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Autumn 2019 Exams

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#46 Dr. Rogers

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Posted 14 October 2019 - 12:46

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!

 

Congratulations on getting that exemption.  Grade 5 theory isn't all that difficult (I know, that's easy for me to say as a music teacher) but it is indeed a hassle to get out of the way.  I just bit the bullet and took it (March of 2018), and I'm glad I did as it was a great opportunity to revise basic theory.

 

Which pieces have you chosen for your Grade 6 exam?

 

As always, "my sympathy is with all who take the music exams" (to misquote the great Hercule Poirot).


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#47 dynari

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Posted 14 October 2019 - 18:46

 

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!

 

Congratulations on getting that exemption.  Grade 5 theory isn't all that difficult (I know, that's easy for me to say as a music teacher) but it is indeed a hassle to get out of the way.  I just bit the bullet and took it (March of 2018), and I'm glad I did as it was a great opportunity to revise basic theory.

 

Which pieces have you chosen for your Grade 6 exam?

 

As always, "my sympathy is with all who take the music exams" (to misquote the great Hercule Poirot).

 

 

Thanks! And yeah, totally -- I went through the Grade 5 theory content and wasn't bothered at all but was just trying to avoid the hassle of actually taking it. (Coincidentally I've started reading "The AB Guide to Music Theory" to brush up on my theory for fun. Lots of interesting little tidbits in that gem!) The main reason I was trying to gain an exemption was because of timing -- I'm all set to take Grade 6 now and would need to push it back if I had to take the theory. I want to get G6 out of the way, then spend December playing holiday music, and start working on G7 in the new year  :)

As for pieces, I chose:

A: Kuhlau's Rondo: Vivace, Op. 88 No. 2, 3rd movt

B: Hartmann's The Little Ballerina

C: Brubeck's Tugela Rail

 

I love all three and actually have them mostly memorised. I didn't intentionally memorise, but I guess I've played them enough it's come naturally. I love the Kuhlau piece and chose it because I loved it so much, but it is definitely a lot more challenging that the other options in List A. I've had to spend at least 5x as much time practicing it compared to Pieces B and C! I'm a bit nervous about it because about 30% practice runs are still error prone, and not just a minor slip - I trip over my fingers and can't recover without restarting the phrase.

 

Pieces B and C are in great shape though! I fell in love with the Ballerina piece when I first heard it and months later, I still feel the same! Tugela Rail is a nice one too.


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#48 peterhontaru

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Posted 14 October 2019 - 20:26

 

 

 

Thanks! And yeah, totally -- I went through the Grade 5 theory content and wasn't bothered at all but was just trying to avoid the hassle of actually taking it. (Coincidentally I've started reading "The AB Guide to Music Theory" to brush up on my theory for fun. Lots of interesting little tidbits in that gem!) The main reason I was trying to gain an exemption was because of timing -- I'm all set to take Grade 6 now and would need to push it back if I had to take the theory. I want to get G6 out of the way, then spend December playing holiday music, and start working on G7 in the new year  :)

As for pieces, I chose:

A: Kuhlau's Rondo: Vivace, Op. 88 No. 2, 3rd movt

B: Hartmann's The Little Ballerina

C: Brubeck's Tugela Rail

 

I love all three and actually have them mostly memorised. I didn't intentionally memorise, but I guess I've played them enough it's come naturally. I love the Kuhlau piece and chose it because I loved it so much, but it is definitely a lot more challenging that the other options in List A. I've had to spend at least 5x as much time practicing it compared to Pieces B and C! I'm a bit nervous about it because about 30% practice runs are still error prone, and not just a minor slip - I trip over my fingers and can't recover without restarting the phrase.

 

Pieces B and C are in great shape though! I fell in love with the Ballerina piece when I first heard it and months later, I still feel the same! Tugela Rail is a nice one too.

 

 

 

 

I'm just about to take grade 5 now but had a look ahead a while ago and will be choosing the same piece A and B most likely  :) Was considering un amanacer en santa maria for section C just because it's very different to anything I've played before and sounds good too! 

 

Wish you all the best with your studies  :)

 


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#49 dynari

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Posted 15 October 2019 - 12:03

 

 

 

 

Thanks! And yeah, totally -- I went through the Grade 5 theory content and wasn't bothered at all but was just trying to avoid the hassle of actually taking it. (Coincidentally I've started reading "The AB Guide to Music Theory" to brush up on my theory for fun. Lots of interesting little tidbits in that gem!) The main reason I was trying to gain an exemption was because of timing -- I'm all set to take Grade 6 now and would need to push it back if I had to take the theory. I want to get G6 out of the way, then spend December playing holiday music, and start working on G7 in the new year  :)

As for pieces, I chose:

A: Kuhlau's Rondo: Vivace, Op. 88 No. 2, 3rd movt

B: Hartmann's The Little Ballerina

C: Brubeck's Tugela Rail

 

I love all three and actually have them mostly memorised. I didn't intentionally memorise, but I guess I've played them enough it's come naturally. I love the Kuhlau piece and chose it because I loved it so much, but it is definitely a lot more challenging that the other options in List A. I've had to spend at least 5x as much time practicing it compared to Pieces B and C! I'm a bit nervous about it because about 30% practice runs are still error prone, and not just a minor slip - I trip over my fingers and can't recover without restarting the phrase.

