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#1101371 - 08/26/04 04:51 AM Gr 7 Exam Done!  
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 60
emrys Offline
Full Member
emrys  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 60
This was originally posted on the Pianist Corner Forum but I thought it might be interesting here also.

Good morning folks,

Well I've finally done it...I played my grade 7 RCM exam (my first piano exam ever and I'm in my 40's) and I survived the ordeal!
It's strange how I didn't freak out until after I played the first thing (the Bb flat scale) for the examiner.
All of a sudden my nerves kicked in and my hands started shaking and everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, flew out the open window. No return.
I barely got thru the other technical things and I missed enough bars of music in each of my five pieces to make up a whole new piece. Kind of like a medley of my exam pieces, ha ha
Well in case you're interested here is what I played:

Study in G + by Cornelius Gurlitt
Fantastic Dance by R. Schumann
Suite No. 8 in G+ "Aria" by G.F. Handel
Bagatelle Op. 119, No. 1 by Beethoven
Melody, Op.15, No. 11 by Viktor Kossenko

AND I can't believe that my hands are shaking just as I was typing out that list!!!
The residual trauma of it all.

Well! It's time to move on.
I'm planning on learning all of the Bagatelle Op. 119 because I've heard a few of the other parts and it does sound SO pretty.

Also, in preparation for my exam, my teacher introduced me to sight-singing to help me with the melody play-back part of the exam and I found that I really enjoyed these exercises.
Also, for my own interest I have been reading "Nadia Boulanger. A Life in Music" by Leonie Rosenstiel and what a FASCINATING read.
Nadia believes in teaching solfegge right from the beginning and after having tried the sight-singing exercises I could see how useful this would be even before touching an instrument.

For now I am going back to the Hanon exercises which I haven't done for two or three years and I have a question for you all.
Each Hanon exercise is shown for the scale of C+.
Now...should I go thru each exercise, including the different rhythm patterns, in the C+ scale until I've done them all or should I stick with one exercise and do it in all the major and minor scales before I move onto the next exercise?
Of course I don't mean all in one sitting but say one day in C+, the next day in D+, etc.?

I just need to know which approach will I get the most benefit from the exercises.
I know from past postings that Hanon is not on everyone's list of "goodies" but I think it might be helpful to me.

Also I plan to go thru the Little Pischna book at the same time.

What are your thoughts and thank you for your responses.

When I get my marks I'll let you all know how I did...that is if I haven't dug a hole in the ground to hide in.

Oh by the way, I wrote the Grade 2 theory in May and surprisingly I got an 84%. Where I thought I did the best (and didn't go back to check before the end of the exam time) was were I made the MOST errors. Which is especially crazy because it was something SIMPLE like checking the key signature!


Thanks for reading.

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#1101372 - 08/26/04 06:06 AM Re: Gr 7 Exam Done!  
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,838
katie_dup1 Offline
1000 Post Club Member
katie_dup1  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,838
Congratulations .... Over 40 and completing your Grade 7 RCM & Grade 2 Theory ..... Wow!

You're a brave and courageous person Emrys! smile

Someday, maybe .... if I have enough commitment & confidence for this I'll attempt it. Right now, at 40 & some yrs of age, I'm working on Grade 8 & Preliminary Rudiments (I'm a returning student having had a 26 yr reprieve).

I have great admiration for older adults who do the exams!

Keep up the great work! smile

I remember playing the Gurlitt & the Handel pieces & enjoyed them. I'm sorry I can't help address your question with the Hanon exercises. Perhaps someone else can.

Just out of curiosity, did you attempt to memorize any of the pieces for your exam? (The reason I ask is b/c I have real serious problems with memory work & don't think I could do it).

Also, could you describe what sight singing exercises are for me? This may sound silly but I can't carry a tune at all (being "off key" that is), but think I have a fairly clear "memory" for pieces in my head, notes, intervals, etc. I ask this too b/c I'm worried how I'd do on the exams with the Ear Testing part. Thanks.


#1101373 - 08/26/04 12:28 PM Re: Gr 7 Exam Done!  
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 60
emrys Offline
Full Member
emrys  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 60
Thank you Katie for your encouragement and kind remarks.

I actually memorized ALL my pieces but for the RCM exams in Gr. 7 you can use the book for study pieces.
But let me tell you that although I thought I had everything memorized to 99%, half of that went out the window as soon as I started playing. The good thing is that I didn't have to go back to the beginning and I was able to jump a bar or two and continue on to the bitter end.
Thank God I memorized it using the very valuble (sp?) anchoring method where I'm supposed to be able to play from any of the anchor points that I've set on the score. This REALLY pulled me thru the pieces, ALL of them!

I'm not very good at explanations but I'll try...It's kind of like being able to sing the notes as you read them and I think the first thing to do is recognize the sound of a two note interval, in broken form, and then knowing how they look on the staff and how they sound, just practice singing the second note after you have played the first note. It's actually quite fun.
And then you go on to three-note chords, dom7's. etc.
I'm going to look into the library for some books specifically on sight singing b/c I think this is a valuable tool in music making...too bad I didn't know about it earlier.

Hey, sorry to run on, good luck with your studies. I'm going to start looking at the Gr. 8 material in Sept.

By the way I have a very persuasive teacher and she thought I could do it so I figured I could.
She wouldn't send me out to fail...it would make her look bad. I hope I passed.

#1101374 - 08/26/04 01:05 PM Re: Gr 7 Exam Done!  
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 982
sleepingcats Offline
500 Post Club Member
sleepingcats  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: May 2004
Posts: 982

I'm in my 40's as well. During the 3 years I took lessons in my late-teens, I was never "tested" so I have no idea was level I was. After 25 years away from the piano and starting lessons again in December, I can't stop thinking about playing - I'm so excited, especially since I found my new teacher 3 weeks ago, AND ordered a new grand piano! Anyway, I'll ask my new teacher about levels, exams, etc. I'm learning piano just for my own enjoyment, but I'm still curious about where I stand.

"Cats make purrfect friends"
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#1101375 - 08/26/04 08:09 PM Re: Gr 7 Exam Done!  
Joined: Apr 2003
Posts: 917
cathys Offline
500 Post Club Member
cathys  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2003
Posts: 917
emrys - Congrats!! I definitely know that nervous feeling - I'm sure you'll get good news when the results come back. I'm another in my 40's that never took exams as a kid. It's something I might like to try but don't know what's available in my area I'll have to ask my teacher.



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