AMEB Exams, Facebook, Practice Sins
Hi there Blitzers,
I've just been looking through the latest batch of AMEX Exams and I’m relieved to see that there were no major surprises!
There were lots of 'Is this the correct answer? Write "YES" or "NO"' type questions, throughout all the grades in both Theory and Musicianship. I think this is great as it really encourages the student to analyse what’s on the page.
There seemed to be a tiny glitch in the Grade 5 Musicianship paper, in the harmony section, where only two notes were bracketed instead of three. But hopefully most students will have done enough past papers and will have read the question so that this won’t be an issue.
The AMEB offered Music Craft Grades 5 and 6 for the first time in August. I plan to sit down and tackle these papers very soon. I must say they look rather daunting! I’ll keep you posted via my blog.
BlitzBooks on Facebook
We've just created a BlitzBooks Facebook - you can see it here. This is where I'll be adding links to useful music articles, AMEB news and product updates.
Please stop by and join us by clicking the 'Like' button at the top - it's the best way to stay informed on music happenings in Australia.
The Seven Deadly Practice Sins - Part 2
Last newsletter we covered the first 3 deadly sins (if you missed it you can read it here on the Blitz Blog) - in this newsletter we finish with the final 4 deadly practice sins.
4. No Availability
Is there actually enough time in the child’s week to learn a musical instrument? A really useful thing to do is to sit down with your child and write down his/her weekly timetable. Then decide which days and times the practice will take place. (Deciding on this together will greatly increase the chances that the routine will be followed!) There should be AT LEAST four opportunities during the week to do some practice. If a students’ week is so full of extra-curricular activities that you can’t fit in four practice sessions, this will certainly influence the rate of progress on their instrument.
5. No Structure
Practising means getting a piece to sound better at the end of the practice than it did at the beginning. Simply playing a piece through from beginning to end does not necessarily improve the way it sounds. Most children need to be taught how to practice – it’s not a skill that comes naturally. The teacher is the best person to give tips on this, but here are some useful practise strategies to get you going:
· Start with the hardest or newest pieces. Leave the more familiar pieces until the end.
· When fixing a certain passage, get it right 3 times IN A ROW before moving on.
· When attempting something hands together for the first time, try it at about half the speed you can do it hands separately.
6. No goals
For most children, there needs to be some point to practising. Whereas adults get a lot of intrinsic value from working hard and achieving something, children actually need EXTRINSIC value – that is, doing well in a performance or exam, receiving praise from an adult, or even just learning a certain amount of pieces per term and earning a tick on a chart for each.
Whilst music exams can be great goals to focus on, they don’t necessarily suit every child, and can sometimes end up being a very stressful experience. A concert for family and friends is often the best and most enjoyable goal for children to work towards. Inviting the rellies over for afternoon tea and playing a few pieces for them is a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
7. No support
Don’t mistake a lack of motivation to practice for a lack of wanting to play a musical instrument.
Many parents despair that their children won’t practice and what a shame it is that they simply don’t want to learn piano. The fact is that most children will baulk at practice when the time comes around, but it just takes a little cajoling from the parents (see Deadly Sin nos. 1 and 4) and the practice session usually goes just fine. As a teacher and parent myself I have had countless adults say to me “I wish my parents hadn’t let me give up piano!” I have never heard anyone say, “I wish my parents hadn’t made me keep going even when I wanted to give up. I can still play today and it’s really annoying!” There is much joy to be had from learning and playing piano and it is really up to us as parents to see the ‘big picture’ and support our children through those times when they are feeling negative about practice.
Once again, the most important thing for parents to remember is this: just because a child doesn’t want to practice, it doesn’t mean they don’t want to play a musical instrument.
To your music education,
PS: We hope you like our new monthly email newsletter. Let us know what you think (please email me). If you've been enjoying our regular snail-mail newsletters don't worry - we'll still be sending those out too.
PPS: Make sure you read my BlitzBitz blog - where I regularly discuss music theory, upcoming workshops and new downloads.
Help promote Blitz Books
Please forward this email on to your work colleagues if you think they will benefit. A tweet about us would be appreciated!
G Major Music Theory
There's lots of great downloads on the G Major Music Theory site, including free music theory worksheets, piano music and even some visual puns.
Upcoming workshops in NSW and VIC
The MTA NSW's 'Refresh and Recharge' will be an excellent weekend in October. Go to Music Teachers' Association Event page for more details.
Samantha will be presenting two sessions at the VMTA’s Professional Development Day on Tuesday September 21. For more information go to Victorian Music Teachers' Association Events page.
Got a recommendation?
Got something worth sharing? Please email me with your recommendations and I'll add them in to our next newsletter.
BlitzBooks is the series by Samantha Coates that has revolutionised music theory teaching. Students are no longer bored with their theory books! Since January 2001, music students have been able to ENJOY their theory education with fun, user-friendly texts. The conversational, easy-to-use format has made BlitzBooks incredibly popular with students as well as making teachers’ lives easier.
The BlitzBooks series covers the AMEB syllabus for Grades 1 to 5 in both Theory and Musicianship as well as offering fantastic publications in the areas of beginner music theory, sight reading (piano) and general knowledge (any instrument).
Each Theory/Musicianship workbook is complemented by a comprehensive Teacher Guide and separate Answer Book, a feature no other theory series offers. There are many additional music resources on the BlitzBooks website, as well as constant updates relating to revisions and changes to the AMEB syllabus.
BlitzBooks remains on the cutting edge of music theory education, making this series the number one choice for students and teachers in Australia and overseas.
The BlitzBooks titles are available from all good print music retailers.
You can learn more about BlitzBooks at Blitzbooks.com.au.
'Follow' BlitzBooks on Twitter.
Join us on the BlitzBooks Facebook Page.