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#2087947 - 05/24/13 12:06 PM RCM Exam Result Comment Question
Juli_et Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/27/09
Posts: 34
Loc: On, Canada
Hi everyone,

I guess I just need to share (because I don't really have anybody else to share this with) and ask because I don't know how to feel about this. Maybe some of you will help me make sense of the results. I went for my first RCM exam, Grade 9 and got an overall mark of 78%. Considering I didn't have a teacher at all to prepare for the exam, I guess I did pretty well.
But a lot of the marks don't make sense to me, it gives me a contradictory impression because it's pretty flat for someone who wants so much contrast. Below are the comments I got and the mark for every piece in the order I played them.

4.5/6 = 75% - Study #1: Hofmann - To The Lute Op.37, book 2, no.1
Lovely leggiero sound, though try not to rely too much on the *sostenuto pedal - it dampened the sound a lot - top line needed further voicing - otherwise a lilting performance
*as we discussed this, perhaps ignore this remark (After the Sibelius below, she asked me if I had my foot on the soft pedal because she thought the piano didn't sound as bright as when she tried it earlier that morning. She said "I don't know what you're doing that I don't have the sound right in my face" and then I really got confused with a big question mark in my face then she said to forget what she said and to keep going)

4.5/6 = 75% - Study #2: Bartok - Bagatelle Op.6 no.2
excellent finger articulation - loss of synchronization at a couple of places - the expression could have more "abandon" as well - dynamic a bit underplayed

12/16 = 75% - Bach - WTC 1 Prelude and fugue in c minor BWV 847
prelude - Continuous - though you make every note important - voicing on the top was lost due to the middle vc. loudness - synchronization issue through m.28-33
fugue - well learned in notes, though part playing favored your RH - LH was sometimes cloudy and obscured subject entrances - fugues are exciting because it's an opportunity for the left hand to play expressively too - give that consideration here

9.5/12 = 79% - Chopin - Waltz in c# minor Op.64 no.2
pleasant tone, though, with this much pedal the RH needed more projection - secondary theme should spakle and shape - instead it had a muted quality - the piu lento was played without flexibility - this is a quality necessary in Chopin - rubato - learn how to successfuly add this to your expression

10/12 = 83% - Sibelius - Romance Op.24 no.9
also played without much rubato (?) though you manage better shape in the phrasing as well as voicing - fine technical security through pgs 99-100 - small concentration issue on the main theme return - overall, well learned and performed

13/16 = 81% - Mozart - Fantaisia in d minor K.397
carefully polished - slurs are lovely - perhaps you could move the tempo forward further - (even the presto) pedal could be cleaner, too - the RH theme was still too close in volume to the LH - all tempo changes could have more definition - small tumbles in Allegretto - show prudence with pedal there, too

I pretty much agree with what she says except I have doubts about the synchronization in Bartok (I thought this was solid and my husband was surprised too) but I do agree with the synchronization in the Bach. Also the faster tempo for the Mozart I think it's a preference thing because I had tried it faster and by recording it I thought it was too fast for an adagio so I slowed it down.

The Bach doesn't have much positive comments but how come Study #1 ended up with the same 75% with comments like "lovely leggiero" and "lilting performance"? It feels like the Bach got a higher mark than deserved or the Study didn't get a high enough mark.
Again, the Chopin didn't get much positive feedback compared to Mozart but Mozart is only 81%? I played Mozart 14 years ago in an exam (another school system) and I had 92%, this time I thought I polished it a lot more than ever and really felt the music.

I got 75% for the technical tests and I thought I screwed up pretty good so it doesn't make sense again especially compared with the Studies.

In one pdf file on the rcm website (I found it from google if someone wants the reference I can probably find it again), I printed a "Q&A with an examiner". It says: "Although there is an element of subjectivity in the assessment of any artistic endeavor, consistency among examiner is developed and maintained through examiner workshops and regular monitoring of examiner performance". I wonder if they achieve that by giving very little variations in the marking?

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#2087995 - 05/24/13 12:57 PM Re: RCM Exam Result Comment Question [Re: Juli_et]
Pogorelich. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4526
Loc: in the past
Who knows, the adjudicator might've been tired, in a bad mood, maybe they didn't care, do you know how many people they have to sit and listen to all day - and mostly terrible ones too.

It's all so subjective, and it's pretty much about overall impression.

Why waste your time and money on these things.....
_________________________

'I want to invest my emotions only in music; it will never disappoint me or hurt me - it is a safe place to be.'

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#2087998 - 05/24/13 01:02 PM Re: RCM Exam Result Comment Question [Re: Pogorelich.]
Juli_et Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/27/09
Posts: 34
Loc: On, Canada
Originally Posted By: Pogorelich.

It's all so subjective, and it's pretty much about overall impression.

Why waste your time and money on these things.....

In a way I agree but in Canada it's a big deal and I would like to have the ARCT in piano pedagogy which I think would help to have students... :-/

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#2088013 - 05/24/13 01:20 PM Re: RCM Exam Result Comment Question [Re: Juli_et]
bennevis Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 4813
As one who've done all the graded exams (I didn't miss out any - actually, I didn't know, and my teachers never told me, that I could skip grades grin) in the ABRSM many, many, many years ago, I can affirm that the comments and the marks often seem to bear little relation to each other.

That's because the comments are on specific points (to help you improve), whereas the marks are for the overall impression you made with that piece.

So, overall, the comments (criticisms) repeatedly mentioned that you didn't sufficiently differentiate the melody from the accompaniment, and that you probably need to develop your voicing of melodic lines - in both hands - better. And that you probably relied too much on the sustain pedal.

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#2088037 - 05/24/13 01:56 PM Re: RCM Exam Result Comment Question [Re: Juli_et]
Pogorelich. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4526
Loc: in the past
Originally Posted By: Juli_et
Originally Posted By: Pogorelich.

It's all so subjective, and it's pretty much about overall impression.

Why waste your time and money on these things.....

In a way I agree but in Canada it's a big deal and I would like to have the ARCT in piano pedagogy which I think would help to have students... :-/


It doesn't.
_________________________

'I want to invest my emotions only in music; it will never disappoint me or hurt me - it is a safe place to be.'

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#2088045 - 05/24/13 02:07 PM Re: RCM Exam Result Comment Question [Re: bennevis]
Juli_et Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/27/09
Posts: 34
Loc: On, Canada
Originally Posted By: bennevis
So, overall, the comments (criticisms) repeatedly mentioned that you didn't sufficiently differentiate the melody from the accompaniment, and that you probably need to develop your voicing of melodic lines - in both hands - better. And that you probably relied too much on the sustain pedal.

I actually made myself a summary of the comments of things to improve:
Voicing
Shaping
More expression
More dynamics
Rubato
Clean Pedal
Synchronization

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