What Grade are you?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by meandmycornet, Nov 28, 2004.

  1. meandmycornet

    meandmycornet Active Member

    What grade (ABRSM) are you? Is there any way of working out roughly what grade you are without taking an exam??
  2. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member

    I'm grade 8 Percussion, Saxophone and Thoery... 6 Clarinet and Kit (but 8 standard).... and 5 standard on various other instruments.......

    Standards are easy to work out.... just buy the exam books/music and if you can play them.......... guess what!!?!!?!!....... ;-) :lol:
  3. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    I have yet to be graded. In fact, being new to this entire grading system and not trained along the guidlines of the syllabus, I bet I can satisfy many of the requirements for grade 8 and not satisfy some of the requirements for grade 4.
  4. meandmycornet

    meandmycornet Active Member

    I think I'm about Grade 4 standard, what pieces would you say are grade four standard?
  5. HBB

    HBB Active Member

    Trumpet, Cornet and Flugelhorn GRADE 4 (Subject Code: 14, 20, 21 and 22)

    THREE PIECES: one chosen by the candidate from each of the three Lists, A, B and C:

    LIST A

    1. Byrd John come kiss me now. No.7 from
      Going Solo - Trumpet, arr. Miller and Pearson (Faber)
    2. Purcell Fairest Isle. No.6 from
      Going Solo - Trumpet, arr. Miller and Pearson (Faber)
    3. M.-A. Charpentier Prelude.
      Time Pieces for Trumpet, Vol.3, arr. Harris and Wallace (Associated Board)
    4. Copland Simple Gifts (from 'Old American Songs', Set 1).
      Copland 2000 for Trumpet (Boosey & Hawkes: piano accomp. published separately)
    5. G. Jacob Alla menuetto: no.4 from '4 Little Pieces'
    6. Verdi Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves (from 'Nabucco').
      The Magic Trumpet, arr. Hare (Boosey & Hawkes)
    LIST B

    1. Keith Amos Ice Cream Cornet: no.17 from 'The Eddie Stobart Collection'
      (CMA Publications 266)
    2. L. Bernstein Maria or America (from 'West Side Story')
      Amazing Solos for Trumpet or Cornet, arr. Harrison (Boosey & Hawkes)
    3. Ray Gilbert and 'Kid' Ory Muskrat Ramble
      Amazing Solos for Trumpet or Cornet, arr. Harrison (Boosey & Hawkes)
    4. Roy Castle Casson: from 'Play Brass with Roy Castle'
      (Rosehill Music)
    5. Paul Harris Dance: no.6 from '6 Miniatures for Trumpet'
      (Ricordi/Boosey & Hawkes)
    6. Jerome Morross The Big Country.
      Some Might Say - Prokofiev, arr. Ramskill (Brass Wind)
    7. Allen Vizzutti The Orient
      (Bella Musica/Studio Music)
    LIST C

    1. Keith Amos White Hart Lane or A Close Run Thing: no.19 or no.24 from '24 Carat Gold'
      (CMA Publications 273)
    2. Deborah Calland Lonely Town or Barry's Boogie: from 'Top Brass'
      (Stainer & Bell)
    3. Concone 50 Lessons, Op.9: no.4 or no.5.
      Concone The Complete Solfeggi, trans. Korak (Balquhidder Music - Carl Fischer/Boosey & Hawkes)
    4. John Miller Bothie Ballad or Articulation: no.1 or no.4 from 'Progressive Studies for Trumpet'
    5. Mark Nightingale Skipping and Slinky: nos.11 and 13 from 'Easy Jazzy 'Tudes'
      (Treble clef edition: Warwick Music)

    SCALES AND ARPEGGIOS: from memory, to be played both slurred and tongued in the following keys:

    F major; F minor (one octave)

    A flat, B flat majors; A, B minors (a twelfth)

    Scales: in the above keys (minors in melodic or harmonic form at candidate's choice)

    Chromatic Scale: starting on B flat (a twelfth)

    Arpeggios: the common chords of the above keys for the ranges indicated.

    PLAYING AT SIGHT: a short piece in simple or compound time within the keys, notes and overall range of the scale requirements set up to and including this Grade.
  6. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member

    If you go onto the ABRSM website you can get the syllabus for all the grades
  7. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    Are these pieces you can choose from sold individually or can I buy book somewhere (like the size of Arban's) with all the solos in them?
  8. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member

    Most instruments you need to buy all the music separatly... thats because they all have piano accompaniments with them...

    For percussion you can buy a book (for each perc instrument...) :D and for piano as well :D
  9. HBB

    HBB Active Member

    and violin too (don't hurt me!)
  10. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Active Member

    Can I be the person here to say how little "bits of paper" (exam certificates) actually mean?

    I do a lot of teaching and come across a large number of students who are "grade x standard" but have only ever played the pieces for the exam. One in particular is allegedly Grade 8. In fact, the mark he got for his Grade 8 exam is much higher than the one I got for mine (some years ago now). I asked him to play me a piece that was about Grade 5 and he couldn't make anytying of it. The notes weren't there, the musicality wasn't there, the tempo was inconsistent - basically, if he was playing like that in an exam I have been assessing, he would have failed miserably.
    But that isn't what exams are about.
    Exams are all about whether you can play three pieces in a style that appeals to the examiners - nothing too musical, nothing out-of-the-ordinary, play it safe

    It is my experience that many parents of students like to be able to say that "my little Johnny is Grade 6" - whether this is achieved by a student actually being a musician of Grade 6 standard (of which there are many around) or whether this is due to their teacher teaching them 3 pieces "parrot fashion," the parents don't really care, they just like the bits of paper.

