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LRSM Programme Advice?


tchaikovsgay
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Hi. I'm planning to take LRSM for violin. As I've graduated and have no teacher anymore, I have to plan my own programme.

Quoted from https://gb.abrsm.org/en/our-exams/diplomas/music-performance/,

'You should plan your Recital so that it lasts approximately 40 minutes (it may be up to
10% longer or 10% shorter). This total duration includes any breaks between items, as
well as one longer pause (of up to 5 minutes) for woodwind, brass and singing
candidates. Please note that the examiners reserve the right to stop the Recital if you
exceed the prescribed duration'

'In your choice of repertoire, you should aim to present a balanced programme that
includes a contrast of repertoire from at least two distinct musical eras. Variety of mood
and tempo should also be a guiding factor in the construction of the programme.'

Here's my inital prgoramme:

Johann Sebastian Bach
    Violin Sonata No.2, BWV 1003
        Andante [6:32]
        Allegro [5:49]

-A minor, Late Baroque, German

Gabriel Fauré
    Violin Sonata No.1, Op.13
        Allegro Molto [9:05]

-A major, Late Romantic, French

Aram Khachaturian
    Violin Concerto, Op.46
        Allegro con Fermezza [14:56]

-D minor, 20th–Century, Armenian

What do you guys think? It is within the duration, but does it satisfy all the above requirements on varied eras, mood and tempo? Do they take genres and countries into consideration too?

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I was going to suggest an slightly obscure program, but this sounds fine to me. If I am the judge that program will interest me. The Khachaturyan is not a good concerto, but it is fun.

In general I think it is always best to avoid war horses. Find good quality music that is little known. Seeking it out and preparing it will speak well of you.

but this is fine.

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1 hour ago, PhilipKT said:

I was going to suggest an slightly obscure program, but this sounds fine to me. If I am the judge that program will interest me. The Khachaturyan is not a good concerto, but it is fun.

In general I think it is always best to avoid war horses. Find good quality music that is little known. Seeking it out and preparing it will speak well of you.

but this is fine.

Thanks!

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16 hours ago, tchaikovsgay said:

Aram Khachaturian
    Violin Concerto, Op.46
        Allegro con Fermezza [14:56]

-D minor, 20th–Century, Armenian

Can this be done without accompaniment?

If I were to be a judge I'd request you play all of it just to prove you're not just out to toot one's horn.

Otoh -you'd be the greatest I've heard so far if you can pull this one off, imo.

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On 12/19/2020 at 4:09 PM, uncle duke said:

Can this be done without accompaniment?

If I were to be a judge I'd request you play all of it just to prove you're not just out to toot one's horn.

Otoh -you'd be the greatest I've heard so far if you can pull this one off, imo.

The ABRSM guidelines strictly stated violinists must have accompaniment for pieces that are meant to have one.

As much as I'd love to learn the second and third movements, they are not included in the current LRSM syllabus.

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On 12/18/2020 at 7:02 PM, tchaikovsgay said:

'In your choice of repertoire, you should aim to present a balanced programme that includes a contrast of repertoire from at least two distinct musical eras. Variety of mood and tempo should also be a guiding factor in the construction of the programme.'

Cool program, but I wonder if it's all rather serious.

I wonder if you could either add in or substitute a piece that's either more playful/fun or more melodramatic?

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I don't know whether this is an issue but I notice that almost all of your pieces have fast tempo indications, except the Bach Andante of course.  But if I were a judge I would miss hearing something at a really slow tempo such as Adagio or Lento, since there are musical as well as technical aspects in playing slow music that are not present at a faster tempo.

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5 hours ago, gowan said:

I don't know whether this is an issue but I notice that almost all of your pieces have fast tempo indications, except the Bach Andante of course.  But if I were a judge I would miss hearing something at a really slow tempo such as Adagio or Lento, since there are musical as well as technical aspects in playing slow music that are not present at a faster tempo.

Thanks for pointing that out. I'll have to make some adjustments then...

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I believe Stephen means that all the choices are the same type/flavour. All on the "serious" or more academic side.

It's nice, in a program, to have mix of selections. Example - one being "serious", one being light and dance-like, something fast, something slow and romantic, etc.

 

Edit: think of it as a plate of food with 4-5 selections. Would you prefer that plate to have 5 different meats on it, or would you prefer one meat dish, a vegetable, a salad and a desert?

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9 minutes ago, Rue said:

I believe Stephen means that all the choices are the same type/flavour. All on the "serious" or more academic side.