 

Pieces B and C are in great shape though! I fell in love with the Ballerina piece when I first heard it and months later, I still feel the same! Tugela Rail is a nice one too.

 

 

 

 

I'm just about to take grade 5 now but had a look ahead a while ago and will be choosing the same piece A and B most likely  :) Was considering un amanacer en santa maria for section C just because it's very different to anything I've played before and sounds good too! 

 

Wish you all the best with your studies  :)

 

 

They're great choices - you will definitely enjoy!!

 

Did I see you are doing Haydn for Piece A? I think that was our only overlap in Grade 5 (I did Farrenc and Cornick for B and C). Here is my Haydn piece the day before my exam in March though: https://www.youtube....h?v=qaAGux95Z94

 

Would love to see videos of yours when you are ready!


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#50 peterhontaru

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Posted 15 October 2019 - 17:04

I think it was very well put together - hope I can get close to that in the exam. I will try make a video in about 3-4 weeks just before the exam but I am feeling ok with the piece. I also have a recital set up at the end of the month to "test" it in public :)

 

And yes, we only overlapped on Haydn on the grade 5. I went for the Schumann and Poulenc for B and C although I considered the etude as well but just really love Schumann


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#51 dynari

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Posted 15 October 2019 - 19:16

I think it was very well put together - hope I can get close to that in the exam. I will try make a video in about 3-4 weeks just before the exam but I am feeling ok with the piece. I also have a recital set up at the end of the month to "test" it in public :)

 

And yes, we only overlapped on Haydn on the grade 5. I went for the Schumann and Poulenc for B and C although I considered the etude as well but just really love Schumann

 

Thank you Peter!! I am sure you will - I listened to your video, and you are doing great. It's amazing you've come so far so quickly. Looking forward to seeing your videos on your pieces in a few weeks. I'll probably record mine around the same time - I just got my exam date today: 20th November. 

 

Good call on the recital to test your performance! 


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#52 thara96

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Posted 19 October 2019 - 12:41

I'm doing G1 music theory. What sort of questions can I expect to find on the paper? Slightly nervous I've never done a music theory exam before! 


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#53 Latin pianist

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Posted 19 October 2019 - 13:38

Have you not looked at some old past papers to see what the questions are like?
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#54 peterhontaru

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Posted 19 October 2019 - 21:56

 

I think it was very well put together - hope I can get close to that in the exam. I will try make a video in about 3-4 weeks just before the exam but I am feeling ok with the piece. I also have a recital set up at the end of the month to "test" it in public :)

 

And yes, we only overlapped on Haydn on the grade 5. I went for the Schumann and Poulenc for B and C although I considered the etude as well but just really love Schumann

 

Thank you Peter!! I am sure you will - I listened to your video, and you are doing great. It's amazing you've come so far so quickly. Looking forward to seeing your videos on your pieces in a few weeks. I'll probably record mine around the same time - I just got my exam date today: 20th November. 

 

Good call on the recital to test your performance! 

 

Thank you very much for the kind comments - glad you enjoyed the video :) they are actually coming along nicely now so pretty happy with it. Scales are ok-ish but I think I will get them to a decent level - just spending loads of time on sight reading now as I am only around grade 4 ish so hopefully will be getting up there. I don't expect distinction on sight reading/aural but hopefully a high pass or maybe even a merit if I get lucky!

 

I also got my date this week and I am also on the 20th so we're in the same boat!!! 


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#55 thara96

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Posted 20 October 2019 - 12:38

 

 

I think it was very well put together - hope I can get close to that in the exam. I will try make a video in about 3-4 weeks just before the exam but I am feeling ok with the piece. I also have a recital set up at the end of the month to "test" it in public :)

 

And yes, we only overlapped on Haydn on the grade 5. I went for the Schumann and Poulenc for B and C although I considered the etude as well but just really love Schumann

 

Thank you Peter!! I am sure you will - I listened to your video, and you are doing great. It's amazing you've come so far so quickly. Looking forward to seeing your videos on your pieces in a few weeks. I'll probably record mine around the same time - I just got my exam date today: 20th November. 

 

Good call on the recital to test your performance! 

 

Thank you very much for the kind comments - glad you enjoyed the video :) they are actually coming along nicely now so pretty happy with it. Scales are ok-ish but I think I will get them to a decent level - just spending loads of time on sight reading now as I am only around grade 4 ish so hopefully will be getting up there. I don't expect distinction on sight reading/aural but hopefully a high pass or maybe even a merit if I get lucky!

 

I also got my date this week and I am also on the 20th so we're in the same boat!!! 

 

 

 

 

I think it was very well put together - hope I can get close to that in the exam. I will try make a video in about 3-4 weeks just before the exam but I am feeling ok with the piece. I also have a recital set up at the end of the month to "test" it in public :)

 

And yes, we only overlapped on Haydn on the grade 5. I went for the Schumann and Poulenc for B and C although I considered the etude as well but just really love Schumann

 

Thank you Peter!! I am sure you will - I listened to your video, and you are doing great. It's amazing you've come so far so quickly. Looking forward to seeing your videos on your pieces in a few weeks. I'll probably record mine around the same time - I just got my exam date today: 20th November. 

