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#2458143 - 09/09/15 09:31 AM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff]  
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I just got email from ABRSM contact person. My grade 5 exam will be in the timeframe of December 3 to 10. I don't know the specific date and time yet. Currently, I have memorized all the scales, I am doing the same thing SwissMS does for random scale playing everyday. I have already memorized all my pieces as well. Two of the pieces I still have to work on some more to polish it. The other piece I happen to have used it for the guild exam in the summer of this year. So, not too much problem there. Aural training is coming along. The only part giving me lots of trouble is to identify times. My accuracy is very low there. Sometimes I can't even tell 3 times from others, not just the difference between 2 time and 4 time. Sight reading is difficult. Since this is my first ABRSM exam other than theory exam and I have never pay to much attention in this part before, my teacher decide for me to work my way up from grade one level sight reading. So far, I have completed grade 1 to 3 easily. Now I am working towards grade 4 and 5 at the same time. I have to say it does help. If I can do grade 5 well this December, I am planning on taking grade 6 in June.


In Progress:
1.Debussy Arabasque1
2. Czerny 740 no 3
3. Mozart Sonata K330 1st Movement
4. Bach Prelude and Fugue in C Major
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#2458445 - 09/10/15 05:22 AM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff]  
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Wow pianofan, that is ambitious to do two exams in a year. Good for you.

I just finished the Coursera music theory class and while I learned from the course, it did not move me much toward the RCM theory exam syllabus. The final exam was an analysis of a piece of music and far more difficult than the basic descriptions and definitions in the course. Maybe analyzing music is not for me.

I have 10 scales for the RCM level 6 and they are coming along. I've had to retrain my left hand and it's not solidly retrained yet but moving more fluidly. The tonic chord is coming along and the dominant 7th fingering is better. Each step is physical training that I wish I'd done 20 years ago.

I've been working so hard for my teacher's piano party that not much has been done on my Level 6 pieces. Next week I'll get back to them and hopefully be ready to test next spring.


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#2459073 - 09/12/15 06:34 AM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff]  
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Pianofan1017 - My exam will be about the same time as yours. I do not know the date yet, but it will be the last week of November or the 1st week of December. Everything is coming along nicely, but I still have some polishing to do on the Beethoven Trio and Minuet. I am pretty confident on the other two.

As far as the aural goes, I have problems with meter as well, especially of modern pieces. Sometimes it is really difficult to discern. The AuralBook app has really helped me. The hardest part of the Grade 6 is sight singing with accompaniment. That app has really given me more confidence.

Sight reading is getting better, but is still weaker than I would like. For ABRSM, they give you 30 seconds to look at the music, and then you must start. At grade 6 they add 5/8 and 9/8 time, switch staffs during a piece, the piece can be in any key, we have to be able to play two voiced inventions, ragtime, lots of ledger lines, EEK! Using that 30 seconds to find all of the traps is a challenge, but I am getting more confident.

I find I do not really know how well I am doing until I play the pieces back to back in a lesson. That is pressure. All the weaknesses come out. My teacher will start mock exams soon. Those are fun (not). He plays judge and makes no comments, does not smile, gives nothing away. We do technical, the pieces, then sight reading and finally the Aural. It really helps me find my weaknesses. At grade 6 the pieces are all 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 minutes long, which in the scheme of things is not that long. Playing them back to back is really good practice I think. Switching moods between them is not always easy.

#2460035 - 09/15/15 06:34 AM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff]  
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Short progress report. The dominant 7th chords are getting better and I can play all 12 required keys for Level 6 RCM. Now that my teacher's piano party is done, I can work on my repertoire and etudes too.


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#2462866 - 09/24/15 05:25 AM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff]  
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Do you all take breaks from preparing your pieces for exam? I've reached a low point of energy for playing some of them. Maybe I'll play other pieces for a bit.


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#2463016 - 09/24/15 11:21 AM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff]  
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I don't begin practicing my exam pieces until maybe 2 months before the exam, and from that point on, no breaks, practice up to the final minute. When I begin practicing my exam pieces, I don't play anything else. I also play them for my teacher exclusively every lesson (without using music of course) until exam day.

