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DS1s Grade 5 trombone did sound good, BUT he was a Grade 5 trumpet player before he switched. Equally he doubles now on tuba and his tone developed very quickly on that.
DS2 has only been playing trombone for a year (first brass instrument) and has just done Grade 3, and achieved Distinction with full marks for musicality. But like your DS the tone is still developing, DS1 at Grade 3 on trumpet sounded much better, but only achieved a Pass.
Also, I think music exam grades might change with each state, or county in the state (states seem largely independent of each other, often with different laws etc; although I don't know every detail, not been here for long).
What grades do they go up to in the UK (or where you are)?
It's interesting how they are both called grades though, although (I did some research) some areas have Stages in the UK which equal double grades or something like that. Grades are used for schools too, so I can understand it being used in the US, but I guess Grades are used to mean Grading in the UK.
Not really. If it was like that on the trumpet, I'd be worried about either him or my musical ability. DTD1 started trombone at 6, now Grade 4, working towards Grade 5 (similar to you then, I'm guessing). DH got her started because he played the trombone to Grade 9. He said until later grades, trombones are basically non-solo instruments. They usually won't have the tune and will be background noises, adding to the sound- important, but not a thing to be on its own. Higher levels of control ability, crispness, sharpness and tonguing will eventually make the trombone a great solo instrument- but that is a lot later in the grades.
Don't worry, if everyone says he's great, he probably is great for a trombonist- being musical on a trombone is something very hard. I think tubas are the same- trumpets, and probably euphoniums (not entirely sure) will sound better as solo instruments often.
ok, so ds's trombone teacher is happy with ds and gave him a good report. He is working towards grade 5 having taken grade 3 a while ago. All very good. However, to me, he doesn't SOUND that good!!! SO my question is - did you consider grade 5 trombone to sound good/controlled/nice??