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    So I'm going to be taking my Grade 6 practical piano exam in November and I'm kinda worried. I haven't got even one of my pieces to a good standard, still so many scales to do and very little time, especially when I get back to school in September, and I'll have mocks coming up. I would really like some advice such as :
    How much do I need to practise each day for Grade 6? (aiming for high merit/distinction 125+ marks)
    Any systems or techniques which will help me with pieces?
    I am really bad at aural in Grade 5 I got 13/18 which was pathetic, any advice to improve that for grade 6?
    Any personal stories?
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    What pieces have you chosen?

    1-1.5 hrs per day should be sufficient.

    Where do you struggle with aural?
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    I did my Grade 7 Piano recently right in the middle of my A2 exams. You can see it wasn't ideal and I struggled to put in time to practice my pieces and my pieces were still quite poorly played. I eventually managed to get a Pass (2 away from Merit) even tho I thought I didn't do nearly as much practice as I should have done with almost minimal practice. I'd say if you want a high Merit/Distinction, I think you can get away with a consistent 30 minutes of practice every single day. Go back to the very basics with the scales and use a metronome at a slow tempo for your pieces. Make your way up from there. It's better to be more technically accurate at a slower tempo than for it to be uncontrolled at a faster tempo. You've got until November; that's plenty of time!

    As for Aural, in the grand scheme of things, isn't very important. I would even say it gets slightly easier when you go to the higher grades especially if you dislike the singing elements as you get asked to listen to cadences and such which in my opinion is easier than some of the things they ask you to do at the slower grades.
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    (Original post by DeepInTheMeadow)
    So I'm going to be taking my Grade 6 practical piano exam in November and I'm kinda worried. I haven't got even one of my pieces to a good standard, still so many scales to do and very little time, especially when I get back to school in September, and I'll have mocks coming up. I would really like some advice such as :
    How much do I need to practise each day for Grade 6? (aiming for high merit/distinction 125+ marks)
    Any systems or techniques which will help me with pieces?
    I am really bad at aural in Grade 5 I got 13/18 which was pathetic, any advice to improve that for grade 6?
    Any personal stories?
    If you're aiming for such a high mark, you should really be getting your pieces to performance standard a few months prior to your exam. Record yourself playing each piece and listen to it back, see what you can improve on. I practised around 2 hours a day when I was doing my Grade 6 piano (and got a Merit, although I totally failed the sightreading).

    As for your aural test, this should help. It lets you try free tests.
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    (Original post by DeepInTheMeadow)
    So I'm going to be taking my Grade 6 practical piano exam in November and I'm kinda worried. I haven't got even one of my pieces to a good standard, still so many scales to do and very little time, especially when I get back to school in September, and I'll have mocks coming up. I would really like some advice such as :
    How much do I need to practise each day for Grade 6? (aiming for high merit/distinction 125+ marks)
    Any systems or techniques which will help me with pieces?
    I am really bad at aural in Grade 5 I got 13/18 which was pathetic, any advice to improve that for grade 6?
    Any personal stories?
    Relax and enjoy it.
    It is so much easier to learn a piece if you're enjoying the piece or you enjoy listening to it.
    The worst pieces I think I have ever played were for Swing band, they weren't as hard as some of the other pieces I've played but mentally I made out they were harder which made it harder for me to learn them.
    As for aural, just really practice. Try doing one in the morning and one in the evening every day, and do an extra 2 on the weekends. If you practice anything enough you will be able to do it.
    If you enjoy it also it feels less like a chore and more like fun, although I know it gets really boringly repetitive for a couple of months, but just like all exams think about afterwards. you'll be able to play what you want when you want and you'll be that bit more employable for having another grade in piano.
    Good Luck. Don't forget to tell us how it went.
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    (Original post by NeverLucky)
    As for Aural, in the grand scheme of things, isn't very important. I would even say it gets slightly easier when you go to the higher grades especially if you dislike the singing elements as you get asked to listen to cadences and such which in my opinion is easier than some of the things they ask you to do at the slower grades.
    Is this where you have to identify and sing the lower notes of a phrase?
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    (Original post by t s)
    Is this where you have to identify and sing the lower notes of a phrase?
    Yeah urgh I hated that part of it so badly hahaha and just about every singing part of Aural exams I've done as well. However, everything after that was quite straight-forward in my opinion. Recognising cadences and modulations etc. are really quite easy.
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    (Original post by t s)
    Is this where you have to identify and sing the lower notes of a phrase?
    Aural is where you have to (Up to grade 5) Listen to a short section of melody played on the piano and sing it back or blindly play it back in some circumstances (although they don't like that)

