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 Post subject: Music: DiplomaABRSM
PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 11:56 am 
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Joined: Thu Apr 04, 2013 10:39 am
Posts: 849
DS recently did the ARSM exam and is considering doing the DiplomaABRSM. The ARSM was a very good foundation for the recital and he would be okay for the quick study but he has no clue about how to prepare for the Viva Voce, other than to plough through entire reading lists and make all the musical connections relevant to his recital and programme notes. I was wondering if there is a slightly easier approach. For example, are there certain textbooks in the General, Performance Violin and Performance Chamber Music reading lists which may offer a gentler, but still relevant and useful, footing?


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 Post subject: Re: Music: DiplomaABRSM
PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 11:59 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
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I would have thought his teacher could advise.


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 Post subject: Re: Music: DiplomaABRSM
PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 12:04 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 04, 2013 10:39 am
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His teacher is outstanding when it comes to imparting guidance for the performance part but has never been that great for anything of a more academic nature. For example, I had to learn the basics of music myself so that I could help my then very young children prepare for the Grade 5 theory exams.


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 Post subject: Re: Music: DiplomaABRSM
PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 12:18 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 09, 2007 2:09 pm
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Location: Solihull, West Midlands
Is there a school music teacher who teaches A level? - is DS taking/planning to take A level as there is potential overlap with topics like sonata form etc. I guess they will be looking to ensure that the programme notes are the pupil's own work, and that they can talk around them and go into more detail

How old is DS and what instrument? Some editions of (eg) the Beethoven piano sonatas and Bach Preludes and fugues (which will be on any piano diploma list) have excellent performance notes - DS doesn't have to agree with them but should be able to justify his choice. Listen to recordings but don't try and copy them. Maybe have a reason (other than "I already had copies!") for the selection of repertoire - know about the composers, maybe have other pieces by the same composer to compare/contrast

Look at the current diploma syllabus online for guidance (it's ages since I looked, never got as far as taking the exam but learned some suitable pieces).


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 Post subject: Re: Music: DiplomaABRSM
PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 11:03 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 04, 2013 10:39 am
Posts: 849
Thanks for the reply, solimum.

DS is in Y10 and decided against doing GCSE Music so that rules out the A level. He does still contribute quite a lot to the musical life of the school and it seems a good idea to approach his Y9 music teacher.

He plays the violin and his violin teacher does offer guidance on musicality and he blends this with what he hears on recordings and his own style. I don't know for sure but, I don't think he pays much attention to the performance notes. I'll get him to read these and see how they compare to how he would play the pieces and why. Maybe a critical self-appraisal of his playing will help to think this through.

Now that the holidays have started, I'll also get him to read your post and the syllabus and hunt around on the ABRSM forum for further clues.


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 Post subject: Re: Music: DiplomaABRSM
PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 11:30 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
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You can do Music A level without the GCSE ..


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 Post subject: Re: Music: DiplomaABRSM
PostPosted: Thu Dec 21, 2017 8:42 am 
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Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2008 3:02 pm
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Location: S E London
At some schools, but most around here require GCSE. Those that still offer music A-level that is


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 Post subject: Re: Music: DiplomaABRSM
PostPosted: Thu Dec 21, 2017 9:29 am 
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Joined: Wed May 09, 2007 2:09 pm
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Location: Solihull, West Midlands
If he's a violinist does he play in any orchestra or ensembles outside the school - maybe a local youth orchestra? Our orchestra offers talented young players the chance to rehearse and perform a movement of a concerto with the orchestra - a qualitatively different experience from playing with an accompanist? Looking at the repertoire lists this would be possible with the Bach, Haydn or Mozart. In any case some understanding of the musical forms and related technical terms involved would I think be very helpful, and plenty of chances to play with a proper accompanist - in fact if you don't already have one it might be worth finding a pianist who could work with him on the performances AND provide the extra input for the viva voce. Not all piano teachers are necessarily brilliant accompanists but if you can find someone who has had their own piano diploma students they would be ideal - it's notable that piano teachers in general tend to do much more of the theory/aural training than other instrumental teachers (maybe because physically producing notes on the piano is easier at first so not so much time is taken up with technical aspects early on).

Alternatively if the school teach A level the teacher would surely be able to suggest a relevant textbook/website, and maybe some tutoring outside school. (I did a lot of that stuff at O level back in the day, but the current GCSE/A levels cover a much wider range of genres)

By Diploma standard players do benefit from a little more self-reflection and musical understanding rather than simple technical brilliance, so a wider experience of other repertoire is maybe something to consider to set the chosen pieces in context. DS2 took his piano DipABRSM during his A level year which meant quite a lot of overlap (and a lot of Beethoven echoing round the house!)

(I have just looked at the website and noticed that the ARSM you mentioned is a new post-grade 8 performance only qualification, which only started this year - interesting! My problem is I would be better at the written/spoken than the performance, being rather rusty and not dedicated enough to practice for hours at a time, whereas I can waffle on musical topics indefinitely! Ah well...)


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