ABRSM Piano Grade 8 - Distinction and Haydn Sonata in C Watch

BrightGirl
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I have a few little questions

For those of you who have done/doing grade 8, and Haydn's Sonata in C, I just can't get my fingers to do the trills fast enough. It's soooo annoying, because the notes just end up all squashed together :rolleyes: I keep practicing (well sort of), but I'll probably ask my teacher as I haven't had a lesson in ages cos of GCSE's. Did you just find with constant practice you could do it perfectly?

For every distinction, I'll get £500 and then less for merit and pass, and so obviously I'd really like to get one for grade 8 piano and cello (taking both at Christmas probably). How hard did you find it to get - did you consciously put in lots of effort or were you just one of those people who find music simple?

I wouldn't say I was awful, but considering i'm grade 7 in both instruments, i'm probably at quite a low standard for those grades :p: I haven't got a pass in any grades luckily (I got lots of distinctions at the early grades, but have somewhat gotten worse), but the piano grade 7 I did was a quite (well very) low merit ie. I scraped it :rolleyes: .
As for practice, I'm extreeeemely lazy, and will be lucky to do 15 mins per instrument per day - and absolutely none during GCSES. How much practice per day did you put in to get a distinction? I'm determined to do much more work over these summer holidays, but it's not something I enjoy THAT much, and for me it takes so much work for so little results

Thanks
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ArchedEdge
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15 mins a day for grade 8 really isn't enough. The pieces themselves played one after another probably add upto 15 mins! :p:

For the trills, play them slowly, and in dotted rhythms. Move the dotted rhythm around so that it goes from being, long/short/long to short/long/short, making sure you keep it sharp and precise. That should help you get it into time and upto speed.

And I used to dislike practising piano, but after a while I began to enjoy it. You need to find music which you genuinely enjoy playing, (for me it was jazz), and that'll help you appreciate playing the piano more afterwards. Hopefully. :p:
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anna_spanner89
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I did my grade 8 a longggg time ago, but as for triills i agree with the above, pratice the section over and over and over again, until you can do the fingering in your sleep

Again 15minutes is NOT enough, i personally did around 1.30hrs, 30 minutes on scales etc etc and then an hour on pieces, nearer the exam this increased, and included aural etc

I still loving playing, not as much anymore, but i got a distinction..which i was v.proud of as i'd got all merits/passes in grades 1-7!!
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studyboy
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(Original post by BrightGirl)
I have a few little questions

For those of you who have done/doing grade 8, and Haydn's Sonata in C, I just can't get my fingers to do the trills fast enough. It's soooo annoying, because the notes just end up all squashed together :rolleyes: I keep practicing (well sort of), but I'll probably ask my teacher as I haven't had a lesson in ages cos of GCSE's. Did you just find with constant practice you could do it perfectly?

For every distinction, I'll get £500 and then less for merit and pass, and so obviously I'd really like to get one for grade 8 piano and cello (taking both at Christmas probably). How hard did you find it to get - did you consciously put in lots of effort or were you just one of those people who find music simple?

I wouldn't say I was awful, but considering i'm grade 7 in both instruments, i'm probably at quite a low standard for those grades :p: I haven't got a pass in any grades luckily (I got lots of distinctions at the early grades, but have somewhat gotten worse), but the piano grade 7 I did was a quite (well very) low merit ie. I scraped it :rolleyes: .
As for practice, I'm extreeeemely lazy, and will be lucky to do 15 mins per instrument per day - and absolutely none during GCSES. How much practice per day did you put in to get a distinction? I'm determined to do much more work over these summer holidays, but it's not something I enjoy THAT much, and for me it takes so much work for so little results

Thanks
Saw your post and went straight to the shelf to get this score. For the trills, practice them slowly and gradually increase your speed as you practice. Play it a little faster day by day and you will experience the improvement. I did grade 8 for piano four years ago and I must say, I practiced everyday till the point where my teacher calls me to stop because everything is going haywire due to too much practice!

15 minutes is too little a time!! How many songs can you play in such a short period? Allocate a minimum of 45 minutes for your piano practice, and this is on the pieces only, excluding sight reading, scales and aural.

edited: After looking at the score again, I am surprised that you can't play the trills. Running notes are abundant in this sonata! :P
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BrightGirl
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Thanks so much for all your replies!
God I feel a little ashamed, my piano practice usually consists of a few scales:
eg. B major, minor, dim, dom and maybe major and minor arpeggios, and then...perhaps a couple of pages of a couple of pieces...:eek: Tis quite rare to play a whole piece through...:sleep: I often get quite bored.

