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#2108562 - 06/26/13 05:16 PM ABRSM Grade 5 Theory
adultpianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/12
Posts: 540
I have come back from my lesson tonight and have been strongly advised to take Grade 5 theory for my next exam. I am at the moment doing Grade 4. With the ABRSM examining body, you can do theory for the lower grades but it is not compulsory, and it is really up to the student. When you reach Grade 6 level, then it becomes compulsory to take the Theory because you cannot take any more exams after Grade 6 without a Theory exam pass. My teacher said it would be a very big step to go straight into Grade 6 Theory so she wants me to study and take Grade 5 theory to 'prepare myself' so that when I have to do Theory for Grade 6, it will be easier.

When my teacher told me what was involved in the exam I said but what do I want to put myself through that for, for merely doing piano as a hobby for my own enjoyment. It's not as if I am heading into making a living out of music so why push myself to the absolute limit mentally by doing this and learning about different instruments and orchestras and how an orchestra works in collaboration with a piano. Yes it is interesting and I did start a thread on the piano teachers forum and found it really interesting to read about how pianists and orchestras work together, but to an exam in it and get a qualification is lot of hard work and I am wondering if it will take the pleasure away from playing. My teacher said to me "But you like doing the Grade exams" and I do, its merely the thought of learning all this extra unnecesary stuff that usually people who want to take music up as profession would do.

I am exhausted mentally trying to work out if this is the best way forward and perhaps stop doing the exams at a level where I do not have to do theory.

Any thoughts?

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#2108575 - 06/26/13 05:34 PM Re: ABRSM Grade 5 Theory [Re: adultpianist]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3153
Loc: Maine
You can learn how to play the piano well without taking exams. You can even enjoy yourself preparing the piano exam practical requirements, and not take the exams, if you like learning the requirements but don't want to take the exams. If you really want to take the exams too, have your teacher check whether you actually have to take the theory exams in order to proceed with the practical exams.

In the RCM system, for example, I believe that you can take the practical exams at any level without the theory exams. It's only if you want an actual certificate for your acheivements that you have to take the theory exams too (starting at Grade 5). I don't know exactly what the ABRSM requirements are.

There seems to be a continual miscommunication going on between you and your teacher about exams. There's sort of an ambivalence "I do/I don't want to take exams" from your side. This seems to be matched on her side (although I only have your reports of this) by an inability to wake you up to "Just Forget The Exams For A While; I Can Teach You To Play Piano And Then If You Want To Play For An Examiner Or Not, That's Your Choice." Whether this is because she can't conceive of teaching good piano playing outside of the exam structure, or whether because you and she haven't found the right language to communicate your goals and what she can offer to guide you there, I don't know.

It does sound like in suggesting the theory exam to you she is responding to your latest previously expressed desire: to go ahead with taking exams. So you can hardly fault her for offering it.

When you talk to her about your goals in piano, what is the conversation like? Is it a conversation about whether or not you take exams? Or is it a conversation about the kinds of music you like, the kinds of skills you'd like to have, the level of interest and commitment you have, how she designs what she has you do, etc.? It seems as if all your conversations have been centered around exams only. For example earlier, the choice was "prepare for the next exam" vs. "spend time playing pieces at this same exam level just passed". Now you're on to (I think) preparing for the next exam. Is there any talk about how to progress without checking if it agrees with ABRSMs curriculum? Or have you had a conversation about what ABRSM curriculum can provide and what it might be missing? Whether she thinks ABRSM curriculum is the best, or if she's preparing a piano to play well, and not just teaching to the test, she might do some things differently?

[ETA: and what do you think? Do you believe that you can learn to play piano well apart from preparing for exams? or do you believe that the only way to progress is by following the exam curriculum? What is your interest in the exams?]


Edited by PianoStudent88 (06/26/13 05:36 PM)
Edit Reason: another thought
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#2108584 - 06/26/13 05:43 PM Re: ABRSM Grade 5 Theory [Re: adultpianist]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11556
Loc: Canada
Learning theory, especially being able to apply it to music so that you understand it better, is a useful thing to do. You don't have to do an exam for that.

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#2108590 - 06/26/13 05:52 PM Re: ABRSM Grade 5 Theory [Re: adultpianist]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3153
Loc: Maine
I agree, and in a way my post was itself captured within the exam paradigm, in not talking about the value of theory and understanding music.

