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Piano Grades
#3024215 09/12/20 09:46 AM
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Hi

How long does it take to go through a piano grade level?

Here are my thoughts.
If you play about 10 hours a week you should be able to get though each grade in about 3-6 months?

Thanks

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Re: Piano Grades
Pilotryan #3024225 09/12/20 10:16 AM
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I doubt it is this quick. I expect if you are rushing you are not playing pieces to high quality. I think as a child I did about 1 grade a year up until grade 5. I think I had a break to learn theory as there was a requirement to get grade 5 for ARBSM. Post grade 5 maybe nearer 2 years between the higher grades. I think post-grade 8 to reach ATCL maybe it'll be a larger gap but I have not played these exams. I think you are looking at 10 years if you want to get through all the grades properly and reach a diploma standard. Most of these 'progress videos' for someone with 10 plus years playing gives a very false sense of piano progress.

Re: Piano Grades
Pilotryan #3024227 09/12/20 10:19 AM
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3-6 months per grade is unrealistic. Piano is one avocation where slow and steady wins. Be sure you have absorbed the material at both the piece and the grade level. Rushing loses in the long-term. Assume one year per grade with the more advanced grades taking two years.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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Re: Piano Grades
Pilotryan #3024247 09/12/20 10:56 AM
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I agree strongly with the others that "doing" a grade in three to six months is unrealistic. Moreover, that most likely means working only on the grade (exam?) pieces and only on the other minimum requirements for the grade.

It is quite possible that in the very early grades one can progress more quickly through the material because there is less of it, but as one moves to higher grades not only do the demands become more rigorous, the repertoire expands.

If we are talking here (and I am not sure that we are) about eventually preparing for an exam to say that we have "done" a grade, too many with this mind set work only on the minimum requirements to get through to the next level as soon as possible. In my view, students who do this do not show that they have reached the level that the grade designates. Rather, they have learned three or four pieces at that level and have little or no experience with the repertoire and all the variances that such repertoire can present.

As others have indicated, becoming proficient at playing the piano at whatever level takes time, time to develop the technical skills, time to develop an appreciation for the styles of different periods, and time to understand how to approach and interpret those different styles. Moreover, studying piano repertoire should be a joyous and satisfying journey of discovery where the emphasis is on the journey itself, not the goal of completing a grade.

Regards,


BruceD
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Re: Piano Grades
Pilotryan #3024252 09/12/20 11:03 AM
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I've been playing selected pieces from the John Thompson Fifth Grade Book for over 62 years. Working on one right now. smile


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Re: Piano Grades
BruceD #3024255 09/12/20 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by BruceD
I agree strongly with the others that "doing" a grade in three to six months is unrealistic. Moreover, that most likely means working only on the grade (exam?) pieces and only on the other minimum requirements for the grade.

It is quite possible that in the very early grades one can progress more quickly through the material because there is less of it, but as one moves to higher grades not only do the demands become more rigorous, the repertoire expands.

If we are talking here (and I am not sure that we are) about eventually preparing for an exam to say that we have "done" a grade, too many with this mind set work only on the minimum requirements to get through to the next level as soon as possible. In my view, students who do this do not show that they have reached the level that the grade designates. Rather, they have learned three or four pieces at that level and have little or no experience with the repertoire and all the variances that such repertoire can present.

As others have indicated, becoming proficient at playing the piano at whatever level takes time, time to develop the technical skills, time to develop an appreciation for the styles of different periods, and time to understand how to approach and interpret those different styles. Moreover, studying piano repertoire should be a joyous and satisfying journey of discovery where the emphasis is on the journey itself, not the goal of completing a grade.

Regards,
Excellent post. thumb thumb thumb


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Re: Piano Grades
Pilotryan #3024258 09/12/20 11:06 AM
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Learning to play the piano is a brain development process.

Practicing and playing creates new connections and pathways in the brain.

You cannot speed that process up very much, any more than you can take a 6 month old baby and change it into an adult in one year by force-feeding it food and information.


