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Hello! I'm looking for some recommendations for additional/supplemental material for student (me) of RCM Level 7 and up.

Short background: I've returned to piano study after 30 years break ~2.5 years ago and working with the teacher for the last 2 years. I've finished 8 grades in Music School (former Soviet Union) as a child and after 6 months of messing around on my own, I found a teacher and started to work back up from RCM Level 5. I loved Level 5, passed "fake" exams last year and generally felt good about my progress.

Now: I'm preparing for Level 6 exam and looking forward to starting Level 7. The "issue" I have ( it's hardly an issue, but it makes me restless ): I found level 6 too easy and therefore I'm less motivated to polish the pieces. In practical terms it means that while my sight reading greatly improved (though not at the level of 30 years ago), this year I'm left with almost no active repertoire, and find myself knowing less and less material "by heart". My teacher wants us to complete of at least 99% of Rep and Etudes of each level and I'm generally comfortable with doing one level a year, but because I found current work not as exciting as Level 5, I'm constantly dragging all kind of random music to my lessons, so I'm on average working on 2-3 pages of completely new material each week + polishing 3-4 pieces. I'm practicing most days ~1-2 hours, and starting to feel that this is not enough.

Because I'm unlikely to find more time to practice, I'm looking for some more sane approach instead of hunting for random music non-stop on the top of the course material. I talked to my teacher about it, but she is very happy with our work and just hopes I keep doing whatever I'm doing. Additional challenge - I'm going to be moving in the next 6 months or so, so I will loose my teacher and the place where I'm going seems to be challenged in the "right" teacher department.

So at the moment, I'm looking ahead, hoping to not loose motivation while studying without a teacher for at least a while, and hoping to continue to move up with RCM program. I find it well organized, books for each level include nice selection of material. But I'm hoping to find more material to work on in the same systematic way and appropriate for my level.

Is there other courses that can be "matched" to RCM level so I can supplement appropriately?

Am I pushing too hard?

(sorry it's such a long post)

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Originally Posted by initK
[...My teacher wants us to complete of at least 99% of Rep and Etudes of each level and I'm generally comfortable with doing one level a year, [...]

The current RCM Piano Syllabus lists the following selections among which the student chooses one from each List for the Level 7 practical exam:
List A, Baroque: 32 pieces
List B, Classical and Classical-style: 26 pieces
List C, Romantic, 20th and 21st century: 127 pieces
Etudes: 16 pieces

And your teacher wants you to learn 99% of this repertoire? There's something here that doesn't make sense.

Regards,


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Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by initK
[...My teacher wants us to complete of at least 99% of Rep and Etudes of each level and I'm generally comfortable with doing one level a year, [...]

The current RCM Piano Syllabus lists the following selections among which the student chooses one from each List for the Level 7 practical exam:
List A, Baroque: 32 pieces
List B, Classical and Classical-style: 26 pieces
List C, Romantic, 20th and 21st century: 127 pieces
Etudes: 16 pieces

And your teacher wants you to learn 99% of this repertoire? There's something here that doesn't make sense.

Regards,

Oh, sorry, I meant 99% of the material from current RCM books. We are using 2015 edition.
Your post made me think of something though.. this RCM list is a perfect place to go for me. I don't know why I didn't think about it.
I found the list (PDF) and going to study it. Lists A and C are most exciting.

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Originally Posted by initK
[...] this RCM list is a perfect place to go for me. I don't know why I didn't think about it.
[...]

Good move. That was going to be my next suggestion.

Bruce


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I don't think more of the same is going to make you more motivated. Why don't you try a "stretch" piece, somewhat more difficult than what you are currently working on, that you really want to learn? Even a piece a few grades higher may be doable, especially considering this:

Originally Posted by initK
I'm constantly dragging all kind of random music to my lessons, so I'm on average working on 2-3 pages of completely new material each week + polishing 3-4 pieces. I'm practicing most days ~1-2 hours, and starting to feel that this is not enough.
[...]
My teacher wants us to complete of at least 99% of Rep and Etudes of each level and I'm generally comfortable with doing one level a year,
This sounds like your current level is too easy for you. Some teachers have this approach of dragging the student at a snail's pace through their whole program as though every student is a mediocre one. I completely disagree with this approach. Learning occurs at the point of resistance. It must be reasonably challenging for any progress to be made. Therefore, better students should be allowed to progress faster.

