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Grade 8 Piano - Lenght of piano pieces


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#16 Crock

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 23:56

Back in 1973 I did my first piano exam Grade 3, yes, Grade 3, and I was stopped in my 3rd piece, the Grieg A minor Waltz from Lyric Pieces.  All the pieces - I still have them - were much longer than those now -  and the Waltz was three pages.  My teacher was furious as we'd worked a lot on the coda.  I still remember the examiner being miserable and the only comment written on the mark sheet was "Noisy pedalling". I came across the exam book the other day so this came to mind while reading this thread.  In the exam book  I see the teacher had written in  the time and place of the exam and the name of the examiner, so I know who the examiner was!


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#17 fsharpminor

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 09:32

I still have to consider my ALCM Dip in 1963 something of a fraud.  The examiner  (a well known Liverpool teacher)  stopped me after the first movement exposition and development of my Beethoven sonata.   ie no recapitulation , no 2nd or 3rd movement.  We didnt complain after the exam as he scored me 17/20 and I passed the exam.  


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#18 Aquarelle

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 17:22

I am very much against the fact that examiners are allowed to stop candidates. In the higher grades a great deal of thought may well have gone into how a longer piece is structured and this will play an important part in the interpretation. Examiners should not over run their time unless there are exceptional circumstances (very bad weather conditions, traffic problems, someone being taken ill at the centre etc). Candidates are warned to be at the centre in good time. Our rep always asks mine to be present 15 minutes before they are due in the exam room, so there should always be a candidate who can go in if someone is late turning up.

 

I know it's in the rules, but I think it's a bad rule. After all, the committees or whoever they are selecting the exam pieces should bear in mind the length of pieces when they choose them for the lists. (Off topic, but it might also be an idea if they checked that  alternative pieces are still in print, easily available and not exorbitantly expensive.)


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#19 Hildegard

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 18:06

Examiners should not over run their time unless there are exceptional circumstances (very bad weather conditions, traffic problems, someone being taken ill at the centre etc).

 

I believe one of the most common reasons for over-running are candidates that are so unprepared that almost every item takes several times longer than it should. I can't see how this can be overcome without stopping them before the end. I agree that it is undesirable, but I think one has to be pragmatic and realise that many things can get in the way of a slick timetable, especially at a busy centre.

 

And swapping candidates around is often not possible when accompanists are involved.


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#20 HelenVJ

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 19:18

Occasionally the examiners also seem under-prepared - taking ages flicking through the various syllabi eic. Of course it can't be easy examining multiple instruments and finding the supporting tests for the appropriate grade. But some leave very long gaps between candidates.


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#21 Aquarelle

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 22:13

I take your point Hildegarde. I hadn't thought about badly prepared candidates.


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#22 Hildegard

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Posted 14 January 2019 - 07:21

Occasionally the examiners also seem under-prepared - taking ages flicking through the various syllabi eic. Of course it can't be easy examining multiple instruments and finding the supporting tests for the appropriate grade. But some leave very long gaps between candidates.

 

Don't they use the gaps between candidates for checking their marks, writing general comments and so on? They shouldn't need to spend long flicking through syllabuses now that candidates present examiners with programme slips specifying the syllabus references for the pieces they intend to play, e.g. A3, B2, C6.


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#23 Aquarelle

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Posted 14 January 2019 - 10:31

When our rep asks me to do the timetable for my candidates she never asks for a gap between candidates. As far as I know examiners are paid for the exact number of hours the exams they are doing actually take. 

 

1  Does the  official time allotted for each exam  include the  time for checking and writing comments? In other words is the candidate of a 12 minute exam only actually given something like 10 minutes to get through their programme, with a couple of minutes being reserved for the examiner?

 

2 Is the examiner expected to do the lot in the ten minutes allotted?

 

3 Is the  examiner allowed a couple of minutes between candidates and is this written into the timetable? If so, is thisadded to the total time for which the examiner is paid?  

 

It's all a bit nit picking on a small scale but over a period of several sessions or one very long session it could make quite a difference to the way things run.


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#24 HelenVJ

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Posted 14 January 2019 - 11:04

Presumably your students are all (or mostly -  I think you also mentioned recorder at some point?)  pianists, Aquarelle. The time delays occur when there's a bassoon player followed by a trumpeter and then a guitarist etc. Juggling the different scale requirements and sight-reading must be quite fiddly. Some examiners are brilliantly organised, but quite a few aren't.
There's rarely a delay when I have my own piano students and the exams run pretty much to time. When I'm accompaying string and wind players, there's a bit more of a time lag, even though extra time is allocated for tuning at the beginning.

To return to the OP, it's quite rare for an exam to be stopped these days. I can't remember this happening when I've been accompanying. Singers regularly go over time if they sing all the verses in a folk song, for example, but they are unlikely to be stopped.


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#25 Hildegard

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Posted 14 January 2019 - 11:50

There's no official gap between candidates, but most examiners seem to manage to finish a minute or two short of the alloted time spans and seem to be writing furiously during that gap. I usually wait by the glass panel in the exam room door until I see them signal that they are ready. Understandable, I think, since I'm sure they wouldn't remember much detail if they completed the writing up in the evenings after having examined up to 30 candidates during the day.

As HelenVJ says, the timing can easily go awry with non-pianists. The violinist who suddenly remembers she left her bow in the car, the trumpeter that needs to borrow a mute, the hornist with a stuck valve, the oboist whose reed has gone and has to play in a replacement, anyone whose accompanist has not arrived on time or who has forgotten their music,  ...


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#26 Aquarelle

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Posted 14 January 2019 - 14:11

Yes HelenVJ  - mine are all pianists except for the occasional flute or recorder though we did, for the first time ever last June,  have two violinists who had the choice of travelling either to us or to Nice and we were a lot nearer. I  guess that makes it much easier for  the examiners I see.  Looking back over all these years I can really only remember one examiner who ran very late. It was our very first exam session and we had a very sweet, elderly man who took ages with each candidate.

Most of the examiners I have had have been pretty efficient on the timing side - one or two of them too much so, in my opinion.


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