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#1247791 - 08/12/09 08:54 AM 5yr old - Push on and skip grades, or work through slowly?
DadAgain Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/09/09
Posts: 365
Loc: Brisbane, QLD
-----> 1st POST!!!! (Be gentle )<--------- (ok 2nd its a re-post 'cos I put it in wrong sub-forum)

Our 5 yr old daughter has been doing group music lessons for ages here in Brisbane, Australia. They've been primarily toddler participation stuff with lots of singing and dancing and a little bit of gently easing them toward the piano. However before Easter we noticed that she was WAAAY quicker than the rest of the class at picking up the piano stuff and seemed to be being held back.

Her teacher suggested taking an exam - and despite others in her class taking "Australian Foundation for Music Education BRONZE" level she took "SILVER" and aced it.
We've since decided to let her have a go at private 1-on-1 lessons and she's raced ahead in ability and after just 4 weeks has blitzed the "GOLD" pieces (that were expected to take her 3-6 months to master).

This was after 3 days practicing this piece: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayCUd9S09-c

Teacher is blown away and using all kinds of hyperbole to describe Nicola and is now suggesting skipping AMEB "Preliminary" level and jumping straight to Grade 1 before christmas, with a view to perhaps skipping alternate grades and 'fast-tracking'.

When I was a kid I did ABRSM exmas in the UK (Gr1 when I 11ish, Gr8 by the time I was 18)- and I'm sure Grade 1 was easier than AMEB Grade 1 looks like!

Any thoughts here? Is skipping grades a good idea (Nicola certainly likes practicing and picks thing up very quickly) will it be good to keep her interested and challenged and not bored - or is there value in slowly working up through the grades not intimidating her with stuff that she might shut-down and declare 'too hard' - particularly at this early stage?

Ultimately I dont want to push her - but she loves it so much (we struggle to get her off the piano) it seems shame not to let her explore her talents fully....
Orchestral Viola player (stictly amateur)....
Hack Pianist.... (faded skills from glory days 20 yrs ago)
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#1247818 - 08/12/09 09:27 AM Re: 5yr old - Push on and skip grades, or work through slowly? [Re: DadAgain]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
As long as she completes the 'preliminary' level pieces/technique first otherwise you could miss vital stuff.
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.

#1248008 - 08/12/09 03:53 PM Re: 5yr old - Push on and skip grades, or work through slowly? [Re: keyboardklutz]
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4534
I'm always wary of students skipping
grades, and things like advanced
placement courses, fast track curriculums, prep schools, etc. This is a sure way
to burn a kid out or otherwise produce
a maladjusted individual, in my

I would stick with the standard
sequence unless there is a demonstrated
reason to alter it.

#1248032 - 08/12/09 04:34 PM Re: 5yr old - Push on and skip grades, or work through slowly? [Re: Gyro]
Ebony and Ivory Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/05
Posts: 1179
Loc: Minnesota
I can't say about the exams, sorry.

As far as skipping, I am always leery especially in the beginning because there is so much coming so fast at that stage and it would be very easy to miss something.

If I were the teacher I would want long lessons (maybe an hour) for awhile, to go through the books with her and then decide what to assign to practice. If that's too long because she's so young, another option would be to step up the frequency of the lesson for a bit.

I teach a young man 45 min 2x a week right now for that very reason.
He is making remarkable progress. I expect we will drop to one lesson a week for school, but for the summer it has made all the difference.

It can be frustrating if she is feeling like it's too easy, but it's more frustrating later to find that important things have been missed.

I have seen it with my own kids, if I knew then what I know now, I would have never let them skip stuff in school.
It is better to be kind than to be right.

Professional private piano teacher since 1994.

#1248076 - 08/12/09 05:38 PM Re: 5yr old - Push on and skip grades, or work through slowly? [Re: Ebony and Ivory]
J Cortese Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/20/09
Posts: 357
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
I wouldn't skip, but definitely do not hold her back if she's bright and force her to go slow. I speak from experience, boredom is a BRUTAL enthusiasm-killer if you are forced to plod when you want to race as fast as possible. Just dump the information at her as fast as she appears to be able to digest it.
If there is a banner ad in this post, please be advised that the owners of the company traffic in illegal drugs and have been caught in compromising positions with farm animals.

#1248260 - 08/13/09 05:04 AM Re: 5yr old - Push on and skip grades, or work through slowly? [Re: J Cortese]
ToriAnais Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/24/08
Posts: 244
Loc: Australia
Oh jesus, are you taking her for lessons at forte? I tell you for sure they are not the most experienced people. They are students, getting paid $7:50 per lesson, who don't know much about piano pedegogy and many don't even have a solid training in piano themselves. At best they are conservatorium students using the constant flow of students as guinea pigs to learn how to teach. Since she seems like a very clever girl, I would be looking at finding a much more qualified and experienced teacher asap. Skipping Preliminary is a ridiculous idea. Particularly with a 5 year old. She is not ready for grade 1 yet.
Piano teacher since August 2008.

#1248261 - 08/13/09 05:20 AM Re: 5yr old - Push on and skip grades, or work through slowly? [Re: DadAgain]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
Skipping a little is ok, but skipping any theory is bad. You need a really good teacher to be perceptive enough to understand how fast the child should go.

If you child is talented, then it just means you will need a talented teacher to match or the teacher will go too fast or the child would get bored, etc. It is a mix blessing for sure. As long as the teacher is good, the child will be fine. Some children are just born extremely well coordinated while others need lots of training. I've got one of each at home.

The video is cute. Yes, she's well coordinated just like my daughter, in which case bad news for you. Your daughter will likely out grow that digital piano in a year. If you had an average child, your digital piano is fine, but in your case, I suspect you would need a real piano very soon.


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