I have the same pet peeve against the general schooling system, but that is another story...

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Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
I don't think more of the same is going to make you more motivated. Why don't you try a "stretch" piece, somewhat more difficult than what you are currently working on, that you really want to learn? Even a piece a few grades higher may be doable, especially considering this:

Originally Posted by initK
I'm constantly dragging all kind of random music to my lessons, so I'm on average working on 2-3 pages of completely new material each week + polishing 3-4 pieces. I'm practicing most days ~1-2 hours, and starting to feel that this is not enough.
[...]
My teacher wants us to complete of at least 99% of Rep and Etudes of each level and I'm generally comfortable with doing one level a year,
This sounds like your current level is too easy for you. Some teachers have this approach of dragging the student at a snail's pace through their whole program as though every student is a mediocre one. I completely disagree with this approach. Learning occurs at the point of resistance. It must be reasonably challenging for any progress to be made. Therefore, better students should be allowed to progress faster.

I have the same pet peeve against the general schooling system, but that is another story...

"Learning occurs at the point of resistance." Good point. I have to think about it... I have couple of secret wishes I don't dare to bring up with her. I mentioned one other piece to her couple of times and she just smiled mysteriously - I didn't know what to think. I need to learn to voice my opinions more clearly too I guess.

I noticed few pieces on Level 6 list that I thought would be too difficult for me, but they are obviously grading them this way for a reason. It's just this particular level selection in the book edition left me bored in 70% of the material we worked on. I was also please to find that few pieces I brought to lessons these last two years myself were in appropriate level.

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May I suggest that you don't get hung up on levels, and just try out pieces regardless. At the very least, your reading skills will benefit.

For instance, there's "Classics to Moderns in the Intermediate Grades" (Vol.37 in the Music for Millions series) which covers - in my esteemed estimation - RCM levels 5 to 9. 115 original piano/keyboard pieces for USD15, by great composers from early Baroque to 20th century, from Purcell and Couperin to Khachaturian and Bartók, most of them short (2 pages in length) - good value even if you only want to play half of them. Personally, I haven't found a single dud among them (- I have sight-read through the whole lot).

BTW, when I was at your level (in high school), I was borrowing volumes of piano music from my school music library - everything from Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert sonatas to stuff by then-still-living composers (whose names I won't divulge, lest you discover how ancient I now am cry) - and having a go at everything, by myself. My teacher knew nothing about my non-guilty secret, and I had lots of fun along the way.......even if I couldn't even play the first bar of Chopin's Op.53 properly. Of course, I had enough sense not to keep plugging away at stuff that was completely beyond me, but I did keep an eye on many pieces that I wanted to learn, eventually - when my skills caught up with my aspirations. (Which they did - eventually).

Remember - you can try out stuff on your own while continuing to learn with your teacher. At least, that will help keep you motivated, and focused on learning new skills.


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Another source of material to consider: It's possible to go on the Henle website and search for pieces at a certain ABRSM level. You are looking for RCM level 7 pieces, which are probably around ABRSM 5 or 6. So for example, here's the Henle list of ABRSM Level 6 pieces:

https://www.henle.de/en/service/abrsm/search/?ABRSM=Piano&Grade=6

To look for another grade, just change the number at the end of the link.

Not all pieces inside a Henle book will be at the same level, of course, but you can click on the books and see the Henle levels of each piece inside.


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Originally Posted by bennevis
May I suggest that you don't get hung up on levels, and just try out pieces regardless. At the very least, your reading skills will benefit.

For instance, there's "Classics to Moderns in the Intermediate Grades" (Vol.37 in the Music for Millions series) which covers - in my esteemed estimation - RCM levels 5 to 9. 115 original piano/keyboard pieces for USD15, by great composers from early Baroque to 20th century, from Purcell and Couperin to Khachaturian and Bartók, most of them short (2 pages in length) - good value even if you only want to play half of them. Personally, I haven't found a single dud among them (- I have sight-read through the whole lot).

