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#1883593 - 04/21/12 11:11 AM Exams
LizAnne Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/06/12
Posts: 98
Can someone explain to me how it works? I'm in Canada, so Royal Conservatory of Music, but any feedback would be good.

I have RCM curriculum books dating back about a decade and no longer current, but most of the songs are the same. They're divided into List A, B and C. Do you have to learn ALL of the songs, then the examiner picks at random? Or can you learn, say, half from each list and have some say in the songs you play?

Does it cost oodles of $ to take an exam?

Do many of us oldies do exams? I'm thinking I'd like to, because learning is so important to me and that would be an interesting way to mark my progress - and a cool achievement once I get up there.
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#1883599 - 04/21/12 11:18 AM Re: Exams [Re: LizAnne]
albynism Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 321
I'm not familiar with the RCM in Canada. I'm in Australia so I went with the AMEB system.
Usually you only pick ONE from each list. ie. one from A, one from B, and one from C, and so on. So you only need to learn three pieces in total. If there are four lists, then you learn four pieces. But double check with RCM because it might be different over there.
It cost me around $90 for the exam fee, and the books cost me another $90. So I don't think it's that expensive.
I like exams because it is a good way to mark my progress. i couldn't care less about the paper certificate, it's more the experience that I'm after.

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#1883602 - 04/21/12 11:26 AM Re: Exams [Re: LizAnne]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2458
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Albynism is correct LizAnne, it's one piece from each list.

There are other reasons why exams are beneficial. They have a technical content (scales and arpeggios etc), a theoretical requirement (later on as a prerequisite), but mostly in that they require a wide range of repertoire from baroque to twentieth century music that ensures a good all-round ability on the keyboard.
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Richard

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#1883614 - 04/21/12 11:43 AM Re: Exams [Re: zrtf90]
LizAnne Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/06/12
Posts: 98
Three songs? I can do that! I just need to clean up two songs and learn something off List C. Grade 1 here I come.

I do need a private instructor though if I'm going to get into all that. Failing Grade 1 would be humiliating. blush
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#1883619 - 04/21/12 11:50 AM Re: Exams [Re: LizAnne]
albynism Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 321
Woohoo! Go for it!

Examiners are usually very lenient in grade 1. They really want you to pass and feel good about yourself so you don't get disheartened. But yes, do get a tutor, they can make sure you cover all the bases, ie, scales, arpeggios etc etc.


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#1883625 - 04/21/12 12:10 PM Re: Exams [Re: LizAnne]
keystring Offline
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Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11845
Loc: Canada
I did RCM on another instrument almost a decade ago. There is a "syllabus" that lists the exam requirements for each grade - say 1 piece from list A, 1 piece from list B for pieces. The book of pieces will have a lot more. The syllabus will even list works which are not in that book. A teacher will usually decide with you which of the pieces you worked on will be for the exam and that would get polished. When I did an exam, I had to name my teacher who was also registered with them (there's a teacher number and you get a student number). I don't know if that is obligatory. The RCM seems very approachable for questions though.

Besides the pieces there is also technique: scales, chords, studies which emphasize a technique such as maybe legato playing. There is a separate book for that, and again other studies are mentioned in the syllabus.

Ear training is in the syllabus (and exam) too. I think in grade 1 you might be asked to clap back a simple rhythm and play back or sing back a few notes.

Later there are separate Theory exams, and the RCM recommends a specific book which has three levels for that.

The two first parts: technique and pieces, work together. That is, the technique is used in the pieces. If you learned to play the scales in G, D, F, A minor etc. then you will have had pieces in those keys too.

RCM isn't exactly about the pieces, but the things you learn through the selected pieces. A good teacher would be stressing the things you need to learn, whether it's timing, touch for control in sound etc. Someone else explained that the exams are actually about checking things that can be measured, and a teacher might give you those measurable things plus other things. Meanwhile, when I talked to my first teacher, he said that in general the RCM gives a kind of framework of those things that a musician generally needs to learn. It's not an absolute framework but it does have milestones and some order to it.

