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Autumn 2019 Exams

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#31 corenfa

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Posted 23 September 2019 - 15:35

poggyman-there is a forum member(though I haven't seen him post recently) who got his grade 8 at age 75 after a long break from piano. So you are in good company. All the best!
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#32 poggyman

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Posted 24 September 2019 - 09:16

Thanks for your best wishes corenfa. You are right that it is possible but nerves and self doubts are always troubling. My teacher, who was a principal player in a world renowned orchestra has enormous faith in me, so why should I doubt my ability. I'll get there although looking at Grade 6 pieces and scales, it's a quantum leap to achieve that!!


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#33 corenfa

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Posted 24 September 2019 - 12:11

When looking at pieces which seem like quantum leaps- I am reminded of the silly saying "how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time". If I pick something small to improve upon, before I know it, I've eaten a quarter of the elephant. 


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#34 gemmasue

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Posted 25 September 2019 - 17:17

That’s it, I’m definitely doing my grade 8 flute this session. Feeling slightly terrified, but it will be fine!
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#35 Dr. Rogers

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Posted 25 September 2019 - 17:21

That’s it, I’m definitely doing my grade 8 flute this session. Feeling slightly terrified, but it will be fine!

 

Go for it! 

 

No need to feel terrified; as my Professor once remarked (read this in a thick Russian accent): "the examiner is not dragon."

 

And we're all here for moral support!

 

Question: do you feel that the scales and arpeggios requirement for flute are very difficult?  I know I sweated the scales and arpeggios for piano, but I'm not qualified to judge difficulty for flute.


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#36 gemmasue

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Posted 25 September 2019 - 18:09

Question: do you feel that the scales and arpeggios requirement for flute are very difficult? I know I sweated the scales and arpeggios for piano, but I'm not qualified to judge difficulty for flute.

Since the new syllabus, the scale requirements have improved. For my grade 7, I felt like I had to learn every scale ever created! This time doesn’t feel so overwhelming. Saying that, I still don’t like them much. I struggle with diminished 7ths as they don’t really make sense to me (I know there’s a theory behind it, but it’s not logical to me!). My biggest issue at the moment with other scales is fingering in the upper octaves. My fingers get confused with the very top notes.

Otherwise, scales aren’t too bad. Although, I can guarantee that my mind will go blank on the exam and I won’t even be able to remember the basic scales! My biggest nemesis is aural, thankfully I’m good at sight reading (benefit from playing in a band!) so I’ll hopefully be able to make up marks with that if necessary.

Thanks for the moral support!
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#37 peterhontaru

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Posted 26 September 2019 - 23:07

I am also going to take up Grade 5 this Autumn (piano). I have just finished learning the pieces but they need polishing if I'm even considering aiming for distinction so will be using the next month and a half to do just that as well as taking part in some recitals to have a chance and play them in front of other people.

 

Scale wise, I should hopefully be OK. Sight reading is not yet up to Grade 5 but should hopefully have some chance to improve on it with around 30 min/day practice.

 

Aural, I should probably practice sight singing a bit more rather than wing it but shouldn't be too hard hopefully to score a high pass/low merit on this one. Given the time left, I'm probably better off focusing on the other three aspects of the exam (they also weigh more to the mark)


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#38 Dr. Rogers

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Posted 27 September 2019 - 13:43

Peter, I would strongly suggest not blowing off the aural!  My experience (and that of my students) is that every point counts.  If you haven't already, you might want to look into e-music maestro (link).  I used that site to practice for my Grade 8 aural, and one of my students has used it for her Grade 2.  She and I both think it's worth every penny.

 

Regarding sight reading, I would suggest thinking of the long game rather than (or, I should probably say, in addition to) the immediate exam requirement.  Ultimately, you will be best served by sight-reading lots and lots and lots of music.  This is a skill to build up over the years.  I can't say I'm a big fan of how sight reading is tested in the graded exams.  I prefer the "quick study" approach in the diploma exams (DipABRSM and higher) where you have five minutes to study the score and fiddle with it.

