Macclesfield and Congleton Piano Exams
Every body who I teach in Macclesfield and Congleton should now have done their piano grade exams. The length of time for me to receive the results can vary but often this is two to three weeks after the exam and so I hope to be able to give you your results before christmas.
For children first starting to have piano lessons it is usual to be ready for Grade 1 after around two years of lessons and for adults after around one year of lessons but this is totally dependent on your practice time and based roughly on twenty to thirty minutes a day practice. The piano grades can be useful in helping you to structure your learning of piano, to know your level, an enjoyable challenge, to receive feedback from the examiner and also the discipline and commitment of learning the three pieces to a high standard along with performing the scales and imporivng your sight-reading and listening skills.
After the Grade 5 practical exam (with ABRSM) you will need a Grade 5 Theory exam/certificate to then continute with the practical grades 6 through to Grade 8. As well as allowing you to continue with the practical exams the theory will also help you with GCSE and A level music you may be studying at school. It will also help with your general musicianship such as recognising the 24 keys, intervals and chord recognition etc.
How Often Should I Take a Piano Lesson
We are what we repeatedly do! - Aristotle
Having one piano lesson a week is optimal for making progress with the piano. A weekly lesson will push you forwards into another week of practice and as well as keeping you motivated it will fix any issues you may be having before they become too ingrained.
Learning the piano takes hard work and dedication and a typical lesson will cover the latest piece of music you are working on as well as sight-reading, scales and aural awareness. By doing this each week you will find progress will naturally evolve and what you have been shown in the lesson will stay fresh in your mind as you go through the week.
Taking a lesson every two weeks isn't optimal but for some adults who are particularly busy this might be their only option. Progress can still be made but a higher level of motivation to practice will be needed as there may be more difficulties in retaining the information that has been shown in the lesson. It is worth remembering that with a fortnightly piano lesson there are various national holidays thoughout the year which can turn the two weeks into three or even four weeks. For children and particularly very young children then a weekly lesson is essential, this is needed to develop the note reading, the motor skills and finger dexterity needed for playing the piano.
There is a lot to learn with the piano and so this can't be done with an app or Youtube - it is important to build a solid foundation with technique and posture which your piano lessons will help you to achieve.
Paul always works locally in Macclesfield, Wilmslow and Congleton and so your weekly piano lesson can always be accomodated.
I have now collected all payments for the graded piano exams and all students should now know what date there exam will be on. The actual time of day for the grades is information I will be given over the following weeks.
With the ABRSM exams the total marks available are 150 with
100 marks needed to pass the grade
120 marks needed to gain a merit
130 marks needed to gain a distinction
The breakdown of the 150 marks in each grade is
A piece - 30 marks available
B piece - 30 marks available
c piece - 30 marks available
Scales and arpeggios - 21 marks available
aural - 18 marks available
sight-reading - 21 marks available
As your piano teacher I will always give you feedback on how you are progessing with each of these individual sections in your lesson time - and one of the benefits to doing a piano exam is that you will also be receiving feedback from an examiner, and rememeber that the examiner wants you to do well in both your graded exam and also with your future piano studies. Enjoy the experience and good luck!
Music Theory Exams
As many may now know the sitting of the theory exams grades I-V has now changed. The theory exams are now being offered as an 'On Demand' service. This means they can be booked and taken at any time that suits you. You can take these graded exams from your own computer which means you will need an internet connection and a webcam. The candidate will still be working under exam conditions using proctoring software and so the student will be recorded for the duration of the exam and these recordings will be reviewed by proctors.
There are some minor changes that come with this new style of exam (mainly the naming of cadences is now needed and the number of musical terms/signs has been diminished) and the total mark available is now 75 (rather than a 100) needing 50 for a pass, 60 for a merit and 65 marks for a distinction.
With the ABRSM a Grade 5 Theory is needed to be able to sit the grades 6,7,8 practical exams. A greater understanding of music theory will help you become a more literate musician, give you further insight into different composition techniques and will also take the randomness away from the notation/reading of music which will be a great help for your sight-reading.
For more information please ask Paul in your piano lesson.
Piano Grade Exams
The piano grade exams will soon be here. Everyone sitting a grade this time round will now be well underway practising their scales and pieces. The booking for the exams opens at the end of this month so I will be asking for the fees over the next week. The exams will be from the 8th November to 11th December - please note I will only be given your actual day/time 2 weeks before the grade.
Any questions please speak to me in your lesson and keep practising :-)