Can we start teaching your child from Grade 1 straight away?
It all depends on the current level of your child. If your child has already taken piano and/or music lessons in general, then we might be able to do so.
How do we make the decision to starting the Grade 1 training? We assess some specific contents: music theory level, piano technique level and or dexterity. Our piano playing improves when we learn how to perform certain tasks better. In order to start learning Grade 1, we need to know at least the basics of note values -up to the semi-quaver-, finger and forearm movements (Scaramuzza technique), dynamics, sight-reading and notation.
What could happen if we start training at Grade 1 prematurely?
The Grade 1 syllabus is not designed to be a platform to learn the most important music basics. Due to the latter, trying to master the pieces proposed by this syllabus too early will always end in frustration. Graded pieces meant to slowly incorporate difficulties in an organised manner. If we jump steps we would just end trying to sort out things lacking the right tools.
How do we make sure our students are ready to land on Grade 1? WKMT has developed a fabulous syllabus that guarantees all students who have completed its programme are ready to successfully face the challenges proposed by the Grade 1 book. Our syllabus covers all the foundational content of piano technique, music theory, repertoire and sight-reading. This is done by allowing students to interact with a broader and “more-adjustable” repertoire than what the Grade syllabus offers. Not every student faces the same difficulties at the time of learning how to play the piano. For that reason, our teachers should count with a flexible material that can allow them to adjust the teaching approach to the specific needs of the student. Different pieces are used to perfect different skills. Etudes (studies, in English) is not included in the ABRSM syllabus in the numbers that can allow a professional to work and develop a student solidly. Our “foundations” course proposes many different books designed to develop all the different aspects related to piano technique. Our teacher can then choose wisely an array of them to work with any specific student. In that sense, each student follows a bespoke programme designed to help them develop in a specific way the learning style requires.
How long does the pre-grade programme take to be completed?
It all depends on each student abilities and commitment. Nevertheless, there are certain standards. A student who studies an average of 30 minutes 6 days a week should be able to complete the first two levels of the pre-grade in more or less 6 months.
How is the pre-grade assessed? Once prepared, the pre-grade repertoire is presented to one of our directors. An examination instance is arranged and the student plays the prepared repertoire from beginning to end.
What is the pre-grade final level? The most common final level of the pre-grade programme is level 2. Only in those cases when students seem to still need to develop certain skills further, the teacher will choose to complete the pre-grade level 3 before landing o the ABRSm syllabus Grade 1.