Quote:
Do many of us oldies do exams?

I did my first exam in my late 40's. The kid ahead of me was 7 years old. I did some theory exams in my early 50's, and the kids moved up to being in early and late teens with a few adults, and then got older for the last theory exam. There was even some white hair among students. I had to stop everything when health and finances hit a few years ago, but I'd enjoy doing them again. Take them seriously but not too seriously. Examiners are human, and there is much more to playing than what the exams will involve.

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#1883692 - 04/21/12 01:53 PM Re: Exams [Re: keystring]
LizAnne Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/06/12
Posts: 98
Ah, thanks for the great info, keystring.

I'm doing group lessons now, but when it finishes I think I'll look for private - and tell the person I want to do exams.

I wonder if I can do every second exam - say, Grade 2, Grade 4... and progress without the exam in between.

Plenty of food for thought. Thanks guys!
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#1883741 - 04/21/12 03:05 PM Re: Exams [Re: LizAnne]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1382
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
LizAnne, the exams can be a motivator, but often I find that they do the opposite: they breed a sense of failure, and have done this for generations of Canadians. My advice for you is to get away from the Royal Conservatory, both physically and psychologically, as soon as you have finished your beginners class.

I speak as both a music educator and as a specialist in the adult learner. The Royal Conservatory has provided me with a nice career helping its keyboard dropouts!

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#1883780 - 04/21/12 04:07 PM Re: Exams [Re: LizAnne]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11845
Loc: Canada
Peter, I think there are a lot of sides to this, which should be explored.

Imho, the purpose of lessons is to learn to play music on the piano. That means skills, some knowledge - overall it is enjoyable though individual moments can be frustrating like anything involving skill is: whether learning a sport, to cook, or knitting. The skills and knowledge have to be transmitted from teacher to student, whether it is hidden in enjoyable pieces or overtly taught in a formal way.

The RCM gives that kind of structure and framework, so it is useful in that way (even without exams). I like that a teacher or student has more flexibility than with a method book. That said, some teachers don't use either. For an adult who is not among peers who are studying things, but in isolation, it CAN be fun to get graded and be "out there" again.

Imho (again) it should not be about working toward grades, toward pleasing examiners. The exams should be a secondary thing, almost a side issue. When I did my first technical exam (grade 1) I had finished grade 1 and my teacher asked in a matter of fact way "Would you like to do the exam?" like "Care for an ice cream?". We chose which pieces I would do, he said "Keep the shape." and we went on to other things. I.e. we went on to what I needed to learn, rather than what I needed to do to ace the exam. I passed "with distinction" despite that "neglect" - point being that grades were not the issue. My learning continued being the issue.

I read about teachers who are totally exam-focused. If you teach only the three pieces that will be in the exam, polish it, do everything that the examiner will like, then you are not teaching the student what the student needs. You are teaching toward obtaining high grades. There may also be a great deal of anxiety. Those students may be the fall-out students you get.

Another concern about RCM - Example: In violin at a certain grade they taught "2nd position". The repertoire then featured "2nd position" which was reinforced by the chosen fingering. Except that this fingering was not the best musical choice, so it was teaching poor musicianship. Similarly a while back a piano teacher had a student who had found excellent fingering for his hand, but it was not the official fingering in the RCM book. If the teaching/learning has to be toward what the RCM will want to see in the exam, and if it stops a teacher from supporting something that is better, then this is a problem. I don't know how much flexibility there is, or how much common sense the examiners are allowed to use.

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#1883857 - 04/21/12 06:42 PM Re: Exams [Re: LizAnne]
LizAnne Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/06/12
Posts: 98
Interesting perspectives. My number one goal will be to have fun, and number 2 to stay motivated, so I'll do whatever works for me to achieve both goals.