Although I do enjoy the piano (sadly the same can't be said for the cello), I sort of mainly do it so I can put it on UCAS/CV's, and I also think it's absolutely lovely when people can play instruments, but I wouldn't say i'm that passionate about it really.

However, I shall now dedicate A WHOLE HOUR MINIMUM to each instrument during these summer hols! I am determined to get a distinction, and when I get a bit better I may post a vid for constructive critisism

Congrats for doing grade 8 all of you - it takes long enough!

xxx
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BrightGirl
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(Original post by studyboy)

edited: After looking at the score again, I am surprised that you can't play the trills. Running notes are abundant in this sonata! :P
It's not that I can't play it slowly, or at a 'moderate' speed, but once it gets fast I tend to fudge it up haha! Practice makes perfect I guess...:rolleyes:
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ArchedEdge
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(Original post by BrightGirl)
Congrats for doing grade 8 all of you - it takes long enough!

xxx
I'm doing it this Christmas :p:

And scales?

i don't bother with scales

I just go straight into it
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jellylegs08
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(Original post by BrightGirl)
Thanks so much for all your replies!
God I feel a little ashamed, my piano practice usually consists of a few scales:
eg. B major, minor, dim, dom and maybe major and minor arpeggios, and then...perhaps a couple of pages of a couple of pieces...:eek: Tis quite rare to play a whole piece through...:sleep: I often get quite bored.

Although I do enjoy the piano (sadly the same can't be said for the cello), I sort of mainly do it so I can put it on UCAS/CV's, and I also think it's absolutely lovely when people can play instruments, but I wouldn't say i'm that passionate about it really.

However, I shall now dedicate A WHOLE HOUR MINIMUM to each instrument during these summer hols! I am determined to get a distinction, and when I get a bit better I may post a vid for constructive critisism

Congrats for doing grade 8 all of you - it takes long enough!

xxx
Although it's good to do one hour a day (especially if you've been doing 15 min. a day so far) :P the way in which you practice is really important too. i think it's much better to do say, 30 min. and really focus on polishing up your pieces, sight reading, aural tests, scales and arpeggios instead of just mindlessly playing pieces over and over again while you're thinking about something completely different. In extreme cases, there's actually quite a big possibility that you might get worse since you may start "practising in" mistakes that creep in when you're not paying attention. (not saying that this is what you will do...but yeah. )

Also, with piano, you have to practise everyday to improve-there's no point in doing no practice for a week then trying to do 7 hours in one day in order to "catch up" on all the missed practice. It just doesn't work lol. Although I wished it did...

And with the trill in the Haydn, could it be possible that you're attempting to play it too fast? I know quite a few people who see the trill sign and then just try and play it as fast as possible even though it sounds absolutely fine, half the tempo. I think it's much better to play is slower and confidence than to rush and mess it up.

good luck for your grade 8!
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BrightGirl
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(Original post by jellylegs08)
Although it's good to do one hour a day (especially if you've been doing 15 min. a day so far) :P the way in which you practice is really important too. i think it's much better to do say, 30 min. and really focus on polishing up your pieces, sight reading, aural tests, scales and arpeggios instead of just mindlessly playing pieces over and over again while you're thinking about something completely different. In extreme cases, there's actually quite a big possibility that you might get worse since you may start "practising in" mistakes that creep in when you're not paying attention. (not saying that this is what you will do...but yeah. )

Also, with piano, you have to practise everyday to improve-there's no point in doing no practice for a week then trying to do 7 hours in one day in order to "catch up" on all the missed practice. It just doesn't work lol. Although I wished it did...

And with the trill in the Haydn, could it be possible that you're attempting to play it too fast? I know quite a few people who see the trill sign and then just try and play it as fast as possible even though it sounds absolutely fine, half the tempo. I think it's much better to play is slower and confidence than to rush and mess it up.

good luck for your grade 8!
LOL hit the nail on the head. :p:

I will def do it everyday, since i'm on hols and there is no excuse not to. I see my teacher every week, so she'll point out my mistakes should I keep repeating them hehe. :rolleyes:

I don't think i'm playing it too fast, I just can't get my fingers to work quickly! I'll start slowly and build it up gradually I think.


