RCM Syllabus discussion

The West coast harp society teachers, representing many if not most of the teachers who prepare students for RCM exams, are preparing a submission to the RCM regarding their new harp syllabus, said to be in the "planning stages"

Let's collect all our thoughts here, and use this to prepare our submission. I've added the comments I've received by email, and people can add more as they think of them. If you need to have a new topic, just email me and I'll set it up. Marilyn@harpcanada.com

Problems with customer service and exam experiences 

From Elizabeth Volpé Bligh: There have been some issues with bad exam experiences and unresponsive customer service lately. I would like to hear if there have been any other problems. This situation is utterly unacceptable. 

1. Rosanna Chiu wrote to me: "My student registered for RCM Grade 2 for harp.  The confirmation on the RCM website as well as the paper "Practical Examination Program Form" information (mailed by RCM to the student) are all correct.  When the student went to the exam, she was turned away because the administrator couldn't find her on the list ("string list").  Then the student called me, and we found out she is on the "piano list".  Then the administrator said she can only participate on the piano examination. 

Lucky the parent found the piano examiner, and the piano teacher understood the situation and agree to administer the exam.  Later Stephanie told me the examiner doesn't know the syllabus. For example on the syllabus it says to play Larivière No 14 hands separate (HS), but because the exercise was printed hands together, and the student didn't has the syllabus with her, the examiner asked her to play hands together. The student was very stressed going to the exam because of this and it was just not a good experience."

Rosanna wrote to RCM.

2. EVB: One of my students received a terrible mark for her ARCT, which did not reflect the approving remarks made by the examiner.  This examiner actually failed this student, though her comments indicated that she was mostly pleased with how the student performed. The mark should match the sentiments expressed in the comments.This was an exam that had been cancelled once before by the RCM because they couldn't find an examiner, and then this time they suddenly put it sooner by a couple of months, blindsiding the student who thought she had that time to perfect everything. I sent a letter of complaint, but have received no answer from candidate services.

Another of my students received similar treatment from the same examiner at the same time, though at least she passed! Again, her low mark did not reflect the glowing comments. This examiner was very harsh in her marking, much more so than others.

3. The RCM changed some important wording to the Grade 10 syllabus, adding another piece requirement for List B. It used to be 2 pieces OR 2 movements of a sonata. All of a sudden, they wanted 2 pieces, even if one was a sonata. If my student had not looked at the web site and noticed the change, she would have possibly been disqualified at her exam! 

4. When you try to call, their recorded message states that their lines are very busy, and to check the web site. They don't even put you on hold or allow you to leave a message. The line just goes dead. I haven't tried calling recently, but I hope that this situation has improved.




chord inversions 

I have always felt that the chord inversions should be played the normal way they appear in most pieces, rather than the hands in parallel formation as they are shown in the technique requirements. This would mean the left hand would play the root position chord, and the right hand would begin on the first inversion, to make an 8-note chord.

Grade 9 

Is it meant to be a grade 10 without excerpts?  Does it have enough content? What about technical requirements?