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#1993759 - 12/02/12 04:36 PM Grade 3 piano
adultpianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/12
Posts: 540
I have just taken my Grade 3 piano and think I have miserably failed. I took Grades 1 and 2 in the Summer but this time I was not ready so I deferred until the Winter. The music school where I go asked me if I would like to take the exam at the school to which I said yes because it is a nice place with nice pianos and you can go early to practice. Unfortunately, I was not able to do the exam at the school because there were not enough candidates so they had to postpone doing exams at the school and had to send students to the only other local place which is a rather dreary dull church hall with concrete floors and the room echoes and the instrument is an old upright piano which has very stiff keys which you really have to bang hard to make a sound. I said ok I will go to the church if that is the only place available. I went along and bearing in mind the weather is very cold (I am in the UK)which did not help. The waiting room was freezing with no heat and I sat there with my sheepskin coat on the whole time. When they called me in to the exam room, they had a little electric fire so at least they were trying to make it warm. Because I was so cold I wasn't able to play properly and did badly. I had a mock a few days before and did very well. I then made a complaint to the examining body on their web site about the conditions of the exam which they invite you to do if you are not happy or have any issues. I am capable of playing the things required for the exam so I do not know what happened. I can take it again if I have failed

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#1993762 - 12/02/12 04:42 PM Re: Grade 3 piano [Re: adultpianist]
Oongawa Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/14/12
Posts: 251
Oh, that is a terrible shame. I haven't done any of the piano graded programs but I can certainly understand what an awful feeling it is to work hard for something and then not do well due to some situation beyond your control.

Keep you chin up; the judges were cold, too! They may be more understanding than you'd expect.
_________________________
Oongawa
Presently working on:
Schubert - Ave Maria
Beethoven - Minuet in G
Bach - Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring
'69 Mason & Hamlin Model A

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#1993779 - 12/02/12 05:24 PM Re: Grade 3 piano [Re: adultpianist]
UK Paul UK Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/22/11
Posts: 396
Loc: Berkshire, England
My advice would be to not beat yourself up over it. I too am from the uk, i have covered the grade 2 syllabus very quickly and my teacher has suggested not bothering waiting for the next grading, just skip it and work through three and four before taking a grading.... skipping is perfectly reasonable if the pianist shows the satisfactory level of skills....same as if you are happy with your progress and level then you should feel proud and happy to progress even of you had a nightmare grading.... it doesnt excuse the poor enviroment and nightmare piano you used however i wouldnt focus on your results on one day.... more your progress overall. Only grade 6 practical and 5 theory are needed for higher grades anyways .... id definately discuss it with your teacher fella, seems your pretty disapointed with the grading.
_________________________
http://www.youtube.com/user/PaulGPiano

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#1993854 - 12/02/12 08:20 PM Re: Grade 3 piano [Re: UK Paul UK]
adultpianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/12
Posts: 540
Originally Posted By: UK Paul UK
My advice would be to not beat yourself up over it. I too am from the uk, i have covered the grade 2 syllabus very quickly and my teacher has suggested not bothering waiting for the next grading, just skip it and work through three and four before taking a grading.... skipping is perfectly reasonable if the pianist shows the satisfactory level of skills....same as if you are happy with your progress and level then you should feel proud and happy to progress even of you had a nightmare grading.... it doesnt excuse the poor enviroment and nightmare piano you used however i wouldnt focus on your results on one day.... more your progress overall. Only grade 6 practical and 5 theory are needed for higher grades anyways .... id definately discuss it with your teacher fella, seems your pretty disapointed with the grading.


Well yes I am pretty upset about it. It is all very well to say not to beat yourself up over it, but I really want to pass these exams. They mean a great deal to me beause it means I have something to show for my lessons. Anyway I will find out in a few weeks and then do it again somewhere else. I did put in a complaint to the examining body on their web site about the venue as they allow you to do if you have an issue. I will be interested to see what they say.


Edited by adultpianist (12/02/12 08:41 PM)

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#1993864 - 12/02/12 08:47 PM Re: Grade 3 piano [Re: adultpianist]
DinaP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/31/12
Posts: 152
Will something terrible happen if you failed this exam?? Can you play less well today than the day before the exam??


Why did you decide to study piano?? Was it to pass exams -- or because something in your soul did not feel fulfilled without music in your life??

I suspect the latter -- so get back in touch with the original reasons you play.

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#1993869 - 12/02/12 09:04 PM Re: Grade 3 piano [Re: adultpianist]
Whizbang Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 759
adultpianist,

I'm speaking as a long term pianist who started study as a child, but who would be categorized on the deficient side of the piano talent spectrum. I, too, will never be a concert pianist or a piano professional. My teachers never said to me, "Have you ever thought about a career in music?"

