Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2.7 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
What's Hot!!
Mr. PianoWorld - the full interview
-------------------
European Tour for Piano Lovers
JOIN US FOR THE TOUR!
--------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
Forums RULES & HELP
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
Find a Professional
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers

Advertise on Piano World

(ad)
Piano Buyer Guide
Piano Buyer Spring 2018
ad
Pierce Piano Atlas


Who's Online Now
110 registered members (anotherscott, Birdgolf, cardguy2.0, Bruce In Philly, cathryn999, Beemer, AlphaBravoCharlie, 26 invisible), 1,659 guests, and 10 spiders.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Quick Links to Useful Piano & Music Resources
Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano & Music Accessories
*Live Piano Venues
*Music School Listings
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Directory/Site Map
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords & Scales
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
RCM syllabus #2778479
11/05/18 04:27 PM
11/05/18 04:27 PM
Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 31
48-49 High Street
T
TheophilusCarter Online content OP
Full Member
TheophilusCarter  Online Content OP
Full Member
T

Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 31
48-49 High Street
Please excuse the incredibly naive question; if I can't ask it in the Adult Beginners Forum, then I'm not sure where I can ask it ...
I hear a lot of folks say that one should be able to progress through an RCM level per year or so. I see, according to the RCM syllabus, that (depending on the level) the exams require the student to play a certain number of pieces, etudes, etc.; for example, three pieces and two etudes.
My question: if a student were working with a teacher and following the RCM syllabus, with the intention of taking exams, would they ONLY work on those three pieces and two etudes (etc.) that whole year, or is the idea that you learn a whole bunch of pieces, etudes, etc., during the year, and pick out the few that you like best / are best at for your exam? Thanks in advance, and again, apologies for the naivete ...


Decent upright bassist, aspiring decent pianist
Casio PX-160, Casio CDP-130
Roland KC-80
(ad)
Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
Re: RCM syllabus [Re: TheophilusCarter] #2778486
11/05/18 04:47 PM
11/05/18 04:47 PM
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 1,538
Orange County, California
bSharp(C)yclist Offline
1000 Post Club Member
bSharp(C)yclist  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 1,538
Orange County, California
You would ideally learn a lot more than just those 5 pieces, I think most teachers would agree with that. I wouldn't play piano if I was told I could only play those 5 pieces until the next exam laugh There will be some pieces that you may not make "exam" perfect and/or never play again. The 5 you end up choosing should be the ones you perhaps like the most or can play the best as you said. Your teacher would help you determine that.

3rd option is don't do exams, and just learn what you like smile


♯ ♮ ♭ ø ° Δ ♩ ♪ ♫ ♬
YouTube | SoundCloud
[Linked Image] [Linked Image]
Re: RCM syllabus [Re: TheophilusCarter] #2778489
11/05/18 04:52 PM
11/05/18 04:52 PM
Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 31
48-49 High Street
T
TheophilusCarter Online content OP
Full Member
TheophilusCarter  Online Content OP
Full Member
T

Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 31
48-49 High Street
Thanks, b# - that's helpful. smile You raise a good point about the degree of perfection, too. I suspect the student can get a lot more progress out of working a lot of pieces to 80%+ and limited the goal of 100% to exam pieces (and other pieces one simply likes!). Thanks again!


Decent upright bassist, aspiring decent pianist
Casio PX-160, Casio CDP-130
Roland KC-80
Re: RCM syllabus [Re: TheophilusCarter] #2778545
11/05/18 07:20 PM
11/05/18 07:20 PM
Joined: Apr 2014
Posts: 1,646
USA
8
8 Octaves Offline

Gold Supporter until July 22 2015
8 Octaves  Offline

Gold Supporter until July 22 2015

8

Joined: Apr 2014
Posts: 1,646
USA
Basically, you could try it until you couldn't do it anymore. Learning just the syllabus pieces and technical exercises for each level, taking the exam, move on... until the level where it become impossible to move on anymore. Then you know this is where the real hard work really begins.

Ideally you should have both quality and quantity. They provide different benefits. In reality, there is never enough time for both. When learning and mastering a single piece takes more than 3 months, you know you are hitting your limits, and unless you could learn something else with the same level of difficulty faster, how could you learn something in the next level that is even more difficult in the same amount of time? At some point you will run out of time to master even 5 pieces to exam performance polish in one year.

