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#1888083 - 04/28/12 06:12 PM Re: Exams [Re: ZoeCalgary]  
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You probably can't watch an exam because it may set the student off a but it is always worth calling and asking.
It is a bit nerve racking now know what happens behind the door

If it helps I found that the overall atmosphere of an exam is just the same as if you were playing with your teacher beside you.
I failed an exam once because I got myself all worked up thinking that the examiner was going to be snotty and judgemental, I started seeing black and probably could of passed out. This was very irrational of me.

All the exams I have done start out with a little bit of small talk with the examiner then you sit down, I have had the examiner sit a couple ft and beside me and i have had one sit about 9 ft away and behind me. before you go into your exam you will have chosen if you want to play your pieces first or your studies and technique, the only surprise is what technique or scales will be asked of you.
They do like to move from one thing to the next quickly so keep it in mind but don't let it rush you. Don't be worried if they stop you mid song, sometimes they do it for time purposes.

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#1888116 - 04/28/12 07:25 PM Re: Exams [Re: LizAnne]  
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The guide says that noone is allowed in the room except the student and the adjudicator, and also no recording devices are allowed. Also listening outside the door is prohibited.

Thank you keystring for the sight-reading info. ZoeCalgary, I have that book and CD on order that you mentioned.


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#1888422 - 04/29/12 02:39 PM Re: Exams [Re: LizAnne]  
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LizAnne
Some of us are just in love with learning. When I tell my students (not music) that I did the Ph.D. for fun they are incredulous. School seems like work to them. The exams seem like a milestone for me...a way to checkmark my level of accomplishment...that's motivating for me. The other thing is that I'm REALLY learning some pieces in depth to be ready for the exam and that will give me confidence to play a few pieces when asked (I hope)...lifelong learning is what we're about I think...
I've ordered the aural performance book and CD that someone recommended...in the meantime I'll take my stabs at it. Play C and sing the 6th. :-)

Last edited by WiseBuff; 04/30/12 08:01 AM.

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#1891756 - 05/05/12 02:32 PM Re: Exams [Re: LizAnne]  
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So I'm listening to the Perfection Ear CD to practice aural skills and I have some problems.

One problem is the clapback, in which they play a short random melody twice and you have to clapback the rhythm. Is there a strategy for this? Try to establish a beat and count it? Memorize it as a melody and then clap as you hear the melody in your head? Go by gut feel? Something else?

And what is the point of this exercise? The rhythms seems fairly random, and there's no accompaniment to give you any bearings. Ugh ugh ugh.

The other problem is the intervals, where they play a melodic interval once and you have to identify it. I keep mixing up major thirds and fifths, and fifths and octaves. I try humming a major arpeggio to see if the first two notes match for a major third, and "twinkle twinkle" to see if I get a match for a fifth, but I still mess it up. Any tips to learning to hear and identify intervals? Or do I just keep practicing and eventually I'll get better?


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#1891827 - 05/05/12 05:27 PM Re: Exams [Re: LizAnne]  
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PianoStudent88 - I have trouble with this too.

For clapback. I found humming the melody in my head helped immensely. Also, from the CD's I would try to guess the time signature (4/4, 2/4, 6/8). I found I could then more easily picture the music as it was being played. My teacher also suggested using one hand to tap it out. I think after awhile you can recognize patterns in the notes, based on the time signature.

For intervals my teacher gave me a sheet with typical songs that contained those intervals. If you google intervals you will get a list of these. This only works if you know the song of course. I found I had to think through all the songs to see if the interval matched the song. Well, it didn't take long to forget what I'd heard! But, I found if I practiced just the intervals above or below a given note I could concentrate better and then identify those. Over time I did manage to get most of the intervals but it took me awhile. So I started with knowing the intervals below a given note for a week. Then the next week I added the intervals above a given note. Humming them to myself as they were being played really helped me. When I practiced them by playing them myself I hummed them to myself and that really helped. I'm not a singer so I didn't think that would help but it did.

My teacher said I should concentrate on the sound each interval makes (e.g. a minor 3rd can sound sad, relative to a major 3rd). An octave is same tone just higher pitch. Play and listen to the differences between a 3rd, 4th, 5th. When I did that consistently it helped. When I didn't really focus on it day by day I really struggled. I actually found ear training really hard to do.


Preparing Grade 6 RCM.

#1891828 - 05/05/12 05:29 PM Re: Exams [Re: LizAnne]  
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So, I got part of the results of my exam back! Well I got my mark (81%), and my standing is First Class Honours! I'm so happy I passed. I am waiting for the written comments to come through now too!


Preparing Grade 6 RCM.

#1891916 - 05/05/12 08:25 PM Re: Exams [Re: LizAnne]  
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Thank you for the suggestions, ZoeCalgary, and congratulations on your exam results.


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#1895937 - 05/12/12 09:29 PM Re: Exams [Re: LizAnne]  
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Zoe or any of you who have taken the exams. What exactly are they looking for when we play the broken chords. I wish I had sheet music so I could see how they expect them played...details details


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#1895950 - 05/12/12 10:29 PM Re: Exams [Re: LizAnne]  
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WiseBuff, what level are you planning to take? I might be able to describe the chords for you. There is also a technical requirements book that you can order, which shows all the technical requirements written out.


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#1895958 - 05/12/12 10:55 PM Re: Exams [Re: ZoeCalgary]  
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Originally Posted by ZoeCalgary
So, I got part of the results of my exam back! Well I got my mark (81%), and my standing is First Class Honours! I'm so happy I passed. I am waiting for the written comments to come through now too!


Congratulations Zoe! That's an excellent mark! I'm also impressed by how quickly they published your mark .. I hope that means they are getting faster. The wait is awful.

