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Practical Session 2 Update - Malta

We appreciate how much the cancellation of our exams has affected learners and we are working hard on solutions to ensure learners can gain their qualifications at the earliest opportunity.

Unfortunately government restrictions have not lifted in time for us to open the postponed booking period. Therefore we will be cancelling Session 2 Practical exams scheduled for October-December. Our Representative will provide further guidance in due course. We are very sorry for the impact on teachers and candidates and we will continue to monitor the situation. Thank you for your loyalty and support while these restrictions remain in place.

We will be gradually rolling out remotely-assessed Performance Grades internationally and will share exam dates and booking periods soon.

The booking period for online Music Theory exams at Grades 1 to 5 is now open. The closing date is Monday 12 October. For information about Grades 6 to 8, see our dates and fees page. To book exams you will need to register and create an account with our new online booking service.

Sight reading for young pianists

1 year ago
Karen Marshall

Karen Marshall

Karen Marshall is a private, peri and classroom music teacher from York. An award winning author she has written 17 publications to date including ABRSM Piano Encores and joint edited Piano Star Grade 1. She is a co-author of the beginner piano method, Get Set! Piano as well as being trained in teaching music to special needs students. She is passionate about all children having access to a good quality music education.

Sight reading and aural tests are often a dreaded part of music exams but they don’t need to be feared. Piano Star Theory establishes dynamics and articulation so that young pianists can become familiar with the concepts.

Sight reading after beginning stages often has dynamics omitted, which can make it very hard for students. Piano Star Theory cleverly uses the visual prop of a megaphone that amplifies sound in the shape of a crescendo mark to help students understand music gradually getting louder. Actually putting dynamics onto the music and playing it allows students to practice writing the terms. Encouraging students to think about the different musical effects that they can have on the music is great way to making them comfortable with playing music dynamically. Piano Star Theory uses a ‘pizza illustration’ for a fun dynamics quiz along with dynamic detective activities!

It is important to identify a sound before linking it to a symbol and if a student can’t identify how legato or staccato sounds aurally, they will struggle to perform it themselves. Piano Star theory provides some practical examples that can be played. Visual representations are cleverly used in Piano Star Theory in a way that children can easily relate - they include a ‘smooth cat for legato’ and ‘spiky hedgehog for staccato’

If you’re wondering how you can incorporate some of these techniques into your lesson you could try this activity: Play some legato and staccato passages to your student and ask them to identify them as legato or staccato, perhaps even using images of a Cat (for legato with a phrase mark) and a Hedgehog (for staccato with dots above a note).

Piano Star Theory is packed with quizzes, aural tasks, singing and playing activities with exercises, crosswords and games all to make music theory accessible to all. Opportunities to compose and wonderful clear theoretical explanations of tricky concepts such as time signatures and the grand stave will all work together to make music theory not only understandable but a huge amount of fun!



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