Student testing

Posted by: classypiano

Student testing - 01/24/05 09:09 AM

Maybe I'm missing something obviously available out there, but why aren't there formalized tests (both playing and theory) that we can use to motivate the students to work to a certain level? I'm thinking something developed by the Fabers for use at the end of a level; like a semester test at school. As much as I didn't like some things about the Bastien method, I like how they developed a method of stickers for reaching many levels, such as knowing all your 5 finger positions, being able to name all the key signatures; all in the logical order for the method used. I suppose I could come up with my own, but somehow having an "official" test would make the test be taken more seriously by a student.
Posted by: pianoannie

Re: Student testing - 01/24/05 01:49 PM

I've been trying to come up with own tests, and in fact I have all the details for 12 levels worked out. But right now it's all hand written, and I don't have software to print it out nicely. It's been a time consuming process (even without formatting it yet on computer), so I would love to be able to purchase something like this. The main problem I see would be that my sequencing might not exactly line up with what was included on the tests. For example, I teach pentascales and scales much sooner than they are taught in the Faber's books, even though I do teach from those books.
Posted by: Gail

Re: Student testing - 01/24/05 02:42 PM

pianoannie--I also teach pentascales earlier--I start them on C-major when they begin PA level 1, so we have usually had most or even all of them by the time the book gets to them. As soon as we have done all the majors (in 4 groups, then chromatically), we do the minors and then start 1-octave scales. I have looked over the sequencing of the Keyboard/Technique Gymnastics (www.tcwresources.com), but my teaching doesn't exactly align with theirs either. They do have some great testing materials (theory, ear training and sight-reading) for their program. At this point, I am looking at what I want to change and implement for next year--it's too hard to change or implement a new program mid-stream, and I am so particular, I have to really study everything that's presented to decide how much or how little to adopt, which takes a long time.

Totally off the subject--I just picked up a new student--the family moved here last summer (she had studied six years in her old town) and she didn't start during the fall because she was doing marching band (she plays oboe, apparently quite well). Mom got my name from a friend, a wonderful student, and I interviewed a couple of weeks ago. She was such a gem, I made room in my schedule for her and am having such a good time teaching her--she reads and counts well (a change from the rest of my transfers this year), and was working on a Chopin Nocturne and Beethoven Sonata, but has never done much of the intermediate level repretoire, so I am having a blast pulling out Kabalevsky (Clowns, Toccatina), Schuman (Happy Farmer, Soldier's March, Burgmuller (Arabesque, Ballade) and various sonatinas and letting her run with them--I told her that these are the pieces that every pianist needs in their repertoire--and she's finding lots she likes and comes back a week later with them very well learned--then we just have to work on the polishing. It gives me something to look forward to every Monday night at 7:30!!
Posted by: Lisa Kalmar

Re: Student testing - 01/24/05 03:02 PM

The Fabers do have a test for a level, which can be found at the beginning of the next level of books. I think it's in the lesson books.

I make a huge deal out of it and, following Eric's suggestion, tell them they have to pass a "jury" before being promoted to the next level. They have to name and demonstrate all of the technique secrets, pass all applicable flashcards, play two pieces, etc. I have been amazed at the difference in my students' interest levels since incorporating the jury system for a level. It's a hoot!

Lots of states have syllabus systems in place. KMTA has a great one that is 12 levels, I believe. You can purchase the book for only $10 through Wendy at www.wendyspianostudio.com My students go through that, and I supplement with materials from www.tcwresources.com - gives them fun, written stuff to look at for pentascales, etc. I would Highly Recommend both!
Posted by: classypiano

Re: Student testing - 01/24/05 07:19 PM

Thanks for all the information!
Posted by: pianoannie

Re: Student testing - 01/25/05 04:26 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Lisa Kalmar:
The Fabers do have a test for a level, which can be found at the beginning of the next level of books. I think it's in the lesson books.
Oh yeah, that's true. I could certainly use that as part of my testing, and add some other componenets (ear, composition, sightreading) to it. Thanks for that reminder.

 Quote:
I make a huge deal out of it and, following Eric's suggestion, tell them they have to pass a "jury" before being promoted to the next level. They have to name and demonstrate all of the technique secrets, pass all applicable flashcards, play two pieces, etc. I have been amazed at the difference in my students' interest levels since incorporating the jury system for a level. It's a hoot!
This all sounds great. I definitely like your idea to have them name and demonstrate the technique secrets (why didn't I think of that?)

 Quote:
Lots of states have syllabus systems in place. KMTA has a great one that is 12 levels, I believe. You can purchase the book for only $10 through Wendy at www.wendyspianostudio.com My students go through that, and I supplement with materials from www.tcwresources.com - gives them fun, written stuff to look at for pentascales, etc. I would Highly Recommend both!
Those look great. I love all the links Wendy has for reviewing at various levels! But I couldn't find the $10 syllabus you mentioned. I even did a site search for "syllabus" but got nothing.
Thanks for all your ideas!