Welcome to the wonderful world of classical piano.
Our students on this music track will discover the rich heritage and history of learning from the classical greats such as Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and Chopin. At Northwood, Classical students take the ABRSM (Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music) certification route.
What should one expect from learning classical piano?
Classical piano requires the student to be industrious and exacting in developing the fundamental disciplines of notation, technical work, articulation, dynamics and so on. It suits learners who are more structured in their styles of learning. Many students on this track take the ABRSM Classical Piano examinations.
How do I do well in ABRSM Piano examinations?
First and foremost, you must really like the pieces that you are playing! If you are bored with them and playing them mechanically, the examiner will not sense your ‘connection’ to it! Choose your pieces wisely and carefully. Stay with them throughout your exam preparation and don’t take short cuts and U-turns (eg. changing pieces halfway – that is stressful for both you and your piano teacher).
Work on your fundamentals fully – Some students are weak in their sight-reading. So if your sight-reading is weak, practise them a lot more on a daily basis to get to it. You cannot assume you can suddenly sight-read on the day of your exam!
Each piece that you perform must be secure and fluent – the less slips you make, the better it is. Learn to perform them in front of other people (other than your music teacher) before you take the exam. You have to experience the jitters and nerves as much as possible so that you can learn how to overcome them. It’s always good to take a slow, deep breath to calm your nerves before you start to play. Again, enjoy the pieces that you play really helps.
Don’t just focus on your pieces. The other elements are just as important – Technical work, Aural, etc. They all count towards the total marks awarded. A good practice is to warm up with your Scales, Arpeggios, etc. before you start your pieces. End of with some Sight-Reading and Aural exercises. Strike a healthy balance in all the different aspects.
Work on your technique. Wrist-rotation, drop-roll techniques, body posture and movement, phrasing, dynamics/expression markings – all these are important pianistic techniques to bring more life into your music.
Gain a greater insight into the interpretation of the music. For example, Baroque pieces are not to be played like you play Chopin. Mozart’s pieces are to be played differently from if you were to play Beethoven. To be fair, younger children may find these more difficult to grasp. Nevertheless, with good pedagogies in place, these nuances can still be taught and caught.
Did I say that you need to enjoy the pieces that you play? Let’s say it again – Enjoy the pieces that you play!
How soon should my child go into taking the exams?
If a child is rushed into taking the piano exams without developing good fundamentals, he will not benefit from truly appreciating and mastering music in the long term. At best, he is adept at memorising the set exam pieces and performing them for the exams, nothing really more. It is much wiser to allow the child to develop solid foundations and fan the flame from within rather than rush to take the grades.
Should my child take classical or modern piano?
Every child is different. Some are more ‘classically’ oriented, others more ‘modern’. It is best to allow the child to build on the fundamentals first and we will be able to assess his temperament and progress along the way, and then make the decision together with the child and the parent. The final decision must be based foremost, based on the child’s innate personality, interest and capabilities.
Multiple Curriculum Choices
At Northwood, we strongly believe that every child is different in terms of their abilities, talents and personalities. A music examination board might be suitable for one child but may not be suitable for another, which is why we simultaneously offer multiple music examination tracks – the student can then best choose which board is most suitable for him or her. It is like taking the ‘A’ levels, IB, NUS High School Diploma and so on. The way forward is multiple tracks of excellence for different students.
Contact us here to enquire more about our Classical piano programme.
Below are some illustrations of Classical piano :
Baroque Era Piano Sample:
Classical Era Piano Sample:
Romantic Era Piano Sample:
20th Century Era Piano Sample: