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ABRSM Repertoire? #2505028
01/28/16 06:41 PM
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Michiyo-Fir Offline OP
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I had used the RCM system as a child and never the ABRSM although the rest of my family (cousins) in the UK all did their exams through ABRSM.

My question is, does ABRSM allow repertoire substitutions like RCM does?

I see from the ABRSM website there's a syllabus for Grade 8. However, there are very very few pieces listed under category A, B and C.

Is there a more comprehensive repertoire list for Gr 8 ABRSM? Or is that it?

http://us.abrsm.org/fileadmin/user_upload/syllabuses/piano0815.pdf


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Re: ABRSM Repertoire? [Re: Michiyo-Fir] #2505034
01/28/16 07:01 PM
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Unless things have changed drastically from when I was a student (OK, that was ages ago cry), I think the list is all you have to choose from.

I have to say that I don't see why any exam board should allow repertoire substitution - that would be like the Van Cliburn Competition allowing competitors to substitute much easier Czerny etudes for the Chopin ones, for example. ABRSM have held on to traditional classical values (unlike other exam boards), and I don't think they want students to substitute all sorts of fancy pop song arrangements or gaming music (or whatever they're called) for classical music.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: ABRSM Repertoire? [Re: Michiyo-Fir] #2505041
01/28/16 07:15 PM
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I think it's kind of interesting since the repertoire list is so so limited so I'm kind of curious how the examiners manage to listen to the few pieces over and over and over and over.

In the current Gr 8, there are only 8 choices for category A, 8 for B, and 16 for C.

Whereas in the RCM examinations they allow many substitutions of the same technical level including popular, musical and disney music.

Also, in RCM examinations you are able to substitute higher grade pieces for your exam. For example, you can choose to perform an ARCT piece for your Gr 10 exam if you wished. According to the syllabus, there's something like 100+ pieces to choose from which I haven't bothered to count. I believe you are also able to substitute a piece for one not on the list with approval (not 100% sure about this, cannot remember).

That being said, RCM 10 does have 5 lists instead of 3 like in ABRSM plus 2 technical etudes.

In addition, what I notice about the ABRSM exams is that from gr 8 to dipABRSM appear to be a much larger jump than RCM to ARCT. It seems that some of the Gr 8 ABRSM pieces are gr 8 RCM pieces, while the dipABRSM pieces are mostly ARCT-level pieces although I haven't done a super close comparison.

I'm contemplating going back to one of the systems and finishing my grades once I'm finished my Master's degree and have more time. Trying to pick between the 2 systems and just very surprised to see the small repertoire list of ABRSM compared to what I"m use to in RCM.


Yamaha C3, Yamaha Avant Grand N1 (sold), Steingraeber 170 (family's)
Re: ABRSM Repertoire? [Re: Michiyo-Fir] #2505050
01/28/16 07:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Michiyo-Fir

In the current Gr 8, there are only 8 choices for category A, 8 for B, and 16 for C.

Whereas in the RCM examinations they allow many substitutions of the same technical level including popular, musical and disney music.

That's precisely what ABRSM don't want from students - and I applaud them for it thumb.

How can one judge the performance of a Disney 'Snow White' (or whatever) arrangement other than the purely technical accomplishment of the pianist, since the original isn't for piano, and basically, one interpretation is as 'valid' (or invalid, as the case may be) as any other?

And also, the examiners give detailed reports on students' interpretations, especially in the higher grades, and they obviously know the music inside out, and have probably played the pieces themselves. How could they possibly give such reports on someone playing some obscure version of the latest movie blockbuster theme tune - like, is that rhythm really meant to be so jerky, or that note cluster really intended, or did the student just hammer out some random notes because he couldn't play the correct ones properly? wink And what's to stop a student (or his teacher) simplifying anything he can't manage, and instead, showing off the stuff he's good at, by throwing lots of those licks in?


Quote
In addition, what I notice about the ABRSM exams is that from gr 8 to dipABRSM appear to be a much larger jump than RCM to ARCT. It seems that some of the Gr 8 ABRSM pieces are gr 8 RCM pieces, while the dipABRSM pieces are mostly ARCT-level pieces although I haven't done a super close comparison.

That is deliberate - very few students go beyond Grade 8 ABRSM. Diplomas are not a continuum after the ABRSM Grade exams - they're designed for those contemplating careers in music. In fact, all my fellow students at my high school who weren't intending careers in music stopped at Grade 8, seeing it as the pinnacle of their piano (or violin or clarinet etc) achievement, and none of the peripatetic teachers there teach beyond Grade 8. (I had a private teacher while at university, who got me to my diploma).