I wouldn't be happy playing JUST for the sake of three songs and a test. The stack of sheets I'm piling up proves that. smile But I also really do like education, learning, milestones. I went back to school for a Ph.D., because school is just something that has always worked for me. I think it would work for me for piano too.

Of course, if it's not working, I'll change directions and find something that does. Peter, maybe I'll be knocking on your door as another RCM dropout. smile Thanks for showing me the other side of things. I'll keep it in mind, for sure.
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#1883868 - 04/21/12 07:16 PM Re: Exams [Re: LizAnne]
albynism Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 321
Originally Posted By: LizAnne

I wonder if I can do every second exam - say, Grade 2, Grade 4... and progress without the exam in between.


Yes you can. I skipped 2nd grade when I was a child. Though it is harder to skip latter grades as they exponentially get more difficult. But it is still possible.

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#1883977 - 04/21/12 10:01 PM Re: Exams [Re: LizAnne]
Bluoh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/20/11
Posts: 421
Loc: Canada
I'm from Canada too. I send most of my students to the RCM exams (sometimes ABRSM).

Originally Posted By: LizAnne

I have RCM curriculum books dating back about a decade and no longer current, but most of the songs are the same. They're divided into List A, B and C. Do you have to learn ALL of the songs, then the examiner picks at random? Or can you learn, say, half from each list and have some say in the songs you play?

To pass, you must learn at least one piece from every section and perform every piece to the examiner. Because your books are divided into lists ABC(without D and E), I'm assuming that your book is below gr 8.
[EDIT # 2] I just noticed that your post about doing gr 1. So you'll have A, B, C, and studies. No D and E yet. smile

Depending on your grade, you may need to memorize your pieces.
ALSO, extremely important: to pass, you need to prepare two studies (études). These don't have to be memorized.

[EDIT] RCM has books for studies too.

I would recommend buying the lastest edition, if you want to go with the repertoire.

I usually choose pieces from the syllabus that aren't in the RCM books because those are usually dangerously overplayed.

The syllabus contains all the songs that you can choose from in every grade. Your repertoire book only contains an overplayed selection of pieces. Keep in mind, they change the syllabus every few years.

Originally Posted By: LizAnne

Does it cost oodles of $ to take an exam?

It depends on what exam you're taking. See the list of fees.

You may also need to take theory exams, in History, Harmony, Theory, Analysis, etc. Don't worry-- you can take them progressively; I'm just listing the exams available.

Keep in mind that the theory exams get harder every year, so better sooner than later.

Originally Posted By: LizAnne

Do many of us oldies do exams? I'm thinking I'd like to, because learning is so important to me and that would be an interesting way to mark my progress - and a cool achievement once I get up there.

Go for it! I don't know how old you are, but you're eligible at any age.

Check out the links in my signature for more help. And feel free to ask if you have any more questions!


Edited by Bluoh (04/22/12 09:56 PM)

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#1884026 - 04/22/12 12:30 AM Re: Exams [Re: albynism]
ZoeCalgary Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/11
Posts: 748
Loc: Calgary Alberta
LizAnne, I just did my first RCM exam today! Grade 4. Here are my thoughts. I started preparing in October, took 2 months 'off' to do Christmas (fun) pieces, got back to exam requirements in January. It took me about 5 months to feel ready. I did one piece from each of list A,B,C. Plus Two studies. I personally found I had to put a lot more work into the technical requirements than the repertoire pieces. It's like I had to catch up on all the scales, arpeggios, chords, ear training, sight reading, etc.

The exam went by fairly quick. About 15-20 minutes I think. The examiner was very friendly and helped me to relax (yes I needed relaxing!!). It cost $108 for this grade. There are no requirements for theory until grade 5. Would I do it again? Yes I really think so. Now that I know what it's like and what to expect. I believe you have to use new editions of the books though (but check with your teacher). No copies of music allowed. You don't have to memorize pieces at this grade but you get 2 bonus marks per piece that you do. (no bonus for studies being memorized though).

