I have recently read a posting on a thread where the person is looking for a position in a band and says that they are Grade 8 standard. What does this mean? A person of Grade 8 standard can play three or four pieces at least fairly well, knows a few scales, can clap, sing and listen in varying grades of ability and sight read a relatively easy passage....oh and has passed grade 5 theory. I am not knocking students taking grade exams but for the reasons given above I don't believe it gives a true reflection of ability. I got Grade 5 on tenor horn when I was 11 and French horn at 14. I have not done any more grades but I think that I am quite a useful player in spite of this. My son loves playing the piano and passed grade 5 three years ago (in spite of not wanting to play scales). He is always playing whatever music he can get his hands on and is now a very accomplished pianist playing his music with feeling. One of his peers has progressed to grade 8 but plays like an automaton. Any thoughts?