Susanna's blog

Some thoughts from Susanna this October…

This month we’re celebrating the great institution that is ABRSM (Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music). I’m sure many of our students will be familiar with them as they are the main exam board that we use for graded music exams (practical and theory).  SCMT enters over 100 of our students into these exams every year.

This year ABRSM is celebrating 125 years of music exams. In recognition of this, throughout October, we will be featuring this exam board in depth. But are exams an important part of learning a musical instrument or do we put too much emphasis on musical grading?

The answer to this lies with the student. The good thing about sitting exams is it gives the student motivation to practice, and therefore progress faster. The ABRSM exams consist of 4 parts. You must learn 3 pieces of music from the syllabus and be able to play all the way through without mistakes. You must learn a set of scales outlined in the syllabus, a section of sight-reading (playing a short extract of music unseen beforehand) and a listening test. This involves timing, singing and general ear training. All of these subject areas must be mastered in order to become a good musician. So with the help and motivation of the graded exams, teachers can produce well rounded, confident students.

There is of course another side to this as there are students who do not work well under pressure… as we all know exams aren’t for everyone! But even without sitting exams, the ABRSM exam syllabus can still be followed in it’s various parts, used as a tool… and you can then be assured all subject areas are covered within your learning.

Most universities and other advanced musical positions require an ABRSM grade 8 exam certificate. They have set the musical standard across the world, so although they may not be for everyone the reputation they hold within musical examinations is second to none. I can highly recommend ABRSM exams to all of our students!  For more information on the exams please feel free to contact me direct or talk to your tutor.