I never had a ear, never had accurate reflexes, never had a knack for memory. And the only reason I can sight read now is that when you don't have an ear or memory but have a whole lot of stubbornness, you eventually learn how to do it, perforce.

But stubbornness isn't the right word. I play the piano because I can't not play the piano.

Having spent a lot of time with varying attention to the piano over the years, I find that now sometimes I -can- play a piece of music that people really enjoy or, every great once in a while, perform a piece so well that even I truly enjoy it. And people will say to me, "I took lessons as a kid, but quit. I wish I hadn't."

This is all to say, "It Gets Better." I'm not necessarily saying, "It Gets Easy." But I can guarantee you that Mindful Study + Time + Stubbornness == Improvement.

In regards to the piano program, it sounds like you were having to perform under very stressful conditions, and that sounds pretty terrible. But let me give you a different way to think about the exam.

If you were a kid with a potential interest in a musical career, I would see getting through the graded curriculum to be a important aspect of getting accepted into some music program somewhere.

Extrapolating from your name by assuming you are an adult, what I see the chief benefit of an exam is quite simply "motivation". You get a set of pieces, a set of tasks to learn, and a deadline. You're wagering a little money to sweeten the pot. If you pass, great. If you don't pass--well, you've probably worked your ass off more than you would have if you didn't if you didn't have the test.

All those hours spent practicing go in the practice bank. You've been building brain connections and reflexes and musical knowledge.

You are a better musician than you would be BECAUSE you set yourself an ambitious goal and BECAUSE it made you practice. And, so you weren't quite up to the challenge and obstacles this time, but there's always next time. Just use the challenge as a motivator to keep studying and playing and have fun at the piano.

I promise you. You WILL improve. It's just mindful practice + time + stubbornness.

Don't let your brain put itself on some sort of arbitrary timetable.

Play the piano because you can't not.

It Gets Better.
_________________________
Whizbang
amateur ragtime pianist

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#1993872 - 12/02/12 09:06 PM Re: Grade 3 piano [Re: DinaP]
adultpianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/12
Posts: 540
Originally Posted By: DinaP
Will something terrible happen if you failed this exam?? Can you play less well today than the day before the exam??


Why did you decide to study piano?? Was it to pass exams -- or because something in your soul did not feel fulfilled without music in your life??

I suspect the latter -- so get back in touch with the original reasons you play.



If I fail this exam I will take it again. I have put enough hard work into it so why not have another go at it. I just love music. I love the sound of a piano and could play by ear, but wanted to learn properly. We never had a piano when I was growing up. My parents did not play the piano and I was never taken to lessons because we could not afford it and could not afford a piano for me to practice on. When I became an adult i decided to buy my own piano and take lessons. I always used to love sitting at a piano when I was a child and picking out tunes, but picking out tunes is one thing, and playing properly is another and I wanted to play properly from a score learning about dynamics etc. It never occured to me to do it until I was in my early 40s (not sure why) because I have been working and suppoting myself since I was in my 20s so could have done it then. Anyway, I decided that it was now or never and if I started in my 40s, it would give me 40 years of pleasure playing properly on the piano (assuming I live to be 80) and with 40 years experiece, I could reach a reasonable standard. I used to go to a lot of concerts and watch a lot of concert pianists who made it look so easy and I figured if they can do it then so can I. Little did I know just how hard it would be and just how much work is involved. Some people find it easier than others. The wonderful French pianist Helene Grimaud found it easy and sailed through her lessons and was performing professionally at the age of 15. She obviously started very young, but even so my point is, whatever age you start, you either find it easy or hard.


Edited by adultpianist (12/02/12 09:21 PM)

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#1993882 - 12/02/12 09:39 PM Re: Grade 3 piano [Re: adultpianist]
Sand Tiger Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 1039
Loc: Southern California
Adultpianist, good luck on your journey. If exams are something you want to do, go for it. Don't let someone else, especially strangers on an Internet forum, discourage you from your chosen path.

It sounds like a warmer time or year will be helpful, though summer heat can be almost as difficult for some folks as cool conditions.

It sounds like you have the determination needed to reach your goals. That said concert level pianist is a lofty goal that maybe 1 in 100,000 piano students reach. I know that level isn't your true aim, but you did mention going to concerts and wanted to emulate the master musicians.

