Tag Archives: Piano exams

When to apply for a piano exam

Apply for an exam when the student is ready.  Of course. But is this how we really operate? I know I usually do things backwards. We – teacher/student/parent – decide at the beginning of the year that we’ll plan on … Continue reading

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Viva la différence!

For teachers in Canada, there is a healthy, rich alternative to the ubiquitous exam system. Conservatory Canada is similar in the number of grades, theoretical subjects, general format, and credit in high schools. There are a number of striking differences … Continue reading

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30 seconds of terror

Time to Sight-Read on the exam. And get an easy 10 marks. Or not. You get about 30 seconds to look over the piece before starting. And once you start, you Just Don’t Stop. Forget about showing the examiner (or … Continue reading

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Okay. I’ll share my secret.

None of my students ever get the interval of a minor sixth wrong on the ear test portion of the exams. Ever. Forget the sappy Love Story tune. So not appealing to anyone under the age of 40. Maybe even … Continue reading

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You win some. You lose some.

Reflections after the student Christmas Recitals. Win some: Best comment from a parent: “I can’t keep her off the piano. In the middle of dinner she has to get up to play a piece before she finishes eating.” Lose some: This … Continue reading

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12 Most Written Comments on Exams

A number of years ago I went to a Conservatory Canada teacher workshop given by Ontario teacher and examiner Emily Dow. She presented the listening protocol used by examiners and left us with this useful list. I’m sure we’ll all … Continue reading

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A helpful parent

You know the situation. Good, musical student (about 10 years old) – parental involvement (both musicians) – everything should be progressing well, but you still end up saying the same things over and over and over again. Problem: a lack … Continue reading

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Please be kind

In at least one piano exam room this spring there will be a candidate who, in her fifties and after a hiatus of 30 years, is taking a piano exam for the first time. She has overcome cultural, linguistic, and … Continue reading

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Good Intermediate Teaching

This article by Kevin Coan appeared in the Files group of the Yahoo Teachers Group. It’s a very good, comprehensive list of objectives in teaching intermediate students – the weak link in piano teaching, as he says.  Here it is … Continue reading

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Keyboard Skills: Improvise, Harmonize, Compose, Transpose

Dr. Martha Baker-Jordan in Practical Piano Pedagogy calls this the “Black Hole” of piano teaching. These are functional keyboard skills that ideally every student should learn, but that many teachers either don’t know how to teach, or choose not to … Continue reading

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Keeping the Method Books in their Place

There are an almost overwhelming number of different method books available for teaching the beginning student. Discussion rages in some circles about the pros and cons of each method and its approach to reading; publishers market their own methods with … Continue reading

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My Thoughts on Examinations – Part 2

The Royal Conservatory of Music, which has been a Canadian institution for over 100 years, has made its way into the U.S. and other countries. The most recent “brand name” – the Achievement Program –  of the American version of … Continue reading

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