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14/12/2018

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MusicOnline UK Teaching Notes - ABRSM Piano 2019/20 Grade 3 - C1

Dance - No.8 from "For Children", Vol 2

Bela Bartok.

Grade 3 ABRSM Piano 2019/2020 C1.




Teaching Notes.

The main thing an examiner will be looking out for with this piece is your articulation. Very often there is a different marking in each hand. For example, in bar 5, the RH is marked "tenuto" above the staccato LH notes. Then also notice the slurred pair in the next bar, also above a staccato LH. It should be remembered that the last note of a slurred group should be lifted, so in effect, the last quaver of this bar would release both hands together. All these details are completely wrong in the video that ranks No.1 in YouTube search for this piece - so be careful what you learn from:
(ABRSM Piano 2019-2020 Grade 3 C:1 C1 Bartok Dance (For Children Vol.2 No.8) Sheet Music - Alan Chan https://youtu.be/KZHd0iT4eKA )

Then also notice the accents. These of course must be in the context of a generally quiet dynamic. The piece never goes above a "mezzo-piano", however a little extra weight is needed on this notes to enable the movement to "dance" along. 

At the end of bar 21 there is a comma, indicating to make a small break after the "rall" before continuing "a tempo". Be careful that you adopt the same tempo as at the beginning in bar 22. The same is true in bar 31. Beginner students are often tempted to play quieter passages slower and the "pp" marking here might incorrectly have this effect on your performance. 

Also notice the articulation of the last three chords - staccato dots with lines. Make these notes noticeably longer than the preceding ones, with a more stroking touch than a bouncing one.

Finally - watch the rest in bar 30. Many candidates here will forget to release the LH, the moment you play the first RH note of this bar

10/12/2018

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MusicOnline UK Teaching Notes - ABRSM Piano 2019/20 Grade 1 - C3

Egyptian Level

Kevin Wooding

ABRSM Grade 1 Piano 2019 - 2020.




Teaching Notes:
In the footnotes of the ABRSM edition, the composer himself is quoted as saying, "you must make this piece as smooth and snaky as you possibly can". A good legato in the RH is essential for a high mark, being particularly careful of the stretches between B flat and C sharp. This however, is in contrast to the staccato 5ths chords in the LH, which should not be too overpowering.

Another area the examiner will be looking out for is control of dynamics. In bars 7 & 8 for example, there is a  gradual diminuendo, but in the following bar it returns suddenly to forte.
Be careful with the tempo changes on the last line. After the  poco rit  in bar 12, you need to make sure you return to the original tempo of the opening. Also in bar 12, notice the rest in the LH, make sure the last two quavers of the RH are on their own. 

The sustain pedal for the last three bars is essential, even though not often found in Grade 1, in order to keep the lower harmonies sounding as you play the last high RH chord. Once again there is a poco rit  and the final chord has a pause on it. Let this chord ring on for its full length, disappearing to nothing with a very soft pp touch.


07/12/2018

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Be a #BetterMusician

How to be a better musician
Join the discussion

Whether you’ve been playing your instrument for years or you’re an absolute beginner, no-one is perfect and everyone can improve.

It’s that time of year coming up again when we reflect and maybe think about new year resolutions. And I’ve been asking the community here on MusicOnline UK how they want to improve and be a better musician in 2019. Today is a unique opportunity to hear for the first time, YOU - the voice of the community - right here on MusicOnlineUK. By the way, if you would like YOUR message to be included in a future post, I’ll be giving details at the end. So now it’s time to hand over to YOU the community.




Listen to Arun


Listen to Annelie




Listen to George




Listen to Vicky




Listen to Rishabh





Some great input there including, surrounding ourselves with those who will motivate and inspire, improving the quality of practice sessions by having specific goals and also having a regular practise schedule.

Now if you would like to send us a message which could feature in a future post you can do so via the MusicOnlineUK community WhatsApp group by clicking HERE

Also you can leave a comment below or use the hashtag #BetterMusician on twitter or facebook which we can pickup and retweet/repost.

MusicOnline UK is NOT just a YouTube channel or website, but a community of people like yourself who want to help each other become better musicians so please head on over to our WhatsApp group and motivate and inspire each other to be just that. 

01/12/2018

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MusicOnline UK Teaching Notes - ABRSM Piano 2019/20 Grade 7 - B2

Lied ohne Worte No.3

Felix Mendelssohn

ABRSM Grade 7 Piano 2019/2020. B2



Teaching Notes


This delightful scherzo like piece is an excellent for you to display your staccato technique. Although very little staccato is actually marked it can be assumed to apply to all quavers throughout, unless specifically marked slurred. However, be careful to differentiate between such staccato quavers and the longer crotchets. A very light a relaxed wrist is essential for a "presto" execution and the forward driving presto  pulse will be further helped by a slight accent on the first beat of each bar. This is particularly applicable to sections such as bar 9 where the first quaver chord of the LH would be a falling motion towards the keyboard and the second of each pair more like a rebound off the first. Similarly in the RH, the two note slurs should be thought of as one movement, falling onto the first note and lifting off the second.

The general dynamic of this playful number is piano. That does not mean that there is no room for dynamic shaping within the phrases. For example, listen carefully again, to the opening phrase and notice how the dynamic rises to the 4th bar. The recapitulation in bar 32 is marked piano and would be arrived at such by the  dim from bar 28. However, if you listen again to the above performance you will notice an extra drop in dynamic in bar 32, in addition to what would have been arrived at after the diminuendo  as if to emphasise the fact that the recapitulation has started.

The page turn in the ABRSM edition was performed a bar early (in bar 42 and memorising bar 43), since here, the LH has more "free time".

Also notice that the lower written RH notes in the ABRSM book bar 53, are played here with the LH (the first of which is doubled in both hands anyway).

Finally, make sure you finish very delicately maybe even adding una corda for the final 7 bars.

30/11/2018

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MusicOnline UK Teaching Notes - ABRSM Piano 2019/20 Grade 5 - A2

Andante in A  Hob. I:53/II

Joseph Haydn

ABRSM Grade 5 Piano 2019 - 2020.
Trinity Grade 5 Piano 2018 - 2020



Teaching Notes

As you will notice in the above video, the quavers are generally light and detached. Be aware also of the frequent rests in the LH, but in some cases they don't appear where you might expect according to previous patterns. For example, in bar 10, if Haydn had followed the same articulation pattern as earlier, the LH would not be as sustained as it is written hear. This denotes a different style of playing for this "piano" section.

Another characteristic, typical of Haydn and which runs thoughout this piece is the "feminine" phrase endings at the cadences. They are easily spotted where you see a crotchet slurred onto the next chord. Often, this first crotchet has an unresolved harmony (which gets resolved on the second beat). Don't be afraid to lean a little on these slurred crotchets, but always be careful that the second beat is lighter than the first.

When we get to the minor key middle section, the music becomes altogether more legato, to make a nice contrast to the outer sections. Watch out for the long crotchet in bar 31.

The demisemiquavers in bar 62, should always sound easy and flowing, more of a decoration than anything.

Finally, I found a touch of pedal right on the last bar, helps the legato for the last two chords.


This page will be a resource for students and teachers taking the ABRSM Piano Exams 2019-2020, including audio samples, teaching notes and video tutorials.

The New ABRSM Piano Syllabus 2019/20 - CLICK HERE