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music grades are they equal in difficulty for different instruments

(29 Posts)
ReallyTired Tue 03-Jun-14 22:30:54

Ds has recently started one to one singing lessons after years of singing in a church choir. The teacher wants to prepare him for grade 5 associated board singing exam. Ds has been learning guitar for three years and will soon take grade 3 guitar with Trinity Board.

Looking at the music I get the impression that grade 3 guitar (Trinity) is harder than grade 5 singing (Associated Board). Certainly my son thinks that his guitar grade is harder. Traditionally Associated Board exams have carried more snob value, but I feel this is unjustified.

So if there are any music teachers out there or anyone else with loads of musical instrument experience: Are grade exams for different instruments and boards equal?

Theas18 Thu 05-Jun-14 14:04:05

Singing grades are easy if you sing a lot. The only challenge in the higher grades was the "foreign" song - but if you sing in a church choir most of it is " foreign" as I pointed out to the youngest the other day. It may be latin (rarely french or german, or terribly badly pronounced russian) but even the "English" isn't in words you actually understand, you just sing them!

I would be embarrassed to say how little work went into some singing exams chez theas18. The pinnacle was when DD1 was sent out of the exam as she'd not prepared a folk song and was kicked back in by her teacher with " tell them you are singing The Ash Grove " and she well, just did it! (and the mrk for that was nearly full!)

You only notice maturity and emotion in performance when your child "over tops" a grade and approaches it when it is really easy for them and they are older.Eldest singing a grade 8 piece now is worlds away from when she got a distinction at what ...16.

For some instruments the length of the pieces adds disproportionately to the difficulty too. You can sing for ages or play a piano for a while, even in a passionate way, but grade 8 french horn was physically draining I think!

Reallytired , please record your lovely DS whilst his voice is on the turn. It is a magical special sound. I only have one covert recording of DS as he never thought he was much good.

JaneParker Thu 05-Jun-14 15:30:06

Theas - reminds me of ours a bit - they did Green Grow the leaves as their folk song in every grade from I think 5 - 8.

I agree with recording. I force them to be videoed the week before each exam. The boys a few years ago aged 12 with that voice you can have at that age and then lose and never get back in the same way again is very special to keep.

EvilTwins Sat 07-Jun-14 22:45:43

I did grade 8 singing and grade 8 piano the same term I sat my A Levels. I got 97 for piano hmm and a Distinction for singing. Singing was pretty effortless TBH. Then again, I think people only bother with singing exams if they have a natural talent for it, whereas instrument exams can be passed with hard work (or not, in my case wink) Passed the A Levels though.

bachsingingmum Fri 13-Jun-14 13:45:03

This is interesting. I did ABRSM grade 8s in piano and clarinet as a teenager, then have recently done grade 7 singing (at 50+) having started singing lessons to learn how to do it properly after decades of singing in choirs. I wouldn't describe any higher grade as "a piece of piss"! Piano was difficult because of all the notes, clarinet because of the articulation and need for a good embouchure to produce a nice tone. The hardest part of the singing for me was having to perform the songs from memory and in two different foreign languages. I'm no linguist and was terrified that I would have a memory lapse, or that my voice would quiver, pitch would be all over the place etc. You really need to be able to sing in tune with a lovely tone in all parts of your range to get good marks, and even if you are blessed with a great instrument all this needs work. Sight singing and aurals were the same.

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