ABRSM for any adult beginners here?

Posted by: Ezra

ABRSM for any adult beginners here? - 01/30/13 11:57 PM

Hi all. I got a late jump on piano in my 30s (I suspect like many of us Adult Beginners), and from basically *zero* prior lessons or playing piano (and I do mean Z-E-R-O) I began studying for ABRSM Grade 1 piano and also Grade 1 music theory. In 2009, after studying from point 0 for six months, I passed Piano Grade 1 (with Merit, I might add eek) and Music Theory Grade 1 (with Distinction smokin - hey, if I can;t brag here, where can I brag)? Of course, it took work, effort and practice.

After a couple years break (busy with work and family), I'm back at it planning for Piano Grade 2 in late 2013 (and also Theory Grade 2).

Wondering if any others on here (whether in US like me or elsewhere) have embarked down this road lately? I know there are a few there choices for "graded" levels in the states, but for now I'm simply going to stick with ABRSM.

One more point, tangential - my teacher is NOT too familiar with ABRSM. Nevertheless, he helped me through and I did quite well in Grade 1. I'm hoping same applies for Grade 2. Playing the repertoire pieces is not what had me worried, it's all the other stuff (aural skills, etc.) Thankfully, I live and work in NYC and my teacher is superb (also happens to be a professor at Julliard).

So - anyone else on ABRSM kick?

Ez
Posted by: Bobpickle

Re: ABRSM for any adult beginners here? - 01/31/13 12:25 AM

The structured nature of such programs is great for measured progress; just so long as students don't lose sight of why they're playing (and how it's not to simply pass exams).
Posted by: UK Paul UK

Re: ABRSM for any adult beginners here? - 01/31/13 02:42 AM

Hi! I am loosely doing the abrsm grades, will be 3 next for me.... sight reading is the biggest challenge for me :-D
Posted by: WiseBuff

Re: ABRSM for any adult beginners here? - 01/31/13 06:26 AM

Go for it, Ezra!! Congratulations on your success so far.

I'm working on the RCM levels (5) that are called the Achievement Program here. It provides a nice focus and milestone for progress. Besides I like gold stars and blue ribbons for achievement. 3hearts

I've had to work hard to catch up with theory and technical skills so it's taken longer than maybe some of the rest of you. I had never mastered the minor scales (I think I got bored working scales and quit at that point) nor had I made them all fast and smooth. Sight reading and intervals also needed attention. I can decode most any level but really sight reading is something I'm working on. The baroque and classical sightreading is more difficult for me than the contemporary music...

Anyway there are several people working through levels on the certificates and we cheer each other on.
Posted by: TigerRad

Re: ABRSM for any adult beginners here? - 01/31/13 10:25 AM

How would I go about doing this, assuming my teacher doesnt participate in these systems?

What are the differences between ABRSM and the RCM Achievement program?

It might be good for me to stay goal oriented and motivate myself with something like this.
Posted by: WiseBuff

Re: ABRSM for any adult beginners here? - 01/31/13 10:50 AM

There are some PW threads that compare the two systems if you run a search. Briefly, RCM has 10 levels to ABRSM's 8. RCM has more choice in repertoire. They're getting at the same competencies.
Posted by: neildradford

Re: ABRSM for any adult beginners here? - 01/31/13 05:15 PM

I started from zero playing piano a year ago, and sat grade 2 ABRSM in November last year, pass with merit.

Studying for grade 4 (probably not sitting grade 3 but doing the work needed for it) Hope maybe I can sit grade 4 at the later end of the year. Also done grade 1 theory (didn't sit the exam) and grade 2 theory (again not sitting the exam) but will probably sit grade 3 theory.

I like how much structure and a definite path sitting exams gives you, but equally for me, I feel it's just as important to learn pieces outside of the exams to broaden your repertoire.

I've just bought 6 books on sight reading training, taking you from grade 1 up to grade 3 sight reading (will buy the rest when I get there), this for me is a skill I'm so desperate to learn properly, hence why I've bought the books starting right at the beginning (grade 1).

Neil.
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: ABRSM for any adult beginners here? - 02/01/13 10:16 AM

Originally Posted By: WiseBuff
I'm working on the RCM levels (5) that are called the Achievement Program here.

Name has changed for the U.S. Now it's the Royal Conservatory Music Development Program.

Quote:
It provides a nice focus and milestone for progress. Besides I like gold stars and blue ribbons for achievement. 3hearts

I agree. I've just finished signing up: Level 1 Practical and Advanced Rudiments Theory (level 5). I'm sandbagging both exams a bit.