My studies were all through the RCM and I have no regrets about that -- I'm working on an AR in voice and piano currently. My own students have the option of doing exams, but it's not required.

By no means, however, do i believe the RCM system is without flaws. It's certainly dangerous to use this as the only means of progression with a student -- and not every student is motivated by exams. (I love exams -- I'm like Lisa in that Simpsons episode where she gets sent to a unstructured learning school and she has a nervous breakdown and begs everyone she sees "Grade me!!" LOL).

#1896056 - 05/13/12 06:49 AM Re: Exams [Re: LizAnne]  
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Thanks 88...you know I may have that book. I'm going to look through my stacks of music. I'm going for level 5. It seemed like a nice place to start. I have the theory practice books, the syllabus, the repertoire, the etudes etc and I'm waiting for the aural practice CDs I ordered. I'm enjoying the prep and hope to take it in December. They offer one in August but I'm not sure I'll be ready enough by then. It's not the only music I'm working on but it is a goal

#1896961 - 05/14/12 09:49 PM Re: Exams [Re: LizAnne]  
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WiseBuff, I looked again at the level 5 technical requiremens, and I think you'll be best off finding or buying the technical requirements book. There are too many requirements to be sure of describing them in words accurately.

But for the broken chords, basically you start in root position and play a broken triad in root position, then first inversion, then second inversion, then root position again (now you're an octave higher). Then reverse the procedure, playing the broken chords from top to bottom until you're back where you started. Finish with a V I cadence.

That's a lot clearer when you can see it in notation.


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#1897211 - 05/15/12 07:49 AM Re: Exams [Re: LizAnne]  
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Actually 88 that is very clear to me. I know the cadences and the chords but wasn't sure how they wanted it to flow. Do they want both hands to play root, then 1st inversion, then 2nd? or left hand then right hand up the keyboard?


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#1897233 - 05/15/12 08:48 AM Re: Exams [Re: LizAnne]  
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Hands together. This is mentioned in the syllabus, which is available for free download here.

The arpeggios, on the other hand, are hands separate.


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#1897262 - 05/15/12 09:42 AM Re: Exams [Re: ZoeCalgary]  
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Originally Posted by ZoeCalgary
Originally Posted by WiseBuff
I wonder if I can go watch an exam....


Hi WiseBuff - I know for the RCM exam there was a point in the hallway that no parents or teachers were allowed. So I'm pretty sure you won't be able to go in and watch one.

However, I had seen a video of an exam and I'll have to try to remember where/how I had seen it and send you the link.


Hi there, not RCM but you can see ABRSM grade 1 and grade 5 exam videos here:

http://www.abrsm.org/en/students/examvideos/

Cheers

Nick


Restarted piano in September 2010 after previous misguided attempts to learn without a teacher.
#1909543 - 06/06/12 04:50 PM Re: Exams [Re: LizAnne]  
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Coming back to this thread after awhile away. I just got my comments/marking sheet back from the RCM Grade 4 exam. I can see that my self assessment and the examiners matched. I did quite well with my 3 pieces, 2 studies, and sight reading. I really struggled with the ear tests and it was noted on the comments that I needed more attention there!

What surprised me were the detailed comments on everything I did. That was nice and really appreciated. There was generally a positive comment and also something to work on to get even better. I can't wait to talk to my teacher about this and get clarity on some of the things. For now, a lovely boost to my ego to get comments like this:

"A lovely sparkle to your touch!"
"Beautifullly prepared!"
"Very elegently played with many details of articulation and dynamics intact"
"A great romp!"
"Great attention to articulation and a wonderful sense of passion and drive!"

And then of course some of the things to continue to work on:

"Be sure this is fluid, even, and clear"
"Keep working to develop shaping and dynamic contrast"
"Think 'up' to avoid heaviness and allow you to shape phrases even more"
"Pay more attention to the direction of the phrase"

As I said earlier, for me this was a great experience and I would do it again. I haven't yet decided what grade I'm preparing for next (Grade 5 or 6) as I'm taking a bit of a break and working on 'fun' pieces now. I am slowly working on some of the grade 5 materials now though and finding the ornaments a bit of a challenge. But Fun!

How is everybody else's exam prep coming along?


Preparing Grade 6 RCM.

#1909546 - 06/06/12 04:53 PM Re: Exams [Re: WiseBuff]  
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Originally Posted by WiseBuff
Zoe or any of you who have taken the exams. What exactly are they looking for when we play the broken chords. I wish I had sheet music so I could see how they expect them played...details details


Well, my comments said aim for even greater fluidity for the broken triads.

Hope that helps!


Preparing Grade 6 RCM.

#1909551 - 06/06/12 04:55 PM Re: Exams [Re: LadyChen]  
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Originally Posted by LadyChen
Congratulations Zoe! That's an excellent mark! I'm also impressed by how quickly they published your mark .. I hope that means they are getting faster. The wait is awful.


Hi LadyChen, sorry I didn't see your comment earlier! Thanks! I just got my comments sheet today (June 5th). Not sure if that's generally fast or slow, but it sure has felt like forever. There was some really good and specific comments though (as I posted in my other thread) so it was worth the wait.



Preparing Grade 6 RCM.

#1909553 - 06/06/12 04:56 PM Re: Exams [Re: PianoStudent88]  
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Originally Posted by PianoStudent88
Thank you for the suggestions, ZoeCalgary, and congratulations on your exam results.


Thanks! How is your exam prep coming along?


Preparing Grade 6 RCM.

#1909560 - 06/06/12 05:06 PM Re: Exams [Re: LizAnne]  
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It sounds like you had a good examiner. There's nothing more frustrating than not knowing why you got the mark you did. It's nice when they give you some concrete things you can work on.

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