Piano teacher.
Re: Piano Grades
Pilotryan #3024271 09/12/20 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Pilotryan
If you play about 10 hours a week you should be able to get though each grade in about 3-6 months?

First of all, I fully agree with everybody here saying, that no, that is unrealistic.

But let me ask you Pilotryan: What is the hurry? Why would you want to speed it up?


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Re: Piano Grades
Pilotryan #3024285 09/12/20 12:12 PM
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Some things take time, like braces for teeth. Took me a while to get enough stretch to play certain chords that require awkward hand shape. It is physically not possible to change your hands in a short amount of time without damage.

Re: Piano Grades
Pilotryan #3024294 09/12/20 12:35 PM
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"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

It's ok to be a Work In Progress
Re: Piano Grades
Pilotryan #3024296 09/12/20 12:39 PM
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I strongly think that playing 5 years to reach grade 5 is reasonable goal if you are a child or not too motivated. I dont see any reason why you couldn't reach for example grade 4 in two years as an adult, but i think you need effective practice at least an hour a day. I am currently playing grade 3 material and i have been practicing about a year. I practice about 10 hours a week, but getting up a grade level in 3-4 months would be unrealistic in my opinion (you would need to practice A LOT) .

Re: Piano Grades
Pilotryan #3024332 09/12/20 02:02 PM
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How long should the exam pieces roughly take to learn? Such as you want to sit for Grade 1 or 2 and you select your 3 pieces for the exam. How much time do you think it should take to learn the exam pieces? I know it's very subjective but I imagine if you're spending way too long to learn them maybe it's too far of a reach at the moment?

Re: Piano Grades
Sebs #3024339 09/12/20 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Sebs
How long should the exam pieces roughly take to learn? Such as you want to sit for Grade 1 or 2 and you select your 3 pieces for the exam. How much time do you think it should take to learn the exam pieces? I know it's very subjective but I imagine if you're spending way too long to learn them maybe it's too far of a reach at the moment?
Sebs, the thing is, you can do just that, select three pieces for your grade 1 and grade 2 exam and learn them, and this should not take two years. But these pieces are supposed to reflect a general ability, and if you have only learned your exam pieces, just as Bruce talked about, then they are not representative of what you can do. And sooner or later, you find yourself in a grade that is too high for you, with pieces that are way too difficult, because you didn't do the basic work.
When I still studied within the RCM system, I got ten grade 1 pieces and studies "certified" before starting to learn grade 2 pieces. Not because I was obliged to, but in order to build my pianistic ability.


Playing the piano is learning to create, playfully and deeply seriously, our own music in the world.
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Re: Piano Grades
Animisha #3024351 09/12/20 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Animisha
Originally Posted by Sebs
How long should the exam pieces roughly take to learn? Such as you want to sit for Grade 1 or 2 and you select your 3 pieces for the exam. How much time do you think it should take to learn the exam pieces? I know it's very subjective but I imagine if you're spending way too long to learn them maybe it's too far of a reach at the moment?
Sebs, the thing is, you can do just that, select three pieces for your grade 1 and grade 2 exam and learn them, and this should not take two years. But these pieces are supposed to reflect a general ability, and if you have only learned your exam pieces, just as Bruce talked about, then they are not representative of what you can do. And sooner or later, you find yourself in a grade that is too high for you, with pieces that are way too difficult, because you didn't do the basic work.
When I still studied within the RCM system, I got ten grade 1 pieces and studies "certified" before starting to learn grade 2 pieces. Not because I was obliged to, but in order to build my pianistic ability.

Say you want to sit for grade 1. You pick your three pieces should it only take a couple months to have them exam ready?

Re: Piano Grades
Moo :) #3024361 09/12/20 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Moo :)
I doubt it is this quick. I expect if you are rushing you are not playing pieces to high quality. I think as a child I did about 1 grade a year up until grade 5. I think I had a break to learn theory as there was a requirement to get grade 5 for ARBSM. Post grade 5 maybe nearer 2 years between the higher grades. I think post-grade 8 to reach ATCL maybe it'll be a larger gap but I have not played these exams. I think you are looking at 10 years if you want to get through all the grades properly and reach a diploma standard. Most of these 'progress videos' for someone with 10 plus years playing gives a very false sense of piano progress.

