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Haven’t been on here for a while been busy and had a lot happen that made me unable to come on here and blog away.
Just an update on my progress, I have my exam on Thursday July the 9th at 11.25, about a 25 minute walk away, I think it’s in the examiner’s house had a look on Google street view where it is and it looks like a posh house. Looks like I will need a half day at work, I will go to work after the exam I think.
Pieces are ok here’s what I’m hopefully going to play well on the day ( I really hope I do... )
Biehl , Allegro grazioso; 2nd movt from sonatina in C – needs final tweaking, some fingering needs sorting out on the last bar of page one, more contrast between dynamics
Reinecke, Allegro moderato; 1st movt from sonatina in G - fine, My teacher couldn't nit pick at it last lesson & said it sounded 'nice'.
Elissa Milne, Mozzie – a bit more practice, I still find a finger change and a kind of jump difficult in this piece.
If I keep a cool head and don’t rush I should be fine will all of them – I like doing the arpeggios. LH is weaker when doing the broken chords, needs more practice.
The dreaded sight reading test - I’m on stage 8 of the Paul Harris, I think the learning curve is very noticeable from here from stage 7. I need more time. When I see loads of quavers in both hands and accidentals I find it painfully difficult. I must say sight reading is definitely the hardest aspect of learning the piano for me.
I looked at the specimen tests for grade 2 the other day and tried some, they certainly aren’t as hard as when I first looked at them, so something has happened.
The good thing about the Paul Harris books is it makes you face music that is harder than for the exam so when you look at what you really need to do its not so bad. My advice for someone stating a new sighting level is not to try out the Specimen tests until you come to the end of the Paul Harris book for your grade you wish to become better at.
Anyone have any tips for the exam or keeping a cool head on the day?
How's the prep going?Moonlight wrote:Just an update on my progress, I have my exam on Thursday July the 9th at 11.25, about a 25 minute walk away, I think it’s in the examiner’s house had a look on Google street view where it is and it looks like a posh house.
I'm assuming that your teacher feels you're going to pass even if you don't?
My teacher said ‘you’ll do fine’ last lesson so I think she must have some faith in me passing, I only really want to get a pass; a higher mark will be a bonus. I just want this exam over with so I can work on repertoire and technique with her, which I’m sure she would rather do now as well.
It’s funny, I asked her if piano teachers get bored of hearing the same grade pieces over again and to some extent she does! She said she couldn’t get grade 3 piece Top Cat out of her head after having a succession of students play it and grade 2 piece Mazurka is also a really popular piece with her students.
Preps ok I think, I’m trying not to get too OCD about it, but I try to go through most of the requirements each day, and I do a few sight reading exercises when I practice too, trying not to memorise the pieces, and not to stop, which is the hardest part for me as I just want to play it correct straight away.
She’s tested me on the aural test last lesson. I completely misunderstood one part of the test, the one where the teacher plays a phrase and you hum it back. I thought you had to improvise an answering phrase for it! (She must have thought I had a really bad ear!) I understand now. I found the other bits more difficult because I was distracted as I was enjoying hearing her play the examples and couldn’t remember what part of the piece was legato or staccato etc .
Here is my prediction on what I will do worse at: sight reading, and broken chords, some scales, might annoyingly mess up one of the pieces.
...better go and pratice. I need to do some more shite reading...or less of it.
Sorry for late reply had to make dinner and have a rest before blogging! So I won’t keep you waiting anymore, I'm going to go into detail for Dave and anyone else eager to know how it went!
Well I walked to the house, I don’t think it was the examiner’s well, it might have been but it looked all set up for the exam. I was called in to the hall; I could hear a grade 3 student taking their exam. A lady (well spoken; in my area!?) took my name, then I was asked to wait in the living room, there was the girl’s mum waiting in there and some others came in too to wait. I was the oldest candidate from what I saw.
Then after hearing the student finish a few minutes later I was called to wait in the hall. The lady told me to stand just outside the room, but I was slightly disoriented as I was nervous and moved too close to the exam room and she said in a shrill voice ‘wait there until the examiner calls you!’ I was like ‘ok woman, no need to get cross’.
Then a well spoken ‘yeeeeeeeeessss’ came from the room and I was allowed into a smallish room with a grand piano and a Yamaha upright. I had to do the exam on the upright. He said hello and I took a seat on the stool.
