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Anyone else hoping to do Grade 5 piano this year?


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#16 dynari

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Posted 13 February 2019 - 23:20

I feel you, Witzend. I really struggled to master some of the ornaments in Etude in A Minor, particularly the one in bar 21 - I couldn't coordinate it with the LH. I also had to work it slowly and then many times in succession before it started to come together. And even then, it would only work in isolation - and not when I was playing the rest of the piece. I'm happy to say that bar is finally fluent...you will get there.

 

In other news:

 

I had my first sort-of piano lesson (in more than 15 years!) on Friday - not really a formal lesson, more of a piano chat&play with my colleague's husband (he is a piano teacher). He listened to my pieces and gave me new tips I hadn't considered so now I am reworking my pieces. In case these are helpful for anyone else playing the same pieces:

A) Andante in A (Haydn) - He suggested adding a lot more dynamic contrast - significantly reducing the volume of the second note in slurs, increasing the volume for ascending arpeggios, tapering going back down, and altering the volume such that higher phrases are played louder than lower phrases. He also suggested adding a fraction-of-a-second breath between some of the phrases (e.g., in bars 10 and 12).

B) Etude in A Minor (Farrenc) - He picked up that, on some of the final LH chords of bars (before a change to a new chord), I was getting inadvertently stronger/louder as I prepared to switch chords. He also showed me that the fingering I was using for the ornaments in bars 13-15 (3-4-3) was far less effective than the recommended 1-4-3s. I was also not abiding by the fingering for the first RH chord in bar 17, and he showed me how using 4 (rather than 5 as I had been) was more effective for the slur.

C) Film Noir (Cornick) - As it turned out, I'd gotten into some bad rhythmic habits here (e.g., playing the final LH notes in bars 1 and 3 as a quarter note rather than an eighth note). My rhythm was also slightly off in bars 9 and 14. It seems the jazzy rhythms of this pieces are really easy to mess up. He also suggested making bars 25-32 sound warmer as if a different instrument is coming into the piece for a short interlude.

 

And second bit of news -

I've received my exam date today! Monday 18th March at 12.08pm. I got the first day of my preferred week (week 3). I was surprised to see they provided the name of my examiner. I've looked her up to read her background!

 

Not long now... hopefully I can incorporate all the new ideas from the piano teacher. He's offered to see me again before the exam too smile.png

 

How's everyone else getting on?


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#17 EllieD

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Posted 14 February 2019 - 07:42

Sounds like a very useful lesson, Dynari - will you have more lessons?

 

I've just listened to the Farrenc, and I think those ornaments, especially over the semiquaver LH, would be quite tricky! It's a really nice piece though - I just wanted it to go on for a bit longer! 


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#18 dynari

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Posted 17 February 2019 - 18:55

Sounds like a very useful lesson, Dynari - will you have more lessons?

 

I've just listened to the Farrenc, and I think those ornaments, especially over the semiquaver LH, would be quite tricky! It's a really nice piece though - I just wanted it to go on for a bit longer! 

 

It was indeed! I certainly realised how valuable lessons can be. I thought I could do it myself and can get pretty far, but in terms of realising the full musical details of a piece, I really need a professional ear. I'm planning for another lesson or two before my exam now :)

 

The Farrenc piece is gorgeous; I've really gotten into her work since learning this piece!


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#19 Gillybobs

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Posted 27 February 2019 - 00:55

How's everyone getting on? I was working on grade 4 pieces and missed the spring exam entry so have started working on Grade 5 pieces. I get lessons every fortnight and have been given Aria to learn, but find it so difficult! Have spent time on it this week and feel pretty disheartened at the mo. The other pieces are also hard but I could make something of them. This makes me want to give up!
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#20 gav_1988

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Posted 07 March 2019 - 20:51

I'm beginning to think that grade 5 this year might be pushing it a bit! Grade 3 is probably a 'safer' entry point for me at the moment. I bought the grade 3 book of pieces after listening to a few of them online last week and they seem like the right place to jump in given the amount of time it's been since I last played the piano 'properly'. There's certainly no rush though as I'll likely be doing grade 6 (maybe 7 if I'm feeling particularly brave...) on my sax this year


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#21 dynari

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Posted 10 March 2019 - 21:27

Oh my god, my exam is a week from tomorrow! Today, my husband and I went to see Nikolai Demidenko perform - absolutely incredible - talk about inspiration!

 

I had a second lesson a week or so ago - with a different teacher. (My first "lesson" was just my friend's husband, but he is in a different city, so I got someone local.) It went really well and was super helpful. He noticed a few minor things that could be tweaked and gave me some additional pointers.