I started the exam process to use as a roadmap. The RCM syllabus provides that and on many useful areas. I am not so concerned about the grade (which I won't get for awhile) as I just wanted to go through the process and not have a big brain freeze. (thankfully I didn't). I did have little errors though that I thankfully recovered from! The examiner thanked me after each time I played! (super nice!) I think my playing improved tremendously in all areas of my playing. All those scales help in those classical pieces, the daily site reading has improved my sight reading immensely, I can go play other pieces with more ease, I learned many technical studies before settling on the ones for my exam, and I learned several pieces from the repertoire book. I always had fun piece on the side. I used the majority of my hour or so per day polishing and focusing for the last 2 months. My lesson time was focused on the exam. What I'm trying to show is that even with my limited time I wasn't just stuck with exam 'stuff'.

I will take a break for a few weeks and do other pieces I've been wanting to learn for awhile. But knowing me I will be right back into the exam thing once again quite soon.

I hope this has given you a firsthand look into this. Ask me anything and I'll try to answer.

P.s. I am in my forties and yes I was the oldest one there today. But I didn't feel intimidated at all. Everybody I saw was there for a reason and were focused on themselves. The examiner said she liked adult 'candidates' as we're called. I did about 5 years of organ lessons as a kid but never RCM exams. So yes you get to skip grades. I have done piano lessons for about 11 months.
_________________________
Preparing Grade 6 RCM.


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#1884196 - 04/22/12 10:00 AM Re: Exams [Re: LizAnne]
LizAnne Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/06/12
Posts: 98
It does sound like more work than it sounded like with "just three songs". That's actually reassuring.

I would rather have obscure songs, not the ones everyone plays in the book. Where do I find the current list? I like classical, but "unpopular" or obscure classical is what I prefer.

I'm going to have to wait a bit until I settle into a one-on-one teacher (in group classes now) and I figure out what level I'm at. I'm just getting back into it and advancing quite quickly, relearning what I've forgotten. I think doing Grade 1 would just be a waste of cash, though those are the songs I'm working on today. Maybe Grade 2 would be too, I don't know yet though. In a few months, I'll see where I'm at.

Zoe, congrats on your exam. I think I'll take your approach to the whole thing - do it for the experience, not the grade, and see how it goes. If I find it useful and enjoy it, I'll keep doing it.


Thank you for the first-hand perspective, Zoe, and thanks for the teacher's perspective, Bluoh!
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#1884205 - 04/22/12 10:16 AM Re: Exams [Re: LizAnne]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11845
Loc: Canada
The list is in the RCM syllabus. Usually teachers involved in RCM have it but I found it useful to have my own copy as a student. I don't know if it's $15, $20 or what, but since it covers all grades it lasts for a long time.

Quote:
I think doing Grade 1 would just be a waste of cash, though those are the songs I'm working on today.

Doing grade 1 helps you get used to the process so that later on when things get harder you know what to expect. Don't forget that what you do in the lowest grade (preliminary) is the set-up for everything else.

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#1884223 - 04/22/12 10:43 AM Re: Exams [Re: keystring]
PianoStudent88 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3197
Loc: Maine
Information about syllabuses here. Looks like you'll have to order the Piano syllabus as a paper copy, then incorporate the Errata which are available online at that link.
_________________________
Ebaug(maj7)

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#1884228 - 04/22/12 10:51 AM Re: Exams [Re: LizAnne]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1382
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
It sounds as if Zoe used the RCM exam system as a substitute for a piano teacher, and did her all her prep work on her own.

That's *very* impressive, and yes, it can be done this way, entirely without a teacher's involvement. Kids would probably not do such a thing, but for adults this can be a fine way to accomplish measured, incremental learning.

The different levels are fine benchmarks to compare oneself to, whether one wants to take the exams or not.