It's nice, in a program, to have mix of selections. Example - one being "serious", one being light and dance-like, something fast, something slow and romantic, etc.

 

Edit: think of it as a plate of food with 4-5 selections. Would you prefer that plate to have 5 different meats on it, or would you prefer one meat dish, a vegetable, a salad and a desert?

I see. I'll have to change some of the repertoire.

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Update:
If I remove

Gabriel Fauré
    Violin Sonata No.1, Op.13
        Allegro Molto

Then I'll have to find a replacement piece from the syllabus in major key, a slow tempo and from the classical or romantic era, having a duration of about 12:22. It can't be a concerto or solo piece either.

Otherwise, the whole programme will be in minor key, andonly having the Bach Andante being slow. :(

Am I over-analyzing or has programme choices always been this tedious?

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14 hours ago, tchaikovsgay said:

Update:
If I remove

Gabriel Fauré
    Violin Sonata No.1, Op.13
        Allegro Molto

Then I'll have to find a replacement piece from the syllabus in major key, a slow tempo and from the classical or romantic era, having a duration of about 12:22. It can't be a concerto or solo piece either.

Otherwise, the whole programme will be in minor key, andonly having the Bach Andante being slow. :(

Am I over-analyzing or has programme choices always been this tedious?

What about the 3rd movement of the Fauré?  It's not slow, but it's definitely a change in mood.

What about Bartók Romanian Folk Dances?  Instead of one 12 minute piece could you do two 6 minute pieces?

Remember that I'm American and have no idea about this whole thing.  Make sure you get some advice from someone with experience planning an LRSM program.  Your initial program might've been fine.  

 

PS- looking at the syllabus now.  Interesting... none of my suggestions would work.

I love Arvo Pärt's Fratres.  Highly recommend you learn that.

Or either of the Prokofiev selections.

And now I'm going to go listen to the Lutoslawski Partita.

 

Looking at that syllabus, I think your original program was fine.  They don't really give you many options.

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You can substitute acceptable pieces, if you really want to.

I know all of those composers, with the exception of Avro Part, but not all the pieces...so I'm no help.

But I still think a variety of flavours makes for the best recital.

I dunno...Bach, Debussy, Dvorak...and Shostakovich?

We have RCM...which will be very similar. I'd have to go compare the syllabi though... 

But! If you're going to put in this much work and effort you HAVE to like the pieces. No point playing something you dislike. That will show in your performance.

Don't overthink it too much. Pick works you love. It will be fine.

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I was chatting with one of my colleagues who is a young teacher, she came over to my studio and I was showing her some rep,And we were looking at a charming little piece by Squire called “Danse Rustique.” She knows it well. Suzuki book IV.

Squire wrote seven or eight other pieces that are wonderful for young cello students, and she did not know any of them, because they aren’t in the Suzuki books. So if they’re not in Suzuki, she did not know them. That is one reason I hate Suzuki. And I hate lists. If I am the judge, creative programming would be one of the things I would specifically look for in applicants.

God save us from “Lists.”

Edited by PhilipKT
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Not me! I love lists. Lists provide a framework. Lists limit choice - which can be a very good thing. Having too many options available can be very stressful and non-productive.

Lists also "force" you to branch out, or learn, music you wouldn't normally choose. Also a good thing. You learn a lot from investing time and energy into works which are outside your comfort zone.

Like it or not - if I had to play that Avro Part piece, I would learn from it.

And finally, if the OP wants to receive his LRSM accreditation - he can't just play whatever.

Regarding your Suzuki colleague - that's just sad. I wouldn't want her as a teacher if she's so disinterested in the rep to not look beyond suggestions in a method book.

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8 minutes ago, Rue said:

Not me! I love lists. Lists provide a framework. Lists limit choice - which can be a very good thing. Having too many options available can be very stressful and non-productive.

Lists also "force" you to branch out, or learn, music you wouldn't normally choose. Also a good thing. You learn a lot from investing time and energy into works which are outside your comfort zone.

Like it or not - if I had to play that Avro Part piece, I would learn from it.

And finally, if the OP wants to receive his LRSM accreditation - he can't just play whatever.

Regarding your Suzuki colleague - that's just sad. I wouldn't want her as a teacher if she's so disinterested in the rep to not look beyond suggestions in a method book.

When you let the little kid order his own meal for himself for the first time, you say, “do you want this, or do you want that?” And the child does not realize that you have narrowed the menu down to two choices. There is merit in that.

But for a developing professional, individual creativity is more important than anything else. The choices an applicant makes reveal not just taste, but preferences and ability levels.

