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Piano Exam Group #2448128
08/06/15 08:29 AM
08/06/15 08:29 AM
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Brighton Colorado
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WiseBuff Offline OP
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There have been many threads or comments related to the piano exams both ABRSM and RCM. Some do them and some hate them so they are clearly not for everyone but some of us find them useful benchmarks of progress or challenges that inspire. Still the work can be daunting. This thread could be a place where we offer some support and conversation along the way.

Two years ago I successfully prepared for and passed the Level 5 exam and I'm currently working towards the Level 6 RCM exam. None of my teacher's other students assign themselves such mountains to climb. It'll take me at least until next year to have the repertoire ready to play for an examiner. I'm taking the Coursera "Music Theory" course to refresh my theory. I'm practicing the aural with online and CDs.

Still...Some days the exam work moves productively and other days I'm tired of all of it. Today is one of those days where my motivation is waning. Would love to hear how you're preparing and how you manage the ups and downs.


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Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff] #2448158
08/06/15 10:08 AM
08/06/15 10:08 AM
Joined: Jan 2011
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Costa del Sol
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I think an exam support thread is a great idea. It is a long, hard journey from one exam to the next, and it is nice to have moral support. Doing the exam route requires a lot of time and dedication, and the requirement to polish pieces and technical exercises to a higher quality than might otherwise be done. That said, I believe that following this course has been very valuable in the development of better skills at the piano. So, I would be interested in hearing everyone's experiences or questions about doing the exam.

For anyone taking ABRSM exams, and I can share my experiences. The pieces were not the hard part for me. The sight reading, aural skills, and technical requirements took far more time for me than learning the pieces. These auxiliary skills are a major part of the test and need to be proficient to get a good score. That was a shock to me when I started this route. The sight reading is far more difficult than I expected, and by grade 5 you need to be able to perform any scale or tonic arpeggio.

My first examiner was a very encouraging lady, who calmed my nerves completely. As a result, the exam was not stressful. After the exam, she talked to me about how much experience that I had, and encouraged me to keep going. The next exam I took was the grade 5 theory exam, which is required to take practical tests above grade five. Preparing for that exam required a lot of study. It was a three hour exam, and was not easy.

Last fall I took the grade five practical, and the examiner was all business. He never cracked a smile, but he did speak with me afterward in a cordial manner. I am glad he was not my first examiner, but I was well prepared and not overly nervous. So - be prepared for anything! In November I will will sit Grad 6.

I have tried to learn a lot of pieces at my level. I am now set on three pieces for the November exam, Over the Rainbow, Minuet and Trio from the Sonata in Bb by Beethoven, and Erster Schmerz by Bortkiewicz. The Minuet and Trio is about 70 bpm, and needs to go to 100=1/4 played in 1/16th's. The trio is particularly tricky. Ester Schmerz is a piece I started two weeks ago. I have another romantic piece I can play if this one does not mature well.

I am still making the odd mistake in scales and arpeggios, especially melodics, which worries me. The sight reading is a holy terror. I now can sight read very well at the grade 5 level, but it is like they took a major step up at 6! Changes in clefs, irregular time signatures, complicated rhythms, lots of ledger lines. Eek! So I am doing 1/2 per day on this and every other day Aural test work. Aural is fine except the singing from the score with accompaniment. A singer I am not!


Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: SwissMS] #2448171
08/06/15 10:44 AM
08/06/15 10:44 AM
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SwissMS, you've just completely turned me off from any sort of exams with that description crazy


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Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff] #2448179
08/06/15 11:04 AM
08/06/15 11:04 AM
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Warsaw, Poland
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I will surely not be taking any piano exams. Why stress yourself out with such things if you don't plan on doing this professionally? Well, maybe some of you are planning a career but I don't.


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Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff] #2448192
08/06/15 11:29 AM
08/06/15 11:29 AM
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California, USA
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Exam support thread is a great idea. Clearly, this is a thread for those who already think that exams are worth the effort. Debates about whether or not exams are worth anything can be taken up in a different thread.

I took piano exams ages ago in RCM where you're given a grade out of 100. With a number, the difference between 89 and 91 look big (my opinion). My daughters now take California Certificate of Merit (CM) evaluations. This is their own choice. (We ask them every year and they choose to go through with it.)

