MOCK EXAMS: with Mrs. Orton
Students who have signed up to do an RCM exam are welcome to make an appointment with Mrs. Edith Orton, a Royal Conservatory Examiner, in the Ottawa area, to book a Mock Exam. This is excellent preparation for the real exam and you will find that Mrs. Orton extremely detailed. She has the ability to spur on students to serious practise, with her honest direct criticism of their pieces and technique. There is nothing like hearing the same critique from another teacher. Cynthia has seen remarkable improvement in practise time, not only in preparation for the Mock Exam but also immediately after the Mock Exam. Mrs. Orton can be reached at 613-224-3381 and her address is 22 Tower Road, which is SW of the Baseline and Merivale district. Immediately below Mrs. Orton's advice, you can find more information about her life.
Advice from Mrs. Orton: to help prepare for a mock exam
The technique MUST be secure, smooth & up to minimum tempo. I make my students have all technique fluent by the time I allow them to send in their application for an exam. This makes for greater fluency in all their pieces.
Accuracy, especially in notes & timing. I find there are many errors in the notes, but the wrong timing is also very frequent. This includes changing tempo in a difficult section, speeding up in runs, not waiting for rests.
Dynamics. Frequently there is little difference ( if any ) between "p" , mp, & forte. This takes away the interest & excitement of a piece.
Interpretation & Style. So often there is little imagination in reference to the title, especially in modern pieces. Often the students don't know the title but refer to list A, B, C etc. Style must always be taken into consideration.
Ending of phrases: They should nearly always taper, but frequently when students see a dot at the end of a phrase they come off with a short, sharp accent, spoiling the line.
Phrasing: One of the most important sections of any piece of music is to follow the phrases, and "shape" each one, matching tones so no notes stick out.
Following all these suggestions take time & alertness on the teacher's part as well as the student.
Mrs. Orton's Biography
Edith Orton was born and raised in Manitoba. She began piano lessons at the age of eight and soon found music to be the joy of her life. In 1943 she graduated from Manitoba Teachers' College, receiving the Dr. Alec McIntyre Scholarship for General Proficiency and High Scholastic Standing. For 13 years her teacher was Edward Lincoln, Chairman of Western Board, who became the head of the music Department at the University of Edmonton. She taught primary school in Gimli, Manitoba for three and a half years and later went on to study music at the University of Manitoba. She graduated in 1958 with the Associate Diploma in Music (Piano Performance). In 1961 she received the Associate Diploma in Music (Performance) from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. In 1965 she became a member of the Manitoba Registered Music Teachers' Association.
She moved to Ontario in 1967 where she joined the Ontario Registered Music Teachers' Association of which she became a valued member. She served on the Branch Excutive and Council including a very successful term as Branch President. She went on to be Zone Representative for the Ottawa Region Zone from 1977 to 1980 when she was elected Provincial President. Her involvement in the activities of ORMTA did not stop there; she has assisted in the organization of many functions and, even when not actively organizing an event, has attended most and has been ready and willing to contribute any refreshments required.
Edith has had a very active musical career. She was organist and choir director of St. Bartholomew's Church in Winnipeg; she was a memeber of the Winnipeg Philharmonic Choir and of the Ottawa Choral Society; she was also accompanist for the Winnipeg Male Voice Choir. She was a charter member of the Amabile Singers of Ottawa and sang with the special ladies' choir which performed at a benefit concernt in Ottawa for the 1993 CFMTA convention. She has taught piano since 1952 and has had many Silver Medal Winners as well as Music Festival Trophy winners. In 1988 she entered a finalist in the Canadian Music Competitions. She also made numerous tapes of Opera Excerpts, the style of the Fugue, Sonata form etc for Henry Bonnenberg's "Joy of Music" course at Ottawa University.
Edith has been an examiner for the Royal Conservatory of Toronto since 1986. She is also an Examiner for the Music Department of the Ottawa-Carleton School Board and Piano Consultant for graduate teachers. She has presented workshops on preparing students for examination in Ottawa, Kingston, Brockville, Oshawa, Niagara Falls and Pembroke and also at the ISME conference in South Africa.
Edith has many other interests. Always interested in physical education and sports, she has participated in curling, track and field, skating, skiing and musch more. She enjoys folk dancing and ballroom dancing and has taken a course in "Physical Education and Music". She is an accomplished cook and belongs to a gourmet cooking group. Edith is an experienced world traveler. She lived in England for three years after her marriage and has visited in all thirteen countries including China, Finland, Norway, Israel and South America.
In spite of her busy life as a teacher and the mother of three sons, Edith has found the time to join many organizations. She is an active member of the Toronto Conservatory Alumni and has served as President of that organization and also as Treasure of the Alumni Scholarship fund. She has served as membership secretary of the Ottawa Choral Society, she has been a 'choir mother' for the boys of St. Matthew's Church choir in Ottawa. She was involved with the National Arts Center Orchestra Association board for several years and went with the Association on thirteen tours. She has worked extensively with Ottawa Pianist, Jean-Paul Sevilla, organizing his recitals and setting up workshops and lectures for him. Recently, when the University of Ottawa began its series of master classes for the students of Ottawa teachers, Edith was asked to introduce Jean-Paul Sevilla and regaled the audience with interesting and amusing stories of times when they worked together.
Clearly gifted with both musicality and with organizational skills, Edith is very well regarded, not only in her home town of Ottawa, but throughout the registered music teachers' organizations of the whole of Canada and, through ISME, by music teachers in other parts of the world. We are fortunate, in our organization, to count Edith as one of our Honorary Members.