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How to combine school, exam preparation and free time?


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#16 Leese

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 19:19

Does she ever learn or play anything apart from her exam pieces? Work on technique and consolidation in between exams?


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#17 sbhoa

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 19:24

Hi, I am not in Asia,  but in Sweden. She has tuition in violin only since I teach her myself in piano. Anyway, the issue is the same. How do English children cope with grade 7 and high school (instead of middle school)?

I guess they cope with it by being organised with their time and because they love their music too much not to do it.

Those playing an orchestral instrument will also keep up their orchestra/band rehearsals. For them the music is their break from work, their chosen leisure activity.

If there's a point where it becomes too much then choices have to be made. 


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#18 Bang

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 19:44

Does she ever learn or play anything apart from her exam pieces? Work on technique and consolidation in between exams?

Yes she does. But that's part of my initial question. I am not sure how long we will be able to cope. The violin came in our life unexpectedly and it  s much easier for her. So the logic would be that we stop piano. On the other hand, I think violin is easy for her because of her piano foundation. She loves listening to musical masterworks but does not dream of playing them - it is enough for her to listen to them. I was like her in her age, I started to project myself and really wanted to play great pieces when I became a teenager - so maybe it would be a pity to stop the piano... 


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#19 Bang

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 19:46

Does it matter what grade she is? Why is all this important? What is the ultimate aim?

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It doesn't matter, but on the other hand, why would she take grade 3 if she already passed grade 5?!? The ultimate aim is to be fluent on the instrument, to be able to take a score and play great pieces fluently without spending months on sight-reading etc.


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#20 Leese

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 20:07

 

Does it matter what grade she is? Why is all this important? What is the ultimate aim?

unsure.png

 

It doesn't matter, but on the other hand, why would she take grade 3 if she already passed grade 5?!? The ultimate aim is to be fluent on the instrument, to be able to take a score and play great pieces fluently without spending months on sight-reading etc.

 

 

But that comes with experience and musical maturity... quite the opposite approach to rushing them through the grades at a young age, which necessitates *not* giving them all that experience in order to do it quickly. I don't know the answer to your question, though.


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#21 sbhoa

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 20:11

 

Does it matter what grade she is? Why is all this important? What is the ultimate aim?

unsure.png

 

It doesn't matter, but on the other hand, why would she take grade 3 if she already passed grade 5?!? The ultimate aim is to be fluent on the instrument, to be able to take a score and play great pieces fluently without spending months on sight-reading etc.

 

You don't need exams for that. If she likes something like an exam as a target then I'd prepare for whatever grade is appropriate at the time.

Otherwise playing a lots of different music will do the job better than stopping off for exams. Do you manage to find performance opportunities for her?


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#22 BadStrad

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 20:13

Does she ever learn or play anything apart from her exam pieces? Work on technique and consolidation in between exams?

Yes she does. But that's part of my initial question. I am not sure how long we will be able to cope.
I am very confused by the idea that you won't be able to cope. You are teaching your daughter at home. Other children cope with school, with lessons, which may involve long journeys (here thirty minutes to an hour and a quarter are average one way travel times) and friends and family time. Orchestral players have orchestral music to learn, as well as rehearsals, on top of all that. Perhaps the problem is that you have some kind of timetable in mind for *when* things should happen instead of letting them happen in their natural course. Perhaps that is how other families cope, they take the time it takes rather than forcing a timescale.
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#23 Bang

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 20:22

 

 

Does it matter what grade she is? Why is all this important? What is the ultimate aim?

unsure.png

 

It doesn't matter, but on the other hand, why would she take grade 3 if she already passed grade 5?!? The ultimate aim is to be fluent on the instrument, to be able to take a score and play great pieces fluently without spending months on sight-reading etc.

 

 

But that comes with experience and musical maturity... quite the opposite approach to rushing them through the grades at a young age, which necessitates *not* giving them all that experience in order to do it quickly. I don't know the answer to your question, though.

 

 

 

 

There has to be a misunderstanding here. I did not rush her through grades... She only took two exams so far, grade 4 and 5. She enjoyed this opportunity, so why not continue?


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#24 polkadot

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 20:23

Although you've said that you feel overwhelmed and that it's possibly not worth the trouble, how does your daughter feel about it? Is she feeling overwhelmed or is she taking it in her stride?

There are occasions when forward thinking and planning for the future is desirable and sometimes essential, but is this one of them? Why not wait and see how she gets on with more advanced playing when she gets there? She may continue to take it all in her stride, or she may start getting stressed. She may even pick up on your stress and that may adversely affect her. I'd be inclined to encourage her to do as much as she is capable of doing without getting overwhelmed, and take the pressure off if she starts feeling it.

 

Very few of us can do everything we want to do, and usually something has to give.  That time might come next year for your daughter, but any decision you make now may not be the right one next year. 

 

The ultimate aim is to be fluent on the instrument, to be able to take a score and play great pieces fluently without spending months on sight-reading etc.

By "the" ultimate aim, do you mean your daughter's, your own, her teacher's...?


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#25 Hedgehog

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 20:27

My daughter was not at grade 6 when she left primary school - she was certainly a good grade 4, learning violin too - at G5, and took up singing at age 12.  As her piano teacher (and piano was her 3rd instrument in terms of choice) I found a range of repertoire at the level she was working at and gradually increased the difficulty, so that in fact her reading became much more fluent.  This obviously benefitted violin and singing significantly too.

