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 Post subject: Music exams
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 8:09 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2015 7:55 am
Posts: 16
Hi

I have lurked for a while but now plucked up courage to ask a question :?

Dc1 had a grade 3 music exam yesterday. Her piano accompanist was not her usual teacher and in the practice before the test went off on one and riffed on the jazzy piece she was playing, so my DC wasn't sure where to come in again. This affected her nerves badly. In the actual test, the accompanist didn't do anything quite so elaborate, but did play some notes differently (or wrongly) and again DC lost her place. She said she quickly got back on track, and she thought the rest of the test went ok, but she's naturally really upset that she's failed.

Would getting lost in a piece immediately fail you? DC has worked do hard and was hoping for at least a Merit .... Now she's worried she won't get anything. She had terrible trouble getting to sleep last night and looked dreadful going to school this morning. :cry:

Anyone know if she's automatically failed?


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 Post subject: Re: Music exams
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 3:12 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2008 3:02 pm
Posts: 297
Location: S E London
From my experience it highly unlikely that she has failed. The examiner will understand what happened, and the very fact that she got back on track and carried on will have worked in her favour. Plus there are 3 pieces and all the other tests that she will have scored marks for as well.

Just for future reference, it may be worth seeing if you can arrange a practice session with the accompanist prior to the actual exam date, so that DC and the accompanist can get used to each other, and then things like knowing when to come back in can be sorted out.


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 Post subject: Re: Music exams
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 3:47 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:01 pm
Posts: 6685
Location: Herts
You absolutely should arrange the practice at least one week beforehand so you can bail if you get someone as selfish as this one seems to have been.

You are hiring them to help and support your dd, not hinder her. We have gone through quite a few accompanists as some of them play too fast, too slowly, too loudly, you name it we have had them.

I really hope your dd managed to do well despite this setback. Did you get the person from the music school? It would be worth having a quiet word.... DG


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 Post subject: Re: Music exams
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 3:59 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
Posts: 11936
For higher grades we organised an accompanist and my DS practised a few times with her before the exam. Why did the teacher not accompany her?

The examiner is judging the playing and if the accompanist went wrong she will not be penalised for losing her place.

I would have a very strong word with the teacher - this is not what I would expect!


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 Post subject: Re: Music exams
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 4:50 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2015 7:55 am
Posts: 16
Thank you for your responses. My DCs teacher had an accident last weekwhich prevented him from playing, so he organised this accompanist for us, whose only free time was shortly before the exam. None of it was ideal.

I'm trying to show DC that sometimes life gets in the way. But, hopefully, she will have passed and can move on.

Roll on summer holidays :roll: :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: Music exams
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 4:58 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
Posts: 11936
You really need to practise before the day of the test ... and he could have picked a more supportive accompanist!


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 Post subject: Re: Music exams
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 5:56 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 09, 2007 2:09 pm
Posts: 875
Location: Solihull, West Midlands
The impact of accompanying can be seriously underrated. After initially allowing my children to go with the accompanists provided (at a cost) by the borough music service, over time I began to accompany them myself in exams, and really felt the benefits because of the number of additional practice sessions we could have. Knowing that other friends' children were not so fortunate as to have a tame pianist at home, I have also several times accompanied others (sometimes for an appropriate fee, other times just out of friendship) and would always try and have several practices, even attending the pupil's lesson with them (which really helps the teacher observe the ensemble, rather than them attempting often to play on a keyboard which is not their main instrument.)

Particularly at the higher grades, the ability to rehearse with an accompanist is a very useful skill to develop, and I do feel that by being a sympathetic and encouraging accompanist I have helped several children to produce better performances than they had thought they were capable of. It can be very difficult faced with an unfamiliar piano score to sightread (unless, unlike me, you are a seriously brilliant pianist!) but working together on a performance, and developing listening skills, is a vitally important part of what music is about.

I have high hopes for good results from an AS performance on the clarinet I accompanied this year with an initially very nervous child (daughter of friends) and am actually getting paid for some Grade 8 accompaniment next week!

But to answer the OP, they should not be penalised for recovering after an accompaniment which falls apart, although the impact on nerves in the rest of the exam is difficult...

Good luck to all with music exams this term!


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 Post subject: Re: Music exams
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 9:27 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 16, 2013 4:02 pm
Posts: 2149
Absolutely agree with solimum - I have a lot of experience in accompanying music exam candidates and you have to have at least one decent length practice beforehand, and be supportive and responsive to the player before and during the exam, especially if they make a mistake - you need to be there to support them musically and emotionally. You should never vary the accompaniment from what's written on the page as it could so easily put off the candidate.

An accompanist messing about like that really shouldn't make any difference to the exam result, but if you are still concerned I would ring ABRSM and explain the circumstances, and see what they say. Do it now before you get the result. As solimum says, it's not just the effect on the playing of the piece itself, but also on the supporting tests after that, specifically the sight reading and aural, where candidates need to be calm and focused to be able to do their best.

By the way, solimum, if you are accompanying a Grade 8, that means you are definitely a seriously brilliant pianist!


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 Post subject: Re: Music exams
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 9:32 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 16, 2013 4:02 pm
Posts: 2149
Sorry, obviously if it was a Trinity exam ring them, not ABRSM! I've had cause to ask questions about exams and candidates' needs/circumstances from both boards and they have generally been very helpful.


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 Post subject: Re: Music exams
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 9:53 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2015 7:55 am
Posts: 16
Thank you, Peridot. I will try and speak to my DCs teacher tomorrow (as he and the accompanist are friends, I believe) and see if he got any feedback. Depending on how that goes, I will certainly follow your advice and ring ABRSM.

I wish you and Solimum lived near me! :D


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