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Welcome oBreak! Thank you sharing your Level 1 work. It's an accomplishment and it's fun.


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thanks for sharing.


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BSharp, I just passed Theory Level 6 and am working on 7. I do it as a hobby, its not going to make a difference in my life except for my feeling of accomplishing something. I do not do the piano exams. The theory online is through level 8, although I called RCM and was informed maybe in the future 9 and 10 will be online but currently there are no plans. However, History 9 and 10 is online and informed History level 9 would be a good next course and doable for someone who completed 8 levels of theory. Theory is $175 for the modules, which are 8 units with the pre-test and post test. Then you purchase the apps, there are 8 at $1.99. You get a year to finish. It has helped having a teacher. I have done well, I do not think I would have done as well without a teacher. I also bought the RCM theory books for more practice exercises. Music History is $500, so at that point it is not worth it to me unless the cost of those classes decrease. At one time the theory modules were $375 I believe, maybe it was decreased because no one bought them.

I would encourage you to continue at least to 8 since it can be done online.

Deb


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Originally Posted by DFSRN


I would encourage you to continue at least to 8 since it can be done online.

Deb


I'm scheduled to take theory 7 in May, but I'm not doing the online test. There is definitely more to learn in level 7 with respect to 5. I enjoy learning it though.


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I have a busy year of exams ahead of me, with exams in May (registered), June (almost definitely), and November (most likely).

The May exam is the ARSM - Associate of the Royal Schools of Music, the first level of performance diploma offered by ABRSM. The June exam is ABRSM Grade 7 Music Theory, and the November exam is Grade 8 Music Theory. For those not familiar with ABRSM, that exam board goes up to Grade 8, so these are the highest levels of Music Theory exams offered by the Associated Board.

I feel ready for the Grade 7 Theory exam, but I will keep on working practice problems until the exam date in early June.

My ARSM programme is pretty much ready. I'm just putting the final polish on my pieces. This exam is performance-only: I just have to play a recital lasting roughly half an hour, no programme notes, viva voce, or quick study as in the higher-level ABRSM diplomas.

My diploma programme is as follows:

  • Bach - Prelude and Fugue in F minor from WTC Book 1, BWV 857
  • Beethoven - Sonata in E, Op. 14 No. 1
  • Chopin - Mazurka in C# Minor, Op.50 No.3
  • Debussy - Bruyères


I've been working on this programme for almost a year now - two years for the third movement of that Beethoven sonata, since I played it at Grade 8. I've enjoyed working this music up to a professional standard, but I'm ready to move on! Although I would confidently take the exam tomorrow if I had to, I plan on making good use of the two remaining months to give these pieces as high a polish as I can. My teacher called this programme "perfect" but also "ambitious".

I don't ever want to play another mazurka again as long as I live. I detest that musical form. I was hesitant to pick this mazurka, but it was on the syllabus and fit so well in the programme... I struggled for months to connect with that piece. I did finally find an emotional connection to this particular mazurka (and now it's actually rather precious to me), but I don't ever want to subject myself to another one.

After that, it's on to DipABRSM, the second diploma level with that board. It will have pieces by the same composers, but all of them will be a little easier except for the Debussy, which will be a more difficult piece (La puerta del vino).


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Good luck to you, Dr. Rogers! Sounds like a demanding program and schedule.

My schedule for the August RCM 7 exam (15 months after taking RCM 6).

Etudes:
Lament, Op. 203, No. 8 – Cornelius Gurlitt
Etude, Op. 27, No. 3 – Dmitri Kabalevsky

List A: Invention No. 8 In F Major, BWV 779 – Johann Sebastian Bach
List C: Polonaise In G Minor, Op. Posth., B 1 – Frédéric Chopin

I'm on the fence for List B. I know Fur Elise and I think I could play it well enough, but some have said it isn't a good exam piece to do. Teacher thinks I could substitute a Level 8 piece, Beethoven, Sonata in G Major, op. 49, no. 2, 1st Mvmt. But I'm unsure of that. I might just end up doing Sonatina In C Major, Op. 88, No. 1 First Movement – Friedrich Kuhlau


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Nice programme Dr Rogers. I feel the same about Mazurkas. I played one for my grade 9 exam and vowed never again! I’m not a big “dance” fan although I must admit I’ve discovered Chopin waltzes and actually quite like them. I’m enjoying not playing for an exam but now am toying with possibly trying again in a year or two. I guess some of us never learn smile. bBsharp - tough choice on your list b. I’d go with a sonata either at the level or the one up. Even when I took the grade 7 exam years ago, fur Elise was discouraged. It’s very popular and they’ll mark harder


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Thank you for your kind words, b# and cagal.

b#: I would avoid the Fur Elise. It's a great piece, but horribly overplayed. Honestly, I would also avoid the Beethoven Op. 49 No. 2 as well. As a teaching piece, it's also rather overplayed, and isn't as nice musically as the Fur Elise.