 

Keep us posted on your progress!


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#39 Dr. Rogers

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Posted 27 September 2019 - 13:55

I struggle with diminished 7ths as they don’t really make sense to me (I know there’s a theory behind it, but it’s not logical to me!).

 

I also had some trouble with diminished 7ths at first.  I'll share what helped me; maybe it can be of some help to you.  My key insight was that they're a very different beast from "normal" triad-based chords.  They're just stacks of minor thirds, which form a repeating pattern when visualized on a piano keyboard.  When considered in that light, they don't really have a root so much as a starting point.

 

Consider the diminished seventh beginning on C, as written in the ABRSM scales and arpeggios manual for G8 piano:

 

two octave, ascending: C E-flat F# A C E-flat F# A C

 

Notice that E-flat to F# is an augmented second.  But notice that G-flat is the enharmonic equivalent of F#, so sound-wise, it's a minor third.  It's notated as an augmented second so that we can have a repeated pattern of letter names in each octave.  But if you ignore the notation and just look at where the notes fall on the keyboard, the pattern of minor thirds clearly emerges.

 

This insight helped me with these chords.  Maybe I'm all wet and other teachers will laugh at me.  And I must apologize if I'm teaching granny to suck eggs.  Regardless, I hope you will take it in the spirit it's offered.


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#40 poggyman

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Posted 28 September 2019 - 17:22

I am also going to take up Grade 5 this Autumn (piano). I have just finished learning the pieces but they need polishing if I'm even considering aiming for distinction so will be using the next month and a half to do just that as well as taking part in some recitals to have a chance and play them in front of other people.

 

Scale wise, I should hopefully be OK. Sight reading is not yet up to Grade 5 but should hopefully have some chance to improve on it with around 30 min/day practice.

 

Aural, I should probably practice sight singing a bit more rather than wing it but shouldn't be too hard hopefully to score a high pass/low merit on this one. Given the time left, I'm probably better off focusing on the other three aspects of the exam (they also weigh more to the mark)

I too am taking Grade 5 piano at the end of November. Sight reading is always a pain, especially as the pieces never seem to have obvious melody to them. Important though to never replay a mistake as that will count as 2 mistakes. The trick is to keep the flow going and try to make it a performance rather than a test. Isse you are doing the Haydn for piece A and did I see the Tyrolean one for the third piece? What have you chosen for the B piece? I've chosen the A minor piece as I find it pleasing to the ear and to play. I wish you luck in the exam. My teacher gave me a mock exam this week and I totally fluffed it. Amazingly though she said I would have got a merit with 121 marks. Don't see how but what do I know. I've got the Grade 6 pieces for next year which I have already started to attack. A nice Chopin prelude in the B section. Let us know how you get on in the exam.


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#41 peterhontaru

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Posted 29 September 2019 - 14:22

Peter, I would strongly suggest not blowing off the aural!  My experience (and that of my students) is that every point counts.  If you haven't already, you might want to look into e-music maestro (link).  I used that site to practice for my Grade 8 aural, and one of my students has used it for her Grade 2.  She and I both think it's worth every penny.

 

Regarding sight reading, I would suggest thinking of the long game rather than (or, I should probably say, in addition to) the immediate exam requirement.  Ultimately, you will be best served by sight-reading lots and lots and lots of music.  This is a skill to build up over the years.  I can't say I'm a big fan of how sight reading is tested in the graded exams.  I prefer the "quick study" approach in the diploma exams (DipABRSM and higher) where you have five minutes to study the score and fiddle with it.

 

Keep us posted on your progress!

 

Thank you for sharing this with me. Out of curiosity, do you prefer being referred to as Austin, Dr Austin or Dr Rogers?

