AN ALTERNATIVE APPROACH TO
are multi-levelled, award-based projects for piano students.
The awards are created to encourage an increased exploration of repertoire by:
1) Focussing on a student's 'quick study' level of playing.
2) Gaining the benefits of continually working with fresh, manageable music.
Ideal for beginner / intermediate standard students, the awards can be worked towards alongside their more challenging pieces. They could also be useful for those at a more advanced level.
THE AWARDS WILL DEMONSTRATE
broader and more robust evidence of a student's current playing abilities than standard exam models.
By continually learning pieces that can be completed in 1 to 2 weeks, a student's overall playing experience is widened, their productivity, reading fluency, musicality and motivation is enhanced, and they are able to work more effectively between lessons.
IN ORDER TO BE ASSESSED
students make a video of each 'quick study' piece as they complete it, and upload to YouTube (either publicly or unlisted).
The uploads create a portfolio of individually recorded pieces which will be assessed for the award once submitted.
If the required standard is reached, students receive a Repertoire Award Certificate with a mark reflecting their submissions.
MORE DETAILS BELOW
Disclaimer: The Piano Vault brand & 'Repertoire Awards' are not specifically affiliated with any exam board, publisher, or composer/arranger/editor.
HOW 'REPERTOIRE AWARDS'
WILL BENEFIT A
in more detail
THE PRACTICE OF
Repertoire Awards exclusively focus on the frequent and continuous exposure to 'quick study' pieces, which is an often neglected aspect of piano education.
Although it is important for students to attempt repertoire that stretches their abilities, there should also be a balance between these challenges and the benefits provided by a higher ratio of 'quick study' pieces. This is especially important for beginner and intermediate students, so Repertoire Awards are primarily aimed at piano students in this category. Those at a more advanced level of playing may also find working toward these awards useful.
Quick study pieces in this context are those that take around 1 to 2 weeks to learn - 3 weeks at the very most. Students benefit from this by experiencing a broad, continuous range of technical and musical content that is easily within their natural playing level. They are motivated by the momentum of completing pieces with relative ease, as well as having enough brain space left to dig deeper into the expressive qualities of the music.
The teaching advantages are also more varied, as each piece will provide opportunities to incorporate elements of sight reading, technical exercises, music theory, and music history. This makes each piece a potential doorway to explore the wider world of piano music, rather than getting bogged down in the same overly challenging pieces for too long.
AN ACCURATE INDICATION
OF MUSICAL PROGRESS
THE ILLUSION OF PROGRESS
Today, a huge number of piano students continually work toward exams that consist of prepared pieces, technical exercises, sight reading, and aural aspects of musicianship. However, these exams do not assess how long it has taken a student to actually prepare their pieces.
Due to 'chasing the grade', students often spend far too long preparing a very narrow range of pieces that are overly challenging. These groomed performances can of course sound very impressive, but are often produced at the expense of gaining valuable musical experience through a wider range of more manageable repertoire. These performances do indeed create 'an illusion of progress'.
REMOVING THE ILLUSION
Repertoire Awards naturally encourages a process over outcome approach. By focussing on productivity at a quick study level, the ambiguity of a students true playing level quickly disappears. A teacher can then strategically and occasionally drop in repertoire at a slightly higher level in order to advance a their overall progress. As as a student's abilities grow, higher level repertoire will naturally become quick study pieces. This robust process can then continue indefinitely.
HOW IT ALL WORKS
TAKING PART IN
Students work through Bronze, Silver and Gold mini-projects at each grade. The mini-projects have a time limit of 3 months to complete. For each mini-project (at any grade) students individually video record 4 quick study pieces in at least 3 different keys. After submitting each mini project for assessment, the student will be emailed a marks sheet, and (providing they meet the pass standard) a certificate of completion.
Students can start at the lowest grade and work upwards, or, they can jump straight in at their natural quick study level. They should avoid aiming higher than the grade at which they can learn a piece in 1 to 2 weeks, as they may struggle to learn and polish their 4 pieces in time. Remember, the aim of Repertoire Awards is to gain playing experience and musical knowledge by frequently learning new pieces with different keys, expressive qualities and technical requirements.