One question that arises is, can adultpianist learn theory from this teacher in a way that is integrated with learning piano or learning more about music, in a way that she finds it to be useful and enjoyable? Or will it be a painful forced march through disconnected facts? Which is not to say that all theory learned has to be immediately connected to one's playing -- witness adultpianist's pleasure in learning about concerto playing -- but her anticipation of the level 5 theory exam is so far dread of a bunch of unnecessary information, and unless she and her teacher can come to more of a holistic understanding about learning music separate from just ticking off exam boxes, I suspect her theory learning would be more of the forced march variety than the enrichment variety.

I don't fault either adultpianist or her teacher here; I don't know enough about either one of them; but they always seem to be like ships passing in the night from what adultpianist posts here (again, whether this is a jointly achieved result or whether one is more befogged than the other, I don't know).

adultpianist, you might find it interesting to ask your teacher to start teaching you more theory in a way that connects with what you are learning about playing piano. Not with a view to taking the exam (although you might at some point realize you know enough to take the exam), but as a way of increasing your understanding and enjoyment of music.


Edited by PianoStudent88 (06/27/13 03:15 PM)
Edit Reason: correct pronouns
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#2108597 - 06/26/13 05:55 PM Re: ABRSM Grade 5 Theory [Re: adultpianist]
BrainCramp Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/09/12
Posts: 253
Loc: USA
Hi Adultpianist,

I'm sure some UK teachers (which I'm not, I'm an adult learner in the US) will chime in with advice for you.

My understanding is that yes, in the ABRSM system you have to pass Grade 5 theory before you can take the Grade 6 practical exam.

But it may not be as hard as you think. Have you gone to their online store to get some of their books and workbooks? I think you can find ones aimed at the Grade 5 theory exam.

I have their "AB Guide to Music Theory, Part 1" by Eric Taylor, which I think (I could be wrong) covers most of what's on the Grade 5 theory exam. I don't think there's a lot in it I didn't already know from lessons on various instruments over the years. (I'm around Grade 2 piano at this point.)

I'd have to "study up" in order to regurgitate/process things meaningfully on an exam. Teachers over on the abrsm.org teachers' forum complain that that particular book is too dry. But hey, they're mostly teaching kids. For an adult, it's fine. Sure beats computer science or statistics or plenty of other stuff we adults have ingested for exams.

You may be over-worrying. Grade 8 theory might be a lot of new information. But Grade 5, maybe not so much.

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#2108598 - 06/26/13 05:56 PM Re: ABRSM Grade 5 Theory [Re: adultpianist]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3153
Loc: Maine
Originally Posted By: adultpianist
you cannot take any more exams after Grade 6 without a Theory exam pass

I just spotted this, about adultpianist's ABRSM exams. That's different from how it works in RCM, I believe, except for the licentiate or diploma exams after grade 10.
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#2108613 - 06/26/13 06:14 PM Re: ABRSM Grade 5 Theory [Re: keystring]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Originally Posted By: keystring
Learning theory, especially being able to apply it to music so that you understand it better, is a useful thing to do. You don't have to do an exam for that.


I agree with her. I'd never look at learning theory as something I "have to" do to pass an exam, but rather that the exam is perhaps simply a date by which time I should've explored the new theory material for the sake of my musicianship. Learning more music theory is only going to make it easier to learn and memorize new/more music as well as making you a better interpreter and performer of said music. It's not like certain high school math you'll never use again in your life - it's interesting and applicable knowledge that will do nothing but benefit you for the rest of your time as a musician.

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#2108614 - 06/26/13 06:17 PM Re: ABRSM Grade 5 Theory [Re: PianoStudent88]
adultpianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/12
Posts: 540
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
I agree, and in a way my post was itself captured within the exam paradigm, in not talking about the value of theory and understanding music.

One question that arises is, can adultpianist learn theory from this teacher in a way that is integrated with learning piano or learning more about music, in a way that he finds it to be useful and enjoyable? Or will it be a painful forced march through disconnected facts? Which is not to say that all theory learned has to be immediately connected to one's playing -- witness adultpianist's pleasure in learning about concerto playing -- but his anticipation of the level 5 theory exam is so far dread of a bunch of unnecessary information, and unless he and his teacher can come to more of a holistic understanding about learning music separate from just ticking off exam boxes, I suspect his theory learning would be more of the forced march variety than the enrichment variety.