Again, good luck. I'm guessing in time you'll be proudly posting about passing your exam, and then another, and then another.
_________________________
my piano uploads

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#1993894 - 12/02/12 09:58 PM Re: Grade 3 piano [Re: Whizbang]
adultpianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/12
Posts: 540
Originally Posted By: Whizbang
adultpianist,

I'm speaking as a long term pianist who started study as a child, but who would be categorized on the deficient side of the piano talent spectrum. I, too, will never be a concert pianist or a piano professional. My teachers never said to me, "Have you ever thought about a career in music?"

I never had a ear, never had accurate reflexes, never had a knack for memory. And the only reason I can sight read now is that when you don't have an ear or memory but have a whole lot of stubbornness, you eventually learn how to do it, perforce.

But stubbornness isn't the right word. I play the piano because I can't not play the piano.

Having spent a lot of time with varying attention to the piano over the years, I find that now sometimes I -can- play a piece of music that people really enjoy or, every great once in a while, perform a piece so well that even I truly enjoy it. And people will say to me, "I took lessons as a kid, but quit. I wish I hadn't."

This is all to say, "It Gets Better." I'm not necessarily saying, "It Gets Easy." But I can guarantee you that Mindful Study + Time + Stubbornness == Improvement.

In regards to the piano program, it sounds like you were having to perform under very stressful conditions, and that sounds pretty terrible. But let me give you a different way to think about the exam.

If you were a kid with a potential interest in a musical career, I would see getting through the graded curriculum to be a important aspect of getting accepted into some music program somewhere.

Extrapolating from your name by assuming you are an adult, what I see the chief benefit of an exam is quite simply "motivation". You get a set of pieces, a set of tasks to learn, and a deadline. You're wagering a little money to sweeten the pot. If you pass, great. If you don't pass--well, you've probably worked your ass off more than you would have if you didn't if you didn't have the test.

All those hours spent practicing go in the practice bank. You've been building brain connections and reflexes and musical knowledge.

You are a better musician than you would be BECAUSE you set yourself an ambitious goal and BECAUSE it made you practice. And, so you weren't quite up to the challenge and obstacles this time, but there's always next time. Just use the challenge as a motivator to keep studying and playing and have fun at the piano.

I promise you. You WILL improve. It's just mindful practice + time + stubbornness.

Don't let your brain put itself on some sort of arbitrary timetable.

Play the piano because you can't not.

It Gets Better.


Wise words. But for some people it takes longer to grasp something than others. I always feel sorry for kids who are taken to music lessons who are forced to do it because their parents feel it would be good for them to learn. My theory is, if the child is unhappy or wont practice then it is time to say ok stop. It is a differet matter if the child likes it but finds it hard but is willing to put in the hard graft.

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#1993897 - 12/02/12 10:05 PM Re: Grade 3 piano [Re: adultpianist]
UK Paul UK Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/22/11
Posts: 396
Loc: Berkshire, England
Why spend another three months till the march grading going over the same material you state you can do now? You dont need to pass grade three to be entered for grade 4. All you'll get is a certficate. You wont play better because you pass a grade. If anything you'll progress more by using this as a learning experience and just pushing on with new material, new challenges and new focus. If you are honest to yourself can you really be happy with the dynamocs in your three erformance pieces? Was your sight reading up to standard? If you arent consistently performing at the level your grading is based on, by all means repeat the grading but just scraping through a grading on "a good day" wont make the journey any easier.


Whatever you choose, enjoy the journey.

My first teacher ten years ago had a very heavy action bechstein, i always struggled with it and when i did the grade one back then i played in a pretty similar situation to you.... cold church, bad acoustics and never played on the piano before.... ended up getting a destinction and thought i'd played awful. Wait for your results, hopefully you have done better than you think.
_________________________
http://www.youtube.com/user/PaulGPiano

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#1993899 - 12/02/12 10:08 PM Re: Grade 3 piano [Re: adultpianist]
UK Paul UK Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/22/11
Posts: 396
Loc: Berkshire, England
Apologies for spelling errors, typing on phone whilst enduring a stinking cold.... not helped by it being 3.07 am and being kept awake by the christmas decoration lights my missis has left on "because it looks snuggly...."
_________________________
http://www.youtube.com/user/PaulGPiano

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#1993900 - 12/02/12 10:14 PM Re: Grade 3 piano [Re: adultpianist]
DinaP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/31/12
Posts: 152
My friend who has been a professional musician and teacher has pounded into my head that: "It's about the journey." I've learned to be very pleased with each small step conquered -- whether it be a phrase in my 2 page classical piece or a scale played slowly but correctly in parallel motion. This change in my mindset has made me a happier piano student.