I can play more advanced than Level 1, but I'm nervous about memorizing, nervous about my first exam, and nervous about the clapbacks (and playbacks at higher levels). So I'm just starting at the beginning. Well, not entirely at the beginning: I am bravely skipping Preparatory A and B wink .

I feel like I know the theory material cold (except for some uncommon entries on the very long list of musical terms in three languages that they want you to know), but this is the required exam, so I'm taking it.
Posted by: WiseBuff

Re: ABRSM for any adult beginners here? - 02/18/13 06:37 PM

OK! I'm committed now to performing for the level 5 RCM in May (paid the $$). I've been working on my repertoire pieces and etudes. The scales are coming along pretty well. Sight reading depends on whether it is baroque or not. I read contemporary easier than Bach. I'm also doing the theory exam in May. Can't kill me...and perhaps it will mark a milestone in my view of myself as a musician.
Posted by: Michael_99

Re: ABRSM for any adult beginners here? - 02/18/13 07:30 PM

Bob,
Nicely said.
Posted by: 4evrBeginR

Re: ABRSM for any adult beginners here? - 02/19/13 12:32 AM

I am registered to sit for the RCM Grade 4 exam in late spring. I am preparing for sight reading and hearing tests, as I've completely slacked off on that. I'm a bit nervous on technical portions especially chords in minor keys. My pieces are pretty much ready. I have learned and gotten through almost every grade 4 repetoire and etude to my teacher's satisfaction, so it's time for the exam.
Posted by: 4evrBeginR

Re: ABRSM for any adult beginners here? - 02/19/13 12:44 AM

Originally Posted By: Bobpickle
The structured nature of such programs is great for measured progress; just so long as students don't lose sight of why they're playing (and how it's not to simply pass exams).


Yes agreed completely. However, if you do it in the right spirit, getting a certificate could be good to your self esteem, and boost your motivation as well.

For those who are already learning classical music, it is definitely a good tool for measuring one's progress, but like anything, you should be honest with the system and not try to pass base on tricks. Also, a series of passing exams is more meaningful than just one.
Posted by: ZoeCalgary

Re: ABRSM for any adult beginners here? - 02/19/13 08:15 AM

Hi I am preparing for grade 5 RCM exam. I haven't yet registered as I am not nearly ready. I am enjoying working through the repertoire and etudes. As I go I find the repertoire feels "easier" than it did a few months ago. Some of the pieces are really hard to get under my hands though. I am enjoying the process greatly.

Good luck to all those who have registered for an upcoming exam! I know how exciting it is to 1) be ready for such an exams and 2) get through it!
Posted by: itsahobbie

Re: ABRSM for any adult beginners here? - 02/21/13 11:23 AM

i to am getting ready for the level 5 exam. i ve been playing as an adult for a while but never took an exam. its a nice way to motivate onesself. the minor scales are tough for me to master/memorize but gradually seeing progress and working on my 3 pieces memorizing slowing. exam in MAY and will celebrate after. hoping to pass and then i will play some more level 5 repetoire and etudes and start level 6 technique!! sight reading i never much did so thats a challenge and the listening skills-- clapback and intervals omg i am terrible at those but slowly improving. itys about the process people!!
Posted by: WiseBuff

Re: ABRSM for any adult beginners here? - 02/22/13 07:30 AM

ZoeC and itahobbie,
Best of luck to both of you. I registered for the RCM Level 5 exam coming up in May too (now I'm committed). Taking the test is a milestone on what skills I can incorporate into my love for the piano. I may not get to the point of having no sheet music in front of me although the pieces are pretty close to memorized. I know that's points off (that I can't afford) but it would be worse to have a total blank on them.

Zoe, didn't you say that the tonic is the only chord sequence that we will be required to perform (with its inversions)?

Like you itsahobbie, the minor scales are more problematic for me too...wonder why? I get mixed up in which ones have 3 or 4 flats or sharps. Simple stuff. I've found a couple of websites that test the interval skills and that helps...I have to know a song with the specific interval and hear that when the interval is played. So I have to translate from interval to song to interval.

Help for intervals.
http://www.themelodymaster.com/interval.php
http://www.zebrakeys.com/resources/musictools/intervaleartrainer/

I'm planning to practice the whole sequence a few times for others. A colleague of mine at the university used to be an evaluator for ABRSM and he's going to listen to my pieces in April and I'm going to listen to his new repertoire.