Generally, only students who are considering careers as music teachers or performers go on to do diplomas.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
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Re: ABRSM Repertoire? [Re: bennevis] #2505062
01/28/16 08:50 PM
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Originally Posted by bennevis

And also, the examiners give detailed reports on students' interpretations in the higher grades especially, and they obviously know the music inside out, and have probably played the pieces themselves. How could they possibly give such reports on someone playing some obscure version of the latest movie blockbuster theme tune - like, is that note cluster really intended, or did the student just hammer out some random notes because he couldn't play the correct ones properly? wink And what's to stop a student (or his teacher) simplifying anything he can't manage, and showing off the stuff he's good at, by throwing lots of those licks in?


I presume the interpretation would be based on the original voice/orchestral or whatever else instrument the piano piece was transcribed from.

The RCM only approves certain arrangements of the popular pieces, for example, some by Dan Coates so your teacher or yourself cannot play a random arrangement of a song you made.

In the list of repertoire, especially for slightly lower levels, the examiner judges like usual, as dictated by the score in terms of dynamics, phrasing, etc. I don't see how it is less valid than a classical piece which a recording by the original composer does not exist. In fact, it may be even easier to judge since the original pieces have been recorded when it was used by Disney.

Also, the examiner makes him/herself familiar with all the music on the list just as an ABRSM examiner would for their own repertoire lists.

I don't know, I'm just complaining because I had considered to do the ABRSM exams but I highly dislike the small repertoire list so I may stick to RCM instead...

Last edited by Michiyo-Fir; 01/28/16 08:50 PM.

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Re: ABRSM Repertoire? [Re: Michiyo-Fir] #2505067
01/28/16 09:06 PM
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For example, here's the popular selections repertoire for RCM levels 1-9

https://examinations.rcmusic.ca/sites/default/files/files/RCM-Piano-Popular-Selections-2015.pdf


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Re: ABRSM Repertoire? [Re: Michiyo-Fir] #2505072
01/28/16 09:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Michiyo-Fir


I presume the interpretation would be based on the original voice/orchestral or whatever else instrument the piano piece was transcribed from.

The RCM only approves certain arrangements of the popular pieces, for example, some by Dan Coates so your teacher or yourself cannot play a random arrangement of a song you made.

Piano teaching is still largely traditional in the UK, where ABRSM rules, and teachers generally teach to its syllabus. And almost all piano students - child or adult - do ABRSM exams. Most people (including those who know nothing about classical music) know about its grade system - if you tell someone you play the piano (or any orchestral instrument), almost the first question you'll be asked is: "What grade are you?". And the minimum standards required of music students are always based on the same question, e.g. for joining the National Youth Orchestra of GB, or applying for the BBC Young Musician Competition.

Dan Coates's piano arrangements of pop songs etc aren't generally known here. Nor are the songs from The Great American Songbook. Also, jazzy arrangements of well-known tunes aren't appreciated the way they are in North America.

If I want to play stuff like a song from a movie (say, Over The Rainbow), I'd play my own version, not stick rigidly to what someone wrote down, including following all his phrasing, expression markings, dynamics etc. It seems to me to go against the grain of such music that one would play exactly what a transcriber chooses to write down, rather than one's own version (of the original song, or the transcription).

Quote
In the list of repertoire, especially for slightly lower levels, the examiner judges like usual, as dictated by the score in terms of dynamics, phrasing, etc. I don't see how it is less valid than a classical piece which a recording by the original composer does not exist.

It's less valid, IMO, because the original song was almost certainly not even orchestrated/arranged by the original 'composer' for the movie or musical, and can be interpreted in a myriad of ways. How many piano versions of Over The Rainbow are there? Apart from Dan Coates, there's Keith Jarrett, Oscar Peterson, George Shearing (?) and many more - all more famous than Mr Coates. Why can't the student take bits from others' arrangements, and make up his own version?

That's not something you could say of Schumann's Widmung, or Glinka's The Lark, for example.
Quote
I don't know, I'm just complaining because I had considered to do the ABRSM exams but I highly dislike the small repertoire list so I may stick to RCM instead...

From what I've read in PW, very few North Americans like ABRSM's exams, with their highly classical-orientated and traditional (& prescriptive) approach......


