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Piano Exams 2020

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主持人:Warren Lee

Over the past seasons, I have poured in much effort analysing and detailing each and every piece on the piano syllabus in Piano Exams. Should you believe that following all of my advice, coupled with religious practice, will yield high scores in the examinations? It is what this show is about, isn’t it? Three Is Not Enough Allow me to be so bold to say “No” right here. And I do so not because my advice is not worth listening to (if I may say so myself) but based on a rather simple mathematical formula. The three pieces in the examination carry a total of 90 marks, out of 150 – 10 shy of the passing mark, and a whopping 40 short of the 130 marks needed for a distinction. By this simple calculation, a flawless performance of the three pieces alone would not get you anywhere close to a distinction; but it does put you in a favourable position to do so if you also pay attention to the supporting tests. These tests cover areas of musical study that are critical, yet “left unspoken” in the show. The Building Blocks First up, scales and arpeggios are what students usually find boring and tedious because they are not tuneful. Well, they are designed to be un-tuneful so that one can focus on learning the patterned fingerings and getting the fingerings to be part of your muscle memory, as well as on achieving evenness of touch and building the strength of the muscles of your arms and fingers. What is often forgotten is the fact that scales and arpeggios are building blocks in music, and they appear often in music. Think about this: Do soccer players train only by playing real football matches? Of course not! They train by doing warm-up drills and exercises in the gym. In addition to scales and arpeggios, aural tests are essential in the piano examinations. Auraltests are designed to see how sensitively and intellectually a candidate responds to music. Most students prepare for the aural texts starting two weeks before the examination and depend a lot on luck (such as getting a friendly examiner who will accent the strong beats like hammering nails) to get through them. Unfortunately, this is a part of the test that probably requires the longest period of training and is best incorporated into the teaching of the pieces (as I sometimes do in pointing out cadences, for example). Playing at Sight Last but certainly not least, sight-reading tops the most-dreaded test and is probably the part most students do least well on. Over the years, I have read a plethora of mark sheets with very high scores on the pieces but failing scores on sightreading. It is a very sad phenomenon where students focus on “drilling” the three pieces, without elevating the level of sight-reading to the required level. One may still pass the examination, but the enjoyment of being able to pick up any piece of music to read and learn becomes lost. My advice is simple: just spare five minutes to read a short piece a day. No great musicians are poor sight-readers. It is not something that someone is born with, and it is not a “disability” that cannot be overcome, butitis certainly something that can be learned, and practiced. Putting It All Together If I were to label the different tests within a piano examination using a computer analogy, the pieces are the hardware, the scales and arpeggios are the operating system, the aural tests are the software programmes, and sight-reading is the RAM (processing power). Once allthe parts are in place, you have a working computer or a fully functional pianist! Even though the supporting tests are “left unspoken” in the show,they must not be left untouched untilthe last minute. (Warren Lee)

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24/05/2020

Piano Exams 2020 (Grade 8 Part 4 English) Set Pieces

C4: Martinů Prélude en forme de Danse; C5: Rachmaninoff Elégie; C6: Raymond Yiu Lullaby

24/05/2020 - 足本 Full (HKT 13:10 - 14:00)

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