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frustration with new performance exam


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#1 poggyman

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 09:36

I set out below my email to my teacher, Dr. Atarah Ben Tovim, expressing my utter frustration at first of all, not being able to take my Grade 6 piano exam back in June and now, seemingly unable to do a video that will satisfy the requirements of ABRSM.

 

Hello Atarah,

 

Well, I did a run through of my pieces in order to see whether it worked as a programme. Satisfied, I then looked to record it and HIT A MASSIVE PROBLEM!!!!!

 

My laptop will not record at a resolution of 720p !!!!! It only records up to 480p in high definition!!!

 

I am now totally st...ed. I cannot record anything in the format that ABRSM insists on: where do I go from here??

 

I am seriously ready to just throw in the towel – the system has beaten me. I could cry in frustration.

 

Crushed Dave

 

Anyone on this forum have any ideas where I go from here?

 


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#2 Aquarelle

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 14:35

Not able to offer you any help but I suggest that you put that in writing to the Board - email them and demand a reply. The more we hassle them the more they will have to think about the number of customers they will be losing. It's important that we don't give up the fight. Good luck!


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#3 Misterioso

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 16:29

I'm not sure where you are, poggyman, but is there any possibility of looking into the technical requirements for other boards?


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#4 poggyman

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 06:02

Hi Aquerelle. I have already sent that as an email to ABRSM. I can use my office computer's webcam with my laptop and record at 720p, but then the next problem is that the viseo I make is a *.MKV format, which the ABRSM does not accept as a valid format. I do have software that can convert the file into one of the formats that ABRSM accept but they also state in their conditions, that when the file is made, it shouldn't be altered in any way. Does changing its format challenge that ruling. I see that Ipads record in 720p but I don't have an Ipad and I'm blowed if I am going to spend over a thousand euros in buying one just so that I can record a video beacause ABRSM have rushed out this ill-thought out way of going forward.

Hi Misterioso. I live in France where the Covid restrictions have severly impacted on the twice yearly exams here. Ready in June for my Grade 6 piano, I now despair of ever being able to take the exam or the Grade 7 exam, scheduled for December. My Teacher and local representative works with the ABRSM as examining board and to be quite honest, my previous exams as a much younger person in the UK were with ABRSM. Trinity don't do exams here in France to my knowledge and again, it would mean going down the video route, which quite honestly, does not interest me. 


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#5 Aquarelle

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 09:30

Very glad to hear that you have mailed the ABRSM.  Maybe if enough people clog up their sysyem with complaints they will come to their senses and realize they are making a very big mistake.

 

I think it is OK to have online exams during covid restrictions but only on condition that as soon as is possible they  get back to face to face examinations and regard on line simply as an emergency measure - or an alternative for those who want them. But to impose them on everyone is disgracefully  discriminatory.


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#6 poggyman

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 15:49

So agree with you Aquerelle. I have no problem whatsoever with the new ABRSM performance exam as a different way of doing exams for those that would prefer that. But, and it's a big but, I do not want to see it as a replacement for face - to - face exams. I personally do not consider the performance exam as having the same "value" as the F to F exams. For one reason, anybody can continually record a video of their 4 pieces over and over again until they get a performance they like. Why is that fair? It's a form of cheating. In a F to F exam, you get one shot at playing your pieces: plus the examiner can "judge" the nerves factor, the amount of work put into learning the pieces, the "relationship" with the performer through body language and visual perception. There is no way a video recording can impart that amount of "presence" and detail. Secondly, "performance" as a concept is oh so subjective. For a start, you are restricted on 3 pieces to A, B and C on the ABRSM lists. I, and I suspect loads of other people, have already learned my pieces: do they make up a performance selection? Probably not as 3 of them are fairly soft romantic pieces and do not provide sufficient contrast. Having put in the time, practice and hard work to have them ready for June, do ABRSM really expect me to start again and build a "performance programme"? It's so unfair and I really cannot see why an examiner could not have come to France back in June or July when the risk of Covid was so low to do the exams in the normal way. If face to face exams end are replaced by video performance only, then I will pack it all in. Playing to a computer webcam ain't why I learn to play the piano.


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#7 Norway

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Posted 23 September 2020 - 12:13

Continually recording a programme of 4 pieces over and over again would be very tough - it has to be done with no breaks and no editing. The more times you do it, the greater the anxiety and it wears through your concentration. I've advised my pupils that if the first take is roughly OK, to go with that and not to get stewed up trying to get it perfect.


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#8 poggyman

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Posted 23 September 2020 - 16:06

Yes but I would do the videos over a number of days so as to avoid the loss of concentration and fatigue. The whole thing of recording on video is unreal in my view and seeing as the 30 marks for "performance" is so subjective and ill defined, I'd need to get the best possibel for the pieces to ensure more than just a pass mark.


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#9 xini

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Posted 28 September 2020 - 09:09

Can you borrow a laptop to address your tech issue?

If you don't have a friend accessible, perhaps you could ask a local music shop or rehearsal studio if they can assist?


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#10 cestrian

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Posted 12 October 2020 - 18:46

We performed some pieces recently for a work event. The stress of recording it and aiming for perfect was far greater than I imagined it would be. I was constantly assessing whether this was ‘the one’ and then fudging it and starting again, and again.... etc.

 

In the end I did it live. It wasn’t perfect but I enjoyed doing it more and probably did a better job than trying to record that perfect shot.

 

i wouldn’t knock the Performance exam, it’s harder than one might think and a shame to consider it a lesser thing. It is what it is, an exam for those who want it in tough times where we need to be a little flexible.

Hard to conclude that changing the format would be a breach of the regulations. It seems clear to me what is meant. No IT trickery to gain advantage!


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