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#2452922 - 08/22/15 09:40 AM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff]  
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The staying relaxed is good advice 8Octaves. I'm conscious of letting my body relax because I have years of tension built into my playing. It's like I want to hang on to it with my mind (which I trust) rather than let my body just feel it and take charge. The slow playing and moving up a tick at a time seems to work for me too. I read that Mozart had to play it correctly 10 times before moving to a new phrase or scale. THAT's discipline for sure.

SwissMS...the Beethoven is there. You'll let it happen. How exciting to have it go so well at your teacher's place. I always figure if I can play it relaxed for my teacher it's easy every place else.


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#2453202 - 08/23/15 10:23 AM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff]  
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Everyone's talking about ABRSM or RCM here. Is anyone doing or have done AMEB?


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#2453399 - 08/24/15 04:08 AM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: Tubbie0075]  
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Originally Posted by Tubbie0075
Everyone's talking about ABRSM or RCM here. Is anyone doing or have done AMEB?

Agreed. I wouldn't mind taking one or two of my remaining ones. I'd be interested to see how the syllabus' differ.

#2453421 - 08/24/15 07:08 AM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff]  
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What is the AMEB and how is it different? I chose RCM because exams were possible in my area.


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#2453497 - 08/24/15 12:44 PM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: DorianGrey]  
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AMEB: Australian Music Examinations Board.

Originally Posted by DorianGrey
I'd be interested to see how the syllabus' differ.

Me too, just out of curiosity, but their syllabus is not free like the others. Such a closed approach in 2015, how outdated. It's just a freaking syllabus for Pete's sake! Way to arouse people's interest in your exams by asking for money just to see the requirements.


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#2453565 - 08/24/15 05:37 PM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: Qazsedcft]  
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Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
AMEB: Australian Music Examinations Board.

Originally Posted by DorianGrey
I'd be interested to see how the syllabus' differ.

Me too, just out of curiosity, but their syllabus is not free like the others. Such a closed approach in 2015, how outdated. It's just a freaking syllabus for Pete's sake! Way to arouse people's interest in your exams by asking for money just to see the requirements.


I must say I am very disappointed with AMEB charging for the syllabus. They already have it in PDF now (finally caught up to the 21st century) and they still charge for it. It's just ridiculous!

I have taken 2 ABRSM exams long before, up to grade 5 in the early 90s. I'm now preparing grade 8 for AMEB after recommencing piano lessons several years ago. In terms of levels, they are very similar. Preliminary, Grade 1 to 8, Certificate (new), Associate, Licentiate and Fellowship.

The exam structure is also very similar. Candidates are to present pieces, technical works, aural tests and sight reading. In more details for graded levels:

PIECES:
Present 4 pieces chosen from 4 rather long list of pieces, grouped more or less into periods (baroque, classical, romantic/impressionist, contemporary). 2 extra pieces of similar grade level or higher may be asked by the examiner to be presented whole or part (exempted for grade 8 and above). For general knowledge, examiner will ask a number of questions relating to any of the 4 pieces and/or its composer/period.

TECHNICAL WORKS:
Compared to ABRSM, technical works generally has more elements in less keys required. For instance, candidates are asked to present scales in octave, minor 3rd and major 6th, and with dynamics (crescendo going up and decrescendo going down, p or f).

OTHERS:
Sight reading and aural tests I presume are more or less then same.


As for the results, they are not marked with scores like ABRSM. The examiner provides a general comments on each of the exam elements and award overall from D- (failed miserably) to A+ (high distinction). Candidates get their report within days following the exam. The certificate takes a few weeks.

To obtain the certificate, candidates also have to pass a certain level of theory exam, similar to ABRSM.

Here's a sample report of my AMEB Grade 8 violin exam in 2008:

[Linked Image]

Last edited by Tubbie0075; 08/24/15 05:52 PM.

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#2454001 - 08/26/15 05:48 AM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff]  
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Looks like you did it well Tubbie. Perhaps the biggest achievement is preparing and performing such an intense program of music and technical skills. It would be so easy to slack off on the technical skills.


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#2454013 - 08/26/15 06:59 AM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff]  
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Great job, Tubbie!