(Original post by ArchedEdge)
I'm doing it this Christmas :p:

And scales?

i don't bother with scales

I just go straight into it
Ohh, well good luck for that
Ah I always do scales, I need to do brill on them in the exam as I know i'll lose marks on aurals.:rolleyes:
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jellylegs08
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^ lol, don't worry, most pianists do tend to daydream when practising- but you seem pretty determined to get that distinction lol, so i think you'll be fine.
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Jiblet
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By the end of my grade 8 I hated this piece! It's a nice enough piece just it just drove me barmey by the end of it.

The trills and turns got me every time, but you just have to keep practicing them. Dotted rhythms were mentioned above (ArchedEdge) and that is a great idea. This type of practicing really helped me. Also, don't forget to prtactice scales first, this warms up your fingers and makes them supple.
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BrightGirl
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(Original post by Jiblet)
By the end of my grade 8 I hated this piece! It's a nice enough piece just it just drove me barmey by the end of it.

The trills and turns got me every time, but you just have to keep practicing them. Dotted rhythms were mentioned above (ArchedEdge) and that is a great idea. This type of practicing really helped me. Also, don't forget to prtactice scales first, this warms up your fingers and makes them supple.
:eek: I love this piece! I've been doing all three of my grade pieces for aaaages, but I don't dislike them at all yet oddly. I think it's because the Haydn's not particularly difficult compared to some of the other choices, and I think it's very pretty.
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ArchedEdge
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(Original post by BrightGirl)
:eek: I love this piece! I've been doing all three of my grade pieces for aaaages, but I don't dislike them at all yet oddly. I think it's because the Haydn's not particularly difficult compared to some of the other choices, and I think it's very pretty.
It's definitely not that difficult, but it's long and requires rhythm and stamina to keep all the trills going at a steady speed.

I still have yet to pick my list A and C pieces

The list really isn't that nice this year...there's some really nice stuff like the Chopin Nocturne and the Liszt Puppet thing, but loads of people are doing that, so I'm not sure I want to do it because it'll end up getting boring for the examiner.

For some reason I thought you didn't have to do scales at grade 8 I was thinking about diplomas Scales and sight-reading I'm pretty good at though, aurals I need loootss of work :p:
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Trirarien
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Are you sure taking both piano and cello Grade 8 at the same time is a good idea? I know how hard I practised for my Grade 8 and I definitely wouldn't have had time to fit in practise for anything else at the same time! You might want to consider doing say, one at Christmas and one at Easter to take off the pressure.

Grade 8 isn't easy by any measure, I practised hard for Grade 8 than for all my other exams (including A Levels and Violin and Singing) put together and I failed first time around. I was absolutely devastated but it was great motivation to practise even harder for the retake and although I didn't even get a merit (high pass) I'm still so proud of myself for doing it. I'm not naturally gifted at music and had to work really hard for it - when it paid off - AMAZING!!! And also I didn't get sick of my pieces, they are actually some of my favourites because they're the only ones I've ever played so well!
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BrightGirl
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(Original post by ArchedEdge)
It's definitely not that difficult, but it's long and requires rhythm and stamina to keep all the trills going at a steady speed.

I still have yet to pick my list A and C pieces

The list really isn't that nice this year...there's some really nice stuff like the Chopin Nocturne and the Liszt Puppet thing, but loads of people are doing that, so I'm not sure I want to do it because it'll end up getting boring for the examiner.

For some reason I thought you didn't have to do scales at grade 8 I was thinking about diplomas Scales and sight-reading I'm pretty good at though, aurals I need loootss of work :p:
Ooh, I picked the Nocturne, because I think it's such a great piece and I love it.
In the end just pick which ever one you like the best regardless of how many others have chosen it - I think having a piece that you enjoy means you'll play it much better, and at grade 8 it's worth picking things you'll like. And besides, the examiner will still mark you the same even if it's a popular one, and the Nocturne played beautifully will get higher marks than perhaps one of the very unusual ones with a few mistakes.
And also I think it's one of the easier pieces :p:

For A I picked the Shostakovich one (sp?), and it may be my favourite out of all of them cos it's just so beautiful. I've only done the prelude so far though, and my teacher says the fugue is really hard :rolleyes: but i'm gonna stick with it because it's such great music.