 

Good call on the recital to test your performance! 

 

Thank you very much for the kind comments - glad you enjoyed the video :) they are actually coming along nicely now so pretty happy with it. Scales are ok-ish but I think I will get them to a decent level - just spending loads of time on sight reading now as I am only around grade 4 ish so hopefully will be getting up there. I don't expect distinction on sight reading/aural but hopefully a high pass or maybe even a merit if I get lucky!

 

I also got my date this week and I am also on the 20th so we're in the same boat!!! 

 

Congratulations! 


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#56 De Sisti

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Posted 21 October 2019 - 19:28

My grade 4 exam is on 21 November. Will have piano accompaniment for this one (didn't on the grade 3).

First run-through on with the piano highlighted areas I need to work on. Nervous, but it's part of the process

for me. 

 

I don't have a teacher, and have found the musicteachers.co.uk website very much out-of-date. Some of the

phone numbers were unavailable; some of those who answered said they no longer teach. Hey ho.  


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#57 hennylemon

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Posted 22 October 2019 - 11:22

I'm doing G1 music theory. What sort of questions can I expect to find on the paper? Slightly nervous I've never done a music theory exam before! 

 

I highly recommend working through past exam papers. They are widely available for a few pounds, e.g. musicroom.com delivers very fast. 

 

I've now studied all topics for my G5 theory, done all the exercises in the Pass Grade 5 Theory book (by Dorothy Dingle; not an ABRSM publication), and have done all available past papers up to Grade 4. I'm fairly confident (but not perfect) with scales & keys, intervals, chords and inversions but could do better with beaming, time signatures and terms. To be honest, it's a miracle I've managed to motivate myself to study all of this. I know it all is the very basics of music theory but I have really struggled with my motivation do this so I'm glad the D-Day is almost here!


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#58 Dr. Rogers

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Posted 22 October 2019 - 13:05

Good luck to all those doing exams, whether practical or music theory!

 

Our theory exam date here in the Republic of Texas is November 2nd.  I have a student taking G5, and I'm taking G6.

 

My G5 student has worked though stacks and stacks of practice problems, including last year's practice papers.  Her working on the practice papers is at high distinction level - think 99% or 100%.  I am so incredibly proud of her.  We've also been playing through most of the pieces on the G3 piano syllabus (the ones I could scrape together without buying extraneous books).  She'll be doing G3 next May, in the same session where I'll be taking ARSM.

 

I have also been working G6 past papers, as well as problems from the G6 Theory Workbook.  I'm fairly confident I'll get at least a Merit at G6.  One thing I've noticed is that the score analysis problems in the G6 Theory Workbook are much harder than the score analysis problems in the past papers.

 

I'm still working on my ARSM programme for next spring.  It has done at least one thing for me: I never, never, never want to play another mazurka in my life.  I merely disliked that musical form going into ARSM, now I absolutely hate it.  That said, my Chopin mazurka is starting to sound pretty good.


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#59 saumya_1992

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Posted 25 October 2019 - 10:05

Hi guys,

 

I wanted to seek advice from you regarding anxiety during the practical exams (ABRSM piano). I had an awful experience with my Grade 1 exam but I do want to ensure it does not happen ever again.

 

So I took my first practical exam after learning for 8 months. Grade 1 piano (ABRSM). I was disappointed and shocked with my performance. I was practising at home and it was perfect (one hour before the exam). Before entering the exam room, my fingers suddenly become numb. I had never imagined something like this would occur. So my scales and broken chords were perfect. My first piece was perfect. Suddenly I realise that my fingers have gone number. Panic strikes, overall the piece was going well but I stumbled once. Then the last piece I stumbled twice, overall it seemed okay. What was shocking was how could I play the pieces perfectly before the exam but not during? I had slept well so it cannot be that. How can my fingers go numb? Next comes sight reading. By that time I was in full panic mode. I screwed up the rhythm but got the notes right. My aural went good though. The examiner comments "you have a lovely singing voice. were you ever in a choir"? Haha. Overall feeling supremely dejected, I think a distinction is out of the question (I think).

 

1. Can someone please tell me what kind of marks should I be expecting?

2. How do I improve? Clearly there's something more than deliberate practice that I should be doing. Performances are often not possible but I may have to consider creating those opportunities proactively.


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#60 ejw21

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Posted 25 October 2019 - 11:52

Hi saumya_1992, I would not want to comment on your marks, but very well done for taking your exam. 8 months is not a long time to prepare! Your post implies that you had quite strong performance anxiety. There have been other posts about nervousness and anxiety on the forum if you're up for searching. 

 

If you can, it is worth finding performance opportunities - recitals that your teacher organises (if you have a teacher), piano clubs etc. There is a pinned post in the Events section with a list of playing opportunities. There are quite a few piano groups/meetups on meetup.com, plus a list here: https://practisingth...urces-pianists/.

 

Best wishes and happy playing!


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