Most of us in the music teaching community will have seen it by now - an ill-judged tweet by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) which stated that “Musical achievement is about how well you can do, how good you can get. That sense of attainment is tested by assessment which gives us intrinsic motivation to make us want to get better. That’s the virtuous circle of motivation.” (via Twitter, 24 September 2021).
Just as so many aspects of our normal daily lives have been severely disrupted or curtailed by the coronavirus pandemic, so has the graded music exams system. The three main exam boards, ABSRM, Trinity College London (TCL) and London College of Music (LCM), cancelled physical face-to-face exams and both sought to offer candidates the opportunity… Continue reading MTB Exams – graded music exams for the digital age
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
We are very lucky as pianists/piano teachers to have such a wide repertoire, and one which is constantly being expanded as composers continue to write for the piano. Which is why I find it rather disconcerting when new anthologies of piano music are released purporting to offer "variety" when in fact they merely present a… Continue reading Seeking diversity in anthologies and exam repertoire
With this new syllabus, the ABRSM has sought to remain true to its core strength of offering a syllabus which combines rigour with a selection of music to appeal to a wide range of students around the world
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?
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
It's that time of the year again - exam season, when teachers and students everywhere are awaiting the results of their practical exams. All exam candidates receive a mark sheet which includes brief commentaries on and marks for their pieces, technical work (scales, arpeggios and exercises), aural tests, sight-reading etc. At the bottom of… Continue reading Exam mark sheets: help or hindrance?
I was delighted to have the opportunity to contribute to this article by Clare Stevens which is published in the latest issue of 'Pianist' magazine. While primarily aimed at adult learners, there is plenty here which is relevant to younger students on the benefits of taking graded music exams.