For the RCM 6, I probably will pick my exam pieces in late March. Right now, I'm just going through the books learning as many to my teacher's satisfaction as possible. My target is to learn 20-25 pieces before I start focusing the handful to represent my level ability.

#2463026 - 09/24/15 11:35 AM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff]  
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I was talking to my teacher about memorization and the topic of exams came up. I said I may try using the music this time even if I have it memorized, perhaps as a safety net. She said some of her students who felt really nervous she had allowed them to use their music at the exam, and she said that examiners had often awarded them 0.5 or 1.0 point per piece depending on how much they used the music. That means points for memory is not all or nothing. You don't have to lose all 2 memory points for having the music on the piano. So glad she told me that.

Thought you guys might want to know that too. smile

#2463240 - 09/24/15 10:07 PM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff]  
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I will be having my first piano exam in January and theory in December. I have until November to sign up for my exam, and my teacher and I are just trying to decide where to start out. I have the RCM level 1 books, and within a day I could mash out and play the song until the end, roughly around the bpm it needed to be. dynamics weren't great, but I could still play it. So she might be leaning towards pushing to my level 2 exam in January instead of level 1?

I'm interested to know though....


Am I going to be doing my exam around little kids or are the rooms like...secluded or other people watching? love kids and all, but It is going to go one of two ways.... I'\m going to feel beaten by the kids because they are better than me...or they might feel discouraged that I did better because I was older...and all the glaring looks from parents of course....

Needless to say I am quote excited. I can already play some of the repertoire songs and an etude.


-Playing on a 1900 Gerhard Heintzman Upright Piano
#2463256 - 09/24/15 10:51 PM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: AmandaH]  
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Originally Posted by AmandaH
Am I going to be doing my exam around little kids or are the rooms like...secluded or other people watching? love kids and all, but It is going to go one of two ways.... I'\m going to feel beaten by the kids because they are better than me...or they might feel discouraged that I did better because I was older...and all the glaring looks from parents of course....


You'll be in a waiting area full of parents and kids. When you play, it should be a relatively quiet room with just you and the adjudicator. It is a private concert for him / her. The parents, significant other, and family members, or even the teacher are not allowed to attend regardless of the candidate's age. Imagine the 6-year-old child braving the adjudicator all on his or her own while mom and dad wait anxiously outside.

When you take the theory exam, you will be writing the exam among children in the same room. I am often asked where is my child when I show up for my exams.

#2463310 - 09/25/15 02:36 AM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: 8 Octaves]  
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Originally Posted by 8 Octaves


When you take the theory exam, you will be writing the exam among children in the same room. I am often asked where is my child when I show up for my exams.


I had similar experience. I went for a theory exam with a whole bunch of kids and parents waiting outside. When the time came for the candidates to go into the exam hall, one of the staff there asked if I was the parent of one of the kids.

I went in there and tried to finish the exam as quickly as I could because I felt a bit embarrassed. I should have used the remaining 1.5 hours to check my answers because I was 1 point away from getting a distinction because I made some really silly mistakes!


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#2463336 - 09/25/15 04:39 AM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff]  
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8Octaves. I like your strategy of learning multiple pieces. However, Bach has been tough for me so not sure how many Baroque I can get down.

Amanda, my experience too seemed to be all young children but the exam people were very professional and did not make any issue out of age. The adjudicator was kind about my nervousness. However the piano was on a raised platform and the two adjudicators were lower in the dark making it a rather intimidating scene. Suggest you play in multiple locations for different audiences as a preparation.


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#2463449 - 09/25/15 12:33 PM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff]  
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Originally Posted by WiseBuff
8Octaves. I like your strategy of learning multiple pieces. However, Bach has been tough for me so not sure how many Baroque I can get down.


If you have trouble with Bach, perhaps you could keep playing the Bach and put the others away until 8 to 12 weeks before the exam given that they were completely learned to your teacher's satisfaction. This may give you back time to learn new pieces and keep your energy up. However, if you learn only one baroque piece for an entire level, there is some long term problems.