The ABRSM marking slips are very similar, except they do give a numerical value to each item. I think I like the AMEB approach better in some ways. It is emotional hard to get a 119 or 129, one point off of a merit or distinction on ABRSM. The letter grades would be easier to take. On the other hand, having a score for each area is useful. It is not like the scoring is a precise science, though. I think on the pieces things can be highly subjective.

#2454180 - 08/26/15 07:41 PM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: SwissMS]  
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Originally Posted by SwissMS
Great job, Tubbie!

The ABRSM marking slips are very similar, except they do give a numerical value to each item. I think I like the AMEB approach better in some ways. It is emotional hard to get a 119 or 129, one point off of a merit or distinction on ABRSM. The letter grades would be easier to take. On the other hand, having a score for each area is useful. It is not like the scoring is a precise science, though. I think on the pieces things can be highly subjective.


I have had 2 ABRSM piano exams long time ago, grades 3 and 5. I actually prefer the points so I get to compare my performance of each piece presented during the exam. I suppose I was lucky to not get a mark like 99, 119 or 129 (I ended up with 138 for both exams). I did an AMEB theory exam and got awarded 1 mark away from distinction. So I know how it feels! Argh!



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#2454182 - 08/26/15 07:51 PM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff]  
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Originally Posted by WiseBuff
Looks like you did it well Tubbie. Perhaps the biggest achievement is preparing and performing such an intense program of music and technical skills. It would be so easy to slack off on the technical skills.


I was frustrated to be so close to an 'A' but not get there. I wished I performed my Etude better than I did during the exam, and I know I could. I think that would have push my grade to an 'A' from 'B+'. It was the last piece I performed and I suppose lost concentration. Overall, I'm still please to have passed grade 8 violin, which was a big achievement for me. I took 2 years to prepare for it after grade 7.

In 2 months I will be sitting for my first piano exam under AMEB at grade 8, or my first piano exam after ABRSM exam in over 20 years! I'm so nervous!


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#2454201 - 08/26/15 09:20 PM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: Tubbie0075]  
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Originally Posted by Tubbie0075
In 2 months I will be sitting for my first piano exam under AMEB at grade 8, or my first piano exam after ABRSM exam in over 20 years! I'm so nervous!


Hey good luck! Get lots of sleep the night before.

#2454235 - 08/27/15 01:11 AM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: 8 Octaves]  
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Originally Posted by 8 Octaves
Originally Posted by Tubbie0075
In 2 months I will be sitting for my first piano exam under AMEB at grade 8, or my first piano exam after ABRSM exam in over 20 years! I'm so nervous!


Hey good luck! Get lots of sleep the night before.


I still haven't got my exam date and time yet, but once I do, I'm taking 1.5 weeks off and do nothing but practice, rest, practice, eat, practice, shower, practice, sleep!

As for sleeping, it's easier said than done before the exam day. But I agree, plenty of sleep is certainly extremely important!


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Studying:
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#2454242 - 08/27/15 01:41 AM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: Tubbie0075]  
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Grade 8 AMEB will be a huge achievement, Tubbie0075! I am sure you will do great! I do know what you mean about not sleeping before the exam. I am the same. Then, after the exam I lie awake trying to figure out what my score will be- a pointless exercise. It can be a month or more before we get the results here in Switzerland. They will not release them until the examiner has left the country grin. By the way, I ended up with one point away from a distinction on the grade 5 theory also. Oh well.

#2455052 - 08/30/15 07:41 AM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff]  
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The theory book and ear training books for RCM level 6 arrived and I've started them. I have no demanding time frame on this exam. I just want to be fluent in music and theory is the language. I found the level 5 exam to be very stressful...not because of the examiners but because of the uncertainty of the process and the fact that I'd never had an evaluator listen to me play on demand. I'd like to move beyond the anxiety of playing in such situations and feel a confidence about my knowledge. A distinction may not be in my future but doing well may have to be defined as something like strong preparation, musicality and knowing the chord they're asking for. I'm only doing this for me so I get to set my rules.


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#2455141 - 08/30/15 01:21 PM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff]  
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Regarding ear training and sight-reading, the exam is easier than the exercises at the end of the book. If you are able to nail the exercises at the end of the book first time through, you have nothing to worry about on exam day.

