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#1997619 - 12/10/12 10:21 PM grades
adultpianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/12
Posts: 540
I recently took my Grade 3 and am awaiting the results. However, if I have not passed I will retake it simply because I have put the work in and it would be a shame not to sit the exam and pass.

However, whilst I wait for the results, I am just playing some pieces for fun. I am really enjoying just playing for fun instead of playing and memorising scales etc for an exam. I wonder whether it might be a good idea to have some time out from taking exams and just continue playing for fun with no time constraints and deadlines to adhere to. I work full time and to do grade exams on top of a demanding job can be stressful. Life is short and should be enjoyed. I love the piano and cannot ever envisage giving it up, but its how you go about it which is the factor. Do I want to spend the next 5 years solidly going for grades, or do I come to a point where enough is enough and just play for fun with no deadlines with my teacher and learning in a more relaxed way?

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#1997687 - 12/11/12 01:15 AM Re: grades [Re: adultpianist]
Bluoh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/20/11
Posts: 421
Loc: Canada
You should play "for fun", too. You can actually do both at the same time. Piano should be "fun", shouldn't it?

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#1997699 - 12/11/12 02:07 AM Re: grades [Re: adultpianist]
Peter K. Mose Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1317
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
IMO, people in the British Commonwealth countries are obsessed with the exam system as it relates to piano study. Why, I have no idea, except that it is tradition.

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#1997702 - 12/11/12 02:22 AM Re: grades [Re: adultpianist]
Ganddalf Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 607
Loc: Norway
I have never cared about grades, but just picked music I like. Maybe not the most efficient way, but after all I play for fun and not for a living.

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#1997703 - 12/11/12 02:25 AM Re: grades [Re: adultpianist]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
I adore and support what the exam systems promote - that is, a properly structured method for progress - but don't believe that they're necessary in most cases or should by any means be forced to be adhered to when there's any hesitation with the idea.

You can take whatever path you wish with your piano studies; if you enjoy the structure that you're currently being provided and have few doubts (a few are always okay, but try not to worry about them) about progress you've made, I say stick with it.

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#1997748 - 12/11/12 06:57 AM Re: grades [Re: adultpianist]
adultpianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/12
Posts: 540
I really like the way the grades give you solid grounding in piano playing and I believe if you are going to play an instrument you should play properly or not at all. Its just that grades are very time consuming and unless you are a natural pianist with long fingers who finds it easy, you are going to have to work very hard. I for instance cannot comfortably reach an octave as my fingers are short but with a lot of practice and effort and stretching the hand, it can more or less be done. I am not at the stage yet where I can play with speed without making mistakes. I do however get carried away and sometimes play my scales very quickly just to prove that I can do it,but these concert pianist who wizz up and down the keys have been doing it for years and years. I have been only learning for four years. You know, when I think how far I have got from when I first started I give myself a pat on the back, but I want to be so much better and am impatient. Some of these natural pianists pick it up very quickly. There is a young boy at the music school where I go who took grades 1 to 4 and got distinctions every time. When he was given his pieces for the exam to learn, he did them in a couple of months to perfection whereas it would take me three times as long. I get there in the end but it does not come naturally to me, and there are some people who cannot even reach my level and have to be turned away by the teacher who says...I really do not think this is for you. If you really cannot grasp even the simple fundamentals then it is a waste of yours and your teachers time. At my school they give you the first lesson free to try you out just to see if you are worth teaching and to see if you as the pupil likes the piano enough to want to have lessons. My friends daughter took a few lessons, did not like it and left, and although she continued music and liked music, she did not like the piano and has switched to the clarinet and has passed grade 4. I on the other hand have always liked the piano and have never had any desire to try any other instrument.

If you look at the clip here of Helene Grimauld and how her fingers fly along at speed,this is what I meant. I want to eventually play like this but Helene has long fingers and was always a natural pianist and has been playing since early childhood.

[video:youtube]http://youtu.be/pMd1MaZAh5c[/video]



Edited by adultpianist (12/11/12 07:32 AM)

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#1997790 - 12/11/12 09:11 AM Re: grades [Re: adultpianist]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2310
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
If you worked towards Grade 3 and you bothered to sit the exam, then presumably you felt yourself fit for it. The benefit of the exam was not the sitting, nor the passing but the aiming. By all means support the Board financially if you like but aiming at the next level is a more worthwhile continuation. Does not your teacher agree?

The grades would give a more solid grounding if they relied more on learning a dozen pieces per grade instead of three or four.

The necessity of having to play properly stultifies the kind of creativity that develops players like Jerry Lee Lewis, glissandos, and, borrowing an example from another instrument, bottleneck guitar.