If you feel Bach from RCM 6 is hard, how would you feel about Bach from RCM 7 or 8? The only way to really solve this problem is, in fact, by learning every single Bach / baroque thing in RCM 6; there are only 7 of them. Then when you get to RCM 7, you feel a gentler slope up in difficulty instead of a massive climb. If you find the idea of learning every piece of Bach in RCM 6 horrifying, then did you not learn most if not all the Bach pieces in RCM 3, 4, and 5? It never hurts to go back and do some remedial work in a specific area. Pick a level of Bach that doesn't feel hard and move up from there learning as many pieces as possible.

For those of us elected to do the exams, these are the little things the exams exposes which other adults may not have to deal with. Ultimately, if we work really hard to address our weaknesses, it allows us to advance where others become stuck. The way I feel about exams at our age is that they are tools more than achievements. Especially when the exam is completely optional.

I do feel that if we haven't learned at least 20-25 pieces from a level, we should just hold off on the exam. The other strategy is to take the exam then continue the same level until your teacher feels you're ready for the next level, but this upside down strategy feels more something you would do in school, to achieve something for the sake of it. I think we're all beyond that now. Also, I believe we should not skip a single piece from the etude book. My experience has been that skipping etudes makes the next level much harder.

#2467134 - 10/06/15 05:11 PM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff]  
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Wonder how is everyone doing? Well, my preparation goes well. Right now, I am just mainly focus on sight reading and aural training listen to the meter exercises. My scales and appeggios are good. (Hopefully I spelled right) Basically, every lesson my teacher just picks on something out of the book for me to play. My teacher thinks all my pieces are ready. Now, I kind of regret that I signed up for grade 5. My playing level is really grade 6, just because I thought the sight reading and listening are a bit hard. That's why I went for grade 5. But anyways, I am getting bored playing the exam pieces over and over again. There is still two months til the exam. I am going to take a little break and play other pieces now and will use one day out of the whole week to play these again and try to maintain it until December. In the mean time, I am actually started learning grade 6 exam pieces.


In Progress:
1.Debussy Arabasque1
2. Czerny 740 no 3
3. Mozart Sonata K330 1st Movement
4. Bach Prelude and Fugue in C Major
#2467139 - 10/06/15 05:50 PM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: pianofan1017]  
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How's your memory on the pieces? Can you play from any measure to the end or almost any measure in the middle of the music to the end? If you can, then you're prepared, and yup, probably not a bad idea to just play them on the weekends or something and start learning RCM 6. Hey, good luck in two months!

I began RCM 6 last year, but made very little progress. I have lots of excuses! grin This year, I'm changing my practicing approach. I hope to make more progress and finish this year with the exam.

#2467225 - 10/07/15 12:39 AM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: 8 Octaves]  
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I am taking ABRSM, so no memorization required. But, I have already memorized it. One of the three exam pieces I used it for the guild exam in the summer. So, I have been played that one for almost a year. Really, only two pieces I have been playing since summer after the guild exam.


In Progress:
1.Debussy Arabasque1
2. Czerny 740 no 3
3. Mozart Sonata K330 1st Movement
4. Bach Prelude and Fugue in C Major
#2467227 - 10/07/15 12:50 AM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: pianofan1017]  
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Ah, I could see why you would get bored. I would too for something I've play for so long. Lucky you get to use the music without losing any points!

#2474541 - 10/27/15 02:10 PM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff]  
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Hi, I am pleased to see such a helpful exam forum. I have been having trouble staying logged in recently, but hopefully now it seems to have gone back to staying in.
My question, is there a helpful site that can help with getting practice on time signatures, like 2 time, 3, time 4, time and even 6 time ? I don't need 6 time at the moment but I would like to see how it goes.
I shall be entering grade 1 exam in November and it is the timing that worries me, my sight reading is not too bad, but need to keep on practicing and improving with that. Scales and broken chords are ok.
Will it matter a great deal if I don't get all they dynamics right in the 1st, Grade? Or will they deduct points?


.