In CM, you're just given Excellent, Good, (can't remember the other two, but something like Average and Not Well Prepared), plus many comments by the evaluator. The CM system seems to reflect the fact that your evaluations are subjective in the first place, so I like that better. Perhaps because of the loose grading, my daughters don't feel all that stressed by it.

For those of you taking exams, you might like Dr. Marc Rochester's blog. He used to be an examiner, and I've found his anecdotes interesting. Google his name, and there are a few really interesting posts. Look for Music Examiner Anecdotes in his blog. Also look for a few other views he has on exams.


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Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: MomOfBeginners] #2448193
08/06/15 11:37 AM
08/06/15 11:37 AM
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 2,365
Costa del Sol
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Rereading my writing above, I can see how it could sound discouraging. The truth is, I believe starting the exam route was the best move I have made since I started back at piano. I enjoy the challenge. Exams are certainly not for everyone, and everyone has differing goals with their piano journey. I see this thread as a place where people who want to try the exam route can get or give information, commiserate the hard times and celebrate successes!

Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff] #2448451
08/07/15 08:30 AM
08/07/15 08:30 AM
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Brighton Colorado
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WiseBuff Offline OP
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I've enjoyed the piano for many years but stayed pretty much at the same level...maybe even sliding backward. Achievement has always motivated me and the exams are no different. Although the method books provide some theory, they do not delve into the subject as deeply as the exams require. There are certain concepts that are easy and others that use language that is unfamiliar to me. Music theory requires me to think beyond piano notation. That may be my biggest hurdle.

Scales and chords are the other competence that I've dabbled in but not mastered. For RCM level 6 I have 4 major and 4 minor chords. Must do scales in 16th notes at 60. That is really moving along and it must be flawless. I'm doing slow practice and really feeling my hand position and shape over the keys. AT a faster pace I've found that my left hand shape interrupts my scales and makes me miss black keys going down the scale. This work has also given me insight into the tension I carry into my playing. I'm consciously aware of the tension and teaching myself to be one with the piano movement.

For the moment I'm thinking I will do Bach French Suite #1 Sarabande; Kuhlau sonatina 55, No 2; and maybe a Schumann. The romantic era is easier for me for some reason so that one has several choices. The sarabande is short and killing me with the detail of finger movement.


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Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff] #2448626
08/07/15 09:20 PM
08/07/15 09:20 PM
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WiseBuff, we are both preparing for RCM 6! Yay. Where are you on the theory exams. I've completed my theory exams last winter up to RCM 7, so now just have to focus on the practical for a while before facing more theory. The advance theory exam was brutal! I stayed in the exam room until the last minute.

SwissMS, you are an inspiration! I agree that male examiners tend to be all business. One of mine didn't even say "thank you" after I completed a piece. Actually they are all quite nice. Just can't let them intimidate you. Sight-reading and aural practice is my biggest nemesis. I can tell you right now if not for the exam, I would drop all the work for them like a hot potato. I actually think the exams is the only reason I would make it pass level 6 playing because I'm so lazy in learning all the necessary support skills for the higher levels on my own without some strict system telling me to do the sight-reading, singing, or advance theory.

MomOfBeginners, my children did both CM and RCM for a few levels, but recently I have decided they will focus on RCM and we regrettably dropped our participation from CM. I feel two exams a year is too much and RCM is more rigorous of the two. Either way, I believe for children having something like CM is better than not at all. Just don't tell the children that it is actually not possible to fail CM. Failing RCM, that's actually pretty easy to do.

Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: Qazsedcft] #2448630
08/07/15 09:36 PM
08/07/15 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
I will surely not be taking any piano exams. Why stress yourself out with such things if you don't plan on doing this professionally? Well, maybe some of you are planning a career but I don't.


I think it is easy to think that taking exam is just about that one day when you go to the exam center. Actually, it's really more about a change in your whole way of looking at what is needed and what is deficient throughout the whole year or two up to that exam day. The day after, you start all over preparing for the next even harder one. Without some external system setting the standards for me properly, I would probably just do what I like and be stuck at the intermediate level forever when my goal is to be able to play slightly higher than intermediate level repertoire someday. And yes, I would like to play them well, for myself. I know it is not necessary, but just a dream. The exam is a tool that gets me there. I think in the long run, it is harder to get there for someone starting piano as late as myself (in my 40's) without the strict goals and requirements of the exams.