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#1993956 - 12/03/12 02:05 AM Re: Grade 3 piano [Re: adultpianist]
aTallGuyNH Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/22/12
Posts: 508
Originally Posted By: adultpianist
Wise words. But for some people it takes longer to grasp something than others. I always feel sorry for kids who are taken to music lessons who are forced to do it because their parents feel it would be good for them to learn. My theory is, if the child is unhappy or wont practice then it is time to say ok stop. It is a differet matter if the child likes it but finds it hard but is willing to put in the hard graft.

Your words are wise as well re: parents forcing their kids...

I am one of those parents who let their kid stop, or rather, forced her to stop. She has the talent and wanted the lessons, but virtually refused to put in the time during the week. After 18 months of miserable arguing and nagging to get her to half-heartedly rush through her pieces and exercises, we finally pulled the plug. It was a hard decision as a parent.
_________________________
"...when you do practice properly, it seems to take no time at all. Just do it right five times or so, and then stop." -- JimF

Working on: my aversion to practicing in front of my wife

1978 Vose & Sons spinet "Rufus"
1914 Huntington upright "Mabel"

XXIX-XXXII

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#1994338 - 12/03/12 08:37 PM Re: Grade 3 piano [Re: aTallGuyNH]
adultpianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/12
Posts: 540
Originally Posted By: aTallGuyNH
Originally Posted By: adultpianist
Wise words. But for some people it takes longer to grasp something than others. I always feel sorry for kids who are taken to music lessons who are forced to do it because their parents feel it would be good for them to learn. My theory is, if the child is unhappy or wont practice then it is time to say ok stop. It is a differet matter if the child likes it but finds it hard but is willing to put in the hard graft.

Your words are wise as well re: parents forcing their kids...

I am one of those parents who let their kid stop, or rather, forced her to stop. She has the talent and wanted the lessons, but virtually refused to put in the time during the week. After 18 months of miserable arguing and nagging to get her to half-heartedly rush through her pieces and exercises, we finally pulled the plug. It was a hard decision as a parent.


Maybe she will go back to it later in life.

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#1994800 - 12/04/12 11:12 PM Re: Grade 3 piano [Re: adultpianist]
aTallGuyNH Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/22/12
Posts: 508
Originally Posted By: adultpianist
Maybe she will go back to it later in life.
Or maybe sooner?

A very funny thing happened... just an hour before you posted this, out of the blue she asked me to fish out her composition book (that her piano teacher used to list what she was supposed to work on each week, give feedback for us as parents, and diagram out scales and such) from the bench.

"OK. I'm curious though... what for?"

"I'm going to make it into my piano diary"

I have nooooo idea where this came from. She only plays once every few weeks or so, and she didn't even play after asking for this.

But, she started a new page with "Piano Diary" at the top and started writing something or another in it.

I'm not quite sure what to make of this!
_________________________
"...when you do practice properly, it seems to take no time at all. Just do it right five times or so, and then stop." -- JimF

Working on: my aversion to practicing in front of my wife

1978 Vose & Sons spinet "Rufus"
1914 Huntington upright "Mabel"

XXIX-XXXII

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#1994829 - 12/05/12 01:23 AM Re: Grade 3 piano [Re: adultpianist]
Whizbang Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 759
Well, speaking as a long term pianist who was not a stellar child (and not a stellar adult but trying to become one).

When I was a kid,

* I had a few teachers (moved a lot)
* I had no basis for understanding whether the teachers were working for me
* If it wasn't really working for me, I probably wouldn't have been able to articulate why
* I wasn't necessarily being told how to practice in a way that would result in improvement--or I wasn't listening
* I wasn't necessarily really enjoying the classical repertoire, but didn't know to ask for something different and didn't know it existed
* I wasn't badgered to practice by my parents. They diligently paid for lessons (not that I was aware of the sacrifice) but from my standpoint, going into a lesson after a week of not touching the piano was humiliating

Because I wasn't necessarily forced to practice, I ended up dabbling through childhood and teen and early adult years. It wasn't good, mind you, but at least I kept with the instrument. And as a young adult, I finally got my own piano (but made the critical mistake of not getting a teacher). But I still dabbled and a few decades later have gotten much more serious about it and am starting to see some improvement.

Anyway, it might not be -just- her. Would be a shame for her to be one of those folks who says, in adulthood, "I used to take lessons as a kid and wish I hadn't stopped."
_________________________
Whizbang
amateur ragtime pianist

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#1995009 - 12/05/12 11:54 AM Re: Grade 3 piano [Re: adultpianist]
albynism Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 321
I'm sorry to hear this happened to you. Similar thing happened to me at a student recital, you are not the only one. I practiced so much and was completely confident but only to fail miserably because I was not used to the piano on the stage. At the end of the day, I just brushed the bad experience aside and move on. If anything, it made me even stronger and determined. Someone said, if you want to increase your rate of success, double your rate of failure.

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