How long before you sat grade 1? (if you have)

Posted by: BellaBella

How long before you sat grade 1? (if you have) - 04/02/10 08:25 PM

Hi everyone,
still very new to the forum but from what i've read so far most people are much more advanced than me!
I played when i was younger and started learning again just 2 weeks ago when i found a teacher. I am remembering some things as i go along but i am very much starting from the beginning again.

I am aiming to sit the grade exams when the time comes that i am ready but i was just wondering if you have sat exams how long did it take before you were at that level?

Thanks for taking the time to read my post,

Kells
Posted by: Burbage

Re: How long before you sat grade 1? (if you have) - 04/02/10 09:39 PM

No.

It's over thirty years (and possibly forty) since my teacher put me in for Grade 2. He didn't put me in for Grade 1 because, he told me later, failing Grade 1 would have been embarrassing, and not a happy end to two years of lessons.

I didn't pass Grade 2. I don't know exactly why - my teacher kept the report, saying it was better I didn't know - but I grimly remember sweatily having to restart everything at least once and slightly mixing up the scales. I think I sang my note right, though.

I got myself a digital piano just before Christmas (thanks to a combination of the internet and alcohol), and I;ve thought of trying to unblot history by attempting Grade 2 again. I've had a look at recent pieces and run through the scales. But the sensible (and cowardly) bit of me says there's no point trying to live life again from the beginning. Nor do I want to spend six months trying to master pieces I wouldn't choose to learn.

Besides, there'd also be the awkward matter of the exam itself. I find exams stressful enough already, and it looks like my nearest exam centre is the local school. The thought of waiting in a corridor listening to six-year olds passing their grade 8 isn't a good one.

But no, I haven't sat my grade 1. And it's taken me nearly half-a-century not to pass it. The good news, I'm told, is that a lot of people manage it within a year.
Posted by: SpencerF

Re: How long before you sat grade 1? (if you have) - 04/03/10 06:25 AM

Originally Posted By: Kells
Hi everyone,
still very new to the forum but from what i've read so far most people are much more advanced than me!


I think it probably just seems that way since typically the more experienced players participate more in posting. I suppose this is natural since they have more to offer.

I get the impression there are a ton of lurkers on this site. You are not alone.
Posted by: BellaBella

Re: How long before you sat grade 1? (if you have) - 04/03/10 06:29 AM

Thank you for taking the time to reply. Spencer you make a very good point, i love reading things on the forum but as i'm a beginner again don't feel that i have alot to offer so i'll probably mostly 'lurk' around here smile
Posted by: maestro1987

Re: How long before you sat grade 1? (if you have) - 04/03/10 11:05 AM

It all depends on how much you practise and know theory.;) My current repertoire mainly consists of grade 3 and 4 pieces and I started about 6 months ago, but take into consideration that I play approximately 3-4 hours a day plus practising prima vista sightreading about 30-45 minutes.
Posted by: BellaBella

Re: How long before you sat grade 1? (if you have) - 04/03/10 06:44 PM

Wow that's amazing, i don't have that amount of time to practice every day unfortunately, unless i reduced my sleeping time or did nothing else!

That's great dedication you have!
Posted by: Rui725

Re: How long before you sat grade 1? (if you have) - 04/03/10 09:03 PM

I started a year ago and my current rep is around grade 6. I think I can actually pass it haha, but I think the most they let you skip is up to 5. Similar to Maestro, I spend around 4 hours a day practicing. As well as placing emphasis on basic minor, major, diminished augmented scales/arpeggio's, thirds, chromatic in minor 3rd, major 6th. Basically 2/3 of Hanon.
Posted by: debussyfan

Re: How long before you sat grade 1? (if you have) - 04/04/10 02:03 AM

I took six months and practiced half an hour a day... But I did AMEB (Australian) Grade 1, so it might be slightly different to the Scottish one. Before I started the grade one syllabus I'd had lessons for a month or two, but I don't think it made much difference.
Posted by: maestro1987

Re: How long before you sat grade 1? (if you have) - 04/04/10 08:17 AM

I don't have private life, only medicine and piano. grin

As far as I know it should take about 1 year but since you're an adult you could achieve it sooner because we have analytical approach and probably our 1 hour practice session is more productive compared to for example 7 years old child's.
Posted by: Ingersoll

Re: How long before you sat grade 1? (if you have) - 04/04/10 08:51 AM

Hi I skipped grade-1, purely by accident as i missed the enrollment date. That was after about 6 months of playing for a couple of hours a day (most days). I did grade-2 after about a year of playing and passed and i plan on doing grade 3 this November (a year after passing grade 2. One grade a year is my plan - it won't kill me and i have 3 young children so i don't have that much time to practice at the moment.
Posted by: Byron S

Re: How long before you sat grade 1? (if you have) - 04/04/10 12:09 PM

this may be a dumb question, but where does one sit for an exam? And how does one know what to play? And is it strictly about how well you play or is there an educational or similar requirement?
Posted by: BellaBella

Re: How long before you sat grade 1? (if you have) - 04/04/10 08:12 PM

Thanks for everyones replies, i am so impressed with how quick some of you have progressed and how much you practice!
I would like to aim to sit my first grade next year i think, obviously it will depend how i get on but that's my goal.