The formula of 1 level per year is designed for the 6 year old brain. The 6 year old brain doubles in size by the time it reaches 16. This is why the early levels are so easy, but the later levels are so hard. If the 12 year old has grit he or she is accelerating, while this is exactly where the adult hits the wall. Since adult brains don't benefit from growing in size while building skills, allowances must be made in terms of the number of years it may take to get through levels 6-10. At the same token, why spend an entire year at level 1, another at level 2, and yet another at level 3 when you could basically blast through those in one year? In my experience, the first full year at a single level should be level 4. After that, it takes however long it takes to get through each level. If it takes 3 years to get through level 7, don't sweat it.

Re: RCM syllabus [Re: TheophilusCarter] #2778556
11/05/18 07:59 PM
11/05/18 07:59 PM
Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 31
48-49 High Street
T
TheophilusCarter Online content OP
Full Member
TheophilusCarter  Online Content OP
Full Member
T

Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 31
48-49 High Street
8Octaves, that sounds very sensible. Thanks!


Decent upright bassist, aspiring decent pianist
Casio PX-160, Casio CDP-130
Roland KC-80
Re: RCM syllabus [Re: TheophilusCarter] #2778634
11/06/18 04:31 AM
11/06/18 04:31 AM
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 16,203
Canada
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
keystring  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 16,203
Canada
The first way the syllabus was ever explained to me was that it was "a" way of organizing the things one might need to learn for playing an instrument, where things interconnect and build on top of each other. Also that it was "a" way rather than "the" way. My context at the time was violin. So for example you might have scales in G and D major / relative minors, technique X in etudes, and pieces that are in the same keys and practise those techniques - the theory portions catch up to the same thing. Next grade building on that. Later a teacher / composer whose music gets featured in a syllabus corrected me on that, and said the syllabus outlines things that can be "measured", for exams. I"m thinking it's a bit of both.

There is indeed an exam side. Some teachers might "teach toward exams", polish a small number of pieces over many months in order to get high grades. That is often criticized, incl. by teachers getting such transfer students. If learning on my own I'd use the syllabus as a kind of guideline, try to figure out what is actually being taught and go after that. I'd go for more pieces and etudes, not less. Go past what is in front of you. If the piece is by composer X, learn about that composer: if it's a Gavotte, learn about Gavottes. It can become a lot richer that way.

Originally Posted by 8octaves
The formula of 1 level per year is designed for the 6 year old brain. The 6 year old brain doubles in size by the time it reaches 16. This is why the early levels are so easy, but the later levels are so hard.

I don't see things entirely the same way. It is because of how I see learning, and because of my first experiences and subsequent explorations with other teachers. Both are intertwined.

In my first lesson experience, I did an exam after 6 months that the kid in front of me had taken 2 years to reach. I played more musically but he sounded so solid. I hit a ceiling a few grades higher and ran into obstacles. What I discovered eventually was that all the things that I didn't acquire while playing this "easy" music was what was tripping me up later on. It's not about being able to play a simple piece of music with the correct notes and tempo, and the required dynamics so that it sounds plausible for that level. A dedicated adult can force that out of themselves and their instrument with the more lengthy powers of concentration. It is about getting skills and habits into your body - and the body and nervous system are slower learners than the mind. I might well have wanted to spend a whole year doing grade 1 material, but delving deeply into what is behind it. There is a lot more to it than meets the eye. Of course one cannot compare two very different instruments with different kinds of challenges, but to some degree I think it's also true for piano.

What I found in my first experience is that the things that created a ceiling for me in the higher levels, were those things embedded in the lowest levels - when I got at those, the higher level things suddenly became much easier. You can entirely miss them first time round, especially if your teacher doesn't stress them, because the music itself is so easy. I don't know if this makes sense.

Re: RCM syllabus [Re: TheophilusCarter] #2778686
11/06/18 09:04 AM
11/06/18 09:04 AM
Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 31
48-49 High Street
T
TheophilusCarter Online content OP
Full Member
TheophilusCarter  Online Content OP
Full Member
T

Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 31
48-49 High Street
keystring, that makes a lot of sense. Thanks for your thoughts!