    Cadences are where the examiner plays two chords e.g. V and I and you tell them what type of cadence it is e.g. perfect, plagal, imperfect etc. I hate cadences, but at least you don't have to sing for that bit (you still have to sing for the first part you do the cadences as well as not instead of)
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    (Original post by BobSausage)
    Aural is where you have to (Up to grade 5) Listen to a short section of melody played on the piano and sing it back or blindly play it back in some circumstances (although they don't like that)

    Cadences are where the examiner plays two chords e.g. V and I and you tell them what type of cadence it is e.g. perfect, plagal, imperfect etc. I hate cadences, but at least you don't have to sing for that bit (you still have to sing for the first part you do the cadences as well as not instead of)
    Oh I was talking about the Grade 7 aural test - what's involved in this one?
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    (Original post by t s)
    Oh I was talking about the Grade 7 aural test - what's involved in this one?
    Have you completed your grade 7 ABRSM in an instrument then? I wasn't aware of that particular detail of the aural. I you are more informed than me I apologise for any confusion I may have caused you. Just ignore me.
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    (Original post by BobSausage)
    Have you completed your grade 7 ABRSM in an instrument then? I wasn't aware of that particular detail of the aural. I you are more informed than me I apologise for any confusion I may have caused you. Just ignore me.
    Yes that part of the aural exam is only in Grade 7 and 8. However, I think recognising cadences is part of Grade 6 but I'm not too certain.
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    (Original post by t s)
    No, I took Grade 6 last year (ABRSM), which means I am a Grade 7 now. If I wanted to become Grade 8, I'd have to take the Grade 7 exam.
    That's not the way I've been taught it works. I've always said I just passed grade X therefore I can play up to and at a grade X standard. So having passed grade 5 I would be grade 5 not grade 6. But IDK, ask someone who's passed more, or the ABRSM website.
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    (Original post by DeepInTheMeadow)
    So I'm going to be taking my Grade 6 practical piano exam in November and I'm kinda worried. I haven't got even one of my pieces to a good standard, still so many scales to do and very little time, especially when I get back to school in September, and I'll have mocks coming up. I would really like some advice such as :
    How much do I need to practise each day for Grade 6? (aiming for high merit/distinction 125+ marks)
    Any systems or techniques which will help me with pieces?
    I am really bad at aural in Grade 5 I got 13/18 which was pathetic, any advice to improve that for grade 6?
    Any personal stories?
    Teaching someone Grade 6 piano at the moment who's also going for November - she practises in a systematic way with learning each part of a piece because she's not that great at learning large chunks by just playing through. (Don't know what pieces you're doing but she's doing the 2015/2016 Syllabus - the Minuet & Trio, Erster Schmerz, Over the Rainbow).

    I'm guessing you have a teacher?

    For Aurals, do the listening tests online as already mentioned. If sight singing is a trouble, just get some music books out, play yourself the starting note and then try and sing your melody and then play it just to check youre doing it right. Good practice to get the Aurals book and then do some with a family member / teacher if that's possible.
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    Wow guys thanks for the wealth of advice. I will definitely make sure I get at least 30m each day, it's just when I find I only have 25 minutes or 30 minutes spare, I just don't bother :/

    (Original post by Kvothe the arcane)
    What pieces have you chosen?
    1-1.5 hrs per day should be sufficient.
    Where do you struggle with aural?
    Ok, so I've chosen the Sinfonia, the Mazurka and Over The Rainbow. I haven't got enough time in a day to have 1-1.5 hours sadly, just so many other commitments.