I would caution trying to repeat too much ear training and sight-reading exercises over and over. Doing that gives you a false sense of accomplishment. If you cannot nail the exercises on first attempt or even second, I would go back down to the ear training and sight-reading book for level 5 or back down to whatever level it takes that you could nail the exercises on first attempt than work yourself slowly back up to level 6.

#2455177 - 08/30/15 03:57 PM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff]  
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Originally Posted by WiseBuff
The theory book and ear training books for RCM level 6 arrived and I've started them. I have no demanding time frame on this exam. I just want to be fluent in music and theory is the language. I found the level 5 exam to be very stressful...not because of the examiners but because of the uncertainty of the process and the fact that I'd never had an evaluator listen to me play on demand. I'd like to move beyond the anxiety of playing in such situations and feel a confidence about my knowledge. A distinction may not be in my future but doing well may have to be defined as something like strong preparation, musicality and knowing the chord they're asking for. I'm only doing this for me so I get to set my rules.


I struggle with aural test and sight-reading as well. Though, I find a certain steps very useful in preparation:

Recognising triads and its positions: It is rather easy to distinguish whether a triad is major or minor. It is not so easy to identify its position. For this, I pick a song that I know well. For example, minor in root position, I think of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake. The piece starts with the dominant note of a minor key, then tonic, supertonic, median and subdominant. For major in root position, I think of Bach's minuet in G. It has the same sequence of notes but in major key. First inversion for major and minor keys are easy to identify because the tonic is at the top of the triad. For 2nd inversion minor, I think of the opening of Rachmaninov's 3rd piano concerto. The second note is the median and etc. I do the same to help me recognise cadences, by using pieces I know well.

For sight-reading, I start with grade 1 and work my way all to grade 8. I'm now rather ok around grade 6 and 7. I only do this once every 3 or 4 weeks because I don't want to get too familiar with the music. The first thing I do in sight-reading before attempting it is to study the piece:

1) identify they key signature
2) study the rhythm for both hands (hum it quietly or gently tap my foot if I have to)
3) study the first 2 bars and the last 2 bars (at least if I make mistakes, I'm assured that I start well and end well).
4) identify the highest and lowest notes
5) look for the tricky bits and be prepared for it (modulation, large intervals, chords etc.)
6) decide on a tempo I am comfortable with

If I do the above in 1 minute before I attempt, I usually do a better job than just play. So I make sure I practice doing the above steps every time I attempt to sight-read.


Good luck!


Last edited by Tubbie0075; 08/30/15 04:00 PM.

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#2455458 - 08/31/15 01:27 PM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff]  
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Hi SwissMS

You mentioned that you use Paul Harris and ABRSM join the dot for sight reading. I am using Paul Harris as well. But I don't have join the dot. Are the music in there the same as grade 5 sight reading test book? If the music are different, then I might also want to order join the dot to have more exercise.


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#2455601 - 08/31/15 11:53 PM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: pianofan1017]  
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ABRSM's Join the Dots is different from the Sight Reading Specimen book. Join the Dots is arranged by keys and the relative minors. The pieces are longer and increasingly more difficult. It also has a section of improvisation in each key. I really liked the books.

#2455702 - 09/01/15 09:52 AM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff]  
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Thank you!


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2. Czerny 740 no 3
3. Mozart Sonata K330 1st Movement
4. Bach Prelude and Fugue in C Major
#2455859 - 09/01/15 07:37 PM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff]  
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SwissMS:

Do we have to memorize the pieces we play for the examiner? Is there extra points if memorized?


In Progress:
1.Debussy Arabasque1
2. Czerny 740 no 3
3. Mozart Sonata K330 1st Movement
4. Bach Prelude and Fugue in C Major
#2455954 - 09/02/15 05:56 AM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: pianofan1017]  
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pianofan1017 - No, for ABRSM you do not have to memorise pieces, and there is no "extra credit" if you do. That said, I generally do memorise the pieces both HS and HT, just to be sure I am secure. In the exam I do play with the sheet music.