Decent upright bassist, aspiring decent pianist
Casio PX-160, Casio CDP-130
Roland KC-80
Re: RCM syllabus [Re: TheophilusCarter] #2778831
11/06/18 06:45 PM
11/06/18 06:45 PM
Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 2,186
Toronto, Ontario
P
Peter K. Mose Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Peter K. Mose  Offline
2000 Post Club Member
P

Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 2,186
Toronto, Ontario
There's no right or wrong here, only what the adult student and his/her teacher desire. One year per grade is, imo, overly ambitious, but also one need not try an exam for every grade level.

Some adult students might like to head through the entire graded RCM syllabus grade by grade, only learning the minimum number of exam pieces at each level. To me such a learning mode favors exam passing over either musicianship or personal pleasure. I wouldn't teach a student in this way, but plenty of my colleagues would.

Re: RCM syllabus [Re: TheophilusCarter] #2778834
11/06/18 06:53 PM
11/06/18 06:53 PM
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 3,270
Australia
E
earlofmar Offline
3000 Post Club Member
earlofmar  Offline
3000 Post Club Member
E

Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 3,270
Australia
some pieces come easier than others but trying to get any piece to performance level is time consuming. I have found as I go for higher grades it takes longer to learn a piece. But the actual daily time I spend on an exam piece diminishes over time, and when I am comfortable I will start on the coming years pieces. However there are also the technical exercises in most exam courses such as sight reading, hearing tests, scales and arpeggios that all require time and effort.


Problems with piano are 90% psychological, the other 10% is in your head.

13x[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
Re: RCM syllabus [Re: TheophilusCarter] #2778837
11/06/18 06:59 PM
11/06/18 06:59 PM
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 7,761
Orange County, CA
AZNpiano Offline
7000 Post Club Member
AZNpiano  Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 7,761
Orange County, CA
It depends on how busy you are.

Some students need the structure RCM (or whatever exam system) provides, because they need the external motivation/pressure of meeting deadlines. Otherwise, they will just flounder off into la la land and never get anything learned. For those students, learning the minimum required pieces and etudes and technique might be the only things they ever get done.

I have a couple of adult students who might benefit from such an exam system. They are flaky beyond belief.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
Re: RCM syllabus [Re: AZNpiano] #2778840
11/06/18 07:06 PM
11/06/18 07:06 PM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 705
Tyrone Slothrop Online content
500 Post Club Member
Tyrone Slothrop  Online Content
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 705
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
I have a couple of adult students who might benefit from such an exam system. They are flaky beyond belief.

And some just like exams and can't wait for their first (seriously). smile


across the stone, deathless piano performances
Re: RCM syllabus [Re: TheophilusCarter] #2778921
11/07/18 07:16 AM
11/07/18 07:16 AM
Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 120
Texas
Dr. Rogers Offline
Full Member
Dr. Rogers  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 120
Texas
I think it really takes all kinds. I have an adult student taking her ABRSM Grade 1 this month. She's the exact opposite of what AZN describes, more like Tyrone. If anything, I have to hold her back at times to make sure she has a firm foundation in the basics. She's just like me - certificates and diplomas are highly motivating for her. Her playing is somewhere between Grade 2 and Grade 3 level at the moment (ABRSM grades are 1-8), though she has tackled much more advanced pieces (~grade 5). She plays everything she can get her hands on. Scales, etudes, pieces... she's like some sort of piano demon (in a good way). Why can't all my students be like her?

Theophilius, I would strongly recommend working on more than just the exam pieces and etudes. My students certainly play MUCH more than exam pieces. As to the rate of progress, it depends on you. One grade a year (at least ABRSM grades, I'm less familiar with RCM) is doable for very hard-working adults. I would say that, for adults at least, the end result of being a competent, expressive musician is more important than any particular certificate or diploma. (Unless you need certificates to get into a university or something.)


Austin Rogers, PhD
Music Teacher in Austin, TX
Baldwin SD-10 Concert Grand "Kuroneko", Baldwin Upright, Yamaha P-255
Re: RCM syllabus [Re: Dr. Rogers] #2778931
11/07/18 08:53 AM
11/07/18 08:53 AM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 705
Tyrone Slothrop Online content
500 Post Club Member
Tyrone Slothrop  Online Content
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 705
Originally Posted by Dr. Rogers
I think it really takes all kinds. I have an adult student taking her ABRSM Grade 1 this month. ... Her playing is somewhere between Grade 2 and Grade 3 level at the moment (ABRSM grades are 1-8), though she has tackled much more advanced pieces (~grade 5).