    (Original post by NeverLucky)
    I did my Grade 7 Piano recently right in the middle of my A2 exams. You can see it wasn't ideal and I struggled to put in time to practice my pieces and my pieces were still quite poorly played. I eventually managed to get a Pass (2 away from Merit) even tho I thought I didn't do nearly as much practice as I should have done with almost minimal practice. I'd say if you want a high Merit/Distinction, I think you can get away with a consistent 30 minutes of practice every single day. Go back to the very basics with the scales and use a metronome at a slow tempo for your pieces. Make your way up from there. It's better to be more technically accurate at a slower tempo than for it to be uncontrolled at a faster tempo. You've got until November; that's plenty of time!
    As for Aural, in the grand scheme of things, isn't very important. I would even say it gets slightly easier when you go to the higher grades especially if you dislike the singing elements as you get asked to listen to cadences and such which in my opinion is easier than some of the things they ask you to do at the slower grades.
    Wow to do it during A2!! That's really hard. Thank you for your advice, I will definitely give it a try.

    (Original post by t s)
    If you're aiming for such a high mark, you should really be getting your pieces to performance standard a few months prior to your exam. Record yourself playing each piece and listen to it back, see what you can improve on. I practised around 2 hours a day when I was doing my Grade 6 piano (and got a Merit, although I totally failed the sightreading).
    As for your aural test, this should help. It lets you try free tests.
    2 hours a day!! Man, ok now I'm worried :P Thank you for the link though!

    (Original post by hogree)
    Teaching someone Grade 6 piano at the moment who's also going for November - she practises in a systematic way with learning each part of a piece because she's not that great at learning large chunks by just playing through. (Don't know what pieces you're doing but she's doing the 2015/2016 Syllabus - the Minuet & Trio, Erster Schmerz, Over the Rainbow).

    I'm guessing you have a teacher?

    For Aurals, do the listening tests online as already mentioned. If sight singing is a trouble, just get some music books out, play yourself the starting note and then try and sing your melody and then play it just to check youre doing it right. Good practice to get the Aurals book and then do some with a family member / teacher if that's possible.
    I don't have a teacher at the moment, because I have a teacher from school, and of course it's the holidays. Thank you for your advice. I'm the same, I just need to be systematic.


    (Original post by BobSausage)
    Relax and enjoy it. It is so much easier to learn a piece if you're enjoying the piece or you enjoy listening to it. The worst pieces I think I have ever played were for Swing band, they weren't as hard as some of the other pieces I've played but mentally I made out they were harder which made it harder for me to learn them. As for aural, just really practice. Try doing one in the morning and one in the evening every day, and do an extra 2 on the weekends. If you practice anything enough you will be able to do it. If you enjoy it also it feels less like a chore and more like fun, although I know it gets really boringly repetitive for a couple of months, but just like all exams think about afterwards. you'll be able to play what you want when you want and you'll be that bit more employable for having another grade in piano. Good Luck. Don't forget to tell us how it went.
    Thank you for the motivation. I feel like I lack that most of the time. After Grade 6, I'm going to stop so I can focus on my GCSEs, not sure when I'll start grades again.


    So from all your advice, here are my steps, please feel free to comment or add:
    1. I have made a list of all my scales and a checklist where I have to play each piece, first just with no mistakes, then with a slow metronome, and speed up, then add shape, tone.
    2. I'm going to plan in at least 30 minutes (40 minutes on these holiday days), with a plan for each session, planning to tackle each piece 16 bars at a time.
    3. For Aural, I will get the book (and the sightreading one). I will go through the book with my teacher in September, when I get back to school. But also at home, I'll get free tests and extra sight reading from the internet, practise singing etc.
    4. Anything else guys?
 
 
 
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