 

I think I am in pretty good shape with everything. The only thing I am really worried about is nerves. I have been trying to play in front of friends, etc., and that has been going ok, but I noticed the impact of nerves in my lesson. It was my first time meeting this guy, and we started with scales. I'm fluent with my scales, but the first thing he asked me to play was E major, and I just completely played all the wrong notes. I don't even know what I did! I had to reset and then was ok, but I'm kind of terrified of losing it like that in the exam.

 

I also noticed the impact of nerves on Friday when I played "Your Song" (Elton John, arranged by Mike Cornick) in front of 300+ students in a lecture. I am a lecturer in psychology, and my lecture theatre has a gorgeous baby grand that I've been dying to play. I opened my lecture on memory by playing this piece, and as soon as I started playing, my hands were shaking. I made a few mistakes (played completely the wrong notes), and I can't even understand how or why I played those wrong notes. I can play that song really well at home, but something about performing in front of my students totally disrupted something that is normally so natural to me. It still sounded ok overall, and they probably didn't notice the wrong notes, but I didn't perform as well as I do at home, and I'm worried about this happening in the exam.

 

I have no nerves whatsoever about public speaking, and when I'm lecturing, my audience energises me rather than terrifies me. I need to get the same vibes going on with my exam but am not sure how!


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#22 Ligneo Fistula

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Posted 10 March 2019 - 21:40

Congratulations, dynari, on your playing to so many people!  Well done, you!

 

I'm sure it will all help for the exam.  Best of luck!


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#23 Crock

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Posted 11 March 2019 - 16:35

I have no nerves whatsoever about public speaking, and when I'm lecturing, my audience energises me rather than terrifies me. I need to get the same vibes going on with my exam but am not sure how!

 

I lecture to large audiences with no problem in my job too, but playing in public and my Grade 7 Piano a few years ago were quite different!  I get surprisingly nervous, even playing in lessons to my teacher. It's not the same... there are lots of threads on this on this forum. Do play to as many friends as you can!

 

Best of luck!


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#24 dynari

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Posted 17 March 2019 - 17:39

Thanks, Crock!! Tomorrow is the big day! I recorded myself and am pretty happy with how my pieces turned out :)

 

1. Andante in A (Haydn) - https://www.youtube....h?v=qaAGux95Z94
2. Etude in A Minor (Louise Farrenc) - https://www.youtube....h?v=6GJggEJCfPI
3. Film Noir (Mike Cornick) - https://www.youtube....h?v=gf0S36m-n6I

 

Now to do that tomorrow!


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#25 Ligneo Fistula

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Posted 17 March 2019 - 20:02

Thanks, Crock!! Tomorrow is the big day! I recorded myself and am pretty happy with how my pieces turned out smile.png

 

1. Andante in A (Haydn) - https://www.youtube....h?v=qaAGux95Z94
2. Etude in A Minor (Louise Farrenc) - https://www.youtube....h?v=6GJggEJCfPI
3. Film Noir (Mike Cornick) - https://www.youtube....h?v=gf0S36m-n6I

 

Now to do that tomorrow!

Best of luck!  Really liked how you realised Film Noir!


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#26 gav_1988

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Posted 17 March 2019 - 21:01

Thanks, Crock!! Tomorrow is the big day! I recorded myself and am pretty happy with how my pieces turned out smile.png

 

1. Andante in A (Haydn) - https://www.youtube....h?v=qaAGux95Z94
2. Etude in A Minor (Louise Farrenc) - https://www.youtube....h?v=6GJggEJCfPI
3. Film Noir (Mike Cornick) - https://www.youtube....h?v=gf0S36m-n6I

 

Now to do that tomorrow!

 

Sounds great. Good luck tomorrow! 


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#27 dynari

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Posted 18 March 2019 - 17:30

Thank you both! I think all went ok for the most part. I started with scales and held it together for a good run but then fell apart on C# minor contrary motion due to nerves. I had to restart that one and then messed it up again. Aside from that one, all other scales/arpeggios were good.

 

My pieces were mostly good, very minor slips (again, nerves) but nothing major. Also I wasn't used to the piano so I'm not sure how well the dynamic shaping came through.

 

Sight-reading was great. That is definitely my strength. Nailed it, aside from a mistake in the rhythm in the second to last bar.

 

Aural...I am not so sure. I had practiced at home and was able to repeat melodies/rhythms easily at home, but in the moment, with all of the adrenaline, it was hard to encode anything in memory. Same with sight-singing, I was off on a note or two. I also don't even know whether the answers I gave were correct.


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#28 EllieD

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Posted 19 March 2019 - 10:29

Sounds like it went well! I listened to your videos and think you played those pieces really well, so even if nerves and a different piano impaired the performance a little bit, I am still sure you were fantastic! smile.png


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