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Hi all, First post smile

Getting ready for the RCM level 1 exam which I'm taking on Oct 7th! Seems so close.
Question that I have... I chose the pieces to play and have learned them. But when I listen to the audio from RCM they are adding dynamics and tempo changes that are not reflected on the music itself. I like what they did and I can pencil it in but not sure if the examiner is going to grade me worse if I play it no exactly as how the music is printed. Kind of wish RCM was more consistent with that. There was a YouTube video on the PianoTV channel where she said she got points off and negative comments because she added dynamics based on other recordings she found (Grade 10 exam). She said the examiner wanted it how it was printed.
That concerns me since what they have printed is different than their own audio recordings (Not someone else's).

Any thoughts? Thanks a bunch! Any other folks that passed Level 1 that have any advise?

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Actual interpretations of pieces are never exactly as printed. Even when there are no actual marks in the music you are supposed to play it in a way that brings out certain notes. That's why it's called "interpretation". The RCM recordings have pretty conservative interpretations (I have all their recordings) and I wouldn't worry about being penalized for trying to play the pieces like in those recordings.

Just curious what do specific differences are you referring to?

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If you are being graded or judged, there is a big difference between 1) playing something obviously different from the score, like playing forte through a passage that is supposed to change to piano, or 2) adding some extra interpretive touches that are not indicated in the score - while staying within the intent of the composer and sticking to the style of the period. #1 is not good, #2 is extra points. In my opinion, of course.

But I can't imagine that in Level 1 there would be much opportunity to get in big trouble with #2.

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Originally Posted by Bob Roberts
But when I listen to the audio from RCM they are adding dynamics and tempo changes that are not reflected on the music itself.
Are you sure there are unmarked tempo changes in a level 1 piece, played by an expert?
Or do you just mean a slowing down at the end, which is perfectly normal? Don't we all slow down at the end of Happy Birthday, or The Star-Spangled Banner?


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
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Originally Posted by Bob Roberts
Hi all, First post smile

Getting ready for the RCM level 1 exam which I'm taking on Oct 7th! Seems so close.
Question that I have... I chose the pieces to play and have learned them. But when I listen to the audio from RCM they are adding dynamics and tempo changes that are not reflected on the music itself. I like what they did and I can pencil it in but not sure if the examiner is going to grade me worse if I play it no exactly as how the music is printed. Kind of wish RCM was more consistent with that. There was a YouTube video on the PianoTV channel where she said she got points off and negative comments because she added dynamics based on other recordings she found (Grade 10 exam). She said the examiner wanted it how it was printed.
That concerns me since what they have printed is different than their own audio recordings (Not someone else's).

Any thoughts? Thanks a bunch! Any other folks that passed Level 1 that have any advise?

Hi Bob Roberts,

I and some other members here have the RCM materials and recordings so can perhaps help you figure out what’s going on. If you want, you can tell us which pieces you’re preparing for the exam and how you think the printed music differs from the recordings. I personally didn’t find that to be the case though. But in any event, I always tried to emulate the recording for the exam and did well.

One word of advice about the tempo - they say the tempo markings are only a guidance. I’d say it’s a “strict” guidance so you better be within the range; otherwise, you may get marks subtracted or a comment saying you were out of range.

Are you working with a teacher familiar with RCM?

Last edited by WeakLeftHand; 09/08/21 08:52 PM.

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Thanks for the help. Much appreciated. The piece is one of the "A" pieces. Beethoven's Ecossaise in E flat Major. Page 11 of the 2015 Celebration Series Piano Repertoire sheet music book Level 1.
It seems to say that there is a mezzoforte held throughout the piece except on the down beats for measures 2,3,4 and 5 where there is a Sforzando. I'm good with that. Its later on measure 9 in the recordings I got from the RCM website that it seems to go messopiano only to allow space to go back to mezzoforte or even just slightly louder starting on the 2 of measure 12. Then at the end there is a rit. starting 2 measures till the end on measure 15 but no rit. is identified in the sheet music

I'm probably making too much of it. Just want to try and do the best I can.
Super thankful for the feedback.