Can I ask why she is taking ABRSM 1 this month and not ABRSM 2? Or is she just trying to savor it and "collect all 10?" wink


across the stone, deathless piano performances
Re: RCM syllabus [Re: TheophilusCarter] #2778935
11/07/18 09:33 AM
11/07/18 09:33 AM
Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 31
48-49 High Street
T
TheophilusCarter Online content OP
Full Member
TheophilusCarter  Online Content OP
Full Member
T

Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 31
48-49 High Street
Dr.Rogers, thanks much. Yah, from all the feedback, I'll definitely do more than just exam pieces - maybe even 3 or 4 from each list (A, B, C), and plenty of etudes as well. My problem is probably less common than the ones I'm hearing above: I tend to go too slowly, because I'm afraid I might miss something. I'm no in hurry - this is purely for personal pleasure, and I have no major goal for anything that remotely resembles professional playing - but I also don't want to spend my whole life playing lower level pieces if I'm ready to move on. And yes, I know: get a teacher. smile That is the plan in the next couple of years (when it will be more practical for me in terms of both time and money), but until then ... Thanks again!


Decent upright bassist, aspiring decent pianist
Casio PX-160, Casio CDP-130
Roland KC-80
Re: RCM syllabus [Re: TheophilusCarter] #2778941
11/07/18 10:22 AM
11/07/18 10:22 AM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 705
Tyrone Slothrop Online content
500 Post Club Member
Tyrone Slothrop  Online Content
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 705
Originally Posted by TheophilusCarter
My problem is probably less common than the ones I'm hearing above: I tend to go too slowly, because I'm afraid I might miss something. I'm no in hurry - this is purely for personal pleasure, and I have no major goal for anything that remotely resembles professional playing - but I also don't want to spend my whole life playing lower level pieces if I'm ready to move on.

I guess my question is a bit theoretic: Can one really say one has skilled developed to a certain grade/level is all one has ever played are the exam repertoire pieces - three to a grade? I mean, is it even theoretically possible to pass RCM 10 have played only 30 pieces of piano repertoire in their entire lives?

I am guessing the answer is, even as an experiment, this would be very unlikely that one could even pass the RCM 10 exam if all one has ever played is 30 pieces of repertoire. My assumption is that the RCM curriculum has an underlying assumption one will be playing some other grade level repertoire to develop and consolidate skills/technique and work on musicality, in addition to just the exam pieces, even if that is not written out as a requirement. I mean, RCM also grades musicality, does it not? How could you develop musicality with only 30 repertoire pieces, even if your technique was flawless?

Or am I wrong teachers? Could you imaging being successful with an experiment where you took a fresh beginner, fed them techniques, method, and skills training, but only 30 pieces of repertoire, and get them to an RCM 10 (ABRSM 8) level?


across the stone, deathless piano performances
Re: RCM syllabus [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2778950
11/07/18 11:20 AM
11/07/18 11:20 AM
Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 120
Texas
Dr. Rogers Offline
Full Member
Dr. Rogers  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 120
Texas
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Or am I wrong teachers? Could you imaging being successful with an experiment where you took a fresh beginner, fed them techniques, method, and skills training, but only 30 pieces of repertoire, and get them to an RCM 10 (ABRSM 8) level?


Depends on how you define success. If success means a piece of paper, then sure. It can be done. But if success means a competent, well-rounded musician, well... that's a horse of a different color.


Austin Rogers, PhD
Music Teacher in Austin, TX
Baldwin SD-10 Concert Grand "Kuroneko", Baldwin Upright, Yamaha P-255
Re: RCM syllabus [Re: TheophilusCarter] #2778958
11/07/18 11:48 AM
11/07/18 11:48 AM
Joined: Jun 2012
Posts: 24
R
Reaper_FBB Offline
Full Member
Reaper_FBB  Offline
Full Member
R

Joined: Jun 2012
Posts: 24
I'm a 48 year old who started playing in September 2017 so thought I'd add my two cents worth.

I decided to do the exams (I'm doing ABRSM) since I like having a definite target to aim for. I got my grade 1 in March this year and have my grade 2 in a week's time.

My practise for grade 2 has changed over the months I've been practising. I've always practised my scales, arpeggios and broken chords which also acts as a warm up. I then concentrated almost exclusively on my chosen pieces for a couple of months just to get up to a decent standard. At that point, I was getting bored of doing the same three pieces so I picked a few others to try as a more long term goal.