I don't fault either adultpianist or his teacher here; I don't know enough about either one of them; but they always seem to be like ships passing in the night from what adultpianist posts here (again, whether this is a jointly achieved result or whether one is more befogged than the other, I don't know).

adultpianist, you might find it interesting to ask your teacher to start teaching you more theory in a way that connects with what you are learning about playing piano. Not with a view to taking the exam (although you might at some point realize you know enough to take the exam), but as a way of increasing your understanding and enjoyment of music.


First of all you speak of me as a male, referring to me as he. I am a female. When have I ever indicated that I am a man?

Second of all, I like doing exams and whilst I have only recently started the study for Grade 4, I was asking my teacher about what Grade 5 entails so she saw that I was interested in finding out about the next grade up. We were doing some Aural and I simply asked what kind of thing would be required for Grade 5 and whether I would have to sight sing or indeed to any Aural for the upper grades. I have never been content to simply play without aiming for an exam. When I was doing Grade 3 and had taken the exam, I was waiting for the results and we did some fun pieces and then once I had my results we carried on doing fun pieces for a while longer and then I got the books for Grade 4. I could have ploughed straight into the exam syllabus, but wanted a break so when I felt ready to do 4 I got the books.

I guess I was panicking about having to do Theory but now when I think about it, it is a good idea because not only do you play but you have to understand why you do what you do etc. I guess a good teacher would be incorporating theory into the lesson so you learn as you go along, but we only play the pieces and do the scales etc and the required aural. We do not touch on transposition or the meaning of dominant and subdominant chords or the tenor clef. These are all things for Grade 5 theory. Why would I need to know about the tenor clef? Of what benefit would it be to me, an ameatur pianist who simply sits as home and plays pieces for relaxation. I do not perform in public so a lot of the Theory for Grade 5 would be irrelevant

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#2108626 - 06/26/13 06:56 PM Re: ABRSM Grade 5 Theory [Re: Bobpickle]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11556
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Bobpickle


I agree with her. I'd never look at learning theory as something I "have to" do to pass an exam, but rather that the exam is perhaps simply a date by which time I should've explored the new theory material for the sake of my musicianship. Learning more music theory is only going to make it easier to learn and memorize new/more music as well as making you a better interpreter and performer of said music.


There is another aspect of exams. Often there are other ways of looking at the music and theory, or several ways of finding answers that are at least as correct. But in preparing for exams, you have to know how they think, and what they want to see (the examiners). I did some theory exams while still studying my first instrument, and when we prepared for the exams my teacher would stress what the examiners would wan to see, but that there were other ways of seeing it in music. We had to also work "toward the exam".

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#2108627 - 06/26/13 06:57 PM Re: ABRSM Grade 5 Theory [Re: adultpianist]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3153
Loc: Maine
adultpianist, I apologize for getting your gender wrong.
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#2108631 - 06/26/13 07:01 PM Re: ABRSM Grade 5 Theory [Re: PianoStudent88]
adultpianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/12
Posts: 540
no problem but why did you think I was male?

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#2108633 - 06/26/13 07:02 PM Re: ABRSM Grade 5 Theory [Re: adultpianist]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2309
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Originally Posted By: adultpianist
First of all you speak of me as a male, referring to me as he. I am a female. When have I ever indicated that I am a man?

You didn't indicate that you were female, therefore 'he' is the correct pronoun in English grammar.
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#2108651 - 06/26/13 07:28 PM Re: ABRSM Grade 5 Theory [Re: adultpianist]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11556
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: adultpianist
no problem but why did you think I was male?


There is a 50/50 chance of getting it wrong unless you choose a name like QueenMary of KingJohn. I vote that we all call each other "it". laugh

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#2108652 - 06/26/13 07:28 PM Re: ABRSM Grade 5 Theory [Re: adultpianist]
Andy Platt Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2375
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: adultpianist
no problem but why did you think I was male?


Well, that would be adultepianiste ... p'raps not!

I have been caught out making assumptions about what variety of humanoid folks on this site are and guessing wrong. Hopefully I've used "they" and "you" where necessary. I disagree with Richard, I think it's a little old fashioned to use "him" if you don't know.

For the record, I'm male ... just in case there was some doubt! wink


P.S. At a "writing night" at my son's school, I said to one of his friend's siblings, "And what grade are you in, young lady?" At which point I got a fit of giggles from them ... she was a he. Ooops. Long blond hair and a five year old ... kind of difficult to tell!!!
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#2108682 - 06/26/13 08:11 PM Re: ABRSM Grade 5 Theory [Re: adultpianist]
Daniel Corban Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/17/13
Posts: 214
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: adultpianist
no problem but why did you think I was male?