Anyone who learns to speak in a couple of years and can distinguish real words from the goo-goo gah-gahs thrown at them in their infancy has all it takes to succeed with music. It should be as compulsory as maths, drawing, reading and writing. Turning away on the strength of one lesson is a failing as a teacher.

Yes, some people have exceptional gifts. Hélène Grimaud is one of them. But piano playing has little to do with hand shape, size, or finger length. Piano playing is about the brain not the fingers.

My piano playing bears as much resemblance to Ms Grimaud's as my driving does to Schumacher's or Alonso's but it is still music, is still enjoyable and still worthwhile (he says, flattering himself). How lucky we are to be able to listen to Barenboim and Grimaud doing justice to mighty works while we deliver with bagatelles of no lesser beauty and pleasure if not matching in scale.

Speed is only one small aspect of music. Time beats differently for all of us. Beauty is what matters.

Compare these two performances of Scarlatti's Kp. 95:



_________________________
Richard

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#1997792 - 12/11/12 09:17 AM Re: grades [Re: zrtf90]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3156
Loc: Maine
Originally Posted By: zrtf90
The grades would give a more solid grounding if they relied more on learning a dozen pieces per grade instead of three or four.

That's a failing of how teaching is structured, IMHO, not of the grades themselves. There's nothing to keep a teacher and student from working through many pieces at a given grade level rather than just the planned three audition pieces, and then taking the exam as confirmation of a broad swath of material learned (even if only tested on a narrow sliver). It may lead to slower progression through the grades but it is the approach I would prefer to take as a student.
_________________________
Ebaug(maj7)

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#1997999 - 12/11/12 05:26 PM Re: grades [Re: adultpianist]
itsahobbie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/27/12
Posts: 24
you should do both time permitting. maybe take a break and play some pieces you love for fun. i started as an adult 12 or more years ago and never took an exam but now im getting interested in that. im actually starting to work on grade 5 but honestly i dont know if i can play the technique/ etudes and pieces up to speed but like somebody else said its the jorney not the result. and plus the effort and structure i know will help me achieve the result i want-- muscicality, not anything more. we play for fun and maybe occasionally to show off a little too if we can

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#1998060 - 12/11/12 09:04 PM Re: grades [Re: adultpianist]
Michael_99 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/12
Posts: 935
Loc: Canada Alberta
People often think that a law degree is a licence to print money, but the reality is, it is the lawyers that bring in clients that make the money. In other words it is what you do with your education that matters. The other thing that is funny is that people that go to art shool end up making movies and carpenters become famous chefs. There is no right or wrong but what you get out of the journey that counts. I discovered that I love learning music measure by measure, figuring out the rhythm, counting and playing the pieces I know and try to play them the best that can everytime I play them. Total joy. I don't care if I ever played for someone else or a audience of 1 or a 1000. Just sitting at a piano and playing anything is an awesome experience.

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#1998299 - 12/12/12 11:14 AM Re: grades [Re: Michael_99]
Kymber Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/25/08
Posts: 1348
Loc: MA
Originally Posted By: Michael_99
People often think that a law degree is a licence to print money, but the reality is, it is the lawyers that bring in clients that make the money. In other words it is what you do with your education that matters. The other thing that is funny is that people that go to art shool end up making movies and carpenters become famous chefs. There is no right or wrong but what you get out of the journey that counts. I discovered that I love learning music measure by measure, figuring out the rhythm, counting and playing the pieces I know and try to play them the best that can everytime I play them. Total joy. I don't care if I ever played for someone else or a audience of 1 or a 1000. Just sitting at a piano and playing anything is an awesome experience.

+1
_________________________
“The doubters said, "Man cannot fly," The doers said, "Maybe, but we'll try,"
And finally soared in the morning glow while non-believers watched from below.”
― Bruce Lee

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#1998857 - 12/13/12 10:34 AM Re: grades [Re: Kymber]
dhanraj Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/13/12
Posts: 1
hi,
i am planning to learn all the grades in contemporary music. Are there any good international music schools that provide a degree also teach all the grades from the beginning ?

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#2001303 - 12/18/12 05:54 PM Re: grades [Re: dhanraj]
adultpianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/12
Posts: 540
I would just like to say that I have just got my results and have passed my Grade 3 exam.

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#2001306 - 12/18/12 05:57 PM Re: grades [Re: adultpianist]
Whizbang Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 738
Grats!
_________________________
Whizbang
amateur ragtime pianist

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#2001316 - 12/18/12 06:05 PM Re: grades [Re: adultpianist]
jotur Online   blank
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5450
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
Excellent! Thanks for letting us know.

Cathy
_________________________

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