Issue 55: Trinity or Associated Board

I’ve always “done” Associate Board music exams. I did them a a child, I teach them as an adult, and I accompany for them as well. I kind of know where I am with them. This is in spite of having done the Trinity LTCL diploma to get “my letters” – but that’s another story.

I have occasionally taken Associated Board exams as an adult as well. I did Grade 5 singing about 10 years ago, when I suddenly took on the church choir, and thought I ought to make sure that I did know what I was talking about. When the jazz piano syllabus came out, I entered some pupils for Grades 2 and 3, and took Grade 4 myself. This was so that I could see how the jazzier elements of the syllabus were presented, and be able to compare the marks and comments to which I knew I did in the exam.

More recently I did Grade 1 violin. I have no idea why I put myself through this – and very nearly failed the aural because I recognised what the examiner had played, knew I had played it myself, but couldn’t remember what it was. (Oh yes. Holberg Suite. Legato? Staccato? Not a clue. Turned out to be a trick question – no change between the beginning and the end. Bother.)

I now find myself in the position of teaching grades 6, 7 and 8 Trinity piano (the students don’t have grade 5 Associated Board theory) and possibly grade 3 as well (that student can’t sightread for toffee, can’t cope with so many scales).

This will be a novel experience – so I am eyeing up the syllabus for grade 3 saxophone to see if I can be ready to give the Trinity exam experience a test drive. Watch this space. (If you are boggling a bit at how a piano post suddenly turns into a saxophone post, well, that’s another story too!)

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