Luckily I have a fairly successful career outside of music that I will never need to play piano for money. Besides, my co-workers who have their mid-life crisis buy their BMW's and Porsche's and go track racing also need to go back to school for that expensive hobby. I think a 6' Yamaha CX grand piano, lessons and exam fees is fairly cheap in comparison to racing. My inspiration is really came from my sister who got her 1st degree black belt in her 40's and recently got her 2nd degree black belt at 50. I figure if she could do that, I could pass a few piano exams. My sister also has no intension of changing career into security or combat related work either anymore than me becoming a professional musician. We are both happy with our careers.

Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff] #2448683
08/08/15 07:00 AM
08/08/15 07:00 AM
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Italy
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I don't plan to take any piano exams, but I would really love to study as I had to take them! I downloaded the ABSRM syllabus for grades 1-5 and I'm trying to figure out what it is exactly that one should learn. I like structured learning, even if I'm scared to death of examinations. Don't know how I forced myself to finish university on time, and then get my motorcycle license laugh

Do you need to buy all ABRSM (or RCM) practice books to prepare for examinations? I only have the sight-reading ones. And I see that many of the exam pieces are not publicly available.


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Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: sinophilia] #2448691
08/08/15 07:39 AM
08/08/15 07:39 AM
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Like most piano students outside N. America, I did exams all through my student years. ABRSM was (and still is) the most popular exam board, not just in UK, but also in the tiny & insignificant country where I spent my childhood. There was no difference in the way the exams were conducted in that country and in the UK (where I moved to in my early teens), as ABRSM examiners from UK travel the world to do the examining, other than that they made allowances for the fact that your first language isn't English.

The marking was certainly consistent - it's fairly easy to get Distinction in Grade 1, but quite difficult after Grade 5. And unlike RCM (I believe), there is no mark deduction for not playing the exam pieces from memory, and nobody I know of played them from memory. Music exams are stressful enough without having to worry about memory lapses brought on by nerves.....

What the exam system gave me was not the satisfaction of getting the certificates year after year (which I'd long ago lost.... grin), but the all-round piano and (classical) music education that I acquired in the process - which I took for granted until I joined PW and saw (here in ABF and Piano Teachers forum) how many learners who were being taught by teachers not using any exam board system had big gaps in their technical development and knowledge of theory.

For instance, I'd acquired sufficient sight-reading skills by Grade 3/4 to attempt several movements from Mozart and Beethoven sonatas (and sing at sight, so I could join the school choir) and enough theory to compose simple pieces, and enough aural skills to play by ear and improvise, even though I was never formally taught composition or improvisation. And all the other students I encountered who were at my level had the same level of skills, so I could (and did) play with a violinist friend and sight-read our way through Mozart violin sonatas, and jam our way through pop tunes we'd heard on the radio.





"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff] #2448693
08/08/15 07:44 AM
08/08/15 07:44 AM
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8 Octaves, I completely understand why you want to follow a stricter academic cirriculum and respect that. For me, however, exams have always been a lot of stress and I wouldn't want to self-impose so much extra stress for something that is a hobby. I preffer to just use the RCM and ABRSM syllabuses as guidelines and to check my progress rather than as strict goals to achieve.


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Moszkowski op. 91 no. 7
Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: bennevis] #2448695
08/08/15 07:47 AM
08/08/15 07:47 AM
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sinophilia - there are four books per level for the ABRSM exams - Selected Pieces, Technical requirements, sight reading, and Aural training. In addition to this, there are theory books at each level. There are really good online trainers for aural, and an iPad app by Wessar for sight reading. The syllabus lists the requirements at each level.

Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff] #2448697
08/08/15 08:06 AM
08/08/15 08:06 AM
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Brighton Colorado
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WiseBuff Offline OP
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Sinophilia, my original intent on level 5 was to just prepare for the exam but then I did all that work and decided to try the exam too. I lived through the experience and ultimately (not immediately after for sure) it felt good to have that milestone affirmed with a pass. I buy the RCM books and find there's lots of good choice in there of repertoire. The theory study is specific to the exam so those books are important.

