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Autumn 2019 Exams

musical instruments grade exams abrsm

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#196 EllieD

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Posted 20 December 2019 - 10:57

 

 


 

 

 

 

Thank you Ellie. You do make a great point about recordings not being the same thing that was examined. 

 

However, except for maybe the Schumann (which I played probably as good as I could both in exam and recording), both other recordings have plenty of mistakes in them (particularly the Poulenc which has a lot of wrong chords in the left hand).

 

I wanted to have non-perfect recordings that matched the exam performance. The only thing that isn't completely accurate (and maybe I should've reenacted this on purpose) was two notes in Haydn that I repeated for a reason I can't remember and I'm sure that the comment in the marking refers to. However, there were other bits in the recording that I played correctly in the exam but not in the recording so overall it would still be ok. But yes, definitely not an exam replica and shouldn't be trusted as such. However, it would be obvious if there was a big fail in the exam (ie. commentary says stops and starts) and then the recording is just a flawless performance.

 

Lastly, it is also possible that I could not recall 100% everything that happened in the exam and my point with these wasn't to contest the marking, but to inform on what is expected/valued in the exam.  I am sure that even if the examiner was on the harsh side, the mark would've only been lowered by 1 or 2 points not by 5+. I don't even want to make a contestation as they'd probably give you a better mark if you send a good recording too. Will be interesting to see how it all works from next year with the changes. By this, I mean that from next year recordings will be made of the exam performance (audio only I think), which is great, but not sure if the student will have access to those. I think it's more for those cases in which the student contests the marking.

 

Also, thanks for letting me know about the commentary, I could not read that myself!

 

 

One last bit of (hopefully!) constructive observation - just about the Handel really as I think the examiner's comments are in agreement with the Youtube vids for the other pieces - the examiner made comments about your tempo and rhythmic accuracy about that piece. Listening to your vid I would not have considered that an issue - I thought you played it at a very good speed, neither too fast nor too slow, and rhythmic accuracy wasn't an issue. That's why I think you may have played that aspect of the piece differently in the exam, and why I think it is worth taking those comments on board for future exams. These Baroque pieces do take some effort of control, especially under pressure! You mention incorrect notes that you played, but in an exam (and indeed a performance) nobody really cares too much about that. Musicality is the more important thing, the odd wrong note (if it doesn't put you off) affects the performance of the piece far less.

 

Take on board the examiner's comments! Otherwise, why pay for an exam? 

 

Are they really going to record exams next year? Eek! I was wondering about trying an exam myself next year, but all I have to do is press the "record" button on my digital piano and I go to pieces!!


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#197 Misterioso

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Posted 21 December 2019 - 12:00

Are they really going to record exams next year? Eek! I was wondering about trying an exam myself next year, but all I have to do is press the "record" button on my digital piano and I go to pieces!!

 

Likewise, Ellie - just knowing this freaks me out completely. I must be careful not to mention it to any of my pupils!


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#198 peterhontaru

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Posted 21 December 2019 - 23:28

One last bit of (hopefully!) constructive observation - just about the Handel really as I think the examiner's comments are in agreement with the Youtube vids for the other pieces - the examiner made comments about your tempo and rhythmic accuracy about that piece. Listening to your vid I would not have considered that an issue - I thought you played it at a very good speed, neither too fast nor too slow, and rhythmic accuracy wasn't an issue. That's why I think you may have played that aspect of the piece differently in the exam, and why I think it is worth taking those comments on board for future exams. These Baroque pieces do take some effort of control, especially under pressure! You mention incorrect notes that you played, but in an exam (and indeed a performance) nobody really cares too much about that. Musicality is the more important thing, the odd wrong note (if it doesn't put you off) affects the performance of the piece far less.

 

 

 

Take on board the examiner's comments! Otherwise, why pay for an exam? 

 

Are they really going to record exams next year? Eek! I was wondering about trying an exam myself next year, but all I have to do is press the "record" button on my digital piano and I go to pieces!!

 

 

Of course I will take all commentary on board, not just the Haydn! The recording however is faster than the version on the website and that was the case both for the recording and the performance and it was done on purpose but maybe there was inconsistency in the performance too. 

 

And you're right, I did learn it that at least from Grade 5 onwards, they care about musicality more than accuracy of the notes (ie. on the Poulenc I messed up a lot more in terms of the notes and still got 24). Obviously, it would help to play most, if not all notes correctly.

 

And regarding the exam, I did double check and it will indeed be recorded, sorry to scare you all! 

 

 

From January 2020, all our examiners will be using our new specially created examiner app to deliver and mark practical exams. Although examiners will be working in a different way, the exam experience for all candidates will stay the same.

  • During the exam, examiners will use an iPad to complete mark forms for practical graded exams and ARSM exams.
  • The app will automatically audio record exams, providing us with recordings to help with quality assurance, examiner training and enquiries about results. The recording happens automatically and will not disturb or interrupt the exam in any way. Recordings are for internal use only so won’t be available to applicants or candidates.
  • All iPads used by our examiners will have the camera function disabled.

 

However, try and make it a habit to record your own performances weekly, biweekly or at least monthly at the very least. It will definitely help and also a great way to keep track of progress/how your pieces have changed. Whether I want to or not, I started recording myself to post on YouTube every now and then and now I got to the point where I really don't mind at all whether I am recording or not

 

I don't think they mention it so your pupils might be safe from the scare Misterioso, haha.


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#199 EllieD

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Posted 22 December 2019 - 08:26

Well, not the first time I've disagreed with ABRSM tempi, then! Though usually they seem to want to go too fast. The Haydn (I don't know why I said Handel before, perhaps it does have a baroque feel to it and I made an assumption?) was an Andante, yours was the only version I've heard of it, and it sounded spot on Andante to me. But I suppose if the examiner has sat through 1,000 versions of it played Largo, perhaps that's why! 

 

No matter, of course, you still did well! 


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#200 Dr. Rogers

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Posted 31 December 2019 - 14:41

A little late to the part here because I've been overseas for more than a month.  The results for the November theory exams were posted while I was in Taiwan.  I took Grade 6 Theory in November, and my over-achieving adult student took Grade 5 Theory.

 

We both received Distinctions on our theory exams.  I received 92% at Grade 6, and my adult student received 100% at Grade 5!

 

I wish my score were higher, but I'm not going to quibble with a Distinction.  I have not yet received the mark sheets so I don't know where I lost points, but I know I perpetrated some illegal doublings in the figured bass question.

 

As for my adult student, I am so incredibly proud of her!  I must say I am not surprised at her 100%.  She worked incredibly hard and did everything I asked of her.  She was working in the high 90s with occasional 100s on her practice tests, and she was as prepared for it as possible.

 

I plan on taking Grade 7 Theory in March.  "Up, up, up the ziggurat, lickety-split!"


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