Jul 24 2012, 11:37 AM
Ive come across this quite recently where students are being prepared for grades 4-6 exam but if an audition comes up the teacher gets them to work on two pieces at a level much higher than the exam they are preparing for - sometimes even three grades higher. Often they do a very good job of the piece for the audition - at least merit standard - but then go back to working towards the lower grade exam.
I'm wondering why this is. Of course some areas may not be as developed such as aural and scales but why bother sitting the lower grade at all and just work towards the higher grade, however long it takes?
Jul 24 2012, 12:06 PM
One reason could be that exams examine much more than pieces.
Jul 24 2012, 12:12 PM
My reaction is either (a) is the teacher holding them back, in other words they're at a far more advanced level than the teacher thinks (or their playing is advanced, but other musical things aren't); or (b) the standard required for the audition is beyond their level of ability, and the pressure to 'perform' at a certain level means they're given pieces which are harder than where they're really at.
At the end of the day, your guess is as good as mine though as it presumably depends on individual circumstances. The situation you describe is not one I've come across.
I just hope in all this, we don't lose sight of the enjoyment of the music itself.
Jul 24 2012, 01:13 PM
Perhaps the teacher has skilfully located a piece that is flashy but uses the skills the student happens to have. I could not pass grade 5 on piano as I would have nothing to play from lists B and C, but I can certainly do the list A pieces, often I can do the ones from grades 6 and 7 too, but if I were sitting an exam I'd be going for grade 3.
Or perhaps they are one of those teachers who uses the exams as a summative assessment, looking back not looking forward. Some people put candidates in for an exam when they are comfortable working at that level, so when they have exhausted grade 3 and have begun working the skills required for grade 4 they go in for 3, not when they are around the middle of grade 3 and could be stretched towards it.
But there are sad cases where the teacher thinks it's important to do each and every exam (as opposed to just learning the skills that go with each exam level) and they have the kids slave away sequentially regardless of progress.
Jul 24 2012, 02:23 PM
Or the teacher will tolerate nothing less than a distinction in exams and only enters the pupil when this can be almost assured.
Reasonable notion about supporting tests quite possibly being weaker than the pieces, though.
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