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Trying to make sense of Grade 5 sight-reading instructions

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#1 dacapo



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Posted 01 March 2017 - 17:18

I'm looking at the Grade 5 cello sight-reading parameters. They include: "time and key signatures as Grade 4,with the addition of E minor. Highest note A (a'): shifts as required to cover this range." No mention of actual positions.

Scrolling back to the Grade 4 ones I read in typical pompous AB prose:  "Shifts between 1st and 4th positions may be encountered". No mention of the highest note.

I find I'm not absolutely sure what are the lowest and highest notes that count as 4th position on a cello A string to take as a point of reference.

I describe myself as a teaching accompanist, and as well as rehearsing the accompanied pieces for an exam I always include sight-reading practice. I positively enjoy helping people to boost their sight-reading marks, and write my own examples (sometimes in consultation with players or teachers of the instruments in question), each of which includes as many of the parameters as possible. My aim is to have any candidate I accompany come out of the exam and say "the sight-reading was easier than what you gave me". :)

Writing my own examples also has the advantage that there's absolutely no chance that the candidate will have seen them before. :)

It turns out I haven't accompanied a Grade 5 cello exam since the last syllabus change, so I've just been checking the parameters. I find it seriously irritating that I have to trawl through the Grades 1-4 ones in order to compile the Grade 5 set, especially as there's plenty of white space to include the full details for each grade on the syllabus pages. People can download the syllabus for a single exam but then find they haven't got all the relevant information.

End of rant...

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#2 Tenor Viol

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 21:58

Standard 4th position, 4th finger on A string is G above middle C. So the octave A is above that and is usually played with extended 3rd finger, or in 5th

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#3 WillRoberts



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Posted 12 March 2017 - 14:48

...or as a harmonic?  I would have thought G5 would be first position, fourth position, and mid-string harmonics.

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#4 lubylu



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Posted 14 March 2017 - 19:32

As a cellist, to me those parameters make perfect sense. I know exactly what notes, shifts and positions will be required. Do you play the cello? If not, I wonder if you are the best person to be working on sight reading with a pupil preparing for an exam....there are loads of published sight reading exercises which the pupil should surely working on with their cello teacher who can help them with technique and fingering required. It is a technically demanding instrument but there are things which make sight reading easier, a good teacher will be able to impart this information. Even with the best intentions, someone who does not play the instrument will not understand the technical issues involved.
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#5 Latin pianist

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 21:09

Goodness, it has never occurred to me to do anything I haven't been asked to do with people I accompany. I do sometimes get asked to do aural and find it quite annoying that the teacher hasn't bothered to do it. One teacher would expect me to cover grade 5 aural as part of 2 accompanying practices. But I've never been asked to do sight reading.
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