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How to combine school, exam preparation and free time?


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#1 Bang

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 08:28

Hello,

 

My daughter is 10 and I am wondering how long we will manage. She is preparing Grade 6 piano (fortunately we got rid of Grade 5 Theory) but also does violin which she likes a lot (not going grade  exams yet but between Grade 2 and 3 according to her teacher).

Grade 6 piano is manageable but when I look at GRade 7/8 pieces there is a big jump.

 

How do people in the same situation organize themselves with school? How do your evenings look like? I feel overwhelmed sometimes and wonder if it is really worth the trouble...

 

 


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#2 GMc

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 10:07

Is it a passion for her or a duty?  Does she get pleasure out of them both?   There is no hurry to move on to any grade at all in piano.  How much does she currently practise?  If she took  years to get to grade 7 piano (either standard or taking the exam) after this it would not be any sort of issue...Most people do more than 30 mins a day for  the higher exam levels but 30 mins a day for a longer period will still get you there eventually.    She probably needs some life experience and  musical maturity anyway to take on some of the later repertoire.  

 

My daughter at that age used to spend about an hour altogether  on both her instruments per day.   She ended up choosing to do more later on and  but she made a fairly early decision at around 14 that she wanted to study music longterm.   She used to play a lot at weekends as well as performing and orchestral stuff.   All this was fairly easily achieved via about 20mins  before school, 15 mins after tea and 30 mins later on pre and post dinner.  

 

What other activities does she want to do - mine was not enthusiastic on sport at all but I got to high levels on 2 instruments, NYO  plus a lot of sport including international level plus school (traditional lots and lots of homework type school 40 years ago ) via having a strict routine.  Cant say I put in more than about 40 mins a day on both instruments towards the end but I was an efficient practiser by then and carried on improving all be it slower than earlier on.

 

I will say that TV for mine has been pretty much zero all through school.   Occasional animal documentary or cooking show only. 


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#3 sbhoa

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 10:25

At 10 I'd not be thinking of keeping up with the exam schedule but of enjoying playing a wide variety of repertoire.

Don't forget that the equivalent level for grades 6-8 is A level and for A level music around grade 6 performance is good.

As long as it fits sensibly within your family, and her personal schedule let her do as much as she wants though you may need to sort out a practice schedule between two instruments with her.

If she loves playing as much as her impressive achievements so far suggest she will mostly happily use the time available for practice. Perhaps the difficulty will be in restricting her to reasonable time in order to fit in other things?


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#4 BadStrad

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 11:20

Bang, there is no sense of enjoyment (of playing) in your post.    You say "fortunately we got rid of Grade 5 Theory" and that you "wonder if it is really worth the trouble..."  I hope your daughter is enjoying the process more than you appear to be. 

 

May I ask what is the rush?  Is your daughter at a competitive school or aiming for a scholarship at one?  As GMc points out for the higher grades some musical maturity is expected to achieve the highest marks and dashing through the grades is unlikely to give her time to achieve that.  Does she ever just play for fun, allowing her self expression to blossom?

 

I do also wonder what her practice regime is like that you are so worried about fitting everything in.  Unless you have extraordinary lengthy meal times, or she goes to bed super early, or travels a very long way to school, there are plenty hours in the day to practice *and* spend times with friends and family.


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#5 Bang

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 14:33

Hello,

Thank you. She practises around 30 minutes violin and 1 hour piano (very variable - takes longer when pieces are new). As I said, it is still manageable.

I am more wondering about next year; she will start middle school, will have much more homework and her violin takes more and more time. She started 1,5 year ago, it was really just for fun but she is doing very well so her teacher gives her lots of new pieces every week. 

How do you manage Grade 7/8 piano exams together with school?

There is a big jump between piano grade 6 and grade 7. I know my daughter would need a full term to learn grade 7 pieces versus a half term for Grade 6 - which leaves time to explore other pieces as well.


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#6 Bang

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 14:39

Another thing is that I don't understand what you mean with rush. 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.


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#7 sbhoa

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 14:53

Another thing is that I don't understand what you mean with rush. 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.

Even starting before age 7 grade 6 is impressive at 10. In my experience they are doing well to get to grade 2 in that time, maybe grade 3 for those who progress faster. 

A full term to learn grade 7 pieces and only half a term for grade 6 sounds to me as though she is already above that level and a very quick learner. 

A level students manage to do grade 7 or 8 during while studying for their exams so no reason why somebody at a less pressured stage in school can't if they have the ability. The only thing is as GMc said that more life experience musical maturity would be preferable at the later grades. 

Students with the level of talent that your daughter has often don't take all the grades.  They spend their time on covering a wide range of repertoire. Perhaps festival performances would be a good plan if she doesn't already do this as these are more of a real performance experience than exams and the feedback is generally much more comprehensive.


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#8 Bang

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 15:03

Hello,

Interesting. I am French and live in Sweden so I am not familiar as such with the ABRSM grade system - nobody among friends/family knows anything about it. Only Chinese children take graded exams here. She is fluent in 2 of the 3 Grade 6 pieces which she started one month ago, and finished sight reading of the third piece today. All scales are ok. Sight-reading needs practise, aural not started. If we had a session in December, we would take it but the only session is in May. 

She got low distinction grade 4 and high merit grade 5. I teach her myself. Clearly, she is more interested and talented in violin. Violin is very easy for her. But if she was quitting piano now, she would have neither a proper level in piano nor violin. I am thinking she should quit piano when she reaches grade 8 in piano or grade 6 in violin. But next year will be tough with middle school, more violin and grade 7... 


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#9 Flossie

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 15:35

Remember that bang is in Asia...

 

They have very different expectations of the lives which children should lead.  We may not agree with it here, or with the hot-housing methods they use, but in that culture children are seen as failures if they haven't become world class at activities such as music by the time they are a teenager.   

 

bang - only those from very privileged backgrounds here receive tuition on multiple instruments at your daughters age.  Grade 1-2 is probably for the norm for those who have the opportunity to learn an instrument at primary school age (up to age 11), with a few who have private tuition reaching grade 3-4 at that age (and this isn't the norm for those taking private lessons).  For most, proper instrumental lessons aren't available until secondary school (age 11+).  Those with genuine talent can still reach the standard required for conservatoire entrance by the time they leave school.  

 

Edit: I've just seen from bang's post above that she isn't in Asia.  However she seems to have been heavily influenced by the Asian approach and expectations regarding music.  


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#10 Bang

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 16:12

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)?


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#11 Cyrilla

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 17:46

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

:unsure:
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#12 barry-clari

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 18:02

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

Oh it matters. It very, very much matters.
Whether you agree with the methodology or not (and regular forum watchers will know that I disagree with the Bang approach to music), the point here is this is how Bang and her daughter approach music and music lessons, you can disagree, but that isn't going to change anything, and I will leave them be as regards that.
The question is how they are able to fit everything in, in the Bang style, and as I have no idea how that can be done (mainly because my approach to music is very different and I've never had a primary age student do better than grade 4!) I shall bow out here!
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#13 Bang

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 18:40

Hello,

I have to say I am very surprised by the animosity. We are big music lovers in my family, either very good amateurs or professional. What do you mean "You disagree the way I and my daughter approach music"? what do you know about us? 


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#14 barry-clari

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 18:43

Please don’t make it personal : I have said my piece, and I do not wish to say more.
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#15 Bang

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 18:46

Hello,

of course I make it personal. We devote a lot of time to music, we do our best to cope with everything, I am here for advice and I am told I am doing things the wrong way because my daughter would be too good too soon? Are you jealous? Then just work more.


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