on 13 March 2013
I am really glad I chose this book to help teach my pupils aural. It contains standard exam wording and examples so they know what to expect. And it also contains ideas of how to break down and teach the components within the tests, such as training them to echo first a few notes and then adding more to extend the phrase or getting their ear used to listening out for one note changing in a simpler melody and then a more complex one.
The CD is invaluable for someone who only has basic keyboard skills as it allows a pupil to hear it correctly and without unintentional change, giving them a fair chance to answer.
on 4 February 2012
I know next to nothing about music, but to help my son with his grade 5, we got this book with CD. The book explained the standard questions you will be tested from grade 4 to grade 5, what you are supposed to do,then you can do the exercise focused on a certain question, for example: sight singing. The part helped us the most is the styling period.You got to read first, get a general idea about what you shoud focus on while listening to the piece and build up the vocabulary about what you are supposed to talk about.I found it's a lot easier, time saving(hence money saving) than listening to the teacher, picking up bits from his example.
The cd is recorded to high quality, much better than the one from the ABRSM exam pieces book.
Only hope they have a few more examples, or a mock test.
I am looking forward to grade 6-8 book.
on 23 August 2012
Never underestimate the value of the Aural part of the ABRSM exams! It is a wonder that so many music teachers sideline it when valuable points can be picked up. My daughter passed grade 1 & 2 piano with reasonable marks in the aural. In grade 3 she used the grade 1-3 version of this book, gained full marks in the aural tests which gave her the extra marks she needed to go from pass to distinction.
Needless to say we bought this as soon as she started working on grade 4!
The book and cd use the language of the examiner and give many examples to practice for each part of the aural test. They then tell you the correct answer (which is just as well as i would have no clue if they were right or wrong!). This book covers grades 4-5 so is a good investment. It is also relevant to the aural tests for all intrument and voice exams not just piano.
You can get even more practice if you buy the 'specimen aural tests' book too.
on 12 April 2014
I think that the aural test can often be overlooked when preparing for the exam as it does not involve the ability to play the instrument which the candidate is being assessed on. To me however, having a musical ear is an important part of being a good musician and using this book as well as listening to music on Classic FM and Radio 3 helped me to improve my ability to identify music from different periods. Also, gaining high marks in this section can make a difference to which mark band is awarded.
The book gives you an overview of the format of the aural test, the sorts of questions the examiner will ask you and model answers. Elements that will be assessed include melodic repetition, sight singing, describing musical features and identifying style period, rhythm clapping and metre. I found the CD particularly helpful as the questions are posed in the same way as an examiner would ask you and the model answers they give means that you build up the vocabulary associated with the different musical features. This certainly gave me more confidence when I was assessed a couple of weeks ago. The transcripts and scores for the examples given in the CD are also useful for when you go through the answers.
I have given this 4 instead of 5 stars for the following reasons: The book alone should not be used as a quick fix or last minute cramming for the exam. One needs to expose oneself to a wide variety of musical styles to appreciate which music comes from which era and how to identify unique features associated with that era. The sight singing section includes plenty of examples for practice but doesn't actually teach you how to sight sing. To be able to do so, you need to become familiar with the sound of the notes in a major key.
Overall, I thought this was a worthy investment in preparing for my practical exam and good value for money as I have exhausted all the examples in the book. I am glad that I bought it as it helped boost my overall score which I am pleased with.