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: ABRSM Repertoire? [Re: Michiyo-Fir] #2505081
01/28/16 10:17 PM
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The funny thing is although in Canada RCM dominates strongly, it is definitely possible to do ABRSM exams as well.

If I were to do exams, my next one should technically be RCM 10 or ABRSM 5, then 8 since I believe 5 is a requirement to do 8?

And then very quickly either ARCT or dipABRSM.

I'm in the midst of learning Glinka's the Lark actually and really like it and Schumann's Widmung is on my shortlist. In addition to that I'm going to do Chopin's Nocturne Op 9 No 3 and Rachmaninoff's Prelude in G major Op 32 no 5, Rachmaninoff Moment Musicaux No 4. I prefer to learn pieces I really enjoy and do those as my exam pieces or at least have the option to play one or two of them, which I can in RCM.

I suppose I will stick to the RCM system if I ever do go back and finish my exams from 10 years ago...


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Re: ABRSM Repertoire? [Re: Michiyo-Fir] #2505084
01/28/16 10:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Michiyo-Fir


If I were to do exams, my next one should technically be RCM 10 or ABRSM 5, then 8 since I believe 5 is a requirement to do 8?


You have to have passed ABRSM Grade 5 Theory to do Grade 8 Practical, but not necessarily Grade 5 Practical.

But better check for yourself - my memory isn't what it was......... cry


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: ABRSM Repertoire? [Re: Michiyo-Fir] #2505122
01/29/16 02:21 AM
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I don't know when it was that RCM starting adding "popular" songs in specific arrangements to their examination repertoire. On the one hand, I suppose that it encourages today's younger (and maybe not so young) students to have goals using pieces they like more than they like some of the traditional repertoire. On the other hand, traditionalists such as I don't see the point of integrating popular music into a classically oriented examination system.

I wonder if it not better serve the student to have a two-tier, an "either/or" examination system: popular or classical. I suppose the current RCM trend is to encourage students to be able to play in both styles, but adding just a few pieces of token popular among the wide choice of classical is certainly not the way of going about it, I don't think.

One thing I do like about the RCM system is the wide choice of classical examination repertoire in at list five "lists" for the more advanced examinations.

Regards,


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Re: ABRSM Repertoire? [Re: bennevis] #2505175
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Originally Posted by bennevis

If I want to play stuff like a song from a movie (say, Over The Rainbow), I'd play my own version, not stick rigidly to what someone wrote down, including following all his phrasing, expression markings, dynamics etc. It seems to me to go against the grain of such music that one would play exactly what a transcriber chooses to write down, rather than one's own version (of the original song, or the transcription).


As it happens, Over the Rainbow is on the ABRSM Grade 6 syllabus for 2015/2016 http://gb.abrsm.org/it/our-exams/piano/piano-grade-6/.
List C does usually include a couple of non-classical options (eg Grade 8 has an arrangement of "September in the Rain".)
These are very much the exception though, the focus is very much classical as you say.

Re: ABRSM Repertoire? [Re: Michiyo-Fir] #2505198
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The ABRSM are a money making organisation. Every two years they change the lists of songs you can perform in the exam, meaning that, every two years, you end up shelling out for 8 new graded piano books.

Not all of the songs they list are in those books though, so you have to source them yourself.

Although it's still considered the main examination board in the UK (and no doubt other countries), I have noticed that Trinity is becoming the preferred source for many music teachers as it's deemed or more musical examination.

If you want to get really frustrated at the ABRSM just have a read on their forums!

Re: ABRSM Repertoire? [Re: fatar760] #2505212
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Originally Posted by fatar760

Although it's still considered the main examination board in the UK (and no doubt other countries), I have noticed that Trinity is becoming the preferred source for many music teachers as it's deemed or more musical examination.

If you want to get really frustrated at the ABRSM just have a read on their forums!

http://www.abrsm.org/forum/index.php?showtopic=52126

Just found this one, which seems to be a case of swings & roundabouts. The main gripe with ABRSM seems to be the singing/humming requirement in the aural exam.

I remember when my voice broke right in the middle of an ABRSM exam (I was then 13) - the pitch suddenly shot up two octaves into a squeak when I was singing a melody the examiner had just played. I got full marks, and the comment "Excellent ears!" (No mention about voice) grin.

