This is a transcript of an article I wrote to accompany the release of Trinity College London's new piano syllabus, for which I also contributed teaching notes. Here I introduce the new piano syllabus for Grades 3 to 5 and explores some of my favourite pieces from the repertoire. For music examples, please see the… Continue reading New Trinity College London piano syllabus – exploring the repertoire
When coronavirus hit the UK, it became evident that normal life as we know it would have to change. This included the provision of graded music exams. The major exam boards swiftly cancelled the spring season's exams, which caused a great deal of frustration and disappointment to candidates and teachers who had been working so… Continue reading The benefits of online music exams
Theresa writes: I am ready to sit ABRSM G7 theory and practical exams but obviously cannot due to the current situation. I’ll continue with past exam papers but with my 3 performance pieces how do I stop getting stale/bored with them ? Can you suggest any ways I can vary practice ? I recently joined… Continue reading Coffee Shop Questions: Keeping exam repertoire fresh
For the musician looking to further their studies after Grade 8 Performance Diplomas offer a pathway to fully accredited professional qualifications, recognised by other musicians and music professionals around the world. A diploma, even at the lowest Associate level, is significantly more involved than Grade 8, requiring a high degree of attainment, combined with a… Continue reading New Diploma Syllabus from Trinity College London
The longer I teach (over 11 years at the time of writing), the more anti-exams I have become. For many - teachers, students and parents - exams are the visible benchmarks of progress, not just in music but in education in general. Children and young people are constantly tested, almost from the moment they enter… Continue reading Exam-obsessed?
I am continually surprised at how infrequently stagecraft is taught as a specific skill to developing musicians, from children taking graded music exams to students at music college. I think this stems in part from a misplaced view that stagecraft is only for "professional" musicians. Yet the ability to comport oneself well in a performance… Continue reading Faking it: stagecraft for graded piano exams and performance diplomas
I was delighted to act as a consultant in the selection of piano pieces for the new London College of Music (LCM) piano syllabus and I was impressed with the breadth and variety of music under consideration. When I received copies of the new handbooks, I was pleased to see some of the pieces I… Continue reading LCM piano grade handbooks 2018-2020
despite the best efforts of a sympathetic and well-organised teacher, many students feel consumed with anxiety when approaching their music exams
This a question I believe we as teachers should all be asking our pupils. It came up in conversation between myself and my friend and teaching colleague Rebecca, and we agreed that in future all students should be asked to consider this question. Why? Because it is all too easy for teachers to become complacent… Continue reading Why do you want to take a piano exam?
She can certainly play the 2015-16 [Grade 8] syllabus pieces A-C brilliantly......Can she play anything else? I’ll get back to you on that. This is a quote from an article about graded music exams by journalist Rosie Millard, who, by her own admission, is "a pushy music parent" when it comes to her children's music… Continue reading Grade exams don’t make musicians