CAN BE USED?
Students may use any publication that states the grade of the pieces within it. Such publications stretch from pre grade 1 (sometimes referred to as Initial), right up to grade 8. Likewise, you may use any piece listed on any piano syllabus that states the grade of the piece. The syllabus can be past, current, or both.
WHAT CAN'T BE USED?
For assessment purposes, graded sight reading books for the piano shouldn't be used, as sight reading material is purposely at a lower level of complexity.
WHAT IS AN ASSESSOR
An assessor will not be judging how literally a student is following the exact details of a score, as these are areas that can be discussed and developed in a piano lesson. Assessors will simply focus on whether the performance is good enough to demonstrate the student's musicianship at that level. If the performance meets the required pass standard, it will count towards the Repertoire Award.
THE REQUIRED PASS STANDARD
For each piece, a pass is achieved by demonstrating that notation, rhythm and consistent tempo are effectively communicated. If the assessor is satisfied that the player has achieved these 3 basic elements, the piece will pass. If the assessor feels that that the student is struggling to play through the piece, it will not receive a mark. On top of this basic pass requirement, elements such as articulation, dynamics, and other aspects of expression will achieve extra points on top of their basic pass mark.
ABOUT THE MARKING SCHEME
Repertoire Awards are marked very simply. The overall mark will reflect how many pieces have achieved the pass standard. As you have to submit 4 pieces for each mini-project, you will receive 1 point for every successful piece. Pieces must also be in at least 3 different keys.
On top of the basic pass standard (i.e. comfortably demonstrating accuracy in notation, rhythm and consistent tempo), students will gain extra points for convincing use of articulation, dynamics, and other aspects of expression. These 3 additional elements of performance will receive 1 extra point each. Therefore, a piece that achieves a pass with all 3 extra points will be displayed as a 1:3 on the marks sheet, and on the certificate.
IS THERE A FAIL MARK?
The minimum you need in order to pass each Bronze, Silver or Gold Mini-Project is 3 points. A mark such as this should however be a very rare occurrence, because Repertoire Awards is all about playing quick study pieces at your natural playing level. As long as you are submitting pieces that are achievable in 1 to 2 weeks, a full 4 point mark is very likely. Also, you are welcome to record each piece as many times as you like until you have the best performance you can produce.
(per mini project)
Initial - £12
Grade 1 - £13
Grade 2 - £15
Grade 3 - £18
Grade 4 - £20
Grade 5 - £22
Grade 6 - £25
Grade 7 - £27
Grade 8 - £32
ENROLLING, PAYING, RECORDING
ENROLLING IN AND PAYING FOR
Enrolling in and paying for a Repertoire Award can be done easily by clicking below and following the clearly set out process.
MAKING YOUR VIDEO RECORDINGS
Making a video of each performance is easy. You can record using any device (phone, tablet, webcam, camcorder etc.) set at a high resolution for a good quality recording (the higher the better). Once the piece is recorded, you simply upload it to YouTube. If you don't have a YouTube account, or need guidance on uploading your videos, simply search Google for 'how to set up a YouTube account', or 'how to upload a video to YouTube', and you will find the latest information.
When recording each video, please make sure we can see your head, hands and feet. The assessor can then get the full experience of your performance. Also, please record with your device in a landscape position rather than portrait. It will then look much better when uploaded to YouTube. If you are using a digital piano (and have the technical know-how), you can record the piano sound onto a USB stick, and combine it with your video for a really high quality recording. This is completely up to you of course.
WHAT TO INCLUDE WITH EACH RECORDING
On uploading each video to YouTube, you are given the option to add a title, description, and select whether you want the video to be public, unlisted, or private.
1) For the video title, enter the grade of the piece, the title of the piece, and the composer.
2) For the description, enter the book title and page numbers from which you are playing.
3) Decide whether you would like your video to be public or unlisted. Remember not to choose private, as the assessor won't be able to watch your video.
Once enrolled, you have up to 3 months to learn, record and submit your 4 quick study pieces. Within this 3 month period, you will have access to a submissions page. When this time expires, your access will be removed and you will no longer be able to submit your recordings. After submission, you will receive your marks sheet and digital certificate via email.