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#2060451 - 04/06/13 04:36 PM Grades?
Dr_Cogitatio Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/05/13
Posts: 22
Loc: Sweden
Hi!
I've been playong for about a year and a half, and since I live in Sweden I'm not so familiar with the grades for piano, but which grade is "normal" to be at when you have been playing for a year and a half? smile
Can anyone recommend some nice pieces? smile
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#2060456 - 04/06/13 05:03 PM Re: Grades? [Re: Dr_Cogitatio]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
"Normal" is so overrated. I don't know about normal, but at 1.5 years in, I was playing grade 3. Clementi Sonatina op. 36 no. 1 is appropriate for that level. Bach Musette BWV Anh. 126, Beethoven Sonatina in G are also good. For something romantic maybe Schumann op. 68, no. 16 "First Loss".

Sorry if you are way passed this. As I said, normal is not really all that normal. smile
_________________________
Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci

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#2060491 - 04/06/13 07:19 PM Re: Grades? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
adultpianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/12
Posts: 539
Originally Posted By: 4evrBeginR
"Normal" is so overrated. I don't know about normal, but at 1.5 years in, I was playing grade 3. Clementi Sonatina op. 36 no. 1 is appropriate for that level. Bach Musette BWV Anh. 126, Beethoven Sonatina in G are also good. For something romantic maybe Schumann op. 68, no. 16 "First Loss".

Sorry if you are way passed this. As I said, normal is not really all that normal. smile


You must be a fast learner to be at Grade 3 after 1.5 years. I have been playing or 5 years and have only completed and passed Grade 3. But the main thing here is not the speed at which you progress, its the fact that you DO progress and enjoy it. I am doing Grade 4 now and really do not care when I pass the exam as long as I pass it. I am having fun learning new skills and playing new pieces which is the all important thing.

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#2060501 - 04/06/13 07:38 PM Re: Grades? [Re: Dr_Cogitatio]
ElleC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/12/13
Posts: 248
Loc: NJ, USA
Oh gosh...I'm no prodigy but I do feel like I'm progressing faster than usual. I keep forgetting to ask my teacher what level she thinks I belong to. I started playing the piano 3.5 months ago. I played Arabesque (burgmuller) and Menuet BWV anh 115 (Bach) on my first recital 2 weekends ago. I just got done learning Sonatina op 36 no 1(Clementi) and now working on my first Chopin pieces (prelude in e minor and waltz in a minor). Though like you, I'm trying to figure out what level i am. I think there's really no "normal" when it comes to adult learners.
_________________________
Adult beginner since January 2013. My only regret is that I didn't learn sooner.

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#2060521 - 04/06/13 08:55 PM Re: Grades? [Re: Dr_Cogitatio]
findingnemo2010 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/17/09
Posts: 1491
Do they have grades in the U.S. of A? I hear a lot about them, but mostly from other countries.
_________________________
music to me is kind of like putting together pieces of a puzzle
i call it the paino because its where i put all my pain

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#2060524 - 04/06/13 08:58 PM Re: Grades? [Re: Dr_Cogitatio]
Sand Tiger Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 912
Loc: Southern California
Welcome to the forum xErr0rX

The median is somewhere between grade 1 and 2 with some variation. Other factors include prior experience, and time per day. It matters whether a person is doing 20 minutes a day vs. one hour a day, or two hours a day or more. The forum tends to attract enthusiasts, so the skew is towards higher achievers.

As for pieces, the recital index is a good resource for finding pieces that others have found enjoyable, with the caveat that the recital contributors are more advanced than most.

http://recitals.pianoworld.com/wiki/index.php/Main_Page
_________________________
my piano uploads

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#2060540 - 04/06/13 09:49 PM Re: Grades? [Re: findingnemo2010]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: findingnemo2010
Do they have grades in the U.S. of A? I hear a lot about them, but mostly from other countries.


Yes, in California, there is the MTAC Certificate of Merit with 10 levels. http://www.mtac.org/programs/cm/

Nationally, there is the Music Development program with 14 levels - Prep A, B, 1 - 10, Associate, and Diploma.
http://www.musicdevelopmentprogram.org/
_________________________
Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci

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#2060547 - 04/06/13 10:16 PM Re: Grades? [Re: adultpianist]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: adultpianist

You must be a fast learner to be at Grade 3 after 1.5 years. I have been playing or 5 years and have only completed and passed Grade 3. But the main thing here is not the speed at which you progress, its the fact that you DO progress and enjoy it. I am doing Grade 4 now and really do not care when I pass the exam as long as I pass it. I am having fun learning new skills and playing new pieces which is the all important thing.


Yes but only to grade 3. When I started grade 4, I seem to hit a wall and it took me longer to finsih just level 4 compared to the 3 grades before it. In grade 5, I'm relieved to discover things do not feel as hard as they did when I first started grade 4. I think this is why there is no normal. Everyone has a different point where the heavy lifting begins, but everyone ends up at the same place given enough discipline and determination, at least this is what my teacher assures me.