He let me have a quick go to see what the touch was like, it was ok lighter then the Kawai baby grand I have in my lessons, but too bright and quite loud. He asked me if I wanted to do scales first so I did...I can’t remember it much it’s all just a blur now. I think I did a major one first FM? The examiner said in a sing songy voice ‘ok F major please, hands together.’ I did okish on these and hands separately but when it came to Em I was so nervous I kept going into a major key so the scale sounded like some weird hybrid of minor and major, he let me skip this one .
The broken chord were okish, the arpeggios were good I think. Contrary motion scales & chromatic fine! I needed to wait a bit while he scribbled my results down.
I think I played the first piece and the second fine, even though my hands; especially the LH was shaking really badly . No mistakes as far as I know. I messed up the end of a phrase in Mozzie and that was annoying, it was only one duff note but it ruined the phrase .
Then I had to do one sight reading piece. I was relieved when I saw it, nice long minims in the LH and crochets in the RH. I tested it out quickly then played it, and I didn’t stop or hesitate. I know not all of it was right though but I was pleasantly surprised I managed it at all as I was so nervous.
The aural test I recon I did well at, it was pretty straightforward. He played three simple phrases in the RH and I hummed them back. Then a spot the difference in pitch or note value. Then he played a short extract and I had to say where it gets louder softer slowed down etc.
So overall not too bad, I would have liked it if the examiner and steward seemed more relaxed and down to earth, seed to posh for my area, not that I mind. I don’t know why they need to seem so cold; I guess it’s supposed to be formal. I found that kind of atmosphere didn’t help my nerves much.
But would I do it again...yes why not. I know how to handle it now. I tried a banana like you mentioned Gill, no help at all for me! And if it did help I wonder how I would have coped without one! My nerves definitely got the better of me; I’m quite peed of about get so nervous for no reason at all.
Hope that was enough details for you guys. Hope I haven’t scared you too much Dave , but hey you played in a concert so you should be fine!
was as frightening as my 1st grading..!
Went in, told the lady i was nervous as hell LOL made me less nervous and i was asked if i wanted to do scales or pieces first, i opted for pieces,,
Grasioso ( on my thread is youtube vid of it) i played it good not as good as i have done as i was so nervous (anxiety problem), i messed up and stopped! she had a chat with me as she could clearly see i was a wreck, i started from the beginning and did better! then the mazurka then reviewing the situation.. messed up 1 note on scaled did Gmaj E amongst a few, contrarymotion was ok, chromatic scale was good even arpeggio, vocal i thought was good.
just a 3 week wait
Cheers Dave, It was weird, i knew from the start that this lady was a lot more comforting and instead of trying to continue i stopped in my attempt to let her know how i felt.dave brum wrote:You may not have as low a mark as you might think, Stu. Out of 100 candidates, well over 90 would be nervous.
And you're the right side of your Grade 2!!!!
its a hinderance (spelling?), a thorn in my side a handicap, i have tried everything but nothing works. I even asked if i could do my grade 1 again just before grade 2 to help get over the nerves and relax for my 2nd.
The lady was so nice i feel like emailing them and thanking her.
Its bugging me because i know i can do a lot better, my teacher (britney lol) said i had nailed the pieces tonight 29 28 29, ill be lucky if i got 24-25 (if i am fair) in my exam..
She may have felt sorry for me
Hi Dave!dave brum wrote:Thanks for that detailed account of your exam, Annacakes Like one of my piano lesson blogs a bit!!!
'WAIT THERE TILL THE EXAMINER CALLS YOU'!!!' I wonder if she would have said that if you were a little girl of about seven on tenterhooks, or an elderly lady or man (in the case of the latter she would have been told where to go in no unclear terms!!!) The fact that you had it in a private house rather than some sort of room at a church hall or community centre or something seems a bit strange, like she'll offer to make you a nice cup of Rosy Lee post exam or something.
And you actually did it!!! The Emin scale is actually my homework for this fortnight and I am liable to (assuming you plump for the harmonic version) forget to sharpen the second F, so I tend to get a bit of a chromatic scale creep in.
When will you know???
THe AB website says I can enter for mine from the end of July onwards, but I shall wait for Anne to mention it first.
Now you can have a Mayfair piano bar crawl!!!
Yes I was inspired by your piano lesson blogs so thought I would write it like that, in lots of detail. Yeah I thought the lady was rather rude, maybe she thought I was some teenager. I think anywhere with a suitable piano can become a exam venue for the AB tests, maybe it was the examiner's house, it had family photos in the 'waiting' room. A cup of tea would of been nice! or at least a understanding stuard and examiner and like what Stuart had.