I hope the odd pop song arrangement that ABRSM is letting in isn't the thin end of a wedge - though with Trinity already allowing the student to play a composition of his own (probably hoping to attract more mature students who fancy themselves as composers), I don't hold out much hope. ABRSM already has a jazz syllabus, Trinity has a 'Rock & Pop' one......(what next - Disney movies? Star Wars?). Why would they need to dilute their classical-based syllabus with ephemeral pop song arrangements?

I don't know anyone who did Trinity exams when I was a student - all the three teachers I had when doing grade exams (two in my country of origin, one in the UK) taught ABRSM.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: ABRSM Repertoire? [Re: Michiyo-Fir] #2505218
01/29/16 11:50 AM
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I don't see having pop songs as a huge problem on the exam list since it is only allowed in 1 of the lists.

To be honest, I probably wouldn't choose one for my own exam but I definitely appreciate the large repertoire list of RCM.

I've never heard of Trinity. Both my cousins (now 15 and 20) live in the UK and have had multiple teachers (I think 4?) and all have done ABRSM and never even mentions Trinity. Not knowing anything about it, I wonder if it's more geared towards adults than young children working their way up the levels.


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Re: ABRSM Repertoire? [Re: bennevis] #2505220
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by fatar760

Although it's still considered the main examination board in the UK (and no doubt other countries), I have noticed that Trinity is becoming the preferred source for many music teachers as it's deemed or more musical examination.

If you want to get really frustrated at the ABRSM just have a read on their forums!

http://www.abrsm.org/forum/index.php?showtopic=52126

Just found this one, which seems to be a case of swings & roundabouts. The main gripe with ABRSM seems to be the singing/humming requirement in the aural exam.

I remember when my voice broke right in the middle of an ABRSM exam (I was then 13) - the pitch suddenly shot up two octaves into a squeak when I was singing a melody the examiner had just played. I got full marks, and the comment "Excellent ears!" (No mention about voice) grin.

I hope the odd pop song arrangement that ABRSM is letting in isn't the thin end of a wedge - though with Trinity already allowing the student to play a composition of his own (probably hoping to attract more mature students who fancy themselves as composers), I don't hold out much hope. ABRSM already has a jazz syllabus, Trinity has a 'Rock & Pop' one......(what next - Disney movies? Star Wars?). Why would they need to dilute their classical-based syllabus with ephemeral pop song arrangements?

I don't know anyone who did Trinity exams when I was a student - all the three teachers I had when doing grade exams (two in my country of origin, one in the UK) taught ABRSM.


ABRSM have had a Jazz syllabus (only to Grade 5) for about ten years or so now. This list of songs have never changed - which shows that they are still rooted in their classical syllabus. Although, I feel that has diluted to appease young children, whilst the fees have greatly increased.

One can learn a lot from Jazz and pop songs, if arranged well. I remember, a couple of years ago, they had Wonderful Tonight by Clapton as one of their song selections. Their whole Block C rep is targeted towards more modern music.


Re: ABRSM Repertoire? [Re: Michiyo-Fir] #2505224
01/29/16 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Michiyo-Fir
I don't see having pop songs as a huge problem on the exam list since it is only allowed in 1 of the lists.

To be honest, I probably wouldn't choose one for my own exam but I definitely appreciate the large repertoire list of RCM.

I've never heard of Trinity. Both my cousins (now 15 and 20) live in the UK and have had multiple teachers (I think 4?) and all have done ABRSM and never even mentions Trinity. Not knowing anything about it, I wonder if it's more geared towards adults than young children working their way up the levels.


I'd argue that it's seen as the more musical choice, rather than those who learn to pass exams (when they're not necessarily at that level)

Re: ABRSM Repertoire? [Re: fatar760] #2505278
01/29/16 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by fatar760

I'd argue that it's seen as the more musical choice, rather than those who learn to pass exams (when they're not necessarily at that level)

Why do you believe that Trinity is more 'musical'?


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: ABRSM Repertoire? [Re: bennevis] #2505508
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I personally do not see any problem with including pop songs as part of repertoire. What exactly do we mean when we say "classical music"? There are lots of jazz tunes being included in ABRSM syllabus. I do not think it's that much of a stretch to include other music as an option especially for List C.

As for a particular arrangement/transcription of the score (e.g. by Dan Coates), I don't see an issue either. Restricting it to one arrangement serves to ensure the standard of playing required. Also, haven't "classical" composers transcribed the works of previous non-piano works?