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#1884231 - 04/22/12 11:05 AM Re: Exams [Re: LizAnne]
ZoeCalgary Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/11
Posts: 748
Loc: Calgary Alberta
LizAnne you're welcome. Just a few more thoughts...

Go look at the current syllabus at your local music store or borrow your teachers copy when the time is right. It outlines all the requirements for each level and all the allowable pieces. But more importantly it shows the progression of difficulty and the focus of technical requirements even in the early grades. If I had thought oh there is 3 pieces and 2 studies I would have been in for the shock of my life.

Also, I think it's ok to skip some of the exams as long as you've got the skills from that level. I started prepping for grade 2 initially and then after a month or so she suggested I prep for grade 4 instead. It was a big leap but still within reach. My teacher is suggesting I skip grade 5 and work on grade 6. I'm not totally decided on this yet but if we do skip we will still work on materials and technique from grade 5. My goal s the learning not to zip through exam levels. But as I keep asking for more challenges and keep asking to learn more difficult pieces she thinks this will be a giod approach for me.

Oh yes there is also a popular selection list you are allowed to choose from.

Thanks for the good wishes. Good luck in your journey. I'm sure the path you choose will be the best for you.
_________________________
Preparing Grade 6 RCM.


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#1884241 - 04/22/12 11:21 AM Re: Exams [Re: Peter K. Mose]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11845
Loc: Canada
Peter, if I were to describe how I prepare, you might also get the impression that I am working without a teacher. The truth is that 75% of the work comes from the student, and that includes listening to our inner voice. (Something I was talked out of a few years ago, with devastating effect). I don't agree that doing it entirely on our own is a good idea. I would only agree that working with a poor teacher, including a domineering one for whom students are puppets on a string, or who puts ego i.e. how it all makes him look, to the forefront, is worse.

If we have never ever had lessons with anyone (decent, ofc) there are just things we won't see or know on our own. It is not just about getting the right notes in the right time and following our feeling, or imitating a good interpretation. I was self-taught when I was young. I was churning out the sonatinas in the book I was given and could put a fair bit of feeling into it. But at this time, with a teacher, we are untangling one trap after another which have stopped me from going where I want to go. It is much harder to untangle and replace than to have a good start in the first place.

And some of that untanglement comes from self-teaching using on-line advice too. At this time I'm redoing a "thumb under" technique that I learned in conscientious scale practice which began injuring my hand and stopped more advanced work. At the time I thought I was doing fine. In fact, there are nice, even sounding and even expressive recordings where in fact I was hurting myself to get there. Undoing this is NOT fun!

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#1884290 - 04/22/12 12:48 PM Re: Exams [Re: LizAnne]
PianoStudent88 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3197
Loc: Maine
For those who have taken exams, how did you prepare for the aural section? In particular, for the playback? My playing skills might be up for level 5, but my playback skills are probably at level 2.

I'm looking at The Achievement Program, which is the RCM's presence in the U.S.
_________________________
Ebaug(maj7)

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#1887158 - 04/26/12 08:46 PM Re: Exams [Re: PianoStudent88]
Bluoh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/20/11
Posts: 421
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
For those who have taken exams, how did you prepare for the aural section? In particular, for the playback? My playing skills might be up for level 5, but my playback skills are probably at level 2.

I'm looking at The Achievement Program, which is the RCM's presence in the U.S.


Practice with your teacher. Start out with small segments first.

To answer your question, I've always had really good ears, so I didn't really need supplement for aural skills myself.

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#1887938 - 04/28/12 10:21 AM Re: Exams [Re: LizAnne]
PianoStudent88 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3197
Loc: Maine
From the Achievement of the Week thread:
Originally Posted By: WiseBuff
Piano Student 88
I'm preparing for Level 5 as well. Where will you take it?  I think I can do Boulder.  Started this goal last year but some health issues got in the way so I'm starting over with prep.  Have you picked your pieces?  I've never done a piano exam and my teacher isn't familiar with them...they are relatively new I understand in U.S.  I'll cheer you on to fabulous scores.