IIRC, those Opus 49 sonatas were published without Beethoven's approval and against his wishes. He wasn't happy with them. Op. 49 No. 1 is pretty nice, but No. 2 is kind of bland. I played that sonata at a recital when I was maybe 10 or 11 years old - I think it works best at inspiring and young pianists. "Hey, I'm playing an actual Beethoven sonata!" That sort of thing.

Of the three pieces you mentioned, I would recommend the Kuhlau, if you can handle the scale passages. I just looked at a PDF of it, and I wish I could go play it! It looks fun. I have it in a book somewhere, but it's at my old house and I don't have access to it at the moment.

cagal: I fully understand any decision to give up on exams. What I tell people is that you need a good reason to put yourself through that kind of torture! For me, it is professional development. (And, I must confess, I like the fancy certificates, and I look forward to putting more letters behind my name come May! ARSM may be the lowest-level letter-bearing diploma, but I've worked hard and I'm going to use those letters, right after PhD.)


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Thanks for the feedback, Dr. Rogers. The other list B piece I learned was Viennese Sonatina In A Major 1st Mvmt – Mozart. But I don't like it smile I'd like to polish a piece that I think I'll play again in the future. This wouldn't be one of them.

The Kuhlau piece is nice, it's easy to read. But speed and evenness of the scale runs will be challenging.


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Dr. Rogers your challenge is significant and impressive. But you have the background and skill for it. I've only played the basic level mazurka and never up to full tempo so don't have a feeling about them one way or the other. When you work up pieces for exams though, you really do need to connect with the piece so if you hate it, it would be difficult. Will you post links to your pieces before you test?

bSharp sounds like you're on track too to move up the RCM completions and I'm cheering you on. I'd recommend the Kuhlau too but the Mozart Viennese Sonatinas are fun. Rather than go for the Level 7 exam, I've been trying to learn as much of the level 7 repertoire as possible.Why? I think I can pass a level 7 but I want to be grounded at that level as my base with ease reaching the tempo and expression required. There is much beautiful music in that list and there are many technical challenges I have yet to master. I am learning all the etudes rather than the few I learned in level 6...slow progress. My teacher is not versed in the exam system so I'm pretty much on my own with study and preparation. Right now I'm working on:
Bach Preludes 933 and 934
Beethoven Bagatelle 33 no 6
Chopin Nocturnes 15 no 3 and 37 no 1
I want to get the rhythmic challenge in Ginastera's Milonga (also the 2s against 3s).


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I was getting ready for ABRSM 1 and 2 and memorization was not required. I'm not sure once you get to higher levels; it sounds like you may be looking at level 5+. When I swapped to RCM, part of the exam rubric is playing with the pieces memorized.


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Originally Posted by oBreak
I was getting ready for ABRSM 1 and 2 and memorization was not required. I'm not sure once you get to higher levels; it sounds like you may be looking at level 5+. When I swapped to RCM, part of the exam rubric is playing with the pieces memorized.

Keep in mind though that only 6 of 100 points are for memorization. So unless you are shooting for Distinction, you can safely decide not to memorize certain pieces for the RCM.

BTW, none of the etudes need to be memorized. I had my etudes memorized and yet my examiner still wanted to see my etude book on the music rest even though it wasn't open. That was amusing.


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bSharp, yes, 7 is harder. 5 I did in a month, 6 was about 2 months, Level 7 I am expecting maybe 4 months, I have not done the double dot notes, this is surely more of a challenge. I do enjoy the online and not having to go anywhere to take the test. Each unit and there are 8 have a practice test and a test. Then the practice final and the final.


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Is anyone signed up for RCM exams in April? Any news on if it will be cancelled?

Oops, sorry! Found the answer:

https://www.rcmusic.com/about-us/news/covid19-update

Last edited by WeakLeftHand; 03/20/20 09:22 PM.

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WeakLeftHand. Not surprising that it is delayed. Gives you more time to polish your pieces.


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You probably heard, but the upcoming RCM practical exams will be done via Zoom and you can use your digital piano at home, if that is what you have. I was also told that the sight reading material will be given to you a day ahead of time, so you'll have plenty of time to prepare for that, lol.

The in person theory exam I had scheduled will be done online. I'm not quite sure what the online format will be like, they will send me a webinar to watch. I'm assuming it will be different than the pencil/paper exam.

Last edited by bSharp(C)yclist; 04/10/20 02:04 AM.

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Originally Posted by bSharp(C)yclist
I was also told that the sight reading material will be given to you a day ahead of time, so you'll have plenty of time to prepare for that, lol.
Really??


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AMEB theory exams have been online for a while now (up to a certain level). I did one a few years ago and the trick was to do a few of the sample exams to get used to the format,


Surprisingly easy, barely an inconvenience.

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That's a problem if you have an acoustic but not a digital. I like having the "sight reading" a day early. Kind of defeats the purpose however.


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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by bSharp(C)yclist
I was also told that the sight reading material will be given to you a day ahead of time, so you'll have plenty of time to prepare for that, lol.
Really??

It's what my teacher said last night. I know it's crazy and defeats the purpose. I guess it's so they can print it out ahead of time and have it ready. Otherwise, it would probably take too long to print out on the spot (assuming they have a printer), or try to use a phone/tablet to read it.


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