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Teachers opinions of piano exam progression

Practical Piano exam

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#1 Tezes123

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Posted 14 December 2018 - 18:39

Hi all
Do all teachers put their pupils forward for every single exam in succession ? i.e. Is it necessary to be examined at each grade level 1 - 8. Or at selective grades for eg 1,3,5 etc. I refer solely to approaches to exams for older adults learning for pleasure, (I realise the need for exam certs will be very different for children/young adults.)

I am currently considering skipping an exam (not the syllabus) so that once my teacher is satisfied that I have reached exam standard for the grade to progress studying for the next grade. I’m finding it very costly and each exam experience (Abrsm) very variable mostly concerning the suitability of the venues and especially the often poor condition of the exam pianos. Obviously I will discuss this approach with my own teacher but I’m interested in the experience of others in a wider context,

Many thanks
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#2 agricola

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Posted 14 December 2018 - 19:21

I only enter adults for exams if they want to take them, otherwise I am quite happy to follow the exam syllabus without exams as you are suggesting, or take a less regimented path altogether for those who have limited time to practise.


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#3 Yet another muso

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Posted 14 December 2018 - 20:01

It is absolutely not necessary to take all the grades in succession to become a pianist! 

 

The main reason that so many do take every single grade is one of motivation. Most people need goals to aim at in order to work hard, hence regular exams provide this. Especially when teaching children and teenagers, I expect all teachers are familiar with the students who work hard in the final month or two up to an exam, and try as we might to motivate them with attractive repertoire after the exam, they won't start working hard again until the next exam entry has been made . . . fortunately they are not all like that!

 

Hence if you are able to motivate yourself without the need for an impending exam it is possible to do things very differently. If you can just continue to learn a range of repertoire that has nothing to do with exams for the pleasure and achievement of it, you will continue to make progress. Then whenever you and your teacher feel it would be good to get an external assessment and have an extra goal you can then enter for an exam, and if it has been a good while since the last one and you have played a lot of music since, that exam may be two or three grades higher than the last given how much you have moved on as a player. Some of the best students I have taught have worked that way and I see it as a more ideal way of using the exams, but only works for the well motivated!


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#4 vron

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Posted 14 December 2018 - 21:19

I Would have to agree with the above approaches. As an adult learner I just started learning and I have never needed to have reinforcement to practice. I just enjoy doing so .

After a while I started doing some of the grade 2 exam pieces but decided I didn't want the pressure of exams as I fall to pieces playing in front of others and thought I would do so in exams. I then moved on to grade 3 pieces and again wasn't intending to take the exam but after I had been doing them for a while I decided I would like to take an exam just for the experience and to see if I could hold it together. I took it and passed in the summer. It was completely my decision not the tutors who was quite happy just to teach me. I am now just beginning to think about trying some grade 4 pieces in the near future but doubt if I will take the exam. They are an expense and as an adult not needed.
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#5 sbhoa

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Posted 14 December 2018 - 21:20

It is absolutely not necessary to take all the grades in succession to become a pianist! 

 

 

Or any grades.

If you want to be able to perform then you can find other, more realistic performance opportunities.

For both adults and children exams are for those who want to do exams.


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#6 Cyrilla

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Posted 14 December 2018 - 23:11

I don't think Mozart took any grade exams...

 

I, on the other hand, did.

 

Nuff said.

 

smile.png


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#7 corenfa

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Posted 15 December 2018 - 00:23

My teacher will enter students for grade exams if they want to do them. I do note that she started teaching me differently after I said I wanted to do exams, but that's diploma in my case so may not be applicable here and it's not a bad thing.
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#8 Tezes123

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Posted 15 December 2018 - 11:14

Cyrila that made me chuckle x

Corenfa and all I agree it’s good to follow the exam syllabus for all round development, the sightreading, aural and scales list etc certainly tax your mind ! (I’ve just started on the G7 scales list ....... Oh boy some of those are sending my brain spinning )

Maybe I’m just ‘examed out’ having taken 12 over the last 3 years ( incl theory exams) and it’s very expensive so I’m just exploring alternative approaches now I’m retired.

All advice is very much appreciated, thank you :)
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#9 Ligneo Fistula

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Posted 15 December 2018 - 14:58

I don't think Mozart took any grade exams...

 

I, on the other hand, did.

 

Nuff said.

 

smile.png

Good one!

 

Reminds me a little of the quip that Beethoven himself – of course, someone who knew absolutely nothing about harmony, counterpoint...(!) – would fail ABRSM theory (!!) because his music script wasn't nice and neat!


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