\"\"
Piano Forum logo

Should I allow pupil to move onto gr6 after failing gr5?! (Read 4726 times)

Offline meredith0392

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 2
Should I allow pupil to move onto gr6 after failing gr5?!
« on: December 30, 2013, 11:04:42 PM »
I have been teaching a 16yr old for a year after she had an appalling teacher prior to me- she can barely read sheet music, doesn't know any music theory whatsoever, and memorises everything. She pushes herself into exams and has pushy parents too. She wanted to go for her grade 5 practical exam so I prepared her as much as possible and put her in for it, and due to little practice and nerves, she failed. She really wants her grade 6 exam within the next 6 months. Should I allow her to take her grade 6 or say that will be too difficult if she can't even manage grade 5? I only found out recently she also failed grade 4 with the previous teacher!
I don't think it is fair to allow somebody to continue moving up the scale and gain a musical qualification when they don't even know as much as my 5 yr old beginner pupils know after one months worth of lessons!

Offline Bob

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 16054
Re: Should I allow pupil to move onto gr6 after failing gr5?!
«Reply #1 on: December 30, 2013, 11:24:23 PM »
Why not let her make the choice?  Explain what you see.  It doesn't quite make sense to do 6 if you can't do 5. 

If she wants it, it's incentive to practice. 

If she decides to go with a lower level, you're off the hook.  You didn't prevent her from doing anything. 


And then if she gets 6, great. If not, you warned her.  If she goes for and gets a lower level, great.
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline kevin69

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 157
Re: Should I allow pupil to move onto gr6 after failing gr5?!
«Reply #2 on: December 31, 2013, 03:19:30 AM »
She failed grade 4.
She failed grade 5.

Why does she expect to be able to pass grade 6 in 6 months time?

Alternatively, if she doesn't care about passing, why not just fail grade 8 now and get it over with?

If she really cares about exams, take and pass grade 4.
If she doesn't care about passing exams, stop preparing for them and just grow her repertoire.

Offline tillyfloss

  • PS Silver Member
  • Newbie
  • ***
  • Posts: 17
Re: Should I allow pupil to move onto gr6 after failing gr5?!
«Reply #3 on: January 01, 2014, 05:09:24 PM »
No! Put your foot down.
It makes a mockery of the exam system; or rather it makes a mockery of you as a teacher. The exam system will remain as rigorous as ever, and will in all likelihood fail her but you will have spent  a hel*ish 6 months trying to help her bluff the system.

Is this ABRSM? If so, not only will she have to have passed her grade 5 theory before taking grade 6 practical anyway, but the marking criteria for the higher grades is more stringent. (The criteria can be found on their website).

My suspicion is that the teacher before you wasn't appalling at all. Rather that he/she was used in the same way that you are being used now. Did you truly consider the girl a genuine grade 5 standard of player when you entered her? (Clearly not when you say your 5 year olds are more musically knowledgeable!)

This makes me rather cross. I seem to be coming up against more and more students and their parents who are pushing for certificates without caring about the music. Ultimately it undermines all the hard work that genuine students put in in order to qualify. (I know - the value of certification is a whole other thread; but pandering to this sort of behaviour does no-one any favours).



Offline meredith0392

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 2
Re: Should I allow pupil to move onto gr6 after failing gr5?!
«Reply #4 on: January 01, 2014, 10:50:16 PM »
I agree with what you are saying; thanks for all your opinions. After hearing what the previous teacher was like- e.g telling the.pupil to listen to the pieces online and 'just copy what they sound like'- i would say they were an appaling teacher who has set the pupil off on a bad foot from the very start. She could play the pieces from memory and had the capability to pass the exam, but nerves played their part, and through the aural tests and questions i expect the examiner knew she had little genuine knowledge.
It is the london college of music examining board, but she indeed will need her gr 5 theory, which is also wants to rush through.
I feel like completely giving up with this pupil- she doesnt want to learn properly, has no passion for much, just wants the ucas points from the exam to contribute to her uni points!!

Offline tillyfloss

  • PS Silver Member
  • Newbie
  • ***
  • Posts: 17
Re: Should I allow pupil to move onto gr6 after failing gr5?!
«Reply #5 on: January 02, 2014, 03:44:03 PM »
You could start preparing for Gr5 theory as soon as lessons begin again after the holiday. You're going to have to start with Grade 1 material by the sound of it anyway, so she will only cover the ground needed in time by doing a LOT of weekly theory homework.  I also insist that they complete a number of past exam papers and gain a consistent pass mark before they are entered. I would want a resit of Grade 5 practical too (if not Gr4). It's easier for them to understand what is required for a theory pass. There's a right or wrong answer at this level. However, it's harder for them to get their head around the rather more subjective appraisal of a performance pass. If they've got the right notes in the right order most of the time...they often think that's enough. (Make sure you go through the comments sheet with her).

If she does the theory work, it will help you to prepare her for any other graded exams she wants to take at a later date. Hopefully she'll also begin to recognise that there's more to music than pressing a few keys.

By the way higher grade theory exams also attract UCAS points. So she could do Grades 6 7 8 theory in relatively quick succession if she's prepared to do the work. That might keep her and her parents content while you work on her piano skills.

Good luck!

Offline chopinfrederic

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 77
Re: Should I allow pupil to move onto gr6 after failing gr5?!
«Reply #6 on: February 06, 2014, 11:46:12 AM »
No, DON'T! She'll definitely fail again! You'd better teach her until she's fully prepared for another grade 5 test.

Offline pianoplayer51

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 150
Re: Should I allow pupil to move onto gr6 after failing gr5?!
«Reply #7 on: February 19, 2014, 01:24:18 AM »
I have taken grades 1 2 and 3.  I obviously passed them so I am studying for grade 4.   If I fail I would redo it as soon as possible.    Why on earth would I want to take the next grade up if I did not pass the grade 4?   That to me does not sound logical.   If i fail grade 4 then how on earth would I be expected to pass the higher grade when obviously the work is harder.

Offline anima55

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 50
Re: Should I allow pupil to move onto gr6 after failing gr5?!
«Reply #8 on: February 23, 2014, 08:58:01 PM »
If this student has failed grade 4 and 5, why on earth would you even consider putting them in for Grade 6, pushy parents or not!  Does this student have a weird belief that just by entering for an exam they must therefore be the standard of the grade regardless of whether they pass or fail?  It's like saying, I'm grade 6 standard now because I was able to open the book and practice the exam pieces! 

My advice would be to put your foot down to this student and take control!  If they had failed only Grade 4 or only grade 5 then maybe they could pass Grade 6.  But if they have failed BOTH of them, they obviously weren't up to the required standard, suggesting that the very same thing could easily happen again.

If this was one of my own students, with two failed exams behind them, I would insist they retake the last failed exam before moving forwards.