I think I was unprepared when it came to Em I forgot I had the chance to play either harmonic or melodic, I asked what one? and he said 'whatever one you wish' in his singy voice. All I can say is pratice the Em one, ...oh im sure thats the only minor scale he wanted and I blew it! Ironically I played the scale fine at home, and I didn't even try.
My teacher said we need to wait 2 (long) weeks. I think your teacher views the results online. Does anyone know If you can get a detailed account on how your exam was or is it just a bunch of numbers and a pass??????? Do you get to see what the examiner was writing on the papers????
I'm ok I'm not feeling bad about it too much, its just annoying that I couldn't play Em in the test. It would seem stupid to fail me on that alone. The examiner was ok, it was the lady that was annoying. Yes next time I will imagine them sitting on the bog.dave brum wrote: How are you feeling Anna? I hope you're not feeling bad.
Be prepared in the instance you may get 'Lord Dogshitt' as your examiner!!! You could always imagine them sitting on the khazi or something!!
I think the word 'relived' is how I feel , I’m happy its over and done with. I’m picking some new pieces to work on now. I think some Beethoven, Burgmueller and Bach would be nice .
You should've started the piano when you were a child. This way you would've perfected the art of reading upside down far more easily and your eyesight would've been up to the job!
Don't worry about your nerves; examiners know the difference between 'Whoops, mistake, because I haven't practised' and 'Whoops mistake I'm going to faint god i feel sick i want my mummy why am i doing this i practised this ten million times and i just got it bloody wrong AGAIN!'
I think you've both done really well just for going through the exam process; most adults don't, and whilst you don't need the exams the experience of being scared out of your wits and playing to a total stranger is invaluable. WELL DONE!!
Calm down, dave! It's a music exam not a Green Peace protest!dave brum wrote:Of course it would be your right to know what he/she is writing down, you get school reports written by your teacher and if you fail your driving test (as I did twice) the examiner writes on your Statement of Failure what you need to brush up on when you retake. So you'd think it would be like that for music exams - and even your teacher would know. Then again you can always use the Freedom of Information Act!!!
Yes, of course you will get a written report without having to go the bother of inciting your human rights under the Information Act. In fact, he/she does not re-write your report - you get a copy of what the examiner writes during your exam so that they can accurately record and provide appropriate feedback and comments. The reports are taken taken back to HQ with the examiner so that comments and marks can be moderated or viewed by other examiners prior to preparing your certificate. Your report will be a mixture of scores and comments about your performance and should indicate a balance of positive points as well as areas for development.Moonlight wrote: My teacher said we need to wait 2 (long) weeks. I think your teacher views the results online. Does anyone know If you can get a detailed account on how your exam was or is it just a bunch of numbers and a pass??????? Do you get to see what the examiner was writing on the papers????
Thought I would let you know I got on in the exam as I have the results now, my teacher was cheeky and kept it a surprise and just handed me my certificate last lesson, she knew all that time. Well I passed with Merit I got 125 in total.
Here’s what I got for each of the sections in the test...
Pieces: A2: 25 /30, B2: 26/30, C2: 28/30
Scales and arpeggios: 15/21
Sight reading 15/21
Only 5 marks away from a distinction! I blame it on the fact that my hands and mind were shaking all over the place. Strangely enough I got 28 in the Mozzie piece and it’s the only piece I remember making a mistake in but I did correct it, it’s interesting I played it the best out of the others although my favourite piece is B2.The thing I need to work on is tonal contrast and getting more musical effect into the pieces it said on the paper.
Anyway I’m well chuffed with it.
...and btw, thank you teacher!
I hope i get something near that, doubt i will but fingers crossed..
125 is good when we both know we could do better without being put on the spot so to speak.
Will let you know how i did when i get the info
Not sure whether im looking forward to it or not!
Well done and heres to grade 3!! Ive already learned 1 piece off by heart LOL
Stuart I’m sure you have got a good mark, your recordings are good enough, but it’s so annoying our nerves get in the way. Think of overcoming nerves as just other technical exercise, its all part of the learning process but maybe more of a challenge for adult students.
Try to play your pieces in music shops... if they sell pianos! It can be a confidence booster.
I’m going to give grades a bit of a breather for now to work on the technical side of things, gain more repertoire and pick up on sight reading! My teacher already wants me to learn 3 Burgmuller studies, a Beethoven dance and for fun, good old minuet in G.
