QUOTE(Dulciana @ Oct 9 2008, 08:30 AM)
Parents who have a child learning an instrument for the first time are always very keen to know when he/she will be 'ready to do grades', and there isn't really an answer. Some could almost tackle Grade One a few weeks after starting, but it's not the norm, and others may never be able to polish three pieces and all the rest of it at once at all. And there's always the question of whether doing every grade is the best thing anyway. I agree with those above, whom I know don't think it is the best, but in reality it can be exams that motivate children to pull out a few extra stops with regard to practice, so we have to be pragmatic.
About sightreading - I have a few pupils who would never have done any exams at all if I'd waited till their sightreading was up to the standard of the grade at which they were playing otherwise, but they have none the less got very good marks for all the other sections of the exam. We've had numerous discussions on whether people are natural readers, improvisers or memorisers, and I don't think the memorisers should be held back or made to feel that their abilities are 'below standard'. We don't watch concert pianists sightreading - or playing scales for that matter. I have a pupil whose other instrumental teacher seems to belittle him a bit because of his poor sighteading ability, and doesn't enter him for exams because of it. As a result he lacks confidence in his playing ability generally in that instrument, whereas I try to make him see that his ability to memorise is something that is superior to mine and to make him understand that everyone has strengths and weaknesses. He can be an erratic practiser, but the mention of an exam usually means that he will do wonders in a few weeks. Meanwhile I live in hope that the sighreading will kick in at some stage, but I wouldn't hold him back because of it.
That is certainly true. I have a niece who has taken 6 years of piano but cannot yet sight read. She has very good ears and can memorize hard pieces quickly.
I am sorry I did not indicate the instrument but it is a violin. I have heard of teachers who put emphasis on position or posture and sound and will not let a student proceed until it is satisfactory to her standard. I have also a friend who took viola lessons and spent 3 months just on bowing. My first violin student have had piano lessons for a year and can sight read in 6 months.
For my second and third student I plan to spend time on producing good sound and correct position, correct bowing. Since my students are 6 and 10 years old, they get tired easily-10 minutes in the correct position and they drift to their own comfortable position. That is the scroll pointing down, palm of left hand on the neck, violin perpendicular to chest. bow hold changed. Yet the sound seems better in this bad position. It is frustrating. How long should I be patient? Why are some kids their age playing concerto pieces in Youtube?