I see you are currently located in Maine. Did you move there from another country? If not, it is pretty ridiculous that you got so upset over someone using proper English. I can't believe the other person actually apologized for it as well! For someone asking for public commentary and advice, you certainly have presented yourself poorly.
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#2108686 - 06/26/13 08:14 PM Re: ABRSM Grade 5 Theory [Re: adultpianist]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3153
Loc: Maine
Originally Posted By: adultpianist
no problem but why did you think I was male?

Unthinking sexism.
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#2108691 - 06/26/13 08:18 PM Re: ABRSM Grade 5 Theory [Re: Daniel Corban]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3153
Loc: Maine
Originally Posted By: Daniel Corban
Originally Posted By: adultpianist
no problem but why did you think I was male?

I see you are currently located in Maine. Did you move there from another country? If not, it is pretty ridiculous that you got so upset over someone using proper English. I can't believe the other person actually apologized for it as well! For someone asking for public commentary and advice, you certainly have presented yourself poorly.

Daniel, are you getting us confused? I'm in Maine; adultpianist doesn't list a location.
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#2108721 - 06/26/13 08:44 PM Re: ABRSM Grade 5 Theory [Re: adultpianist]
Whizbang Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 733
Originally Posted By: adultpianist
When my teacher told me what was involved in the exam I said but what do I want to put myself through that for, for merely doing piano as a hobby for my own enjoyment.

...

Any thoughts?


Yes.

I've been watching your posts.

Your teacher seems to just want to push you through exams.

You seem conflicted.

I never went through exams, so take that with a grain of salt.

I can see that exams might give you a goal to aim for and help round you out as a pianist.

I can see that exams could make a student thrive, or could kill a student's love of music.

I can also see that exams could end up being a curriculum crutch for a not-so-inspired teacher.

I am given to understand that you may be in an area where it may be hard to find an alternate teacher.

But, what I read from your posts is that you are not so crazy about exams, but your teacher is pushing you through them at a pretty brisk pace.

Honestly, I don't think that teacher-student relationship is working.
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#2108789 - 06/26/13 11:23 PM Re: ABRSM Grade 5 Theory [Re: PianoStudent88]
Daniel Corban Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/17/13
Posts: 214
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88

Daniel, are you getting us confused? I'm in Maine; adultpianist doesn't list a location.

Yes, sorry. I will just assume the OP is a non-English speaker. I normally don't speak out about such things, especially when it is off-topic, but the fact that several posts were exchanged about such an absurdity just couldn't go ignored.
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#2108793 - 06/26/13 11:30 PM Re: ABRSM Grade 5 Theory [Re: keystring]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Originally Posted By: keystring
Originally Posted By: Bobpickle


I agree with her. I'd never look at learning theory as something I "have to" do to pass an exam, but rather that the exam is perhaps simply a date by which time I should've explored the new theory material for the sake of my musicianship. Learning more music theory is only going to make it easier to learn and memorize new/more music as well as making you a better interpreter and performer of said music.


There is another aspect of exams. Often there are other ways of looking at the music and theory, or several ways of finding answers that are at least as correct. But in preparing for exams, you have to know how they think, and what they want to see (the examiners). I did some theory exams while still studying my first instrument, and when we prepared for the exams my teacher would stress what the examiners would wan to see, but that there were other ways of seeing it in music. We had to also work "toward the exam".


This is true, but not ubiquitously. My college theory teacher always says/said (especially in the context of more complex theoretical topics) that sometimes the best answer wasn't the one in the textbook, but the one that you could justify... needless to say he graded accordingly. I would hope some procters might also see things the same way.

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#2108886 - 06/27/13 05:10 AM Re: ABRSM Grade 5 Theory [Re: Whizbang]
adultpianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/12
Posts: 540
Originally Posted By: Whizbang
Originally Posted By: adultpianist
When my teacher told me what was involved in the exam I said but what do I want to put myself through that for, for merely doing piano as a hobby for my own enjoyment.

...

Any thoughts?


Yes.

I've been watching your posts.

Your teacher seems to just want to push you through exams.

You seem conflicted.

I never went through exams, so take that with a grain of salt.

I can see that exams might give you a goal to aim for and help round you out as a pianist.

I can see that exams could make a student thrive, or could kill a student's love of music.

I can also see that exams could end up being a curriculum crutch for a not-so-inspired teacher.