 

I actually found that website very useful for my grade 3 and will now rebuy the package for grade 5 to do some practice tests and mind map the aural section a bit better. I also have the book and will do some mock exams with my teacher.

 

I won't completely neglect the aural section, particularly now that you reminded me of this website but I will focus on it a lot less than others, mainly due to the fact that it weighs less than everything else I while I might talk/sing my way into a decent mark but you can't just do that in sight reading/scales.

 

I am now starting to get a bit nervous about it and more serious with practice so for the next 7ish weeks I will try and practice min of 2, likely 3 hours a day rather than 1-2 hours.

 

Plan is to do 1 one hour sight reading + 30 min technique in the morning before work followed by 1 hour of repertoire + 30 min of whatever I am the worst out of the repertoire/sight reading/technique within that particular week. 

 

Sight reading is not grade 5 yet (probably grade 4) so will try and do very slow tempo for the first few weeks and then speed it up. Notes are not really a problem for me but the different rhythms are very very difficult (for me) relative to previous grades so slow practice will hopefully help me get my head around them.

 

Regarding aural, I will probably do something from the website you shared on the commute or listen to youtube videos with examples and do it that way.

 

It will be a very difficult 7 weeks and other aspects of my life might suffer a bit but I hope it will pay off in the end and my playing will improve significantly as well.

 

Do you think this might work?

 

 

I am also going to take up Grade 5 this Autumn (piano). I have just finished learning the pieces but they need polishing if I'm even considering aiming for distinction so will be using the next month and a half to do just that as well as taking part in some recitals to have a chance and play them in front of other people.

 

Scale wise, I should hopefully be OK. Sight reading is not yet up to Grade 5 but should hopefully have some chance to improve on it with around 30 min/day practice.

 

Aural, I should probably practice sight singing a bit more rather than wing it but shouldn't be too hard hopefully to score a high pass/low merit on this one. Given the time left, I'm probably better off focusing on the other three aspects of the exam (they also weigh more to the mark)

I too am taking Grade 5 piano at the end of November. Sight reading is always a pain, especially as the pieces never seem to have obvious melody to them. Important though to never replay a mistake as that will count as 2 mistakes. The trick is to keep the flow going and try to make it a performance rather than a test. Isse you are doing the Haydn for piece A and did I see the Tyrolean one for the third piece? What have you chosen for the B piece? I've chosen the A minor piece as I find it pleasing to the ear and to play. I wish you luck in the exam. My teacher gave me a mock exam this week and I totally fluffed it. Amazingly though she said I would have got a merit with 121 marks. Don't see how but what do I know. I've got the Grade 6 pieces for next year which I have already started to attack. A nice Chopin prelude in the B section. Let us know how you get on in the exam.

 

 

Nice to see someone else taking it!

Very true regarding sight reading. It is difficult but let's not make two mistakes and move on after the (hopefully non existent) first mistake.

 

I will indeed play the Haydn and Poulenc for A and C. For B, I will be playing the Schumann piece - here's a video from around July.

 

https://youtu.be/l1qe2Q5K8kw

 

 

I haven't played it much since but it should hopefully come back within a couple days and then work to polish it (there's lots to fix). It was practiced for a recital so please excuse the repeats and the multiple spread chords (the ones not in the score). Given that it was not for the exam at the time, I had some freedom to play with.

 

The a minor piece is also nice, was considering it for a while but I love Schumann so thought it'd be a good opportunity to study one of his pieces. What will you be doing for Section A and C?

 

I also looked at the Grade 6 pieces and there's lots of nice pieces for A as well as B. For B, besides the lovely Chopin Prelude, there's the little ballerina piece which I might learn next year. I plan to tackle lots of Chopin pieces so it's probably best for me to diversify rather than play the prelude as well.

 

I wish you good luck with practice as well and hopefully we will both come with high marks come December!