    If I have a student that wants to take an exam (please note - it must be the student that wishes to take the exam - if a parent asks me whether their child will be taking an exam I tend to ignore them!) then I will prepare them the best way I know how - we will learn much of the music on the exam list (as well as quite a bit that isn't on it) and the ones they choose to play for the exam (please note - they choose what they play in discussion with me - I will not impose a piece on a student) will be the ones they enjoy and think they play best.
    When one of my students does take an exam they always do well (100% pass record, about 85% Merit and above!) and I will happily refer to them as being of a Grade x standard.

    When I take on a new student I take any exam standard with a pinch of salt. I expect them to be able to prove that they are worthy of calling themselves that standard - if all they can do is play three Grade 8 pieces, in my eyes they are not Grade 8 standard.
  11. drummergurl

    drummergurl Active Member

    i got my grade 6 perc in february... i think since then my playing has improved... but im not one to judge coz i very often think that im playing badly, and that im not a very good percussionist... other people tell me different
  12. drummergurl

    drummergurl Active Member

    i knew u were gonna say summat like that
  13. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member


    comes with telling you I guess.... including when I called you yesterday! ;-) :lol:
  14. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    I have Gd 8 and LTCL performers as well as a degree in music. I know that I worked hard for all my grades and other qualifications.

    However, I appreciate what has been said about them being bits of paper that parents like to collect. Some of our best players in school don't have a bit of paper to their name but their sight-reading and musicality are very high. Some of our best performers profess to being grade x, but they can't read fluently, get confused (and I mean totally confused) at simple key changes, and can't play or don't recognise scales/arpeggios (despite these being on the exam syllabuses).

    I think part of the problem is that they don't equate scales/arpeggios as being anything to do with the music they play (Doh!) Instrumental teachers seem to often forget to point this out. WHY?

    The other part of the problem is that children are encouraged to be literal. You don't hav to put expression into your playing if it's not on the page (Doh!) Instrumental teachers often forget to correct this misapprehension.

    That's the trouble with the British. They're so interested in the 'mechanism' itself that they forget what it's there for (Doh! Doh!)
  15. timbloke

    timbloke Member

    I disagree with the comments above that grade's don't mean anything.

    I worked very hard to get my grade 8 trombone, as I'm sure most people who have got grades do. I think having grades when you are learning is essential as it gives you something to aim for, especially in areas where there are fewer bands and banding is not as big. My point is that i could rate myself as a player... I'm grade 8 standard. Someone who has the benefit of lots of bands can do the same - I'm first section standard.

    Also, the AB exams require grade 5 theory to have been passed. Something I have noticed about a lot of ungraded musicians (and I'm not saying all ungraded musicians before you try to fight back) is that their understanding of basic theory is very poor. This becomes a problem when dealing with difficult keys, time signatures or transposition. What's more the theory side teaches you to read meaning into the music which just playing notes doesn't . You have to have a certain amount of understanding of the history of music to understand the style and meaning of the music you are playing and therefore put that little extra something into the performance, crucial at contests.

    Which brings me onto my next point, by standing in front of an examiner playing a testing piece and being marked, is surely very similar to being in a contest environment. Perfect for practicing contesting, in controlling your nerves, and working on one piece up to a contesting standard.

    Also by saying that the piece of paper means nothing is taking away the credit from the student. I, like many other musicians, struggled at school because i was different. Where all my friends went off and played football etc. I was travelling around the place playing trombone. By having a grade there, and a piece of paper that showed me how good I was I could feel that it was all worth something, and had something to show when people didn't understand what I was doing.

    I agree that exams don't make a good player - I was playing grade 7 piano pieces but couldn't play a grade 1 piece if you put it up in front of me and asked me to sight read it - but i think they definitely help in building confidence, self esteem and giving the student something to aim for.

    Rant over.
  16. alks

    alks Member

    Out Of interest ....what grade standard are the Arban solos ?
  17. six pints

    six pints Active Member

    i did my grade eight on trumpet a while ago, but i know im not as good on the cornet (altho since giong onto rep have been practising more so im getting much better now :))
    There are always going to be people who arent grade eight standard but who have the piece of paper, but the same could be said of all exams, all contest results, of anything really. Generally its a good indication, but it shouldnt be taken as the be all and end all.
  18. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    Yeah would agree with you on that one Mike, I can vouch for that in my own experience. I don't think any of my teachers told me exactly why scales were so important - they were just notes on a page I had to learn for memory. It was only later, much later (like about 10 years) when I realised that tricky technical passages are much easier to learn if you know the scales upon which they are based - it seems such an obvious thing, I'm suprised no-one explained it to me. Maybe I'm thick and I ought to have recognised it for myself - I just don't know, but as some of my teachers were and are well regarded people I find the fact that I'm now saying this somewhat suprising.

    For the record I did grades 4 and 6 on cornet before girls and teenage apathy stopped me from taking any more.
  19. Andy_Euph

    Andy_Euph Active Member

    Grade 0!...word! ;)
  20. ju33les

    ju33les Member

    The last music practical exam that I took was my Grade 8, a long long time ago. I passed it and was considered to be at that standard or above.

    However, with the passing of time, what standard am I now? Bearing in mind several years of non-playing, before joining a brass band again.

    Still Grade 8 as it says on the certificate?

    Would I be able to pass the exam if I were to take it next week?(very doubtful)

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