BTW, when I was at your level (in high school), I was borrowing volumes of piano music from my school music library - everything from Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert sonatas to stuff by then-still-living composers (whose names I won't divulge, lest you discover how ancient I now am cry) - and having a go at everything, by myself. My teacher knew nothing about my non-guilty secret, and I had lots of fun along the way.......even if I couldn't even play the first bar of Chopin's Op.53 properly. Of course, I had enough sense not to keep plugging away at stuff that was completely beyond me, but I did keep an eye on many pieces that I wanted to learn, eventually - when my skills caught up with my aspirations. (Which they did - eventually).

Remember - you can try out stuff on your own while continuing to learn with your teacher. At least, that will help keep you motivated, and focused on learning new skills.

Great suggestions. I will get "Classics to Moderns in the Intermediate Grades" (Vol.37 in the Music for Millions series) right away. It is a great value indeed.

I think I'm not so much hang on the levels as I'm little overwhelmed and worry about life without a teacher ahead of time. She keeps me going even though I'm little bored with the current work material and want to get back "where I was" faster.

Also, maybe because of the way I was initially trained, I'm mostly hang up on the quality of "final product" and don't really know how to have fun with it, get frustrated when I have to abandon any piece even if I was bored to tears with it. Also, don't know how to maintain some minimal active repertoire (at least 3-4 pieces) while digesting so much music. Even a year ago, I would have 4-5 works to play whenever I would be ask to "play something". Now, I practice so much more and don't have much to show for it. I'm moving from one thing to another so fast.

I know... too many worries. This is why I'm looking for some kind of "extended" system, to stop worrying and just work at it.

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Originally Posted by Talão
Another source of material to consider: It's possible to go on the Henle website and search for pieces at a certain ABRSM level. You are looking for RCM level 7 pieces, which are probably around ABRSM 5 or 6. So for example, here's the Henle list of ABRSM Level 6 pieces:

https://www.henle.de/en/service/abrsm/search/?ABRSM=Piano&Grade=6

To look for another grade, just change the number at the end of the link.

Not all pieces inside a Henle book will be at the same level, of course, but you can click on the books and see the Henle levels of each piece inside.
Mozart K 282 is ABRSM grade 6? I don't think so. I have played it and I cannot agree with grade 6.
It is graded level 10 in the RCM syllabus.

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Originally Posted by Talão
Another source of material to consider: It's possible to go on the Henle website and search for pieces at a certain ABRSM level. You are looking for RCM level 7 pieces, which are probably around ABRSM 5 or 6. So for example, here's the Henle list of ABRSM Level 6 pieces:

https://www.henle.de/en/service/abrsm/search/?ABRSM=Piano&Grade=6

To look for another grade, just change the number at the end of the link.

Not all pieces inside a Henle book will be at the same level, of course, but you can click on the books and see the Henle levels of each piece inside.

I will definitely review Henle selection. Having good editions is also something I feel is important. I've seen these kind of discussions about levels here before, and I didn't mean to ask about something that was talked about thousand times. I guess my slightly different ask here is how to correctly push myself up.. even without a teacher. I always (with very short unhappy period without one) had a teacher, so I'm trying to find some systematic way to compliment RCM books I'm working with, but supplement with the good quality material, not just volume.

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Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
Originally Posted by Talão
Another source of material to consider: It's possible to go on the Henle website and search for pieces at a certain ABRSM level. You are looking for RCM level 7 pieces, which are probably around ABRSM 5 or 6. So for example, here's the Henle list of ABRSM Level 6 pieces:

https://www.henle.de/en/service/abrsm/search/?ABRSM=Piano&Grade=6

To look for another grade, just change the number at the end of the link.

Not all pieces inside a Henle book will be at the same level, of course, but you can click on the books and see the Henle levels of each piece inside.
Mozart K 282 is ABRSM grade 6? I don't think so. I have played it and I cannot agree with grade 6.
It is graded level 10 in the RCM syllabus.

This is one of those examples where Henle and RCM do not agree. I think I agree with RCM more too. Also, RCM is much slower paced grading I think...
I didn't meant to open THAT can of worms here.

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Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
Originally Posted by Talão
Another source of material to consider: It's possible to go on the Henle website and search for pieces at a certain ABRSM level. You are looking for RCM level 7 pieces, which are probably around ABRSM 5 or 6. So for example, here's the Henle list of ABRSM Level 6 pieces:

https://www.henle.de/en/service/abrsm/search/?ABRSM=Piano&Grade=6

To look for another grade, just change the number at the end of the link.