_________________________
Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci

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#2060555 - 04/06/13 10:27 PM Re: Grades? [Re: ElleC]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: ElleC
Oh gosh...I'm no prodigy but I do feel like I'm progressing faster than usual. I keep forgetting to ask my teacher what level she thinks I belong to. I started playing the piano 3.5 months ago. I played Arabesque (burgmuller) and Menuet BWV anh 115 (Bach) on my first recital 2 weekends ago. I just got done learning Sonatina op 36 no 1(Clementi) and now working on my first Chopin pieces (prelude in e minor and waltz in a minor). Though like you, I'm trying to figure out what level i am. I think there's really no "normal" when it comes to adult learners.


That's really fast. I also played Arabesques by Burgmuller in grade 3. Chopin Prelude in E Minor, op. 28, no. 4 is a RCM grade 7 piece.
_________________________
Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci

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#2060615 - 04/07/13 02:23 AM Re: Grades? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
outo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 384
Loc: Finland
One can progress much faster in terms of the difficulty of the pieces when not doing exams. When working with a proper teacher it doesn't mean you play the pieces badly, but of course the lack of experience affects the end result.

I study pieces that would be much too hard to take as exam pieces, but we work on them to learn things, not to polish them. This approach may be better for someone my age and extensive previous knowledge of piano music. I just cannot force myself to play something that does not interest me one bit. So at the moment (almost two years now) my pieces range from grade 4 (Kabalevsky variations, teachers suggestion) to grade 7 (Chopin Nocturne, my own choice). Technically I don't struggle much but learning fingerings, memorizing and concentration are my pitfall. If I had to take exams I would probably get stuck at grade 1 forever because my memory does not work any better on easy pieces.

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#2060775 - 04/07/13 01:04 PM Re: Grades? [Re: outo]
ElleC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/12/13
Posts: 248
Loc: NJ, USA
I agree! taking an exam is certainly not my motivation. But, i knew that when is started, I wanted to learn the proper way and learn the techniques and how to play each piece the way it's meant to be played. I think it would've been really hard for me if I didn't have someone to guide me. that said, 3 weeks in to my lesson, I think my teacher noticed that I was bored. I did try to play a piece from Anna Magdalena's notebook on my own which I ended up playing for her. After that, she said that she would have to change the way she was teaching me. So instead of the conventional way, she would pick out music from different classical eras and have me learn the different techniques as we go. I like that she would ask me if I like a certain song (she'd play it to me first) so that I find it enjoyable as well.

Originally Posted By: outo
One can progress much faster in terms of the difficulty of the pieces when not doing exams. When working with a proper teacher it doesn't mean you play the pieces badly, but of course the lack of experience affects the end result.

I study pieces that would be much too hard to take as exam pieces, but we work on them to learn things, not to polish them. This approach may be better for someone my age and extensive previous knowledge of piano music. I just cannot force myself to play something that does not interest me one bit. So at the moment (almost two years now) my pieces range from grade 4 (Kabalevsky variations, teachers suggestion) to grade 7 (Chopin Nocturne, my own choice). Technically I don't struggle much but learning fingerings, memorizing and concentration are my pitfall. If I had to take exams I would probably get stuck at grade 1 forever because my memory does not work any better on easy pieces.
_________________________
Adult beginner since January 2013. My only regret is that I didn't learn sooner.

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#2060794 - 04/07/13 02:12 PM Re: Grades? [Re: outo]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: outo
One can progress much faster in terms of the difficulty of the pieces when not doing exams. When working with a proper teacher it doesn't mean you play the pieces badly, but of course the lack of experience affects the end result.


Agreed. Learning something two grade levels above your current abilities helps to improve your skills and make what you play in your current level sound better. However, that should not be the focus of your studies, so at most perhaps one out of four pieces is actually a good idea. Your current grade level is the level where you can perform the piece confidently as well as musically what is expected from a piece of music. Each piece you complete at your level is a small accomplishment.

I also think that depends on the person. I am not one of those who like to take on something I cannot take on and play well. My kids on the other hands were routinely assigned pieces at level 5 or 6 when they were at level 3 or 4. Now that my daughter is at level 6, her teacher seem to be holding back and have not assigned anything at level 8 or 9.
_________________________
Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci

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#2060869 - 04/07/13 05:09 PM Re: Grades? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
outo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 384
Loc: Finland
Originally Posted By: 4evrBeginR


Agreed. Learning something two grade levels above your current abilities helps to improve your skills and make what you play in your current level sound better. However, that should not be the focus of your studies, so at most perhaps one out of four pieces is actually a good idea. Your current grade level is the level where you can perform the piece confidently as well as musically what is expected from a piece of music. Each piece you complete at your level is a small accomplishment.



But how can one determine one's level? Grades are very subjective, just a way of classifying pieces according to their average or general difficulty level. People have different strengths and sometimes a piece from a higher grade may be easier to learn than a piece from a lower grade.

The focus of my studies is to learn to play the pieces that I like, not reaching a grade or level. I have used grades to select pieces that are technically manageable, but also used my own (and my teacher's) judgement. While learning the pieces my teacher introduces me to new things and makes me work on my weaknesses. So I will gradually build up more skills to be able to play a larger proportion of the long list of my favorite piano music. Some things I will never be able to play because they require virtuousity, but I will never run out of pieces within my grasp smile

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