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Grade 5 Theory...


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#1 helenflute

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 16:44

Hello. A quick theory question from a parent. I've four little monsters: they've been playing for a while, but haven't followed the ABRSM programme. My daughter is quite keen to sit her theory exams: she's 12, and G5 should be just right for her. One of my other kids is keen too, but while he could manage, I think he's perhaps too little for "exam stress". How young is too young? (I know it depends on the child!) I'd be interested in hearing how your kids felt about the exams, and how old they were when they did certain theory grades. Thanks.
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#2 Claudia's Mum

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 17:07


Mine did grade 2 at 8 years. There was no stress at all as it was so unimportant! She only stayed for the minimum time allowed and did it quite happily. She did grade 5 at 11 and again, was not fazed by it at all.
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#3 Halka

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 17:11

My daughter took her first theory exam when she was 10 and grade 5 when she was 12. Doing the theory exams was just good fun so far as she was concerned and never a source of stress. She's the kind of kid who likes maths, puzzles, etc and relished doing theory (except for rote learning Italian etc musical terms...). I don't think there's any reason why your son should feel any exam stress, unless you give him a reason to stress over it.

I've mentioned it in other threads, but my daughter and I worked on the theory together and took the exams together which made it more fun for us, but as this is the kind of thing you can only reasonably do once, I was lucky in that I only had one musical child and that I didn't already know much theory at the start. I know it wouldn't work for everyone.
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#4 sunil

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 17:21

Slightly hard to achieve, but there are many around who has done it well.

Mine made her first attempt after learning herself and failed! But in second attempt, at age 10 she passed the exam with 83 out of 100.
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#5 tonedeafmum

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 18:16

QUOTE(sunil @ Feb 28 2012, 05:21 PM) View Post

Slightly hard to achieve, but there are many around who has done it well.

Mine made her first attempt after learning herself and failed! But in second attempt, at age 10 she passed the exam with 83 out of 100.

I'd vote for 10 as well - if they're old enough to deal with Year 6 teachers stressing about SATs levels at them - they can manage Grade 5 theory.
I am thinking of getting Son to take Grade 3 next year as a sort of trial run - he'll be turning 9 by summer 2013.
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#6 Subito

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 00:18

QUOTE(tonedeafmum @ Feb 28 2012, 06:16 PM) View Post

QUOTE(sunil @ Feb 28 2012, 05:21 PM) View Post

Slightly hard to achieve, but there are many around who has done it well.

Mine made her first attempt after learning herself and failed! But in second attempt, at age 10 she passed the exam with 83 out of 100.

I'd vote for 10 as well - if they're old enough to deal with Year 6 teachers stressing about SATs levels at them - they can manage Grade 5 theory.
I am thinking of getting Son to take Grade 3 next year as a sort of trial run - he'll be turning 9 by summer 2013.



You will be amazed how children can cope with things if you allow them to start at an earlier age. Mine started taking theory exams at 6 and got his G5 at 8.
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#7 sunil

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 05:59

No surprise there, there are exceptions! I read stories of many children who completed Grade 8 in instruments at very early years, who all must have Grade 5 theory passed.

QUOTE(Subito @ Feb 29 2012, 12:18 AM) View Post

You will be amazed how children can cope with things if you allow them to start at an earlier age. Mine started taking theory exams at 6 and got his G5 at 8.


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#8 tonedeafmum

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 08:49

QUOTE(Subito @ Feb 29 2012, 12:18 AM) View Post


You will be amazed how children can cope with things if you allow them to start at an earlier age. Mine started taking theory exams at 6 and got his G5 at 8.

No not amazed at all. tongue.gif
I've encountered a fair few young children taking higher grade exams but they usually come from musical families who can help with theory (and with so much else!!!) at home.
By the age of 10 I think most children should be able to get on with homework set by a teacher (academic or musical) and make good progress with no more parental support than a simple - "There's half an hour before tea - have you got a pencil?" biggrin.gif
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#9 Subito

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 09:53

QUOTE(tonedeafmum @ Feb 29 2012, 08:49 AM) View Post

QUOTE(Subito @ Feb 29 2012, 12:18 AM) View Post


You will be amazed how children can cope with things if you allow them to start at an earlier age. Mine started taking theory exams at 6 and got his G5 at 8.

No not amazed at all. tongue.gif
I've encountered a fair few young children taking higher grade exams but they usually come from musical families who can help with theory (and with so much else!!!) at home.
By the age of 10 I think most children should be able to get on with homework set by a teacher (academic or musical) and make good progress with no more parental support than a simple - "There's half an hour before tea - have you got a pencil?" biggrin.gif



Please don't get me wrong, I wasn't saying to sit G5 at 8 is anything special or anything that should be amazed of, ( we know some are even younger). I was only saying it is quite amazing what children are capable of if you let them start at an earlier age.

And yes, by the age of 10, they are usually mature enough to handle most of their work and are a little more careful then the younger ones.
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#10 Maizie

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 10:04

QUOTE(sunil @ Feb 29 2012, 05:59 AM) View Post
I read stories of many children who completed Grade 8 in instruments at very early years, who all must have Grade 5 theory passed.
Or G5 jazz subject or G5 practical musicianship. No, these are not in any way easier options, but they are not 'sit down with a pencil and do boring work-like-learning' - they are practical. Different approaches suit different people - adults as well as children - but I can imagine certain children would get on better with G5 practical musicianship to G5 theory.
(Don't get me wrong, I would probably have hated prac mus as a child, because it's in some way like an extended aural test and isn't the short one in the exam bad enough? tongue.gif But I can imagine that if you are a child having rounded music lessons that incorporate musical games, listening games, improvisation stuff, etc, then practical musicianship must but fun! smile.gif)
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#11 soccermom

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 21:54

I certainly know of young children who found the theory extremely difficult but sailed through the practical musicianship. I certainly don't see it as an easy option in general. Personally I'd rather do the theory any day. But it is an easier option for some people.

Mine both took grade 3 theory at 8 or 9. My older one did grade 5 at 10 and found it all pretty easy and unstressful. The older one took it today, aged 12. She was struggling a bit with the grade 4 book so we left it for a while, didn't want more stress in year 6, so only really started again around Christmas when I decided that we couldn't put it off any longer. She's still not brilliant at some of it - she finds time signatures and beaming very hard (too much like maths!) and she can be careless, but finds other aspects very easy eg chords at cadential points.

Since the beginning of half term, she has done 8 past papers and her marks went steadily up, so I think she was feeling reasonably confident about today and didn't find the exam itself particularly stressful
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