Cello grade 1 sight reading

(8 Posts)
strictlovingmum Thu 26-Sep-13 21:38:24

Hello,
Question for Cello teachers and anyone with experience,
DD is going for her grade 1 in few weeks time, although she really mastered her scales and pieces, she had not practised any sight reading so far, last week she got a note in her music practise book, asking her to just sight read different pieces form her "pieces books" one or two lines only.
My question is, What will examiner ask DD to sight read?, pieces or the actual lines from sight reading book .
BTW I have ordered a book and we will have a look over the weekend, but I am bit confused

PickleFish Thu 26-Sep-13 22:10:20

It will be from a special sight-reading book that only the examiners have a copy of. It will be simpler than the pieces from her Gr 1 level books. You can usually buy specimen books that have examples similar to the level that it will be in the exam. Most important is to practice keeping going, rather than stopping to fix mistakes, and to try to get the rhythm right (you can practice that independently, by clapping first). Right notes are also good, as are any other markings (dynamics, or if there are notes slurred together for one bow, etc). But getting a reasonable run-through with consistent rhythm and no stopping will go a very long way, more so than right notes and wrong rhythm! Also, even just having a go at it gets a very large number of marks at that level.

strictlovingmum Fri 27-Sep-13 13:51:55

Thank you PickleFish I did think sight reading from her pieces book was tad too hard, but we gave it go anyway.
Sight reading specimen book should arrive by Monday so we will practise from that one.
TBH I got a little concerned when she could not really sight read that well from her pieces book.
How important is sight reading part of the exam?
And if DD plays her scales and pieces without a glitch, Will poor sight reading negatively impact on overall score?

PickleFish Fri 27-Sep-13 14:39:15

Yes, it's possible to do well on the exam overall, even with poor sightreading.

The sightreading component is worth 21 marks out of 150. (Pieces are worth 90 in total, 30 each; Scales etc is worth 21; Aural tests worth 18).

Even if you just have a go and get pretty much nothing right on the sightreading, you get 7 or so marks! And 14 is considered a pass mark, with pretty vague criteria for getting those marks. So even when it's really poor, it usually only drops 10 marks from the total, which is still plenty left to do well or even get a distinction. Have a look at this scheme for an idea:

Exam Mark Scheme

The sight reading practice book will have examples of the right level, and she could also look back in her earlier pieces books, the ones where she first started learning, and try some of those.

Has she done aural test practice? If she hasn't done sightreading in her lesson, it's possible that she hasn't done this either. It's worth getting the specimen books for that as well and/or online sites that have examples. There is a specimen test book, and a practice book, both that come with CDs. Even if she is generally good with aural tests, it's worth being familiar with the actual tests, the rubric the examiner will say, the sort of answers that are expected, etc. There are 3 tests for Grade 1, I think - singing echoes back after they are played on the piano; spotting the difference in two little passages on the piano (saying whether the difference is near the start or end); and clapping along to the beat and saying if it's in 2 or 3.

PickleFish Fri 27-Sep-13 14:42:44

(all this assuming the ABRSM exam board, of course; others will vary somewhat).

78bunion Fri 27-Sep-13 15:28:43

My daughter did to grade 8 cello and other children lots of exams. I like to buy a copy of the exam sightreading book - you can get them on Amazon. It sounds like you have ordered one now.

If she is doing grade 1 I doubt she will fail if her sight reading is very bad. Help her get simple things right like playing loud where it says loud as there are marks for that too even if the notes are wrong.

I also buy the aural test book for the grade and give her some of those (we have a piano at home and I play). I am sure there will be some on line these days too. I would not worry about it at all at grade 1.

Yes if her pieces are perfect but the sightread or aurals are bad that will pull down the overall mark but I would just concentrate on getting her to enjoy it and be pleased if she gets a pass, never mind a merit etc.

strictlovingmum Fri 27-Sep-13 21:49:37

Thank you both for a reply and reassurance, yes it is ABRSM, very useful link PickleFish.
Tonight we tried slightly easier pieces from the book called Jackaroo, it falls somewhere between prep test and grade one and that was a lot better, all pieces were relatively simple, D major and G major, simple rhythms and dynamics, DD found it OK to read it and felt more positive about it, I did advise DD to keep going and not to start and stop, but also to look at the first two bars really properly, paying attention to the first note, rhythm and dynamic sign, so fingers crossedsmile
She does enjoy her cello immensely, and is eager to practise, I agree with importance being placed on enjoyment of an instrument at this stage.
Thank you ladies, I love MN wink

morethanpotatoprints Sat 28-Sep-13 23:14:01

Hello OP.

My dd plays violin, I know its different instrument but same marking criteria. She did quite badly in sight reading, can't remember her score but as everything else was v.good she got a distinction.
Two of the pieces scored 29/30.
So it is possible to still do well.
Keeping going is the important thing, and as others have said getting the Rhythm right.
My dd played it in the wrong key and missed the accidental notes, she was quite bad really.
I don't think there is much to worry about at grade one, obviously it becomes more demanding as you progress through the grades.
Good luck

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