SwissMS, In RCM, the sight reading is a couple of levels lower than the performance level. Is that true in ABRSM as well? I've got several level 4 books and just acquired some popular and big band books for sight reading. Since they are primarily looking at rhythm, notes and general dynamics, I've improved a lot on that.

3Octaves, I've only completed written up to level 5 and wow, was that hard!! I know I need to take the written before (I think) the performance level. It's a different language and not one I can learn in the car on the way to work.

It takes me a couple of years of study to move toward the next level and right now I'm refreshing all aspects of the musical study. You are SO right that it is not about the exam but about the comprehensive learning that engages you in the process. My teacher says I'm her only adult student who WANTS to learn and study in this intense way...yes, she does help me.

Bennevis, I only wish I'd discovered the exam system earlier in my life. It absolutely gives such a comprehensive musical education for those of us who did NOT choose to major in music.

8Octives...tell me a little about your approach to the Level 6 exam? How are you preparing and when do you think you'll be ready? I work on all 5 pieces (repertoire and etudes) during the week as well as morning time with aural training. I'm working on B major for the last couple of weeks. As I said earlier, I've purchased a theory textbook and am taking the Coursera course...it's pretty basic so far.


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Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff] #2448702
08/08/15 08:47 AM
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Wisebuff - The sight reading tests for ABRSM are more difficult than I had originally expected. My teacher has said he believes that they are too difficult for the grades being tested. The grade 6 sight reading tests are about equivalent to the grade 5 performance pieces or above. For the test we are given 30 seconds to look at the piece, and then we play. What is most important is to keep going in correct rhythm without hesitations, corrections, etc. A passing score can have wrong notes, missed dynamics, but not corrections or hesitations. One time I was struggling with a sight reading example with a tricky Latin rhythm and jumps, and I could not play it without slow downs. My teacher sat down and played every single note wrong, but with correct rhythm and dynamics. I would have failed and he would have probably gotten a merit!

Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff] #2448724
08/08/15 10:29 AM
08/08/15 10:29 AM
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Brighton Colorado
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Ouch SwissMS. That does sound daunting. I know I stop too often to "think" about it.

When I took the RCM Basic Rudiments theory exam I had practice tests to be prepared. I cannot find the "Official Examination Papers" for the Intermediate Rudiments. Anybody find those? I've looked at Frederick Harris and find everything but that.

Sinphonia, Frederick Harris now sells the books as a package if you like (repertoire, etudes, ear training and theory)


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Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff] #2448800
08/08/15 02:56 PM
08/08/15 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by WiseBuff
8Octives...tell me a little about your approach to the Level 6 exam? How are you preparing and when do you think you'll be ready? I work on all 5 pieces (repertoire and etudes) during the week as well as morning time with aural training. I'm working on B major for the last couple of weeks. As I said earlier, I've purchased a theory textbook and am taking the Coursera course...it's pretty basic so far.


Yes, I also did the Coursera course on music theory. Too be blunt it is far too basic. With the materials covered by that course, you'll not pass even the elementary theory exam. I use Mark Sarnecki's book to study for theory and I also purchased the answer book. After completing every exercise, any that I didn't get right and don't understand, I bring it to my teacher, and she goes over them for me. Luckily my teacher love theory. I passed the intermediate exam for level 6 last summer, so just focusing on the practical these days.

Generally, I try to separate the technical practice from the repertoire on any give day because my time is constraint. I try to get the sight-reading and hearing exercises out of the way as early in the day as possible because I discovered that if I do them late in the evening, it's too hard for me. I use the Four Star series with success doing EXACTLY as instructed in the book. So far the sight-reading at the exams have been easier than the book. On the last exam, I glanced at the sight-reading score and literally said "phew" in my head before playing it. Once I have the Four Star book done at least twice from cover to cover I feel pretty good to go.

As for the rest of the technical exercises, my teacher is really strict about how well they have to be played, so if I pass my teacher, I'm passing the examiner. The technique required to properly play technical portion is not something I could even begin to write about. I'm sure you concur how grateful you'd feel when you realize how difficult it is to learn proper technique and when your teacher has it in abundance and is slowly giving them to you. My goal is to play through the entire technical book in about 20 minutes everyday without mistakes. I'm not there yet, just about half way (F maj/min, Ab maj/G# min got dropped for B maj/min in the new syllabus, so I have to back track now).

