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1954pip

Member
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124
hi i have heard a lot spoken about grade exams ,what wondered was how do you go about taking these exams.

pip
 

andyb1970

Member
Messages
450
You can either take exams through a tutor, or sign up yourself and then enter yourself into an exam. There are various exam boards, the most common being:
http://www.abrsm.org/en/home
http://www.trinitycollege.co.uk/site/?id=55

The grade of exam you enter would depend on your current level.

The ABRSM standard exam is thought of as classical, but in reality includes music for different genres. they also do a Jazz specific exam. The Trinty Guidehall exams are becoming more popular, I personally don't have any experience of these.

The idea behind the exams is to test you on various aspects, such as playing, aural skills (ear training), scales and sight reading.

I'm taking my Grade 6 exam soon with ABRSM.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
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5,219
Just to add the following:

You can do sax exams with ABRSM, Trinity/Guildhall & London College of Music. There are both general exams and also Jazz exams by each board. The ABRSM jazz grades are up to Grade 5 (excellent syllabus etc.) and both the others do Jazz Grades up to Grade 8. In the former exams there are classical pieces, but not in the Jazz exams. I would certainly recommend to have a teacher, who can additionally advise when you are ready, and which Grade to go for. Jazz exams, especially with ABRSM, have improvisation as part of the process. On early grades you will usually play 8-16 bars of improvisation on a set piece, with higher grades including up to 24-36 bars of improvisation. Do have a look at the various ones, and see what you think. I have been preparing for a London College of Music Grade 7 exam in Jazz Trumpet, and am doing a set piece (approx 4mins long), Cantaloupe Island (Herbie Hancock 32 bars Improvisation) and Work Song (Nat Adderley - 40 bars Improvisation).

Can be very worthwhile and can add real focus/motivation to your learning. Grade 8 is the level that you need to achieve to be able to learn at university.

Kind regards
Tom
 

Two Voices

Senior Member
Messages
1,113
... Cantaloupe Island (Herbie Hancock 32 bars Improvisation) ...
Cool! I'm learning that one on the Alto at the moment with my teacher! Plenty of timing places to trip up (well for me anyhow).

Good luck with your Grade 7 Exam in Jazz Trumpet Tom!
 

MandyH

Sax-Mad fiend!
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3,552
also, with ABRSM, if you wish to take a practical exam above grade 5, you'll need to take their written theory exam at grade 5 first.
With Trinity Guildhall, there is no need to take a written theory paper.
As a guide (more for child learners, I think) for each year that you play, you should be able to progress by one grade. However you don't have to take all the grades in succession, and if you have previous musical knowledge, or lots of time for practice you can make much faster progress. I take my TG grade 6 jazz sax in 2 weeks time. I took grade 4 last year in June, I have been playing 2 years and 2 months (but I had previously played violin, trombone and recorder, but had never taken an exam). I haven't taken grades 1-3 or 5.
A teacher would be able to help you understand just what you need to actually do for all the peripheral work - not the 3 set pieces - the aural, sight-reading and scales in my case.
 

Nick Cook

Member
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861
A teacher would be able to help you understand just what you need to actually do for all the peripheral work - not the 3 set pieces - the aural, sight-reading and scales in my case.
Actually, a teacher can help with the pieces too. My teacher was a big help with the pieces I did in my exams, and I'm sure I got much better scores than if I'd had no help from her at all. In fact, she help me more with the pieces than the other parts of the exam.
 

1954pip

Member
Messages
124
thanks for all the replys me thinks it's a bit early for me yet but i will just keep blowing for know.
cheers pip
 

MandyH

Sax-Mad fiend!
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Actually, a teacher can help with the pieces too. My teacher was a big help with the pieces I did in my exams, and I'm sure I got much better scores than if I'd had no help from her at all. In fact, she help me more with the pieces than the other parts of the exam.
Sorry, having re-read what I wrote and your response, I realise that wasn't quite what I meant.
I meant more that the 3 pieces are clear from the syllabus, not all of the rest is quite so clear, and a teacher's help in understanding what the syllabus actually means is probably essential.
I agree with you that a teacher will help with the pieces too. Direct playing of the dots, and professional interpretation of the piece produce 2 totally differing playings of the same score.
Sorry for the confusion.
 

Nick Cook

Member
Messages
861
Sorry, having re-read what I wrote and your response, I realise that wasn't quite what I meant.
I meant more that the 3 pieces are clear from the syllabus, not all of the rest is quite so clear, and a teacher's help in understanding what the syllabus actually means is probably essential.
I agree with you that a teacher will help with the pieces too. Direct playing of the dots, and professional interpretation of the piece produce 2 totally differing playings of the same score.
Sorry for the confusion.
Ah yes, I see what you mean. I agree entirely. A teacher is also a great help in understanding exactly what is required for those other parts of the exam.
 

Joon

New Member
Messages
1
hi i have heard a lot spoken about grade exams ,what wondered was how do you go about taking these exams.

pip
I'm about to do grade 6 ABRSM and told a lot of people give up after grade 5. grades 1-3 beginners, 4-5 intermediate and 6-8 advanced. My teacher has explained that the difference from grade 5 to 6 is a lot, especially with the aural and sight reading. Hoping it goes ok, as an adult learner if a 12 year old can sit the exam it can't be that out of reach, can it?
Yes, my teacher books the exam and pianist and is an excellent coach, so doing this with a teacher is a lot less hassle than on your own.
 

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
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Hi @Joon - welcome. Why not introduce yourself in the Doorbell? This is a very old thread....
 
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