Not all pieces inside a Henle book will be at the same level, of course, but you can click on the books and see the Henle levels of each piece inside.
Mozart K 282 is ABRSM grade 6? I don't think so. I have played it and I cannot agree with grade 6.
It is graded level 10 in the RCM syllabus.

According to pianosyllabus.com, the ABRSM is Grade 6, Grade 10 RCM


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Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
Originally Posted by Talão
Another source of material to consider: It's possible to go on the Henle website and search for pieces at a certain ABRSM level. You are looking for RCM level 7 pieces, which are probably around ABRSM 5 or 6. So for example, here's the Henle list of ABRSM Level 6 pieces:

https://www.henle.de/en/service/abrsm/search/?ABRSM=Piano&Grade=6

To look for another grade, just change the number at the end of the link.

Not all pieces inside a Henle book will be at the same level, of course, but you can click on the books and see the Henle levels of each piece inside.
Mozart K 282 is ABRSM grade 6? I don't think so. I have played it and I cannot agree with grade 6.
It is graded level 10 in the RCM syllabus.

According to pianosyllabus.com, the ABRSM is Grade 6, Grade 10 RCM
The ABRSM entry is for the 3rd movement only.

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It sounds to me far to much new material having 2-3 new pages of music a week. I normally have learn 2-3 pieces at one time and spend quite a bit of time on them. Then I leave them and stop practicing them. I think learning loads of easy pieces quickly has limited value. I'm not sure why a teacher advises to learn the entire grade book or how you are able to learn so much music. Perhaps if you schooled through a graded system as a child you don't really need to be so cautious. I picked up my skills very quickly after a break. Building on skills
took much longer. I don't think matters what you wish to learn but I agree completely not to restrict to a certain grade level ! Good luck .

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Originally Posted by Moo:)
It sounds to me far to much new material having 2-3 new pages of music a week. I normally have learn 2-3 pieces at one time and spend quite a bit of time on them.
That’s what I do, as well. 👍😊

I have RCM 6 books, there’s 14 etudes and 28 pieces. That seems like a lot for one year, if it’s at your level. If they are easier and you can get through them quickly, I agree that I’m not sure what the benefit would be from learning all of that. I certainly didn’t learn every single piece that’s easy, it would be a waste of time. Use them for sight reading, maybe.


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The Alfred's Masterwork Classics series is pretty good, same stuff you'd find in the syllabus.


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99% of the books, that seems like alot too.

I am also doing the RCM program and I am curious how many pieces per level you guys do?

My teacher makes us do 8-10 pieces per level.

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Originally Posted by Moo :)
It sounds to me far to much new material having 2-3 new pages of music a week. I normally have learn 2-3 pieces at one time and spend quite a bit of time on them. Then I leave them and stop practicing them. I think learning loads of easy pieces quickly has limited value. I'm not sure why a teacher advises to learn the entire grade book or how you are able to learn so much music. Perhaps if you schooled through a graded system as a child you don't really need to be so cautious. I picked up my skills very quickly after a break. Building on skills
took much longer. I don't think matters what you wish to learn but I agree completely not to restrict to a certain grade level ! Good luck .

Thank you so much for your reply! I had to think about that for a little while and I see that the answer is clearly not to do more, but maybe the opposite. Choose what I really like (RCM syllabus has wide selection) and focus on it little more.

I guess in my frustration I thought I need to do even more to feel the progress and also a little panic set it ahead of loosing my teacher. My background makes me very respectful and agreeable to my teacher's method and I'm sure she has a point. Also, she likes to move on as a contrast with her young and not very willing students who can only manage amount required for exams and recitals at best. So my enthusiasm is a breath of fresh air for her and she wants us to cover most of the material of each level. Because of my previous experience she expects me to easily cover ground up to Level 8. I do have gaps though that need more attention and this is the reason we started at level 5. For example, in my youth I never played anything jazz or modern, and very little romantic era. We did mostly baroque and classic rep, a lot of Russian material too, so my exposure is limited, and even at Level 5 some stuff was completely out of my comfort zone.

I will try to be less strict with the level material. Thank you again, this is very helpful!

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Originally Posted by Ampersand
99% of the books, that seems like alot too.

I am also doing the RCM program and I am curious how many pieces per level you guys do?

My teacher makes us do 8-10 pieces per level.
That’s the same ballpark for me. 😊


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