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GRADE 3 Theory & Practical exams Autumn sitting 2017

exam Grade III Organ Grade 3

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#1 Kathleen Austen

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Posted 23 October 2017 - 22:34

Not having done exams for several decades ... and my last music exam was Piano Grade 6 at age 16 (UNISA, South Africa) ... I am embarking on Grade 3 Theory and Practical in November, on the pipe organ!

?Needless to say, nerves are now beginning to creep in and sections of the pieces I've been practicing all year, are suddenly developing mistakes that I never did before ... crying.gif 
 

The infuriating thing is that I know I can do them perfectly, to tempo, with 'feeling' ... so what's happening? Will this 'phase' pass before November 16th?!

?The 3 pieces I'm playing are (not necessarily in this order):
?
List A, No. 2 - Frescobaldi - Allegro in G minor  (Oxford Service Music for Organ, Manuals only Book 1 (OUP))
List B, No. 6 - S. Wesley - Andantino in F  (Oxford Service Music for Organ, Manuals only Book 1 (OUP))
List C, No. 6 - Peeters - Of the Father’s love begotten  (The Church Year (Cramer))

 

None are particularly challenging ... I've done them quite happily, time and again, faultlessly. I've played them after service on Sunday (after the congregation has left!) to feel what they were like on a proper pipe organ (I only have a little Technics GA1 at home, running Hauptwerk very successfully now). This past Sunday, I mucked up the Frescobaldi 3 times in a row (sweaty fingers sticking to the keys) so I gave up in a fury, but I sailed through the other two without much trouble. Crazy thing is, it's usually the Frescobaldi that I have 'nailed' and the Wesley that I muck up.

?Is this pre-exam nerves, or am I missing a trick?

?The practical exam (visit) will be interesting, as I was unable to gain access to any pipe organ locally where there was a piano in the same venue! An absolute criteria must for ABRSM organ exams, it seems. So, my music teacher an I have devised a plan! She has set up one of her digital organs, with standard 61 note manuals, a full pedal board, and we are using Hauptwerk! She has a good digital piano with proper weighted keys, so that wasn't a concern. The organ 'arrangement' will be interesting! Either the examiner will stalk off in disgust, or give me the benefit of the doubt and let me at least try the exam wacko.png 

Post mortem will follow in due course!


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#2 Dafydd_y_Garreg_Wen

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Posted 24 October 2017 - 07:26

Very sorry you are having these problems.

As you've no doubt found, there is plenty advice on this distressing phenomenon. Most of it gets repeated over and over again by different writers and teachers. It's all reasonable stuff but none of it transformative.

After years of grappling with this problem of performance I have come to the conclusion that the following three things (which overlap and reinforce each other) have the potential to be transformative.

1. Improvisation
2. "Mindful learning" as described by Ellen J. Langer. (N.B. Important to understand that whilst this has something in common with "mindfulness" that is currently so fashionable, it's not the same thing.)
3. Close attention to the physicality of playing at a level of very fine detail (e.g. precisely where on a key a particular finger goes - very very precisely). Neil Stannard is very good on this. It overlaps a lot with 2.

As none of the above normally receives much attention I'll expand on them in a separate post later today (no time to do this immediately).

(Of course improvisation does receive a fair amount of attention, but its relevance to the performance of composed music doesn't, and this is what is key.)
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#3 Kathleen Austen

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Posted 24 October 2017 - 21:17

Very sorry you are having these problems.

As you've no doubt found, there is plenty advice on this distressing phenomenon. Most of it gets repeated over and over again by different writers and teachers. It's all reasonable stuff but none of it transformative.

After years of grappling with this problem of performance I have come to the conclusion that the following three things (which overlap and reinforce each other) have the potential to be transformative.

1. Improvisation
2. "Mindful learning" as described by Ellen J. Langer. (N.B. Important to understand that whilst this has something in common with "mindfulness" that is currently so fashionable, it's not the same thing.)
3. Close attention to the physicality of playing at a level of very fine detail (e.g. precisely where on a key a particular finger goes - very very precisely). Neil Stannard is very good on this. It overlaps a lot with 2.

As none of the above normally receives much attention I'll expand on them in a separate post later today (no time to do this immediately).

(Of course improvisation does receive a fair amount of attention, but its relevance to the performance of composed music doesn't, and this is what is key.)

Oooh thank you! This is useful information indeed! Especially about precisely where on a key I place a finger! Immediately going to redress the situation and I will succeed. I'm determined! I shall be watching out for further expansions on your above post - and thank you again biggrin.png woot.gif woot.gif woot.gif 


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#4 Dafydd_y_Garreg_Wen

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Posted 25 October 2017 - 11:01

Glad to have said something useful already! I'm just pulling my thoughts together, which is taking a little longer than I intended. I think I'll deal with each point in a separate post to avoid undue delay in getting some stuff posted as soon as possible.


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