When you say you're working on B major, you probably mean everything in B major, right? Scales, tonic triad solid/broken, dominant 7th, diminished 7th, arpeggios in tonic, dominant 7th, and diminished 7th? Yes, I do the same, but also include the minor key as well. I learn them as one set spending maybe 2 months each set.

I am only half way through the Celebration Series for RCM 6, so I am not sure when I will go for the exam yet. I try to put away maybe 25 pieces before picking 5 and signing up for the exam. The music at RCM 6 is wonderful, which helps me stay here for a long time without getting bored since my teacher is much more demanding before she would let me put something away these days. I plan to master most if not all etudes before picking 2 for the exam. I generally carry 1 etude with 3 repertoire pieces from each list A, B, and C, so by the time I complete the etudes, I would have sufficient number of pieces to decide which ones are my best bet for playing under stress. My current goal is be ready for the exam in the coming spring or summer.

I guess I don't prepare for the exam. I just do all the requirements for the level, then at the end of it, I'm ready. How about you? What's your approach for the exam?

I've heard that some would only learn 5 pieces and go for the exam. That seems crazy to me. How do they manage the next level having only learned 5 pieces from this one? That approach doesn't make any sense to me.

Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: SwissMS] #2448802
08/08/15 03:04 PM
08/08/15 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by SwissMS
A passing score can have wrong notes, missed dynamics, but not corrections or hesitations. One time I was struggling with a sight reading example with a tricky Latin rhythm and jumps, and I could not play it without slow downs. My teacher sat down and played every single note wrong, but with correct rhythm and dynamics. I would have failed and he would have probably gotten a merit!


Very wise advise indeed. For learning rhythm, do you not have lots of rhythm fragments which to practice clapping with everyday? Even at RCM 6, we're doing some seriously crazy rhythm exercises in the aural book, so I imagine ABRSM 6 would be a little harder.

BTW, you'll appreciate this. Try sight-reading "For Suzanna Kyle" by Leonard Bernstein in RCM 6. If that doesn't give you a headache, I'm not sure what would! laugh

Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: 8 Octaves] #2448812
08/08/15 03:39 PM
08/08/15 03:39 PM
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Posts: 2,365
Costa del Sol
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I did "Susan Kyle" as one of my 40 piece challenge pieces. The rhythm was certainly not intuitive!

I do 20 minutes of sight reading practice everyday, using the Paul Harris and ABRSM Join the Dots grade 6. I really like the "Join the Dots". I have learned to really check which clefs I am starting on, as often it will be two treble or two base clefs and then switch somewhere. My latest sight reading challenge is the Wessar iPad app that uses examples from previous exams. These are seriously challenging, but I am getting better. Like you, I like to do my sight reading early in the day when I can really focus. When rhythms are tricky, I often play both hands in my lap to get a feel for it.

On the aural test we are required to do a clap back, sing the upper part of a two part phrase, sight sing along with an accompaniment, and answer questions on a piece played by the examiner such as time signature, texture, form, tonality, and period. I still have problems with discerning 2 time from 4 time, especially in modern pieces with a lot of rubato. The sight singing is still a work in progress for me. My teacher coaches university voice students, but he is very patient with my sometimes bazaar interpretations of what is written. I sing it with gusto though!

Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff] #2449472
08/11/15 06:43 AM
08/11/15 06:43 AM
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Posts: 1,178
Brighton Colorado
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WiseBuff Offline OP
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It's start of the academic semester, so work is busy. I have a paper that needs major revisions so I need to save some brain power for that.

I've ordered the RCM technical requirements and the four star sight reading to work through. Although I doubt I'll play every etude in the Level 6 book, it makes sense to play most of them to be really solid at level 6. I didn't order the repertoire book since I have most of the repertoire in other books that I own.

The Coursera course is both basic AND advanced in the first lesson. Modes at first lesson? I've never used modes at all and my teacher she hasn't either. Maybe it's useful for composers and jazz players. The poor people who know nothing about music are lost. I haven't spent anything for it and it takes little time so the different way of teaching each concept helps my brain retain it all.