As for the various diploma exams, the ARCT looks to be the most challenging, having to do 5 pieces and 1 etude. There are also lots of theory exams that have to be completed either before or within a few years of the ARCT exam. I really dislike that they force students to learn Bach as one of their pieces - no love for Scarlatti whatsoever.

DipABRSM does not require additional theory exams. But you need to study for the Viva Voce and be pretty good at sight-reading (Quick Study). For me, the Quick Study is the most daunting.

Trinity (ATCL) may be considered the most "musical" in the sense that it only requires you to perform your recital and provide programme notes. No quick study, no viva voce. No theory. Just the playing.


Re: ABRSM Repertoire? [Re: joshjackson] #2505555
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Originally Posted by joshjackson


As for a particular arrangement/transcription of the score (e.g. by Dan Coates), I don't see an issue either. Restricting it to one arrangement serves to ensure the standard of playing required. Also, haven't "classical" composers transcribed the works of previous non-piano works?

You don't seem to understand the difference between, say, Liszt's transcription of Erlkönig (which is very well-known, and the only one concert pianists play, and has stood the test of time), and Coates's of pop songs, which is just one of many, and not used by professionals, who'll play their own versions. And most pianists outside North America don't know of Coates's arrangements, and they will probably be superseded very quickly, when other whizz-bang arrangements come along. Even the piano-heavy Bridge Over Troubled Water has more than one so-called 'original version'.



Quote
Trinity (ATCL) may be considered the most "musical" in the sense that it only requires you to perform your recital and provide programme notes. No quick study, no viva voce. No theory. Just the playing.


There's something very odd in your statement.

So, you don't think a musician needs to know theory?


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
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I personally think you are just being a bit too purist and traditionalist in your approach to the ABRSM exams. I do not see why only the most well known transcription that have "stood the test of time" can be performed. It is easy enough for exam candidate to seek out the score that they need for the exam.

With regard to theory, I was just using the word "musical" because a previous poster used it. But to an extent, yes I think a "musician" can get away with not knowing theory to the same level as their practical, which might explain why ABRSM does not require more than Grade 5 theory for the Grade 8 practical or DipABRSM.

Re: ABRSM Repertoire? [Re: Michiyo-Fir] #2505821
01/31/16 10:49 AM
01/31/16 10:49 AM
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Forgive me for my ignorance, but what is the purpose of these exams? Are they just for fun? Or are they requirements for getting into conservatories (like SATs)?

Re: ABRSM Repertoire? [Re: boo1234] #2505835
01/31/16 11:51 AM
01/31/16 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by boo1234
what is the purpose of these exams? Are they just for fun? Or are they requirements for getting into conservatories (like SATs)?

Both, plus being an objective measure (or, as objective as it's possible to be) of a musician's standard and attainment.

Have a look at the ABF and the Piano Teachers Forum, and you'll read about people who can (apparently) play difficult repertoire, yet cannot sight-read at all (or maybe, not even read music, because they've been taught by rote by their teachers, or from YT videos). And there're many others who play difficult stuff but can't tell the difference between a perfect 4th and perfect 5th, or the difference between a duple, triple or quadruple time. And so on.

Whereas, if a student pianist says he's passed (say) Grade 5 ABRSM, I have a good idea what standard he's at - in playing, technique, scales & arpeggios, aural skills etc - and what he's likely to have played (Für Elise for example), or can easily manage. People who've never encountered the ABRSM exam system might think all this is irrelevant to music, but if you think of playing a musical instrument and music as a skill that can be taught & learnt - the same way that mathematics is taught & learnt in schools everywhere in the world - then the standard you've reached can be 'measured' in an exam, just as academic subjects are tested in all schools. And teachers in countries using the ABRSM system cannot skip teaching aspects of technique or musicianship or theory, just so that they can get their students to show off in their recitals how quickly they managed to learn to play Für Elise, or whatever - because recitals as a means of judging students' (or their teachers') standards cut no ice, if the student can't even read music or possess no basic aural skills (which are tested right from Grade 1). There is no culture of student recitals in the UK.

In the UK (and many other countries around the world, including the obscure one I came from), the exam system for music students is ubiquitous, as I mentioned earlier. Requirements to enter competitions, join orchestras etc are often based on grades.

