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Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: Tubbie0075] #2454201
08/26/15 09:20 PM
08/26/15 09:20 PM
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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.

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Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: 8 Octaves] #2454235
08/27/15 01:11 AM
08/27/15 01:11 AM
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Melbourne, Australia
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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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  • Ravel: Pavane for Dead Princess
  • Bach-Rachmaninov: Gavotte
Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: Tubbie0075] #2454242
08/27/15 01:41 AM
08/27/15 01:41 AM
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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.

Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff] #2455052
08/30/15 07:41 AM
08/30/15 07:41 AM
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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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Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff] #2455141
08/30/15 01:21 PM
08/30/15 01:21 PM
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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.

Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff] #2455177
08/30/15 03:57 PM
08/30/15 03:57 PM
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Melbourne, Australia
Tubbie0075 Offline
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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.


Be your ♮ self
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Studying:
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  • Ravel: Pavane for Dead Princess
  • Bach-Rachmaninov: Gavotte
Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff] #2455458
08/31/15 01:27 PM
08/31/15 01:27 PM
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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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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] #2455601
08/31/15 11:53 PM
08/31/15 11:53 PM
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 2,432
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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.

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


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] #2455859
09/01/15 07:37 PM
09/01/15 07:37 PM
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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
Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: pianofan1017] #2455954
09/02/15 05:56 AM
09/02/15 05:56 AM
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 2,432
Costa del Sol
SwissMS Offline

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Costa del Sol
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?

Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff] #2456295
09/03/15 07:33 AM
09/03/15 07:33 AM
Joined: Aug 2005
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Brighton Colorado
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WiseBuff Offline OP
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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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Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff] #2457327
09/06/15 03:05 PM
09/06/15 03:05 PM
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Warsaw, Poland
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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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Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: Qazsedcft] #2457412
09/06/15 08:23 PM
09/06/15 08:23 PM
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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.

Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff] #2457463
09/07/15 01:06 AM
09/07/15 01:06 AM
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Warsaw, Poland
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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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Working on:
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Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: Qazsedcft] #2457476
09/07/15 03:06 AM
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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.

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


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Working on:
Haydn Sonata Hob.XVI:37
Field Nocturne no. 10
Debussy Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum
Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff] #2457489
09/07/15 04:57 AM
09/07/15 04:57 AM
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It's reality now. No turning back. Face up to the challenge!

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Be your ♮ self
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Studying:
  • Chopin: Ballade No. 4
  • Rachmaninov: Prelude No. 5 (Gm)
  • Ravel: Pavane for Dead Princess
  • Bach-Rachmaninov: Gavotte
Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff] #2457501
09/07/15 06:55 AM
09/07/15 06:55 AM
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Brighton Colorado
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WiseBuff Offline OP
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Exciting Tubbie0075! Level 8 is way up there in competence. What repertoire pieces are you doing?


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Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff] #2457637
09/07/15 03:17 PM
09/07/15 03:17 PM
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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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Be your ♮ self
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Studying:
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  • Rachmaninov: Prelude No. 5 (Gm)
  • Ravel: Pavane for Dead Princess
  • Bach-Rachmaninov: Gavotte
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