I’m starting this blog of my journey to the TCRG exams (Irish dancing teachers’ exams) as there are many others that I’ve found that have been useful to me… such as making up silly rhymes for the music of the written music test…
Hopefully this helps others as well as myself in keeping track of my progress. It is a journey that has to be done… and done right!
Okay… so here it goes…
Studying for my TCRG exam started about a year ago… I have the Ceili book ‘Ar Rince Foirne’ and music CDs and my lovely teachers to help me.
I’m a student at the Queensland Irish Association Dancers in Brisbane, Australia. I started when I was seven after seeing Riverdance on television. My mum wanted me to start Ballet, but irish dancing just looked too awesome to pass up, so I started that instead. Thank God! I instantly fell in love it and would never dream of giving it up.
It is a part of my identity now.
I have no Championship titles under my belt, but I believe that hard work, patience and passion is key to what I need to pass this exam.
The exam has many parts to it…
- Practical test of dancing.
- Written Ceili dancing test
- Practical test in teaching Ceili dancing
- Practical test in teaching step dancing
- Written music test
- Oral irish language test (optional – if you live outside Ireland)
Practical test of dancing:
This should be pretty simple as I’m currently dancing… still doing competitions… I have my Reel, Double jig, Slip jig, Single Jig, Hornpipe and four Traditional Sets – St. Patrick’s Day, Blackbird, Job of Journeywork and Garden of Daisies pretty much down pat.
Also I have to have nine set dances of my choice:
Garden of Daisies, Drunken Gauger, Planxty Drury, Madame Bonaparte, The Lodge Road, Hurry the Jug, Rodney’s Glory, Three Sea Captains (Short) and Ace and Deuce of Pipering are my chosen nine for the exam (but may change).
My creative juices have only given me Madame Bonaparte, Hurry the Jug and Three Sea Captains. Luckily, I still remember my Lodge Road, Drunken Gauger from previous years and learning Garden of Daisies for comps this year. But I still have to make up Planxty Drury, Rodney’s Glory and Ace and Deuce of Pipering… I’ve basically hit the dancing version of writer’s block with these three, but hopefully once dance classes start up again, the pipes will unblock and the juices will flow freely again.
Written Ceili Test:
The written ceili test is killing me… I’ve started the practice exams from the internet and I’m failing. I can’t go a question without looking into the ceili book! Yikes! The fact that I haven’t studied the ceili book as much I should have over these summer holidays… I’ve only studied book one and I’m getting there. Started book two today… but I must do more prac tests!!! My motivation has been lacking!
Practical Ceili Test:
Then I have to teach the ceili dances off by heart… me and small children… it’s hard! I don’t have the natural hand with children like others do. I wish I did, but I guess it’s a matter of confidence. They can’t hurt me I suppose, but this section is probably the main thing to whether I’ll get my teacher’s certificate or not. I have to be able to work with children to make the whole thing worth while!
Written Music Test:
The written music test… Ahh! Tricky as you have about 60 set dances to figure out in the exam. They play the song and you have to figure out which tune it is, whether it is a jig or hornpipe and the number of bars it is.
From other blogs ( I can’t remember the blogs to reference) but the bloggers and my teachers suggested making lyrics for the songs. And surprisingly enough it works! Now when a tune turns upon my iPod, I start singing the silly rhyme that I made for the song:
My silly rhymes:
The Four Masters: The four masters will go out today, they sing, they dance, the play all day. Their fiddlesticks and their drum kits allow them to be quick and rumbling…
Rambling rake: In the morning the old rambling rake always sounds like a cat (meow), a cat (meow), a cat (meow) it rambles in the morning sun…
Ace and Deuce: when the ace and deuce, the one and two, the uno the duo, the ichi and ni, the ace (pause), the deuce (pause) go pipering the whole day they fall in love…
They don’t have to make sense to work! But these are the only ones I’ve figure out so far. There are still many sets to make up songs to… I need help!!!
So January 19th… this is where I’m at! Not very far is it in the scheme of things… but there are still a few months left to study studiously!