When I was a student at my new high school in the UK, I took it for granted that a fellow musician of a similar grade to me can play his instrument to a similar standard, sight-read music etc. Everyone took the grade system for granted - when I asked to join the school choir, the choir master asked me what grade I was at my instrument (not what instrument I played, or whether I'd sung before). When I told him Grade 5, he nodded, and handed me the vocal scores (in SATB) for the music the choir would be learning in the next few weeks, and asked me to try out both the tenor and bass parts (my voice had just broken at the time) to see which suited me best. He didn't ask me whether I knew intervals, or could sight-sing, or whether I could sing in tune etc - he simply expected me to be able to, because I had passed Grade 5 ABRSM.

Similarly, when I wanted to try out chamber music (particularly Beethoven's 'Spring' Sonata), I found someone in the school choir who was a violinist of the same grade as me, and who was also looking for a pianist of similar standard to play violin-and-piano repertoire with. We didn't need to 'check out' each others' skills - just the fact that we were playing our respective instruments at the same grade was sufficient. The first time we played together, we both sight-read through Mozart's K304 with equal incompetence wink - and we went on to learn it (and later, the Spring Sonata and others) properly, just for our own pleasure.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: ABRSM Repertoire? [Re: Michiyo-Fir] #2505888
01/31/16 03:09 PM
01/31/16 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Michiyo-Fir

I had used the RCM system as a child and never the ABRSM although the rest of my family (cousins) in the UK all did their exams through ABRSM.

My question is, does ABRSM allow repertoire substitutions like RCM does?



To point out the obvious, why don't you write, call or email the board and ask them? I know several people who've done that for various auditions at all levels. It almost always clears up the problem at one go.

Further speculation isn't going to help at all.


Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/greg-dempster/34/325/6b9/ (my day job)
Re: ABRSM Repertoire? [Re: bennevis] #2505938
01/31/16 05:08 PM
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But the ABRSM examination process is flawed too. Just because you 'pass' a certain Grade does not mean you're at the level that that grade deems you to be.

A quick example of this:

I once started teaching a 10 year old. She'd been learning the instrument for three years and had sat Grades 1, 2 and 3 gaining DISTINCTIONS (the highest mark possible) in each of her exams. Her mother proudly presented me the exam certificates and the feedback sheets (which took some deciphering)There was not one negative mark on any of those feedback sheets.

So, there I sat massively impressed and ready to start the lesson. I asked her to play me something, anything she liked. She opened up her Grade 3 book and in it EVERY single note had a letter name next to it. She played. There were many issues she displayed.

I asked her to play me some scales. She didn't know what they were. I showed her the C Major scale and she said she'd never played it before. I tried her out with some ABRSM GRade 1 (not 3) sight reading and she couldn't read anything in front of her. She had no knowledge of anything she was looking at on the page.

It turns out she'd learnt a grand total of 9 pieces over three years and any scales that she had learnt were long gone from her short term memory.

Yet, distinctions.

The mother was distraught when I informed her that she'd basically been taught by rote and didn't truly understand anything in front of her LET ALONE any musicianship qualities.

Anyone can train to pass an exam and, I think, given that the ABRSM have changed their syllabus to make it easier to pass (whilst bumping pu the prices - get those 4 year olds in!) pretty much says it all.

There are positives to sitting exams as well of course but, in my opinion, the ABRSM ain't all that!






Re: ABRSM Repertoire? [Re: fatar760] #2505940
01/31/16 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by fatar760
There was not one negative mark on any of those feedback sheets.



So, how did she manage to pass her sight-reading tests?


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: ABRSM Repertoire? [Re: bennevis] #2505941
01/31/16 05:18 PM
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I have no idea! I'd liked to have found out.

Re: ABRSM Repertoire? [Re: fatar760] #2505943
01/31/16 05:22 PM
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Originally Posted by fatar760
I have no idea! I'd liked to have found out.

It's not unknown for students to ask/cajole/bribe others to do music exams on their behalf wink .

After all, the examiner has no idea what you look like.........


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: ABRSM Repertoire? [Re: bennevis] #2505945
01/31/16 05:26 PM
01/31/16 05:26 PM
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Haha maybe....

Although their previous teacher was a male from Poland and she was a ten year old girl from Barbados...not really sure why they'd be looking for a new teacher if they had a nice 'deal' with their current one!

Plus, must repeat, that the mother was distraught when I explained to her that her kid wasn't at the level they believed her to be. They were a very religious family so any 'exam rigging' wasn't something she was aware of.


Last edited by fatar760; 01/31/16 05:28 PM.

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