passing level 5

Posted by: itsahobbie

passing level 5 - 01/02/13 09:41 AM

im an adult piano player. never played as a kid and started at 40. never did an exam and going to try level 5 of the carnegie royal conservatory achievment program. any recommendations on learning and memorizing the technique section. also i dont think i'll ever be able to play the etudes ( at least the one or 2 that arent slow) at the recommended tempo. my fingers just arent that fast!! help...
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: passing level 5 - 01/02/13 09:49 AM

Why are you starting at level 5 instead of at a lower level?

The advice I have received about learning to play something fast, is to start slow -- very slow -- and increase the speed gradually with a metronome, staying at one speed for a week and then increasing to a slightly faster speed for the next week, etc.
Posted by: ZoeCalgary

Re: passing level 5 - 01/02/13 10:04 AM

You will need to 'catch up' on the previous years/exams technique. I found this when the first exam I did was level 4. It took me just as much work and effort to get the technical requirements at a good level as it did for the repertoire. I wasn't expecting that!

Each week I learned a new scale and related chords, arps, etc. Then started to memorize them, then built on that each week. Some scales I just couldn't get under my fingers very easily and they took a lot of work! Just make sure to devote enough time to the technical requirements as they will likely form a big part of your learning (and marks on the exam).

As for speed my teacher said it's better to play below speed but well than to try at speed and have the whole piece fall apart. But starting slow is key and slowly adding speed over time.

How did you determine to start at level 5? I'm also prepping for RCM grade 5 and am finding it quite a challenge. I believe though I will have completed a big hurdle with this level as the interplay between the 2 hands is so different from the previous levels.

Good luck!
Posted by: itsahobbie

Re: passing level 5 - 01/02/13 10:08 AM

ive been playing about 10 years!! i thought lebvel 5 was about right and it feels challenging without overwhelming. ive never done any realy technique work and i wish i had. plus the exam seems to really motivate me
Posted by: ZoeCalgary

Re: passing level 5 - 01/02/13 01:12 PM

Oh. That makes more sense now that we know that. Your first post made me think you had just started for some reason! Haha!

It's not impossible to catch up technical work, just lots of work is all. I was just saying don't underestimate how much time it will take. That was my big learning from grade 4 anyway.

Again all the best. Are you doing this with a teacher? Have you been taking lessons for 10 years or doing the self taught route? Just curious.
Posted by: Andy Platt

Re: passing level 5 - 01/02/13 01:13 PM

I too suffer from that "my fingers just aren't that fast" syndrome. But it's not really true. It's tension. OK, so there will be a point at which a person's true speed limit will be hit, but for most of us that's a long way off.

My teacher and I have been working on removing tension over the last couple of years. While I still have ways to go, my ability to perform runs (scales) at speeds I never would have thought possible has increased several fold. Now, don't get me wrong - I'm no speed demon: But you have to make sure there isn't tension to get the speed up on the etudes. (Also, I assume you have memorized them?)

No problem with starting at grade 5 if that's where you are. How is your sight reading? That would be a big issue for me in taking standardized grades (though my teacher claims I'm a better reader than most and it is improving slowly).
Posted by: itsahobbie

Re: passing level 5 - 01/03/13 09:14 AM

no i have a teacher. im on my third. my first was pretty good. a bit crazy and into this thing with wrist turn rather than finger movement. then i moved and took from this jazz guy but he wasnt great. now im taking from a very ggod teacher. classically trained at julliard and very low key. i go about once a month
Posted by: itsahobbie

Re: passing level 5 - 01/03/13 09:21 AM

my site resading is horrible but im trying to site read every day a song or 2 which really helps. that idea of tension is true . thanks i also heard keeping ur fingers closer to the keys helps spped and i think reducing tension and fingers close to keys is same thing because relaxing fingers and they sort of rest on the keys
Posted by: itsahobbie

Re: passing level 5 - 01/03/13 09:30 AM

i dont have my technique section memorized yet but working on that.memorization is another thing im not so good at. just so many weaknesses and i try not to get frustrated and just enjoy the process. i find that some practice sessions are great but some nights u just get frustrated and its not great...
Posted by: ZoeCalgary

Re: passing level 5 - 01/03/13 12:28 PM

Don't get down on yourself. It is a lot of work! On days things are not going well try to switch gears and play something just for fun. Or try choosing something very specific to work on for say 10 minutes and get that part to sound the best you can in that 10 minutes. It can be a scale or a measure or two of a piece that is giving you trouble. Focusing in on one thing like this will help you progress without worrying about everything at once and get you over your hurdle. It's amazing that 10 minutes would make a difference but it really does!

Good to hear you have a good teacher to work with. I think for exams that is important.