Last edited by nicolini; 10/27/15 02:35 PM.
#2474550 - 10/27/15 02:34 PM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: nicolini]  
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No one likes to count out loud, and I didn't either at first. It feels goofy. However, it is critical to be able to count out loud while you are playing. It may not seem important at the moment, but you will pay for it the longer you don't master this basic skill. Following a metronome is a separate important skill. It does not replace the importance of counting out loud by yourself.

In the future, you will encounter music that no metronome could follow, and counting out loud is the only way to play correctly.

Not sure if you're doing ABRSM or RCM, but in RCM level 1, there is a piece called 'Time Travel' and it is specifically designed for students to learn to count as the pieces goes from 4/4 to 3/4 to 2/4 to 4/4 time (I think even 1/4) on the same page. It's fun as well.

At the moment, all the 6 times you will encounter is likely 6/8 time. You should count those as if there are 2 beats per measure, playing 3 eighth notes per pulse.

You don't need a website. Simply count all your sight-reading exercises while you're a the piano. With some persistence, you'll have it. You do have sight-reading exercises for your exam right?

#2474555 - 10/27/15 02:45 PM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: 8 Octaves]  
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Thank you very much, 8 Octaves.
I am doing ABRSM and have all the Grade 1 books, I practice the site reading from the book and clap the rhythm sometimes. But it is when I come to listen when my music tutor plays a piece that I can get the pulse wrong. Weird I know.
I haven't heard of 'Time Travel' it sounds very good.

I was also wondering about if I don't get all the dynamics exactly right in my exam, will I lose points?


#2474613 - 10/27/15 05:05 PM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: nicolini]  
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Originally Posted by nicolini
I was also wondering about if I don't get all the dynamics exactly right in my exam, will I lose points?


You won't lose so much. Hint: the examiners are instructed to go easy on grade 1 & 2 candidates. At this level, the expectation is that you play the right notes with the right rhythm. Dynamics at grade 1 is a bonus at this point. Starting from grade level 3, there is an expectation on clear dynamics. By grade level 5, the beginnings of interpretive skills should be demonstrated in your playing. This is what I was told by the examination board in a seminar for parents. I benefit from being invited to attend as a parent then turn around and use the information as a student (but also as a parent).

#2474861 - 10/28/15 11:48 AM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff]  
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I'm glad to see this thread! I started learning piano about 7 months ago as an adult beginner and just finished my ABRSM grade 2 theory exams last September and waiting for the results! I was originally planning on taking up grade 2 exams next February / March 2016 however my teacher has moved me up a grade and now I am planning to take grade 4 theory next April 2016 followed by ABRSM grade 3 practical next July / August 2016. I just started practicing grade 3 scales from this week! I have quite a bit of time to go, but will be following this thread for motivation!


Started Learning: March 2015 | Current Level: Adult Beginner | Instrument: Yamaha U1
#2474865 - 10/28/15 11:58 AM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: nicolini]  
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Originally Posted by nicolini
Thank you very much, 8 Octaves.
I am doing ABRSM and have all the Grade 1 books, I practice the site reading from the book and clap the rhythm sometimes. But it is when I come to listen when my music tutor plays a piece that I can get the pulse wrong. Weird I know.
I haven't heard of 'Time Travel' it sounds very good.

I was also wondering about if I don't get all the dynamics exactly right in my exam, will I lose points?


I'm in RCM Level 1 now, and I do well on pretty much everything except being able to tell if a melody is in 3/4 or 4/4 time. Sometimes they play 2 measures, sometimes 3, and in that short time I can't get a sense of the pulse. If you buy Four Star Sight Reading and Ear Tests for Level 1, you can use the code in the back of the book to go to RCM website and use their free Aural tools. It's starting to help.

#2476202 - 11/01/15 12:26 PM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff]  
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Greetings all,
My mom died two weeks ago and although I've played the piano in the mornings as a way of coping with the process and the loss, I haven't attended to preparing for my RCM level 6. Time to start anew.

Question for you. On the broken chords (I chord), should those be played as a triplet at 80 or as 1/8 notes? If it is triplets I'm worried that I can't move at that speed.



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#2476243 - 11/01/15 02:25 PM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff]  
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WiseBuff, so sorry to hear of your loss. I hope you're able to find solace in your piano, and heal over time, perhaps even dedicate the RCM 6 achievement to her.