For level 5, I did the theory exam before the practical but I'm not ready for either at the moment so haven't decided which should come first.


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Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff] #2449474
08/11/15 07:02 AM
08/11/15 07:02 AM
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Italy
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If any of you (preferably in Europe) wants to sell their books from previous grades - aural, technique or repertoire - I'd be glad to buy some.


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To create a beautiful sound, one must imagine it at first and then learn to produce fluid physical motions that breathe life into music. (Shirley Kirsten)
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Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff] #2449587
08/11/15 03:56 PM
08/11/15 03:56 PM
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USA
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They introduce modes in the first lesson and their explanation gives another "angle" to look at modes compared to RCM. That's really nice and helps. Then of course, they seem to drop the whole thing just as the topic gets interesting. That's what I find problematic with these survey courses. They throw something at you to wet your appetite then and move on to something else. It's not deep enough as preparation for RCM exams, so as long as you are not using it to prepare for the exams, you're fine.

I have come to the conclusion that every etudes for each level should be learned on my own when I compared exam syllabi between 2001, 2008, and now the latest 2015. I noticed the pattern that as an exam transition to a new syllabus, almost every piece of music from the previous repertoire book is allowed in the new syllabus even though many are no longer in the new repertoire book. However, that's not the case for etudes. There is no substitution for etudes. Every etude on the current syllabus comes from the current etude book and if it's not in the current etude book it is not allowed.

The way I interpret this is that RCM is much more strict about the etudes that represents a specific level, so to be solid for a specific level and have all the skills, one should learn all the etudes just as one should learn all the scales and chords require for a specific level even though the examiner may not test you on every scale for your level.

So as far as I'm concerned, you should not pick and half of the keys to learn scales and chords for technical any more than choosing to learn some of the etudes. I have to say that I only realize this recently, and I didn't study every single etude in level 5, level 4, etc. I think that may contribute to why each new level feels much harder for me. I think not doing every etude is like saying, hmm I don't like F# minor scales and chords much, so I'll skip that one.

Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff] #2450104
08/13/15 07:14 AM
08/13/15 07:14 AM
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Posts: 1,178
Brighton Colorado
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WiseBuff Offline OP
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Interesting observation, 8Octaves. I had purchased level 6 etude book but I notice that most of them are NOT on the 2015 list. Do you know if there is a new 2015 edition that equates with the acceptable list?

The Coursera course is interesting for me as an academic to see how they are laying out their online course. So far (except for modes) it is content that I know. I only spend a few minutes a day on it and it reminds me to think about theory and refresh my circle of fifths. I'm spending more time at the piano working on my chords and scales. The blocked 7th chords require more coordination so I have to work really really slow on them at first to teach my hand to move correctly.

I've been working on the Bach for what seems like forever. Although my teacher assures me that Bach is always difficult, I'm still very slow at making it come together. The Kuhlau is coming along but I still have hesitations so I'm back to slow and correct. My time at the EPP really proved my teacher correct (AGAIN!)...I have way too many hesitations.

Looking forward to receiving my four star and theory books next week.

NOW...warm up for a piano lesson and then, off to a four day dog show.


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Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff] #2450304
08/13/15 09:01 PM
08/13/15 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by WiseBuff
I had purchased level 6 etude book but I notice that most of them are NOT on the 2015 list. Do you know if there is a new 2015 edition that equates with the acceptable list?


If there is even one etude piece in your book not on the 2015 list, you got the wrong book. You need the new 2015 Etude and Technical books for exams starting in September. You could order them from the publisher directly or many online sources.

http://www.primamusic.com/productdetail.asp?SKU=FH2555290018

http://www.primamusic.com/productdetail.asp?SKU=FH2555300007

http://www.primamusic.com/productdetail.asp?SKU=FH2555310008

I think you already mentioned you don't need the repertoire book, but for completeness, here it is. http://www.primamusic.com/productdetail.asp?SKU=FH2555290008

Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff] #2450318
08/13/15 09:48 PM
08/13/15 09:48 PM
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*sigh* Salt Lake City
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sino- if you don't have any offers for books, check out the usual sources for used books including Book Depository and whatever else google suggests based on your location. If you really aren't interested in taking the current exam, it won't matter if you haven't got the latest and greatest edition and you could pick up some old ones at a considerable savings.