OMG!!!!!!!!!!!! Minuet in G is what my teacher gave to me! last week, that is uncannyMoonlight wrote:Thanks Stuart and Dave!
good old minuet in G.
Infact im gonna reply with the score to prove it lol
Lol! that is funny, must be a piece for our leval. There's a lovely minuet in G minor that is very similar to the G major one its worth learning after, its also by the same composer.OMG!!!!!!!!!!!! Minuet in G is what my teacher gave to me! last week
its ok you don't need to show me the score I have it already!
What frightens me is that my Teacher said Minuet in G is about a grade 1 piece and im struggling a bit with it lol
Is it a grade 1 piece?>
Like last time I cannot believe it, the examiner must have felt sorry for me lol..
I have attached my examiners sheet for you to read though i cant make some of it out..
Thanks everyone for your help, i doubt i would have made 130 without the help i got here!
*chough*...and girl...(?)Well done that boy!!
Now thats sexism?Gill the Piano wrote:WHERE did it say Anna passed her exam??? I thought it was referring to her last exam! And now I've upset her... I didn't realise....oooo, I'm sorry cherub; REALLY well done! Better than Stuart!!
Dave "the political one" sort them out LMAO
Look trust me it was luck that i hit 130.. i think more 124
Thanks Gill! ( I'm not upset! I was just like weres my 'well done?' )Gill the Piano wrote:WHERE did it say Anna passed her exam???
Here it is if you can't be asked to read through all the other posts:
Well I passed with Merit I got 125 in total.
Here’s what I got for each of the sections in the test...
Pieces: A2: 25 /30, B2: 26/30, C2: 28/30
Scales and arpeggios: 15/21
Sight reading 15/21
This exam was my first one I took, I never did grade 1 .Gill the Piano wrote:I thought it was referring to her last exam!
Yep. My very first piano teacher said to me I wont be able to do grade 1 untill December this year! but she left and my new teacher I had said you should skip grade one and go stright to preparing for grade 2 . I'm from Ilford, I'm not a chav though .StuartAU wrote:u went straight onto 2?
Where in Essex u from?
Where abouts are you from Stuart?
I asked about skipping grade 1 and my teacher looked at me like she was gonna kill me LOLMoonlight wrote:Yep. My very first piano teacher said to me I wont be able to do grade 1 untill December this year! but she left and my new teacher I had said you should skip grade one and go stright to preparing for grade 2 . I'm from Ilford, I'm not a chav though .StuartAU wrote:u went straight onto 2?
Where in Essex u from?
Oh and as for being from Ilford, you can take the girl out of Ilford but you cant take the Ilford out of a gurl!
Not far from you, just on border of Herts/Essex Waltham Abbey way just up M11, Jnc 25 of the M25
Shenley i know fairly well, elstree, southmimms london colney is like 15 mins drive from me..
Wheres this piano shop your on about? i always fear playing on their Keyboards as whilst im shaking playing my mazurka, some 7 year old kid walks up and plays Bach fugue & tocata in D minor standing on his head blindfolded as i slowly slip away lol..
I know Romford/Ilford pretty well too being a Westham Fan waheyyy (no dodgey comments plz)
I will upload my Minuet in G soon, more or less there with it i think
Thats intresting I always thought men had the advantage as they usally have bigger hands then women, so doing the fancy things like really fast octaves etc would be much more eaiser for men. Of course the most beautiful pieces aren’t all thundering octaves and really wide chords, so women with a small stretch aren't missing out on too much .StuartAU wrote:though girls seem to be better pianist than men from what i see..
Ha! its looking rather crap @ £ 00.00 at the moment, I'm still not being paid (only travel ), but am staying on longer at work, if they keep me on I should be having some money by october; then I will be saving up in earnest. Ooooooooh I would kill for a reall pianodave brum wrote: How is your shiny new acoustic piano fund looking??
Mine is alright but after playing on others there is no comparison. But liek anything, the grass is always greener and ill wanting a Massive Pipe Organ set up in my Lounge lol
Moonlight wrote:Thats intresting I always thought men had the advantage as they usally have bigger hands then women, so doing the fancy things like really fast octaves etc would be much more eaiser for men. Of course the most beautiful pieces aren’t all thundering octaves and really wide chords, so women with a small stretch aren't missing out on too much .StuartAU wrote:though girls seem to be better pianist than men from what i see..
Most teachers I tune for say that on the whole girls practise more than boys, practise more methodically than boys, and are under less peer group pressure about music being an effeminate pastime!