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Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
[quote=Bob Roberts]Hi all, First post smile

Are you working with a teacher familiar with RCM?

That's actually a concern I have to fix. I started taking instruction about 3 months or so ago. I was self taught till I got finished with the Faber 3A/3B levels. But I also played Viola for a community orchestra so I have some other music in my background. I used to live in Western NY and we had some great music schools. I've recently moved to SC and frankly the area doesn't have anything even close that I've uncovered yet. There is a local community music school but it's small and not well funded. But they try super hard and I love them. It's just that my Piano teacher is really a drum teacher, but he did minor in piano at a music college. For a beginner it's fine, but he never heard of RCM or ABRSM for that matter. I've been kind of trying to figure it out on my own. Although I share with him what I find and he's super supportive. The other issue is that he only has a 90's era keyboard in the studio with his drums. We aren't even talking about a good 90's era. Were talking Radio Shack level smile The keys are narrower than normal so when I go from a real piano to his keyboard it cause me to have to try to mentally compress the movements. Which when I go from VIola to Violin it's a similar mental jump.. But it's going to get old pretty quick and I'm going to have to try and find a new teacher pretty soon.

Last edited by Bob Roberts; 09/09/21 12:05 AM.
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I listened to the RCM recording and I actually like what they do. I think it is well within what is acceptable in terms of interpretation. IMO, for this piece, the mf at the beginning should be interpreted as a general instruction for the whole piece (like the tempo marking). It's like Beethoven is saying "please play this in the medium-loud range" but he's definitely not telling you that you're not allowed to move within that range or that you should play everything the same. The ritardando at the end is tasteful and acceptable IMO.

About your teacher, in the eary levels you might get away with it but for the intermediate levels I think you really need to have a teacher who knows how to prepare for the exams.

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Thanks for the insight. I like their interpretation better as well. So that is how it will be smile
Exam is in a month. If the forum doesn't mind. I'll throw some soundcloud files up to get some feedback in a little week. I think I'm in good shape, but going for the "distinction" Gotta beat those darn 6 year old while I still can smile

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Of course we'll be glad to provide feedback. smile

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Check out Lisa Taharas yt channel. See if her interpretation appeals to you. For the exam, I would play it as written. That what I was instructed to do in the 4 exams I have taken.


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In principle, I object to recordings of examination material being included with repertoire for the graded exams. It can lead to many just trying to copy what they hear rather than learning to understand and interpret what's in the score.

Of course, it's a money-maker for the publishers of such material, I suppose.

Regards,


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She has a lot of good stuff there, Thanks for the recommendation. I gave her a subscribe. She played it much more straight as written. Kind of in between playing it flat and playing it with more dynamics. You all have been really helpful. Thanks

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Hi all, I put together some recordings after figuring out the basics to Ableton Live. The exam is October 7th. RCM level 1. I think I'm in good shape, but always on the look out to do something better. Any thoughts, other than I should unplug the keyboard and never play again smile Thanks so much - Bob

https://soundcloud.com/user-346603788-2356823/young-ludwig-exploring-20210918

https://soundcloud.com/user-346603788-2356823/red-satin-jazz-20210918


https://soundcloud.com/user-346603788-2356823/far-away-20210918


https://soundcloud.com/user-346603788-2356823/ecossaise-in-e-flat-major-20210918

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BR:

I think that you are in very good shape for your RCM Level 1 exam. Rhythms are solid, playing is musical. Go for it with confidence!

Regards,


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Originally Posted by BruceD
BR:

I think that you are in very good shape for your RCM Level 1 exam. Rhythms are solid, playing is musical. Go for it with confidence!

Regards,
Thanks

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I also thought your playing was very good. Good luck!

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Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
I also thought your playing was very good. Good luck!
Thank you. Glad no major issues. Now just to make sure It's so engrained I don't get nervous and flub it.


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