I bought the sheet music for three tunes that I really liked (above my current grade but nice to aim for) and my teacher recommended a couple of really good books and I have a little go on those as the mood takes me.

So now my practise is just getting my exam pieces up to speed and reducing errors and having a little go on the three tunes I've picked as longer term, continuos improvement projects.

Last edited by Reaper_FBB; 11/07/18 11:50 AM.
Re: RCM syllabus [Re: TheophilusCarter] #2778990
11/07/18 02:29 PM
11/07/18 02:29 PM
Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 31
48-49 High Street
T
TheophilusCarter Online content OP
Full Member
TheophilusCarter  Online Content OP
Full Member
T

Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 31
48-49 High Street
Reaper, thanks for those thoughts. It's relevant to a related issue I have, not just about how many pieces to work on per level, but to what degree of perfection? I think I tend to go too slow, trying to get everything little thing up to 100%. Then I realize that in my other musical experience (i took many years of lessons on saxophone and upright bass), that wasn't how we'd approach things. We'd make sure the most important stuff was as close to 100% as possible (solo / recital / exam works, ensemble pieces), but a lot of other things we'd do to maybe 80% or so, then say "Good enough, we got out of that what we needed to, let's move on." I think that goes hand-in-hand with my original question, and the answer to it: perhaps the "exam" pieces are the ones that I should aim for 100%, but still do lots of other good stuff, but not feel bad if it's only 80% or so.


Decent upright bassist, aspiring decent pianist
Casio PX-160, Casio CDP-130
Roland KC-80
Re: RCM syllabus [Re: TheophilusCarter] #2779003
11/07/18 02:55 PM
11/07/18 02:55 PM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 705
Tyrone Slothrop Online content
500 Post Club Member
Tyrone Slothrop  Online Content
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 705
Originally Posted by TheophilusCarter
Reaper, thanks for those thoughts. It's relevant to a related issue I have, not just about how many pieces to work on per level, but to what degree of perfection? I think I tend to go too slow, trying to get everything little thing up to 100%. Then I realize that in my other musical experience (i took many years of lessons on saxophone and upright bass), that wasn't how we'd approach things. We'd make sure the most important stuff was as close to 100% as possible (solo / recital / exam works, ensemble pieces), but a lot of other things we'd do to maybe 80% or so, then say "Good enough, we got out of that what we needed to, let's move on." I think that goes hand-in-hand with my original question, and the answer to it: perhaps the "exam" pieces are the ones that I should aim for 100%, but still do lots of other good stuff, but not feel bad if it's only 80% or so.

I've also read that when you are at a low level in piano, even your 100% is not really 100%. You don't know what you don't know. So you hit 100% by your measure, but it sounds nothing like how it would sound if a professional were playing the same piece. For example, I know that my 100% on pieces sound only superficially like the performances of Dr. Alan Huckleberry's of the same beginner pieces! So I agree with the advice I've seen which is get them to a certain level of "goodness" and then move on, but return to them later when your skills and technique have improved overall, and work on them again.

I've been storing my old pieces of repertoire in a binder with dates on each one to remind myself when to come back and try the piece again. For example, in that binder, I have Petzold's Minuet in G is waiting for when I can do mordents properly, Tchaikovsky's Morning Prayer is now waiting for improvements in dynamic control, etc.


across the stone, deathless piano performances

Moderated by  BB Player 

(ad)
Sweetwater - Keyboards
Sweetwater
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Allegro Piano and My Bluthner Grand-Part 1
by cardguy2.0. 11/15/18 06:14 PM
Piano Mug Rugs!
by Sam S. 11/15/18 05:59 PM
Connecting Yamaha Silent to iPad
by edwardmatt83. 11/15/18 05:42 PM
Piano Buyer guide to pricing and features
by MacMacMac. 11/15/18 05:16 PM
New old guy here; just starting piano journey at 58!
by PianoWVBob. 11/15/18 03:38 PM
(ad)
Pianoteq
PianoTeq Petrof
Forum Statistics
Forums40
Topics188,349
Posts2,761,464
Members91,493
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
(ad)
Accu-Tuner
Sanderson Accu-Tuner
Please Support Our Advertisers
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver

Sweetwater

PianoTeq Petrof
Piano Buyer Spring 2018
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers


 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter |


copyright 1997 - 2018 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.6.2