I’m a cellist so must use cello repertoire as an example, but I would not in my wildest nightmares choose Popper’s Hungarian rhapsody ,Because it’s a dreadful piece and everybody on the planet plays it. I would definitely, however, choose something that showed off my technical virtues. “Dance of the green devil” possibly, a piece of which I am quite fond.

with that in mind, dispensing with narrow lists does not make it more difficult to determine the qualifications of an applicant, on the contrary it reveals more about the applicant than could otherwise be determined.

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On 12/19/2020 at 8:09 AM, uncle duke said:

Can this be done without accompaniment?

If I were to be a judge I'd request you play all of it just to prove you're not just out to toot one's horn.

Otoh -you'd be the greatest I've heard so far if you can pull this one off, imo.

First, I am no fan of Abrsm but they have a system based on testing and that can be popular among parents who have very little knowledge of music. I have met too many students who can play their instruments, but with some technique and little else. Tempo, rhythmic accuracy are essential but the resulting experience can be empty for the player, especially on piano.

There are fine teachers who also make Abrsm available, but the process of learning a set number of pieces in one year is learning how to play notes, not making or creating music.

When we audition, virtually all pieces are done without accompaniment. It's lovely to be in a competition and have a ( nice ) pianist provided for you.

The 2nd and 3rd mvmts seem to be easier for my particular playing. The 1st mvmt is brutal... but I've had Armenian coaches. Revising fingerings was an issue for me as one set might work better at certain tempos and colors. It was easy to play too heavily into the strings  and was warned to keep it light until I learned the piece well. This is certainly not the Kabalevsky.

 

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:mellow:

These programs aren't some do or die thingy designed to turn out dull musical robots who can't think outside their programming.

But they are, for the most part, well thought out, introducing technique and pieces in a logical fashion.

My daughter has her RCM Grade/Level 10. She tested on alternate years and played any additional material she wanted to. She's not innately musical to begin with, so following along with a structured program went a long way. Now she has a well-rounded background in music and she can do what she wants with it - which is recreational playing.

And of the professional musicians I know who went through the program, I can't think of one person who was in any way held back.

Quite a few started in Suzuki, did RCM...and went from there. There was nothing rigid or stultifying about it. Those with more innate musicality soared - and they still had the benefit of being well grounded in technique, repertoire, theory, history, performance...and some composition.

I'm really starting to wonder how regional power plays are figuring into all of this. :blink:

 

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On 12/22/2020 at 8:41 AM, Rue said:

I know all of those composers, with the exception of Avro Part, but not all the pieces...so I'm no help.

But I still think a variety of flavours makes for the best recital.

  Why the choice of Khachaturian?  Homage or to present a modern theme? 

  I like modern as long as it's not just rehashed copy-catted material from previous composers which some of op. 46 Allegro appears to read and sound like.  Maybe it's just the upper ledger lines sharps getting in the way of comfortable sheet music reading/following along.  I didn't see what the other two Aram K. parts were about.  

  The o.p. has it tough being a guy.  Whilst his pretty compadrettes from school can now find a wealthy husband and spend the rest of their living days playing Vieuxtemps and Kreutzer along side her bestie on piano this guy actually has to go out and find a job somewheres.

   Kudos for the o.p. for not wanting others to follow him.  That's the only sense I can make of this - fine with me.

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The acronyms stand for some of the foremost music/instrument education (examination board) programs globally.

- RCM = Royal Conservatory of Music

- ABRSM = Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music 

- Trinity College

There was the Carnegie Hall Royal Conservatory program in the US, which failed. It was the equivalent of RCM. I'm not sure what's happening there, if they will attempt to rebrand.

 

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10 hours ago, PhilipKT said:

I live in Texas, which is in the United States, so I have absolutely no idea what any of these acronyms stand for. 
All of the competitions my students participate in either allow any piece you wish, or have a list that is so large that it includes just about everything.

You don't have kids who participate in All-State?

 

I'm only vaguely aware of the Royal system. I've looked at it once or twice over the years...

Rue, you should give Fratres another chance. Which version did you hear?  First, read these program notes from SF Symphony. Everything I've ever heard from Pärt convinces me of his sincerity, even of his holiness.

Anne-Akiko Meyers I think has fully mastered the tintinnabuli. Two recordings: the first I think has closer a closer mic on Meyers, but the second one has the string/percussion arrangement which is one of my favorites. It also brought me a moment of true awe (spiritually). It's a bit outside the tradition...

 

 

 

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