My preparation in coming along. The entry has to be submitted before September 18, and my teacher thinks I am on track for that. All the technical work is getting pretty comfortable now. My scales are up to speed, and I am starting to do them in random order. I have a bowl filled with slips with all of the scales. I choose 12 each day to play scales and arpeggios. Sometimes the melodic minors will still take a moment of thought, but I am getting there.

My Classical era piece, Beethoven Sonata in Bb major Minuet and Trio, is starting to flow better, but it is still my biggest challenge. It will get there.

I ended up getting caught unprepared at my last lesson. Teacher asked for "Over the Rainbow" and I had not played it in over a week. As a result, I had a lot of memory lapses. I have played it without the music so long, it was hard to get back on the page. So, this week I have spent a lot of time on that. Erste Schmerz, my romantic era piece, is getting close.

I really bombed the sight singing with accompaniment at my last lesson. The rest of the Aural is fine, but this is quite difficult for me. It took three tries to get it right. I will be spending a lot of time on this in the next 2 1/2 months. Sight reading is also marginal, but it is improving. I use the Wessar iPad app, and I can easily do the grade 5, but some of the grade 6's are really challenging. So, this is gong to get a lot of focus as well.

How is everyone else coming along on their prep?

#2456295 - 09/03/15 07:33 AM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff]  
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Sounds like you're in good shape SwissMS. Tell me more about the sight singing you must do. We had to do that in the music theory class I took on campus and it was indeed challenging.

I won't be ready for some time now and have not given myself a test date. The technical skills need a lot of work since I haven't focused on them in a couple of years. Smart pianists never let them go for two years I'm sure. My scales are coming along but not up to speed yet (60 bpm with 16th notes). The 7th chords are still very slow as I try to build in the correct fingering. The chromatic scales are not too bad. Lot's of patience and consistency is needed. I'm not working intensely on my etudes or repertoire because we have a piano party at my teacher's coming up and I have a solo and a duet to have ready. Plus the rendition of Stardust for PW.



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#2457327 - 09/06/15 03:05 PM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff]  
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I'm not taking any exams but I guess this tread is a good place for my question. I'm using the RCM Level 1 materials for the "40-piece challenge" but for some of them the tempo seems way to fast for this level. For instance, Hopscotch requires eighth-notes at 160 and has some hands crossing too. Compared to some of the others at this level this looks hard. Are you really required to follow the specified tempo of these pieces?


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#2457412 - 09/06/15 08:23 PM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: Qazsedcft]  
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I know. It seems fast, right, but it's actually 80 for the quarter note, and not that fast. 120 would be too fast. RCM is pretty careful with what they specify as the tempo, and for the exam, you do have to play within the range or you will lose points. Too fast is bad too.

Don't feel you have to reach the specified tempo right away. This is an etude. That means you are expected to play it well taking quite a bit of time to work up to tempo, maybe a month or longer.

Typically RCM shows a range like "Moderato quarter = 69-76". For your 40-piece challenge, if you reach the lower tempo in the range, I think that's good enough.

#2457463 - 09/07/15 01:06 AM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff]  
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It wouldn't be too bad at 80 but I checked it again and it says "Lively <quarter note> = 160-168". So eighth notes would be twice that, which is way too fast for me. I'm starting to think it's a mistake.


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#2457476 - 09/07/15 03:06 AM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: Qazsedcft]  
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It isn't necessarily a mistake. RCM occasionally have some really fast stuff. Don't try to push beyond your limit. It's not good for you. This may not be a good choice for 40 piece project unless your actual playing ability is level 4 or more.

#2457483 - 09/07/15 04:17 AM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff]  
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OK, thanks. I'll probably choose a different one.


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#2457489 - 09/07/15 04:57 AM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff]  
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It's reality now. No turning back. Face up to the challenge!

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Studying:
Liszt: Liebestraume
Chopin: Ballade No. 4
#2457501 - 09/07/15 06:55 AM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff]  
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Exciting Tubbie0075! Level 8 is way up there in competence. What repertoire pieces are you doing?


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#2457637 - 09/07/15 03:17 PM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff]  
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Originally Posted by WiseBuff
Exciting Tubbie0075! Level 8 is way up there in competence. What repertoire pieces are you doing?


My exam pieces are:

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Chopin: Ballade No. 4
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