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#42 poggyman

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Posted 02 October 2019 - 15:22

For section A, I have chosen the Haydn piece: it has a number of traps in it, notably the reversal of the B and D in the left hand in the repeat plus their note length just to confuse. My teacher has told me not to play it at the speed in the CD that came with the ABRSM book because they are played by professional musicians. She has told me to play at a gentle Andante as this gives time to think and thus interpret, especially the dynamic markings and the change from dotted crotchets in the first couple of bars and ordinary crotchets subsequently. She keeps hammering home the importance of performance over getting it note perfect: I see what she means as musicianship is what is being judged (thus all of the aural knowledge stuff).

 

For section C, I have gone off-piste and chosen from the alternative pieces, in this case the Tyrolean one. This is an easy one to do in that the right hand is basically a broken chord Dmajor arpeggio for most of it. My teacher has advised me to do this one first as it will come after the scales and arpeggios test. Makes sense.

 

Onto Grade 6. Again for section A I have gone off-piste with the Kuhlau sontatina (I've had the book of his sonatinas for ages as I quite like them): basically it's just scales in the simple key of Gmajor but it's so necessary to be sure-footed on fingering. I've looked at the Ciaroso(?) as it's short but I'm not a fan of Baroque music: still might go for it as it's safer for fingering and possible slips.

 

Definitely the Chopin for B list as the ballerina thingy, whilst beautiful to hear, is difficult with fingering and slightly weird in its chords (atonal to me). Lastly the rocking in a boat on the sea thingy in list C as, once the left hand is conquered in that awkward 9/8 rythme the rest is not as difficult as at first thought.

 

The rest of Grade 6 is a toughie though for the scales and stuff. I take it you have your Grade 5  theory? Luckily I took mine years gao, getting 88 out of 99 and this will stand for these higher grades.

 

I too wish you well and good luck not only in your practice but also the exam: high marks would be great but a pass at my ripe old age of 74 would please enough.


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#43 thara96

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Posted 05 October 2019 - 23:54

Good luck everyone! 


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#44 Saxwarbler

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Posted 12 October 2019 - 18:48

My teacher's entered me for G6 Music Theatre (LCM). I'm singing (in no particular order):

  • Don't Cry For Me Argentina - standing on a box with the only movement being hand gestures.
  • Mein Herr - just wondering how I can make the best of my limited burlesque skills without having to clamber all over a chair and falling flat on my backside.
  • You Can't Get A Man With A Gun - probably my best number. Full-on American accent thanks to years of listening to my stateside cousins.
  • The Thing-Ummy-Bob - still trying to master the WW2 'turban'. Lots of hours spent listening to 'Our Gracie' and Jane Horrocks to get the accent at least partly right. Performed it at our concert in the Spring and it was well-received.

Still haven't finalised an accompanist but a fellow choir member (and retired music teacher) is accompaying for another candidate on the same day/same venue and has agreed in principal. She sits in front of me at choir and is a fellow altoist, so she knows my voice fairly well.

Neither have I finalised a performance order yet. I'd appreciate anyone's thoughts on this.


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#45 dynari

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 11:19

I'm a bit late to the thread -- had a mishap with my alternative qualification for the Grade 5 Theory exemption. Long story short, I was American in a former life and had taken something called the AP Music Theory exam when I was a teenager. ABRSM said they'd accept this as an alternative to Grade 5 Theory, so I paid for a score report and sent it to them, but then they came back and said they wouldn't accept my score. Turns out, it was down to a misunderstanding of the translation between US/UK college/university marks. It was only thanks to the fact that I'm an academic who has taught in HE in both US and UK that I was able to explain the differences, and they've now reconsidered and agreed I am exempt. 

 

So we are back on! I have signed up for the Grade 6 Piano autumn exam and am awaiting my date. I've been preparing on my own and think (hope?) I'm pretty much there. I have a lesson scheduled for Thursday (my first since before my Grade 5 exam) so am looking forward to getting some final advice for tweaking my pieces.

 

Good luck to everyone else preparing in these final weeks!


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