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 Post subject: Music Theory - Tutor
PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 11:07 am 
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Joined: Sat Mar 06, 2010 11:39 pm
Posts: 2080
DD has been having violin lessons for a number of years and is keen to learn the theory too. Her violin teacher's husband has been teaching her theory for a couple of months free of charge as OH tutors his son (his idea, not ours).

The teacher means well, but his approach is making DD rather resentful and, tbh, I can see why. He sets her lots of homework (I think he's trying to get her to Grade 5 theory in 6 months :shock: ) and when she doesn't complete all of it, he tells her she ought to be getting up very early to practise / complete his homework. Apparently, he teaches girls at HBS and NLCS and DD is NOT going to be his first failure. I've asked OH to have a word and he has done so in his diplomatic way, but it's not working. I think OH is keen to prevent me from speaking to him as he knows I have a tendency to explode. He's also told DD that she is learning like a 'monkey', i.e. just copying without any understanding. She has started to defend herself, but my worry is that she will go off music completely. I want OH to tell him that he needs to work at her pace, not the pace he believes she is capable of, and that there is absolutely no need for her to reach that standard in that timescale. I also want him to say that he needs to find another way to motivate her. Ideally, I'd like to find someone else, but it could mean losing his wife as a teacher too (she's not a tyrant).

I think I know what the answer is, but I just need to know what other people's experiences are.

One more thing: if you think you know who this person is, please pm me. You might be able to help me see a positive side to this approach. I can't assume that DD has told me the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.


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 Post subject: Re: Music Theory - Tutor
PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 11:27 am 
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Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2006 1:21 am
Posts: 2125
DD's music centre expected her to go from having done almost no theory at all, to Grade 5, in a matter of months. She was really struggling with the lessons provided by our music centre as the teacher rushed through everything at express speed...quite why it was necessary to do it all in such a short space of time, I could never work out. I later found out that most candidates failed at first attempt and had to retake later. Anyway, to cut along story short, we did a bit of work at home using http://teoria.com/ and DD found that working through the exercises and tutorials at her own pace really helped. I worked with her and that's how I discovered that some of the material is really quite tricky! I'm not a complete novice musically, but some of the stuff on intervals (for example) is quite challenging and not the sort of thing you're likely to just pick up if feeling under pressure.

Anyway, in the event she went from "probably going to fail" to passing comfortably, with two marks short of a distinction! The exam was held in the late afternoon so she stayed home from school that day (can't remember what excuse we gave) for last-minute online revision and practice, which paid off. Unlike some exams, music theory (assuming it's Associated Board) allows plenty of time to complete the paper and there's ample opportunity to go back and check answers and pick up extra marks here and there. You'd be amazed how many don't bother checking, but I insisted DD did this and memories of 11+ were still fairly fresh in her mind at the time so she saw the point.

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Marylou


Last edited by Marylou on Sat Mar 22, 2014 11:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Music Theory - Tutor
PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 11:29 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 30, 2013 7:30 am
Posts: 2248
First thing to strike me, other than I think you are absolutely right to deal with this situation before it puts her off, is that does she need a tutor?
There are lots of ways of learning without a tutor, just a quick google has thrown this one up, and lots of others

https://www.udemy.com/learn-free-music-theory/

Or there are books that leads them through it like this one

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Music-Theory-Yo ... r+children

Sure they go up to different levels.

At least for the time being this will take the pressure off, let her work at her own pace and give you time to decide the best way to proceed.


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 Post subject: Re: Music Theory - Tutor
PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 11:34 am 
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Joined: Sat Mar 06, 2010 11:39 pm
Posts: 2080
Thank you, Marylou, that is so useful. I am a complete novice, so DD will like having a website to refer to. I wonder why there is this need to rush. DD is positive that she wants to take music at GCSE even though she's only in Year 7, so I don't want her to become disillusioned.


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 Post subject: Re: Music Theory - Tutor
PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 11:36 am 
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Joined: Sat Mar 06, 2010 11:39 pm
Posts: 2080
Thanks, Yamin, I will have a look, but I know nothing about music so DD will have to teach herself, possibly with a little help from her brother. He stopped at grade 5 last summer so I'm not sure how helpful he'll be.


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 Post subject: Re: Music Theory - Tutor
PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 11:43 am 
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Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 1:05 pm
Posts: 4024
Location: Reading
Not sure where you are based but I was given a reference to this from Tech camps, of all people a whole ago and bookmarked it for future reference.

http://www.soundscool.org

My DD has been learning piano for 9 months after doing keyboard for a year. She has no interest in doing grade exams at the moment, and I have no problems with that, neither does her teacher (he even called me a sensible mum for not pushing her to do exams when she isn't bothered about them). However she is showing a real interest in music and although just in year 7 thinks she might pick music as a GCSE.


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 Post subject: Re: Music Theory - Tutor
PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 11:52 am 
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Joined: Sat Mar 06, 2010 11:39 pm
Posts: 2080
Thanks, Tinkers. I'm hoping that these websites will give her some control. He told her last night that she wasn't an independent learner so this could help. DD is due to take grade 6 this year, but I've told her she doesn't have to and she said recently that she might just have lessons without doing the exams. I suppose she could do the same for the theory. She'd be more relaxed and he'd keep his 100% pass rate.


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 Post subject: Re: Music Theory - Tutor
PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 12:41 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 8:39 am
Posts: 109
Not sure of the age of your DD, but my two did their grade 5 theory in their Years 7 & 9 (they did it together). Each was planning to take a grade 6 practical exam, but neither had done any theory study before. During the summer holiday they did an intensive 5 half-day course (which seemed to involve eating a lot of sweets!), then between that time and the November, they completed a number of practice papers/practice books which the tutor marked from time to time. They then had a few extra hours of teaching. Their friend took the same approach from the same tutor a year later. Between them, they got a pass (the year 9), a merit (the year 7) and a distinction (the year 10). (They are all bright kids.) So it's perfectly possible to go from zero to grade 6 in about 6 months. Perhaps the trick is consumption of excessive amounts of sugar.


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 Post subject: Re: Music Theory - Tutor
PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 12:56 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 06, 2010 11:39 pm
Posts: 2080
:lol: She'd like that!


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 Post subject: Re: Music Theory - Tutor
PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 2:19 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
Posts: 11954
There is an alternative to taking grade 5 theory - it's to do the ABRSM jazz exam at grade 5 instead.

My DS loved this and not studying theory did not stop him getting a top grade at GCSE music.


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