 

My daughter certainly needed encouragement to practise, but she didn't spend one hour on her piano per evening - that was not possible with school work too, plus other instruments, and some "down-time" for relaxation.  

 

What does your daughter do in her hour's practice of the piano?  Do you specifically supervise her?  I would say, that she would benefit from playing a range of lower grade pieces - treating them as quick studies if you like, learning them by herself over a couple of weeks, so that her sight-reading was automatically being challenged regularly,  but she wasn't having to do specific "sight-reading studies" which can be tedious, and rather off-putting for a youngster.   In this way, her reading of music will become more fluent and she will be able to read through music more easily.


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#26 Banjogirl

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 20:27

It's hard to say, not really knowing the school system. homework requirements and so on, in Sweden. Grade 6 at 10 is very good. My bad boy was grade 5 in two instruments at 11 but he was home educated so we had loads of time to practise without school nonsense getting in the way. When he went to secondary school he got home at three every day and would practise each instrument for maybe forty-five minutes a night. He was out all of one evening at choir, had orchestra on Saturday mornings, and since he was 13 has been at a junior conservatoire all of every Saturday. He is an able but lazy boy and manages to fit in plenty of downtime playing on the computer.

 

It shouldn't be a stress, although it often is. You have to find out what works for you. A routine can be really helpful, but only if your child likes to do things that way. I wouldn't be too anxious to rush through the grades. I'd be wanting to see progress, but unless your child really wants to practise for hours a night and be ahead of everyone else then maybe take it a bit easier and don't worry so much. She's doing really well. Don't lose the enjoyment for the sake of doing things quickly. Does she play in an orchestra? Mine have loved that over everything else.


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#27 Bang

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 20:27

Although you've said that you feel overwhelmed and that it's possibly not worth the trouble, how does your daughter feel about it? Is she feeling overwhelmed or is she taking it in her stride?

There are occasions when forward thinking and planning for the future is desirable and sometimes essential, but is this one of them? Why not wait and see how she gets on with more advanced playing when she gets there? She may continue to take it all in her stride, or she may start getting stressed. She may even pick up on your stress and that may adversely affect her. I'd be inclined to encourage her to do as much as she is capable of doing without getting overwhelmed, and take the pressure off if she starts feeling it.

 

The ultimate aim is to be fluent on the instrument, to be able to take a score and play great pieces fluently without spending months on sight-reading etc.

By "the" ultimate aim, do you mean your daughter's, your own, her teacher's...?

 

No my daughter is very cool, her nature is very different from mine. She doesnt feel overwhelmed. In fact, I was very reluctant that she would start the violin because of the time pressure, but she insisted and is doing well. I am just afraid she will not have enough free time. In Sweden free time is the only valued thing in childhood. Which also creates pressure on parents. I don't know any other children who practices instrument. They may go to lessons, but don't practise. After 5 years they are still not on Grade 1 level... for me it s pure waste of money/time.


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#28 BadStrad

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 20:29

Grade 6 is normal grade for end of primary school isn't? The pieces are still very basic in my opinion. The Merikanto valse lente can even be seen as a beginner piece, in fact.

This comment may have something to do with what you are seeing as animosity. Grade six is considered a solid level of musical learning, achieved generally by a kid of around fourteen after a lot of hard work by them and by their teacher and at no small expense to their parents. To dismiss it as "beginner" level is discourteous. Of course compared with the Rach Three, it is a beginner level, but on a scale of one to eight it is a significant achievement.

Going back to the comments about musical maturity, some pieces have "easy" notes to play, but saying something with the music, or truely bringing out the separate voices takes more maturity and experience and understanding of the history etc. For example could a string player really project the anguish of the Shostakavich quartets with no knowledge of the horrors and fears he would have experienced at that time in history? In short, the notes may fall under the hands easily but there is so much more to music than hitting the right note.
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#29 Leese

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 20:29

 

There has to be a misunderstanding here. I did not rush her through grades... She only took two exams so far, grade 4 and 5. She enjoyed this opportunity, so why not continue?

 

 

In what timescale? 

 

She's very young to be doing Grade 6, so I think (maybe erroneously?) people are assuming that she's jumping straight from one grade to the next, quickly. 

 

Perhaps too obvious a thought for you not to have considered, but if she was waiting until she was a little older to do the higher grades, there'd be more hours in the day to get everything in since I assume she'd be going to bed later.


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#30 Bang

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 20:29

It's hard to say, not really knowing the school system. homework requirements and so on, in Sweden. Grade 6 at 10 is very good. My bad boy was grade 5 in two instruments at 11 but he was home educated so we had loads of time to practise without school nonsense getting in the way. When he went to secondary school he got home at three every day and would practise each instrument for maybe forty-five minutes a night. He was out all of one evening at choir, had orchestra on Saturday mornings, and since he was 13 has been at a junior conservatoire all of every Saturday. He is an able but lazy boy and manages to fit in plenty of downtime playing on the computer.

 

It shouldn't be a stress, although it often is. You have to find out what works for you. A routine can be really helpful, but only if your child likes to do things that way. I wouldn't be too anxious to rush through the grades. I'd be wanting to see progress, but unless your child really wants to practise for hours a night and be ahead of everyone else then maybe take it a bit easier and don't worry so much. She's doing really well. Don't lose the enjoyment for the sake of doing things quickly. Does she play in an orchestra? Mine have loved that over everything else.

 

Thanks. She is actually in an English school, following British curriculum. Her school is one hour from our home, so this is a bit challenging.


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