I agree though, out of allllll the grade 8 choices, I only really liked the 3 that I chose luckily, but other than those there's not much choice. :rolleyes:

Lol how can you forget about scales?! :p: There's soooo many, but I spose it's kind of ok cos there are only a few more than grade 7.
Argh I hate aurals, I can't sing at all! I especially hate the end bit though where they ask you about your pieces/time periods etc - in my grade 7 exam I couldn't even name a romantic composer :eek:
Hopefully after doing music GCSE it'll be ok though :rolleyes:
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Angelil
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You get money on a sliding scale according to what result you get? Nice to see you do it for the love of it :rolleyes:
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helen_11
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It took me a while to do my Grade 7 piano, and I was so worried about the exam because I know I hadn't practised enough, especially on the aural and sight-reading side (which I did terribly on), but I managed to pass, and 2 marks away from merit which I was pretty pleased with. I did manic practising for about a week about 2/3 hours a day.
Haven't really got the motivation to go on and do grade 8 to be honest, I enjoy playing it but I won't have time to play when I go to uni. I suppose I just enjoy playing pieces I want to play instead of set pieces.
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BrightGirl
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(Original post by Trirarien)
Are you sure taking both piano and cello Grade 8 at the same time is a good idea? I know how hard I practised for my Grade 8 and I definitely wouldn't have had time to fit in practise for anything else at the same time! You might want to consider doing say, one at Christmas and one at Easter to take off the pressure.

Grade 8 isn't easy by any measure, I practised hard for Grade 8 than for all my other exams (including A Levels and Violin and Singing) put together and I failed first time around. I was absolutely devastated but it was great motivation to practise even harder for the retake and although I didn't even get a merit (high pass) I'm still so proud of myself for doing it. I'm not naturally gifted at music and had to work really hard for it - when it paid off - AMAZING!!! And also I didn't get sick of my pieces, they are actually some of my favourites because they're the only ones I've ever played so well!
Ohh i'm ok with doing them at the same time, I've been doing both of them for so long it's not really a problem. Besides, i've been putting off doing cello grade 8 for about 6 months :rolleyes: (I was going to do it this term but decided not to cos of GCSEs), and I want to get it over and done with.

I know, it's great when you can play pieces over and over without getting annoyed with them - I do love my piano ones, but absolutely hate the cello pieces. They just get on my nerves so much...and i've been doing them for aaaages...and i'm so screechy when it goes all high...ARGH! :mad:

But anyway, congrats on getting grade 8
I'll need to put in a lot of work over the summer, but hopefully it'll pay off
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xxlawyergirlxx
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I'm doing this piece too! Except my exam is in a few weeks :O I really need to motivate myself to practice more, but it's really more the aural that is the problem, I'm terrible at it! Oh well good luck anyways
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BrightGirl
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(Original post by Angelil)
You get money on a sliding scale according to what result you get? Nice to see you do it for the love of it :rolleyes:
Haha yeah, it's just sort of something i've done since I was little and it's mainly my mum who's pushed me to do it since all my family's really musical. It's not in an over bearing pushy parent type of way though! I'm quite glad i'm doing it as I know it's a good achievement, but I need a little incentive sometimes cos it's not really my faaavourite thing in the world :rolleyes:

(Original post by helen_11)
It took me a while to do my Grade 7 piano, and I was so worried about the exam because I know I hadn't practised enough, especially on the aural and sight-reading side (which I did terribly on), but I managed to pass, and 2 marks away from merit which I was pretty pleased with. I did manic practising for about a week about 2/3 hours a day.
Haven't really got the motivation to go on and do grade 8 to be honest, I enjoy playing it but I won't have time to play when I go to uni. I suppose I just enjoy playing pieces I want to play instead of set pieces.
Well done! Grade 7 piano took me ages too. :p:
Ohh i'm quite the opposite I think, I like to know i'm working towards a result - doing random pieces makes me feel like i'm wasting time. But probably in a few years when i'm older i'll enjoy just picking up music and playing.

(Original post by xxlawyergirlxx)
I'm doing this piece too! Except my exam is in a few weeks :O I really need to motivate myself to practice more, but it's really more the aural that is the problem, I'm terrible at it! Oh well good luck anyways
It's a nice piece isn't it! Eek that's soon, good luck for it, and I know what you mean about the aural - i'm rubbish at them, I need to do sooo much more practice.
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