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PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2015 5:22 pm 
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DC's violin teacher has told me that the pieces in the new Grade 8 violin syllabus are harder than in the current syllabus and DC should take the exam in March 2016, with the current syllabus. I'm less than thrilled about this. Are any forum members music teachers who've looked at the new syllabus and could give an informed opinion?

nyr


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2015 5:23 pm 
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What is your concern? March is a good time to sit as it gets in out of the way before summer exams. There's nine months to prepare which is plenty.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2015 5:32 pm 
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DC is 10 years old and she'll sit 11+ exams in September and January, either 2nd stage for a grammar and failing that then for independents. I'm very reluctant to pile any more pressure on her and I've explained this to her music teacher.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2015 8:16 pm 
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Without knowing about the changes in the music exam I would say that you know your child best and if you feel they would be better off without the added pressure during 11+ then you should stick to your guns.
Does it matter if she takes a bit longer to get to grade 8 because of harder pieces to master?


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2015 3:52 pm 
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Try looking at the ABRSM viva strings forum. There is a wealth of information on there, including discussion on the new syllabus. There are also plenty of people more than qualified to give an informed opinion.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2015 10:18 am 
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Location: Solihull, West Midlands
If she's already approaching Grade 8 at age 10 she definitely has time to take a break, maybe learn some repertoire that is not on any syllabus rather than racing through the grades.

Actually just having had a quick look (and I am not a violin teacher, just a long-standing amateur player)

Both the syllabuses (syllabi??) have movements from Bach concertos - which any self-respecting violinist would want to tackle at some point,
Both have movements from Beethoven "Spring" sonata - another standard

I would suggest getting some of these pieces as "full works" rather than simply the selected movements in the exam syllabus - likewise some Brahms, Elgar etc. These can be worked on over a longer period

Get the Bach unaccompanied Sonatas/Partitas - a lifetime's work

get the Bach double violin concerto and learn to play it with the teacher - both parts!

Get "Schindler's List" anyway

Maybe get some folk fiddle or jazz for a change of genre

Get (from second-hand music shops possibly) copies of some of the great romantic concertos (Mendelssohn, Bruch) with piano accompaniment, and have some fun (if you have a tame pianist at home to accompany)

Join a local orchestra ( is she already in one of the national children's orchestras?). Playing in ensembles is a very different, but valuable skill.

Honestly I can't see that the new syllabus is necessarily "harder" (though they may have changed other things in the aural/scales) - but in any case she is so far ahead of where even those who may go onto music college need to be at this stage that she has no need to be pushed into taking any more exams in a hurry, perhaps just because the teacher is familiar with the older syllabus. Music is for life, not just for exams, however useful they may be as a marker


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2015 3:18 pm 
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Thanks for all the suggestions.

During term-time DD plays in a school orchestra and a Saturday orchestra. With her brother, a few times she's taken part in holiday music "camps" run by a local music teacher. These camps are usually 4 mornings in 1 week. My feeling is that NCO wouldn't really suit her as she's very shy and I'd hate to think of the loneliness she might experience while away from home with adults and children she doesn't know.

From what I can tell the aural and scale requirements haven't changed, so the teacher's comments seem to be just about the pieces. I'm not a musician so I usually just go along with what she suggests but I do agree that there is no rush and I'm really quite unhappy with the idea of DD doing Grade 8 so soon after her other exams. Sometimes I find it difficult to tell the teacher what I want, especially since DD is always happy to follow the path suggested by the teacher. I will browse the ABRSM forum for opinions on the new syllabus and I'll also suggest to the teacher the pieces solimum has listed above.

nyr


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2015 5:14 pm 
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Location: Solihull, West Midlands
Some of the pieces I've mentioned are challenging, long-term, at G8 and well above, but it will help her to start thinking of music as more than just "exam pieces" to be conquered. The G8 syllabus (old and new) is a good starting point - but there is so much more out there! Has she been to any professional concerts locally?


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2015 12:20 pm 
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She's been to a few performances at our local proms and FunHarmonics at the RFH. She also heard Nicola Benedetti about 5 years ago but she was so young that I'm sure it didn't mean anything to her. I guess we have to broaden her musical experiences.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2015 12:31 pm 
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http://www.feastoffiddles.co.uk/news.htm

You've missed this year's tour but this is something worth looking out for in 2016. There are some great 'fiddlers' in folk rock too which broadens the type of music she will experience.


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