summer schooling are usually disappointed in real terms.

Good luck in your own commitment juggling! We wish you well during November.


Without wishing to "Big myself up" in any way, your daughter sounds a lot like I was when I was that age. What happened in the end is that I ended up dropping things as I became more interested in music, and then specialised in about Year 9, when I was 14, though even then I was still doing drama and dance and homework! I still do homework now! - with Uni offers you have something big to work towards!

What I mean is that Violin and piano lessons would be catered for as part of the day. Continuing with lessons outside isn't allowed because of conflicting information and things like that. I'm not completely sure what the younger ones do as I was never part of that group, however if you visit www.rncm.ac.uk and follow the links to the Junior School page then there are full details, if I remember of the set-up of the day... the younger ones are the Foundation Section. The older ones are Juniors (as the 'seniors' is the main 18+ college), and our day is much more flexible...ie. if you hate composition but love analysis this often can be arranged. I think the Foundation is a bit more set in stone, which is understandable really.

It's amazing the things I've done to fit practice in! One phase involved early morning scales! blink.gif I often practise in the morning though now I'm in sixth form. I'm not sure about all schools, it could be something so simple practising during music lessons but I know state schools have the government telling them not to let children have mornings to practise - like during registration, I experienced that one. I'm not au fait with the ways of private schools at all, sorry!

thanks for the good luck... I've actually only had one audition so far... they're stretching them out this time!
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#55 CJEd

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Posted 27 November 2006 - 14:13

I think for us the main issue is we feel she doesn't have anough spare time, just to doss on the sofa with a DVD or whatever. She has post-sch activities Tues - Fri and an action-packed day on a sat. Mon is our only free eve for having a friend over for tea and the like. Sundays she has now started teaching a friend pre-G1 piano too, so she does a lesson plan for that and teaches it, as well as practices for 2 instruments herself (and currently singing too)... all on our supposed quiet day. During a sch wk she is up at 6.30am at the mo to get 1 1/2 hrs of practice in (worst case scenario as we're in the middle of the exam sessions). The problem I've got in getting sch to allow her to practice in spare time (such as the incredibly pointless music lessons she gets there, or registration) is that a young child is not allowed to be unsupervised so she can't be in a music room on her own. I tried this last year and failed.

Thanks for confirming piano and violin are covered by RNCM. I've been on their web site briefly to get a general feel for their activities. I'm going to have to get in touch with them as I need to know details such as how they tailor information for each child within a group eg. I imagine not many 8yr olds have taken their G5 theory already. I understand that local lessons would be stopped due to conflicting inputs.

Good luck with your auditions and thanks for the input.
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#56 Guest: taxidriver_*

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Posted 27 November 2006 - 20:12

QUOTE(CJEd @ Nov 27 2006, 03:13 PM) View Post

I think for us the main issue is we feel she doesn't have anough spare time, just to doss on the sofa with a DVD or whatever. She has post-sch activities Tues - Fri and an action-packed day on a sat. Mon is our only free eve for having a friend over for tea and the like. Sundays she has now started teaching a friend pre-G1 piano too, so she does a lesson plan for that and teaches it, as well as practices for 2 instruments herself (and currently singing too)... all on our supposed quiet day. During a sch wk she is up at 6.30am at the mo to get 1 1/2 hrs of practice in (worst case scenario as we're in the middle of the exam sessions). The problem I've got in getting sch to allow her to practice in spare time (such as the incredibly pointless music lessons she gets there, or registration) is that a young child is not allowed to be unsupervised so she can't be in a music room on her own. I tried this last year and failed.

Thanks for confirming piano and violin are covered by RNCM. I've been on their web site briefly to get a general feel for their activities. I'm going to have to get in touch with them as I need to know details such as how they tailor information for each child within a group eg. I imagine not many 8yr olds have taken their G5 theory already. I understand that local lessons would be stopped due to conflicting inputs.

Good luck with your auditions and thanks for the input.



My daughter attends junior department on Saturdays - this is her 4th Year, she's now 12. Yes there are tremendous advantages - all her lessons are in one day, in one place, the standard is very, very good, and she has a wonderful social time mixing with like-minded children.

There are down sides however and both the parents and the child have to feel it really worthwhile. We have a 2 hour commute each way on a Saturday (and that's pretty normal for kids @ college - one boy comes from Belfast!!) and then she has lessons from 9.00 through til 5.00 with only a couple of short breaks.

She misses Saturday school so has to catch up with extra homework on Sundays which she does willingly.

She often misses schoolfriends parties, particularly Friday night sleepovers.

She has long school days (8.15 - 5.40) so only has time for homework and music practise in the evening.

But she absolutely loves it and hates to miss it even if she is ill!
For the right child it is a wonderful place
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#57 violincjj

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Posted 27 November 2006 - 23:00

One of my kids went to a conservatoire junior dept aged 9.......having done grade 5 theory already. They thought she should do Gd 5 theory classes again for a year. why? who knows. it was enough to switch her off for good.
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#58 CJEd

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Posted 28 November 2006 - 10:49

Thanks for input, you two.

I absolutely can appreciate the advantages of having all my daughter's music lessons in a 1-day hit as there must be a real benefit to concentration absorption.

I'm also sure the standard would be good quality. Having said that, both her piano and violin teachers have also brought her along great or she wouldn't be where she is today. Can't say the same for singing teacher!!! Nor school!

I also really want her to mix with like minded. She is a bit of an odd-bod at school, being academically so much brighter and the only 1 with a schedule anything like as packed or as high-level as hers. In her private primary sch she is the only musical child who is not still on G1 or G2, and she is only yr 4. Even in her borough strings orchestra, where she makes friends with good quality strings players, they are much older than her.

The travel time cannot be worse than the hours and hours I taxi her at the moment to individual lessons / orchestra etc.

My daughter already misses loads of sleepovers / parties etc. voluntarily (not necessarily happily!) eg. this Sat she decided to go to her solo G5 tap lesson rather than a swimming party of a sch friend, as its the last chance to practice her G5 exam dance with her teacher before she performs it on the 8th at a Christmas music concert. She understands dedication and commitment unbelieveably well for an 8yr old.

However, the comment about repeated theory is a worry. A) she loves theory and can't wait to get her teeth into G6 alongside her composition lesson. A) again (as the next letter brings up a symbol!!) she hates being held back in anything, always wanting new challenges. She's at her best when given something new to do.

Anyway, after these exams this wk, I'm going to have to get in touch with the junior dept and start off a dialogue at least.

Thanks again for insights!
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