To stay on topic in this thread...my achievement this week has been to dust off the four scales and get them up to Level 5 tempo


There are no testing centers in Maine, so I'm looking at New Hampshire or Massachusetts.

I've picked my classical piece: Beethoven Sonatina in F, first movement.  I'm playing this (both movements) for my teacher's recital tomorrow, so I just need to memorize it (she doesn't require memorization for the recital).  I think my Baroque piece will be Bach Little Prelude in C, BWV 939, as I've learned this already (played it for the Feb. ABF recital).  Need to memorize it and probably up the tempo.  I want to choose a lyrical piece from the Romantic/20thC/21stC list.  Then I need to choose my etudes.

The dominant and diminished seventh chords and the arpeggios are new to me.  My right wrist is susceptible to carpal tunnel from an old bout of it, and I have found RH two-octave arpeggios difficult because of this.  My teacher gave me some technique tips; hopefully they will help.

Good for you for getting the scales up to tempo.  I start to get unsynchronized between the hands at that speed.  I want to make some sort of practice chart to get me progressing through the requirements without neglecting any.

I'm in the same boat as you: first exam, and my teacher isn't familiar with these.
_________________________
Ebaug(maj7)

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#1887972 - 04/28/12 12:07 PM Re: Exams [Re: LizAnne]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11845
Loc: Canada
A quick note about aural sections and maybe extending this to theory. A while back a teacher described to me what typically happens, and I could relate to it in the past tense. You've got 30, 45, or 60 minutes of lessons and a lot to cover. Mostly (almost always) you'll be working on pieces, how to play, technique, scales etc. You never get to theory or ear training. Suddenly it's "oops - exam's coming up" and you cram for the ear training and maybe the theory. This isn't real learning. Someone can come out of it as a graduate, having passed everything and say "I passed the tests but I don't really have a handle on this."

There may not be time for it for this exam, but afterward it would be a good idea to get into ear training and such on a daily basis, as much a routine as playing. Get at it gradually, slowly, so you have a real handle on things. Then for the next exam you'll just build on it. That's what I've been thinking.

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#1888032 - 04/28/12 03:22 PM Re: Exams [Re: LizAnne]
PianoStudent88 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3197
Loc: Maine
Thank you, keystring. I have six months until the exam, and am starting ear-training right away.

May I ask you some questions about the sight-reading? Do they specify a certain speed to play it at? Do you get time to look it over? Can you try it out at the piano at all, or is it strictly hands off during any "look over" period?
_________________________
Ebaug(maj7)

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#1888052 - 04/28/12 04:28 PM Re: Exams [Re: Peter K. Mose]
ZoeCalgary Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/11
Posts: 748
Loc: Calgary Alberta
Originally Posted By: Peter K. Mose
It sounds as if Zoe used the RCM exam system as a substitute for a piano teacher, and did her all her prep work on her own.


Hi Peter, I do have a teacher who helped me prep for the exams. Sorry if I mislead anybody in thinking that I did this on my own. I started lessons last June and decided to do the exams on the summer break. I started working on the grade 4 materials in October I believe.

However, yes it provided a very good incremental learning roadmap.
_________________________
Preparing Grade 6 RCM.


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#1888056 - 04/28/12 04:44 PM Re: Exams [Re: LizAnne]
WiseBuff Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/03/05
Posts: 822
Loc: Brighton Colorado
Keystring et al
My teacher and I went through the syllabus requirements step by step this morning. We specifically began work on the aural part. Funny thing is that I have those in my head from singing in choirs for years but never have attached the names to them so now I need to hear a third and think "third". We're also working on sight reading. I sight read for her and she gives me tips on how to read it more efficiently. She's not done these specific exams before but has done graded competitions and can see the similarities in choosing the exam pieces. She chose ones that will demonstrate technique but not be out of my ability (under stress). I wonder if I can go watch an exam....
_________________________



Love to learn

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#1888057 - 04/28/12 04:45 PM Re: Exams [Re: PianoStudent88]
ZoeCalgary Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/11
Posts: 748
Loc: Calgary Alberta
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
Thank you, keystring. I have six months until the exam, and am starting ear-training right away.