Thank you for your response.
When you mention playing at a high quality, is that playing it perfectly? If we were to look at a scale 1-10, 10 being perfect, where would you put high quality?

Re: Piano Grades
dogperson #3024363 09/12/20 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by dogperson
3-6 months per grade is unrealistic. Piano is one avocation where slow and steady wins. Be sure you have absorbed the material at both the piece and the grade level. Rushing loses in the long-term. Assume one year per grade with the more advanced grades taking two years.

Thanks, yeah that's king of what I was thinking. First couple grades, maybe a year, then the more advanced ones takes a few years.

Re: Piano Grades
BruceD #3024366 09/12/20 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by BruceD
I agree strongly with the others that "doing" a grade in three to six months is unrealistic. Moreover, that most likely means working only on the grade (exam?) pieces and only on the other minimum requirements for the grade.

It is quite possible that in the very early grades one can progress more quickly through the material because there is less of it, but as one moves to higher grades not only do the demands become more rigorous, the repertoire expands.

If we are talking here (and I am not sure that we are) about eventually preparing for an exam to say that we have "done" a grade, too many with this mind set work only on the minimum requirements to get through to the next level as soon as possible. In my view, students who do this do not show that they have reached the level that the grade designates. Rather, they have learned three or four pieces at that level and have little or no experience with the repertoire and all the variances that such repertoire can present.

As others have indicated, becoming proficient at playing the piano at whatever level takes time, time to develop the technical skills, time to develop an appreciation for the styles of different periods, and time to understand how to approach and interpret those different styles. Moreover, studying piano repertoire should be a joyous and satisfying journey of discovery where the emphasis is on the journey itself, not the goal of completing a grade.

Regards,

Yes enjoying the process rather than the goal is important, and very hard to remember in stressful times. Ultimately Im having fun but it would be good to know that in "x" years of playing every day people will be like "wow, he plays well." :-)

Re: Piano Grades
rocket88 #3024369 09/12/20 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by rocket88
Learning to play the piano is a brain development process.

Practicing and playing creates new connections and pathways in the brain.

You cannot speed that process up very much, any more than you can take a 6 month old baby and change it into an adult in one year by force-feeding it food and information.

Yes I agree but I also think that there are some shortcuts to speeding up the brain development. For example, by learning one song by ear and another one by reading it, both build each other up and I believe you can learn either one faster than if you just played only by ear or reading.

Re: Piano Grades
Animisha #3024371 09/12/20 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Animisha
Originally Posted by Pilotryan
If you play about 10 hours a week you should be able to get though each grade in about 3-6 months?

First of all, I fully agree with everybody here saying, that no, that is unrealistic.

But let me ask you Pilotryan: What is the hurry? Why would you want to speed it up?

I don't want to necessarily speed it up but I just want to make sure my time is well spent. Im very detail orientated. My training program is 7am-9am everyday I play. 10minutes or previously learned song review, 10mins of scales, 10 sight reading, 10 study theory, 5 rhythm, 5 ear training, 10 learn something jazz related and apply it to an improv exercise, 30 practing a new song, then 10 just playing. Ultimately I just want a gague on my practicing. If it takes me 10 years to get past grade 1, Im probably doing something wrong. If it takes me a month to get though grade 1 (which it did) the maybe Im on the right track. I just need to know if Im doing whats right or if I should make some changes.

Re: Piano Grades
wszxbcl #3024373 09/12/20 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by wszxbcl
Some things take time, like braces for teeth. Took me a while to get enough stretch to play certain chords that require awkward hand shape. It is physically not possible to change your hands in a short amount of time without damage.

Agree, unfortunately I was victim of a plane crash (someone else's mistake) and my hands got burned pretty bad. Sucks not being able to fully stretch it out. No excuse right? :-)

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