Sorry Byron i can't help with your questions, i'm sure it will be different in Scotland though. I'm sure some of the more experienced members would be able to help you smile
Posted by: ShiroKuro

Re: How long before you sat grade 1? (if you have) - 04/05/10 10:30 PM

Byron, are you kidding around or asking a serious question? (I'm dense like that smile

Kells will correct me if I'm wrong, but "sit for an exam" or "sit an exam" is the same as what speakers of American English mean when they same "take an exam."

I have the impression that taking(sitting) piano exams/grades is a little more common outside of the US (it certainly is popular in Japan). Also, I wonder if there are simply fewer adults who do exams, since many of us (i.e. me) want to choose our own repertoire rather than play based on an externally control curriculum of pieces.

I took some exams in Japan, but in Japan the lowest exam is 14 (or 12 or something??) and works up, with the top level being 1. So it's a little different from the exams that people talk about here. (although AFAIK a lot of the repertoire is the same). Anyway, I skipped a few of the lower tests and took ... I want to say grade 10 (but I'd have to check, so don't quote me) sometime in the first year after starting. I passed up through grade 7, but failed the next grade twice (nerves frown At that point I decided that focusing on the grades would hold me back from playing what i really wanted to play. And I didn't like being in the exam room with a bunch of elementary school kids, and flubbing up just because I was nervous and felt like a fool! Also, the other music I was playing was harder than the exam music, but I couldn't move on until I actually passed the test. I decided it wasn't for me.

So I haven't done any exam-activity since then (that was maybe the end of my second year of playing). but I do see the benefit of it, as long as you don't think it's holding you bad or having a negative influence on your repertoire.
Posted by: Peacemaker

Re: How long before you sat grade 1? (if you have) - 04/05/10 11:08 PM

Hi Kells, sharing with you my musical journey. I started taking piano lessons when I was 37 and with three years of taking practical and theory lessons, I sat for the ABRMS grade 4 practical and grade 5 theory exam. I passed handsomely. In year four of my journey, in a fit of misguided confidence, I took grade 5 practical and grade 6 theory but crashed and burned. I think I have acquired some knowledge and musicality but missed on quite a bit of the fundamentals, which caused the debacle at the higher grade. I realised that I needed more time between grades to consolidate on my sight-reading/singing, scales and appegios and get more confident and comfortable with the music theory and my instrument. Not giving up, I am preparing once again for my grade 5 practical and grade 6 theory. Its alot of work, but what fun. Good luck to you. Write back to tell us how you are doing from time to time.
Posted by: DadAgain

Re: How long before you sat grade 1? (if you have) - 05/11/10 12:48 AM

Cant tell you too much about learning as an adult - but when I was young I remember progressing about a grade per year (ABRSM) until I did my Gr8 aged 17.

In the early years that was based on 30minutes half-arsed practicing a day and by the time I was working on gr8 that was more like an 60-90 minutes a day of constructive practice(+ some mucking about) + 60-90 minutes a day playing Viola working for Gr8 at the same time and some time working on Gr8 Theory also sat at the same time.... How did I EVER have time for anything else like SCHOOL work?? (No wonder my A level results were so ordinary!)

I remember working quite hard to get my Gr5 theory back when I was about 12yrs old - and there was quite a competitive vibe in my household as my dad and sister recently took it getting high marks (90/99 and 93/99). I took the exam not knowing how I did - but was extremely pleased when I got 97/99!! (A mark I unfortunately never saw again in any formal examination!)

Now my kids are learning to play and my daughter (age6) is progressing pretty well. She's working on a 30 minutes a day most days practice regime and went from zero-gr1(AMEB) in about 6 months and from gr1-gr2 will be about 8 months. I'm sure her progress will then slow down as her body just isnt big enough!! (She cant reach an octave and thats REALLY restrictive and her feet are about 6inches above the pedals dangling in mid-air).

For what its worth - comparing my memories of ABRSM Gr1 and looking at AMEB Gr1 the standard seems very similar.

Enjoy your learning, break down bits you cant play into the smallest chunks until you can get them right (single bars repeated over nad over and over again) and then put them together again. Once you're technically able to play pieces, learn to play the music not the dots. Play it like you'd sing it. If you can do that then you'll blitz any exams.

Have fun - and dont be intimiated by the army of mini-mozarts at exam centres. You're in this for YOU not as some kind of competition!