May I ask you some questions about the sight-reading? Do they specify a certain speed to play it at? Do you get time to look it over? Can you try it out at the piano at all, or is it strictly hands off during any "look over" period?


Hi PianoStudent88 - For my exam I did get time to look the music over. I don't really know how long. Maybe a minute or two. I didn't touch the piano as I assumed you're not allowed as she said take some time to 'look it over'.

My teacher said what they look for is consistent timing through the whole line of music and for accuracy in notes, dynamics, and pedal. So it's better to go slow and keep a consistent rhythm and accuracy. Also, if you mess up a note I was told don't stop/re-start/etc. Just keep going! (I didn't have any dynamic markings, or pedal markings on the music I did).

What you need to look out for is a timing switch that can trip you up in either hand (eg., going from quarter notes to eighth notes), or a spot where you need to move your hand to a new position.
_________________________
Preparing Grade 6 RCM.


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#1888062 - 04/28/12 05:02 PM Re: Exams [Re: LizAnne]
ZoeCalgary Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/11
Posts: 748
Loc: Calgary Alberta
For those considering the exams and are interested in the Aural Part. Here is the name of the book I had picked up that is published from Frederick Harris Music.

It is called Comprehensive Ear Training, Professional Series. It comes with 2 CD's of exercises and a 44 page book. It was $32. I believe you can also get only the book which has only the exercises in it that you or your teacher can play (no CD's). I believe the book only is about $15.

It has 56 Sessions in the book. Each session has 2 rhythm clapback exercises. Six interval identifications, and 3 Melody playback exercises. It is pretty good except I wish the CD would play the interval and then pause, and then identify it. As it doesn't identify it on the CD you have to have the book handy to check if you got it right. Still it is well done.

My teacher had printed me a sheet of the intervals which I did on my own in the keys I needed to know. It is something we started doing at every lesson. I hated it because in the beginning I couldn't get any of them! But then in the last few weeks I started to get more and more right! So it is clearly something you need to practice.

Also, for the melody playback my teacher gave me some exercises that she said I should play through every day. So you play the chord, then the melody. She told me to play the chord, play the melody. Then, close my eyes and play the melody by memory. This seemed silly as I had just played it. But I have to say it really worked. But again, it is something you have to do every day.
_________________________
Preparing Grade 6 RCM.


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#1888063 - 04/28/12 05:08 PM Re: Exams [Re: WiseBuff]
ZoeCalgary Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/11
Posts: 748
Loc: Calgary Alberta
Originally Posted By: WiseBuff
I wonder if I can go watch an exam....


Hi WiseBuff - I know for the RCM exam there was a point in the hallway that no parents or teachers were allowed. So I'm pretty sure you won't be able to go in and watch one.

However, I had seen a video of an exam and I'll have to try to remember where/how I had seen it and send you the link.
_________________________
Preparing Grade 6 RCM.


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#1888072 - 04/28/12 05:41 PM Re: Exams [Re: ZoeCalgary]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11845
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: ZoeCalgary

Hi WiseBuff - I know for the RCM exam there was a point in the hallway that no parents or teachers were allowed. So I'm pretty sure you won't be able to go in and watch one.

A funny story and totally off topic. When my son did his first exam, I saw the him, the accompanist, and his teacher down the hall. His teacher was holding the violin up the ceiling and they were all staring at it raptly. I wondered if it was some special ritual, like an incantation for good luck. Nope. A spider had crawled in and they were trying to get it to come out. grin The world "hallway" triggered the memory.

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