Yes, you should play the broken chord and its inversions as triplets at 80, legato without break/rest to the end where you play the perfect cadence (V-I).

#2476249 - 11/01/15 02:44 PM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff]  
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Thank you 8 Octaves. I appreciate the info.


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#2476288 - 11/01/15 04:15 PM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff]  
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Originally Posted by WiseBuff

Question for you. On the broken chords (I chord), should those be played as a triplet at 80 or as 1/8 notes? If it is triplets I'm worried that I can't move at that speed.



My condolences for the passing of your mom. May she rest in peace.

With regards to arpeggios (I assume that's what you're having issues), Edna Golansky has a really good video for it.



In the video, she demonstrated the following techniques to play arpeggios:
1. Rotation
2. In and Out
3. Shaping

What you have to remember when practising using the above techniques are:

1. Your hand shape maintains (fingers never stretched of curved). Look at Edna's hand. They almost always look in one shape! It's the forearm that gets your where you want to go. Not your fingers.

2. Your wrist never drop too low. If it does, the shape of your hand would "break".

3. a lot of the movements come from the forearm, especially when you practice slow. All the techniques (rotation, in and out, shaping comes from the forearm). Only when you start to speed it up that you make your fingers come more alive.

4. I find it very helpful that when you start to practise these techniques, forget about joining the thumb. Once you get the hang of your forearm doing all the things correctly and you can play arpeggios relatively fast, then start to gradually join the notes with the thumb. As you join more of the thumb, check that all your other techniques are in place.

When you practise without joining the thumb in the beginning, it will look like this (not at this speed of course), and it's ok! It frees your hand to do and feel all the other techniques correctly. See video of Valentina's thumb, hardly bent inward to try to join the notes.




Once you get it right, playing arpeggios fast feels incredible! Your arm, hand and fingers feel such unity and flow it's effortless (not relaxed but not tensed).

Here's another example video from Edna:




All the best with your exam preparation!





Be your ♮ self.

YouTube channel

Studying:
Liszt: Liebestraume
Chopin: Ballade No. 4
#2477429 - 11/05/15 08:12 AM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: Tubbie0075]  
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Costa del Sol
I have not reported in a while, so I thought I would bring things up to date. There have been some changes in my life that have thrown the ABRSM grade 6 out the window for me. I decided in August to make some major changes in my life, and my piano goals will have to wait. I am relocating to another Kanton (region) of Switzerland, and have been spending a couple of days each week in southern Switzerland, evaluating potential house choices and making sure I want to live there. I have given notice on our apartment, and will move to the Italian region of Switzerland in the next couple of months. My first focus once I am there will be learning yet another language! So piano will be there when I get back to it. In the meantime I am playing when I can and just enjoying my time at the piano without pressure. At this point it really is about enjoying the journey!

#2477449 - 11/05/15 08:55 AM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: SwissMS]  
Joined: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,684
sinophilia Offline

Gold Supporter until Sept. 05 2014
sinophilia  Offline

Gold Supporter until Sept. 05 2014


Joined: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,684
Italy
Learning Italian from the Swiss, now that will be a challenge grin

Good luck with your life changes!


Diana & Wally - Yamaha W110BW
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)
http://soundcloud.com/sinophilia - http://youtube.com/sinophilia
#2477455 - 11/05/15 09:13 AM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: SwissMS]  
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 4,534
malkin Offline
4000 Post Club Member
malkin  Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 4,534
*sigh* Salt Lake City
Originally Posted by SwissMS
... the Italian region of Switzerland...


Beautiful!!


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

#2477477 - 11/05/15 10:01 AM Re: Piano Exam Group [Re: WiseBuff]  
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 6,415
jotur Offline
Gold Level
jotur  Offline
Gold Level

Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 6,415
Santa Fe, NM
SwissMS, what an adventure! It will be great to have piano as a "celebration" activity, there to sit down and play at the end of another day of new things/places/activities conquered. Have wonderful time!


Cathy
[Linked Image][Linked Image][Linked Image]
Practice what you suck at - anonymous
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