I am given to understand that you may be in an area where it may be hard to find an alternate teacher.

But, what I read from your posts is that you are not so crazy about exams, but your teacher is pushing you through them at a pretty brisk pace.

Honestly, I don't think that teacher-student relationship is working.


ok well you have misunderstood. I stated that I wanted to take the exams. It was my decision not my teachers. She did not say to me, I would like you to take the exams, which incidentally happened to my friends daughter and she felt forced to do exams and it put her off the piano and gave up the instrument.

If I said to my teacher I no longer want to do the exans then she would say ok and we would never do exam stuff again.

I do not need to find an alternative teacher. My teacher has taught me from the very basics with no knowledge of any music or how to play a piano and has taught me all there is to know to pass the grades 1, 2 and 3 and I have passed them. She corrects me when I play wrong and we have a good lesson.

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#2108895 - 06/27/13 05:43 AM Re: ABRSM Grade 5 Theory [Re: Daniel Corban]
adultpianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/12
Posts: 540
Originally Posted By: Daniel Corban
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88

Daniel, are you getting us confused? I'm in Maine; adultpianist doesn't list a location.

Yes, sorry. I will just assume the OP is a non-English speaker. I normally don't speak out about such things, especially when it is off-topic, but the fact that several posts were exchanged about such an absurdity just couldn't go ignored.


I am ENGLISH


Edited by adultpianist (06/27/13 05:44 AM)

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#2108900 - 06/27/13 06:03 AM Re: ABRSM Grade 5 Theory [Re: Whizbang]
adultpianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/12
Posts: 540
Originally Posted By: Whizbang
Originally Posted By: adultpianist
When my teacher told me what was involved in the exam I said but what do I want to put myself through that for, for merely doing piano as a hobby for my own enjoyment.

...

Any thoughts?


Yes.

I've been watching your posts.

Your teacher seems to just want to push you through exams.

You seem conflicted.

I never went through exams, so take that with a grain of salt.

I can see that exams might give you a goal to aim for and help round you out as a pianist.

I can see that exams could make a student thrive, or could kill a student's love of music.

I can also see that exams could end up being a curriculum crutch for a not-so-inspired teacher.

I am given to understand that you may be in an area where it may be hard to find an alternate teacher.But, what I read from your posts is that you are not so crazy about exams, but your teacher is pushing you through them at a pretty brisk pace.

Honestly, I don't think that teacher-student relationship is working.


I live in London and there are teachers in every corner of the capital. I can easily get another teacher if I wanted to.

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#2108904 - 06/27/13 06:19 AM Re: ABRSM Grade 5 Theory [Re: adultpianist]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11556
Loc: Canada
"adult" - in your opening post you expressed hesitation about doing the exams. That is why people have responded as they did:
Originally Posted By: AP
When my teacher told me what was involved in the exam I said but what do I want to put myself through that for, for merely doing piano as a hobby for my own enjoyment. It's not as if I am heading into making a living out of music so why push myself to the absolute limit mentally by doing this and learning about different instruments and orchestras and how an orchestra works in collaboration with a piano......I am wondering if it will take the pleasure away from playing. My teacher said to me "But you like doing the Grade exams" and I do, its merely the thought of learning all this extra unnecesary stuff that usually people who want to take music up as profession would do.

I am exhausted mentally trying to work out if this is the best way forward and perhaps stop doing the exams at a level where I do not have to do theory.

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#2108907 - 06/27/13 06:33 AM Re: ABRSM Grade 5 Theory [Re: keystring]
adultpianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/12
Posts: 540
Originally Posted By: keystring
"adult" - in your opening post you expressed hesitation about doing the exams. That is why people have responded as they did:
Originally Posted By: AP
When my teacher told me what was involved in the exam I said but what do I want to put myself through that for, for merely doing piano as a hobby for my own enjoyment. It's not as if I am heading into making a living out of music so why push myself to the absolute limit mentally by doing this and learning about different instruments and orchestras and how an orchestra works in collaboration with a piano......I am wondering if it will take the pleasure away from playing. My teacher said to me "But you like doing the Grade exams" and I do, its merely the thought of learning all this extra unnecesary stuff that usually people who want to take music up as profession would do.

I am exhausted mentally trying to work out if this is the best way forward and perhaps stop doing the exams at a level where I do not have to do theory.


