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Beyond grade 8...

MandyH

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When I started to play the saxophone a little over 5 years ago (Jan 2009) I never planned to take an exam. As time went by, I wanted an objective for my playing and decided to take grade 4, then 6 and then 7.
In 3 weeks time, I will be taking grade 8. I am somewhat amazed as I never thought I'd be any good really.
So I am now asking myself - what shall I aim for next? I learnt about a year ago that there are diplomas after grade 8, that I can try my hand at, and I was all set for a performance diploma -ATCL, until my teacher threw me a curved ball and suggested I think about doing the Teaching diploma instead.
In conversation with her she said she didn't know what it entailed as she'd never had a student that she thought would be a good candidate.
I went home and eventually realised that this was probably a compliment!
Having looked at the syllabus, I see that this is an academic diploma - essay writing, lesson observations, demonstration of teaching skills etc.
I think I would also want to do a performance diploma - I want to enhance my playing skills even further, but has anyone here done a teaching diploma in music?
I gave a PGCE (in Electronics and Technology?!) so the teaching concept doesn't worry me, and my medium term thoughts had been to look into becoming a sax teacher, so it fits in with that too.
Exciting times ahead.
 

Jeanette

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Exciting indeed, you've come a long way in 5 years well done Mandy. I look forward to hearing about your future ventures.

Jx
 

Colin the Bear

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Grades and exams never appealed to me. The only way to improve your performance skills is to perform. Have a look in at an open mic night or find a local trad group that let players sit in. Get yourself a small repertoire together and take it out.
 

MandyH

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Grades and exams never appealed to me. The only way to improve your performance skills is to perform. Have a look in at an open mic night or find a local trad group that let players sit in. Get yourself a small repertoire together and take it out.
Hi Colin,
I play in 5 different saxophone bands from "fun at a village fete" to "serious repertoire evenings in a local church". I play in an SATB sax quartet, a 6-sax and a 12-sax ensemble and two bigger bands.
These have improved my playing no end.
Open mic nights would fill me with fear and trepidation to be honest. Although the formal concert only makes me feel nervous.
I still feel that there is much more I could learn, but I'm not really sure what is the best route to take.
 

ArtyLady

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You've done incredibly well Mandy! I'm planning to do the Jazz Performance Diploma, planning is all it is at the moment - so much else going on - also doing Grade 8 Jazz Flute, (and Grade 5 Classical Piano at some point too).

I looked at doing the ATCL Teaching Dip but as I don't have a Tutor to guide me though and I couldn't find a course for it, I took a Level 4 C&G PTLLS teaching qualification instead - I believe that the ATCL teaching diploma is around the same level? (I may be wrong).

I love getting qualifications, (just hate actually taking the exams lol!) I think as a teacher for me it gives me that little bit extra confidence, although I know plenty of musicians who teach, and put students through exams, without a qualification to their name!
 

Nick Wyver

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I half heartedly worked towards a teaching diploma after grade 8 (30 odd years ago) but in the end I decided I really didn't fancy the grind.
I wish you luck with whatever you decide.
 

Jamesmac

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Sitting in a band or ensemble and reading can be rewarding, but it's only when you can stand up in front of the band and play a solo well, that you can say well I'm not doing too bad. I got an orchestral job in Germany in the 80,s because of a recording of the Weber Concertina for Clarinet, transcribed from orchestra for Band. I did it with the NSW Police Band in Sydney Australia. Which was a full time Band. That's the other thing about getting better, it's best if you can do it full time.
 

Ivan

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If we edit your post:

So I am now asking myself - what shall I aim for next?
... there are diplomas after grade 8, that I can try my hand at, and I was all set for a performance diploma -ATCL, until my teacher threw me a curved ball and suggested I think about doing the Teaching diploma instead
... my medium term thoughts had been to look into becoming a sax teacher, so it fits in with that too.
Exciting times ahead.

Good luck with your (future) teaching career!
 

Sue

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Good luck with your exam and go with your heart for the future. I think you sound tempted by both as you obviously love to play yet seem to have a desire to share your knowledge. Do both :)
 

kevgermany

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I'm stunned by how far you've progressed in such a short time. Congrats. As for future - follow your heart. If you want to teach it's a wonderful way of sharing your love of music and getting more people playing instead of slouching around in hoodies and headphones. Greatest gift of music teachers is to inspire...
 

Lewis.S

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Hi Mandy,
I'm working on an ATCL diploma at the mo! Are you gonna do straight or jazz?
If you have any queries, don't be afraid to message me!
 

kernewegor

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Most performers teach and most teachers perform. If you teach you may not have to starve for your art.

Go for it! Both, that is...
 

MandyH

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Hi Mandy,
I'm working on an ATCL diploma at the mo! Are you gonna do straight or jazz?
If you have any queries, don't be afraid to message me!
Interesting question, Lewis.... the list of pieces to choose from doesn't have any Jazz pieces, does it? Or have I misunderstood it?
I know you can pick your own pieces and have them approved.

All my grades have been Jazz sax, but I play in both Jazz and Classical ensembles.

And my teacher pointed out that if I take the performance diploma from a classical side, then I'll have a broad cross-section of experience.

I was planning to take Classical, but now you have confused me :headscratch:
 

ArtyLady

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Mandy you can do a Jazz Diploma, you have to choose your own numbers and send in your program for approval.
 

Taz

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Clever clever girl! Whatever you choose Mandy, I'm sure you will do well. I also believe that you would be a great teacher.

I thought about doing grades once. Luckily the feeling passed without any lasting side effects!
 

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