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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Her very first music theory test

The girl sat for her first music theory test on the first day of the school holidays. The test was held at a Secondary School at a place we were not familiar with. We had to drive there a few times to get it right so that we won't get lost on the day. Fortunately we did not get lost and we made it there on time.

I am not too happy that preparation for the test was rather rushed. I had to push her quite a bit too which I did not like. We skipped grade 1 tests but she did about 2 years of past year papers for it. 1 year of past papers consist of 4 papers, so that was about 8 in all.

The music teacher also bought her 5 years of Grade 2 past year papers to do. 5 years equals 20 papers in all! Plus she had to cover the syllabus very quickly. Nope, I did not like the pace at all. To me, music education should be fun, not more mugging, Chinese School style. Now, that I am aware of what it takes etc, I will be able to plan better next time and suggest to the music teacher on the direction and pace we prefer.

I also studied on my own using the internet as a resource. It helps me in my piano playing because I have never studied theory in detail before. It also helps me to help my girl.

The test was 1 and 1/2 hours long. Students were allowed to leave the room after 40 minutes. I thought that must have been distracting for the others who were still working on the paper. We saw students streaming out of the rooms one by one.

My girl, came out last. She said she was the very last person left behind with the examiner because she was too afraid to tell the examiner that she had finished and would like to leave. She said that she checked 2-3 times.

Perhaps next year she will sit for the practical exam. We plan to do practical/theory in alternate years so it won't be so taxing.

Both she and her brother loves to play the piano but like most kids, they don't like to practise very much. However, once you get them on the piano seat, they sometimes can't stop. I would really like to manage their music lessons well so that they won't grow tired, bored and even worse pressured by it so I never pressure them to practise.

Although the teacher suggest that they practise at least an hour each day (and reduced it to 15 minutes when she found that we could not make the 1 hour), I let them practise in their own pace. Sometimes when there is a lot of school work, they don't practise at all. Sometimes, they practise for an hour. Sometimes just 5 minutes or 10 minutes in several intervals spread out over the day, especially for the younger boy who has a shorter attention span.

The teacher sometimes gives them up to 6-7 new songs during the week. Sometimes if they find that overwhelming, I suggest that they practise only 1 song at one session and do another song the next time. I think that just like school lessons, parental support and guidance is very important for music lessons as well. If I leave them alone to practise on their own without any suggestions, usually they either get bored or fed-up or overwhelmed. By breaking it down into several sessions and smaller goals, they seem more motivated.


  1. I like to play the piano but I don't like taking the tests, especially practical test. That's why I gave up after grade 5.

  2. I too felt that I rushed Kimberly. When she first started her first piano class and her first theory class, it was on 15th of Dec and she took her first theory exam 3 months later in first week March. Actually, around 2 1/2 month to study a completely new thing. I too felt that I will pace her out more evenly the next time. Fortunately, she get quite a high merit, around 84 marks

  3. Lian,
    I did not have the opportunity to learn that is why I am learning only now and I enjoy it very much.

  4. Oh...good that they enjoy their piano. i think all kids dont like to practise but you are a good motivator.

    Hope this continues till grade 8.


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