Keystring, my hesitation was not about doing the exams, but doing a grade which requires theory. I love the challenge of taking a piano exam and find that it enhances my playing ability. However, as I progress up the grade scale, I am hesitant to do Grade 5 because I have been told I will have to learn stuff that as a home pianist, I do not need to know about. If it was just a matter of playing the piano in the exam and not have to sit a written theory and learn stuff that only professionals need to know about then I would be fine to take Grades 5, 6, 7 and 8 and learn how to play to that standard and have a qualification to prove it.

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#2108919 - 06/27/13 07:09 AM Re: ABRSM Grade 5 Theory [Re: adultpianist]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11556
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: adultpianist

Keystring, my hesitation was not about doing the exams, but doing a grade which requires theory. I love the challenge of taking a piano exam and find that it enhances my playing ability. However, as I progress up the grade scale, I am hesitant to do Grade 5 because I have been told I will have to learn stuff that as a home pianist, I do not need to know about. If it was just a matter of playing the piano in the exam and not have to sit a written theory and learn stuff that only professionals need to know about then I would be fine to take Grades 5, 6, 7 and 8 and learn how to play to that standard and have a qualification to prove it.

Thank you for clarifying. Very often it takes two or three rounds of questions before getting at what a person actually means.

When you say "learn stuff that as a home pianist" you don't need, do you mean learning music theory things, or do you mean things in grade 5 practical? What kinds of things is it that only professionals need to know?

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#2108923 - 06/27/13 07:16 AM Re: ABRSM Grade 5 Theory [Re: adultpianist]
sinophilia Offline

Gold Supporter until Sept. 05 2014


Registered: 06/26/12
Posts: 942
Loc: Italy
adultpianist, you say "I will have to learn stuff that as a home pianist, I do not need to know about" - now are you sure about that? Isn't any kind of music-related knowledge useful when one plays an instrument? Personally, if I were to take exams, I would take the opportunity to learn something new even if it's theory, and not pure playing. But if you're a very practical person who doesn't care about theoretical knowledge, then yes, you'll have to stop taking exams.

Btw, I don't know why, but I also thought you were male. Actually I always think most of the people who write on forums are male, well at least on computer or motorbike related forums I used to read wink I'm glad to see that PW is different.
_________________________
Diana & Wally - Yamaha W110BW
Martha Argerich... is an incarnation of the artistic metaphor of the "eternal feminine" that draws us upward. (Sergio Sablich)

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#2108924 - 06/27/13 07:17 AM Re: ABRSM Grade 5 Theory [Re: adultpianist]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2309
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
I would talk to your teacher again about the requirements for Grade V theory. It is not 'stuff that only professional musicians need to know' but stuff any practising musician above Grade V (any instrument) might be expected to know.

It's fairly basic musicianship, not esoteric stuff and not beyond a normal person's ability to learn.
_________________________
Richard

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#2108927 - 06/27/13 07:23 AM Re: ABRSM Grade 5 Theory [Re: zrtf90]
adultpianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/12
Posts: 540
my other difficulty that we are trying to overcome is that when I need to play a piece from the score, I cannot jump into the middle of the score and play from that point. I always have to start over from the beginning and that is wrong. If I am stuck on a particular bar, then I cannot start from that bar

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#2108929 - 06/27/13 07:25 AM Re: ABRSM Grade 5 Theory [Re: zrtf90]
adultpianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/12
Posts: 540
Originally Posted By: zrtf90
I would talk to your teacher again about the requirements for Grade V theory. It is not 'stuff that only professional musicians need to know' but stuff any practising musician above Grade V (any instrument) might be expected to know.

It's fairly basic musicianship, not esoteric stuff and not beyond a normal person's ability to learn.



Yes but my argument is that if I am only playing for myself at home who cares what theory I know and don't know. Who is going to listen and judge me? Nobody. My only requirement is to play a piece of music from a score from beginning to end which I can do. Nobody is watching me, and the only people who have watched me play are friends who know little or nothing about music and they would not be able to tell if I played the whole score wrong. For instance, I played a piece for a friend with no musical knowledge whatsoever and she said very good. She was not aware that I was not playing the forte as stongly as I ought to do and even if I did not play forte as proper forte and played it as MF then I do not think she would know the difference and even if I put the score in front of her, she would not have a clue that forte is a strong sounding group of notes which should be played loud. As long as she can hear what I play, however I play it is irrelevant to her as long as I hit all the right note. She is not interested in dynamics


Edited by adultpianist (06/27/13 07:29 AM)

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