Last year when I was preparing for my grade4 exam I hit a spot where I got really stressed because all I did was exam material. This made me inadvertently focus on all my shortcomings and I started putting immense pressure on myself and I believe my playing and learning suffered greatly. I found I had to take a bit of a break and learn some pieces for fun again and just enjoy playing. After a few months I was more relaxed about the exam materials and learned to just take one day at a time. Now I'm sure to have other materials and pieces to work on to help keep things fun.

Yes it will take longer to be ready for the exam this way but I will learn more and enjoy the journey much more. Also sometimes you need time to let all the learning settle into your fingers and your mind.
Posted by: itsahobbie

Re: passing level 5 - 01/03/13 02:27 PM

great advise
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: passing level 5 - 01/03/13 03:18 PM

itsahobbie, best wishes preparing for your exam.
Posted by: Andy Platt

Re: passing level 5 - 01/03/13 08:07 PM

Originally Posted By: itsahobbie
i dont have my technique section memorized yet but working on that.memorization is another thing im not so good at. just so many weaknesses and i try not to get frustrated and just enjoy the process. i find that some practice sessions are great but some nights u just get frustrated and its not great...


Normally I don't memorize the (Czerny) etudes I work on but if I was going to get them ready for an exam I think I would. I'm OK with memorization but I prefer having the music there as a backup!
Posted by: Mae L

Re: passing level 5 - 01/05/13 02:45 AM

I am an adult learner and have been learning piano for 2 years 2 months. I'm preparing the Grade 5 exam too, same exam as yours. Have you chosen the repertoire yet? I found the etudes are easier... You may want to start from the grade 4 exam first. That's what I was advised to do when I began learning piano. Some of the grade 4 songs are very lovely. smile

Here are me practicing some of the grade 5 repertoire:
http://youtu.be/i3tHqsTyjkc (Serenade by W. Gillock)
http://youtu.be/rDkweja1_Vo (Beethoven sonatina in f major 1st movement)
Posted by: itsahobbie

Re: passing level 5 - 01/05/13 08:45 AM

im going the czerny etude and a popuular song as a substitute.. my funny valentine. wow ur progressinfg fast for the amount of time uve been playing
Posted by: itsahobbie

Re: passing level 5 - 01/05/13 08:52 AM

oh the repetoire. im at work so i'll try to remember. diabelli sonatina in g first movement. i think thats it . really pretty and not hard. then grandmother's song. its in the level 5 repetoire book and the baroque is the first song in that book. how old are you?
Posted by: Mae L

Re: passing level 5 - 01/05/13 11:17 AM

I am learning that czerny ├ętude too although i didnt choose it for the exam. It is not easy because it requires both hands moving two fingers at the same time throughout the entire score. It sounds v nice though.... Wow you have been playing piano for over 10 years. Good for you. It s a big blessing n gift that you can be so passionate on one thing for that long, regardless the results. I think you really enjoy the process of playing piano. Happiness is the most important.
Posted by: itsahobbie

Re: passing level 5 - 01/05/13 12:21 PM

everybody says dont worry about results. just play and results will come. but im getting a lil more serious. trying to play every day maybe a half hour or 45 minutes. i love the fact that the exam requires memorization. its great to have some memorized material. plus i never really ever did the technique like scales etc.wish i had
Posted by: Mae L

Re: passing level 5 - 01/05/13 01:12 PM

Yes, a bunch of scales in different patterns n chords for the exam. Starting from grade 5, dominant 7 chords Were introduced too. Also you need to take the basic rudiments exam too in order to get the g. 5 cert. But I've heard the basic rudiments is v simple and was suggested to skip it n take the intermediate level. ... Lots of things to do starting form g.5.... Let me know how it goes.
Posted by: qwert

Re: passing level 5 - 01/05/13 03:09 PM

Oh my God, Mae!
I watched your practice on YT - amazing!
You play really well AND your hands movements are really pro! I like that!

Well done!

Sorry for OT.
Posted by: Mae L

Re: passing level 5 - 01/05/13 03:47 PM

Thanks qwert! smile I need to polish the left hand though. It sounds a bit too strong now.... will play those chords more gently with some dynamics...
Posted by: qwert

Re: passing level 5 - 01/07/13 02:47 PM

That is interesting. Last time my teacher also told me that my left hand is too loud/strong. smile

Best wishes!
Posted by: Mae L

Re: passing level 5 - 01/08/13 10:19 AM

what song were you playing last time?
Posted by: qwert

Re: passing level 5 - 01/08/13 04:51 PM

That was "Raisins and Almonds". It has "mf" for right hand and "mp" for left.

I hope OP doesn't mind we use this thread for off topic discussion.