Having power is not nearly as important as what you choose to do with it.
– Roald Dahl

Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff] #2452629
08/21/15 07:53 AM
08/21/15 07:53 AM
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Brighton Colorado
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WiseBuff Offline OP
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I'm investing a LOT of time on scales and chords to train my hands to move more fluidly. Blocked 7th chords are really challenging to me. I think I've just avoided music with too much of that work. Any suggestions for speeding up my learning process?


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Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff] #2452663
08/21/15 10:39 AM
08/21/15 10:39 AM
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I love to have this exam group as I am taking ABRSM grade 5 this coming November. The pieces are not hard. Scales I have all memorized, but need to improve on speed. The only thing in aural skill that troubles me is listening to the 2 time, 3time, or 4 time. Sight reading is the toughest for me. I am spending more time on this part. But unfortunately, this does not get improved overnight.


In Progress:
1.Debussy Arabasque1
2. Czerny 740 no 3
3. Mozart Sonata K330 1st Movement
4. Bach Prelude and Fugue in C Major
Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: pianofan1017] #2452675
08/21/15 11:23 AM
08/21/15 11:23 AM
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Costa del Sol
SwissMS Online content

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It sounds like we are all spending significant time with scales and other technique requirements. My teacher had me take my scales back to a speed that I could do with good evenness and shape, and then start increasing them by a tick of the metronome each week. It worked well to fix some problems. I am almost back to the required grade 6 ABRSM speed. I am still weak in the Bb minor contra, and the chromatic contra starting on A# LH& C# RH, but the rest is starting to shape up.

Pianofan1017, I have trouble distinguishing 2 time from 4 time as well. I get it right about 75% of the time, but under pressure? I don't know. I find the sight reading quite difficult as well. My teacher believes that this part of the test is actually too difficult for the level. The real test is to just keep going in rhythm, I think.

My A piece, Beethoven Minuet and Trio from Sonata in Bb, is my biggest worry right now. I am a long way from required tempo. I spent a lot of time on the trio, and it still has areas that are not secure. My marching orders for this week are ultra slow, heavy, and accurate. The left hand runs are finger twisting. The other two pieces are well in hand. I am sure my husband is hearing the Beethoven in his sleep by now. grin

Last edited by SwissMS; 08/21/15 11:24 AM.
Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff] #2452679
08/21/15 11:38 AM
08/21/15 11:38 AM
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Hi SwissMS:

My teacher actually ask me to just play a little slower in the exam to be on the safe side.


In Progress:
1.Debussy Arabasque1
2. Czerny 740 no 3
3. Mozart Sonata K330 1st Movement
4. Bach Prelude and Fugue in C Major
Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff] #2452684
08/21/15 12:17 PM
08/21/15 12:17 PM
Joined: Apr 2014
Posts: 1,618
USA
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8 Octaves Offline

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Originally Posted by WiseBuff
I'm investing a LOT of time on scales and chords to train my hands to move more fluidly. Blocked 7th chords are really challenging to me. I think I've just avoided music with too much of that work. Any suggestions for speeding up my learning process?


My advise is to resist wanting speed. Your goal is to play evenly and accurately those 7ths at the speed you can deliver on evenness and accuracy. Mistakes are ok in a repertoire but not in technical skills like scales and chords. Focus on one major key and its minor key and just do it everyday and allow yourself to gradually come up to speed. It almost happens without notice. Once you reach the tempo as marked in the book naturally, you can move on to the next set of keys. For 7th chords, you could focus just on dominant 7th for one key without worrying about diminished 7th until you could tare down the keyboard with the dominant 7th. Believe me, it actually does happen given enough time, patience, and discipline. Stay relaxed.

My teacher's comment to me was "you cannot cram technical skills." Well, unless you have an exam coming up and your skill isn't there, then what else could you do? Ideally, you should give yourself an entire year to learn the whole series for the level, but that means you have to be very disciplined and organized. I had to do a bit of cramming myself for my last exam, so I made some mistakes on the exam.

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