Is there any simple way to get hold of the 3 pieces from each section that aren't in the main book to look at? Without buying a separate book for each piece?
I'd sort of expected that the teacher would have copies...but seemingly most teachers don't know there are even choices outside the three in the book!!!
Alternatively if anyone had copies of the others they could loan me (2015-2016 syllabus) I would be really grateful! Happy to buy own copy of them if dd chooses one for her exam - but I don't really fancy spending £60+ on books just to look at the pieces and say "no"!!!
I'm sure most teachers know about the additional pieces, but as the syllabus changes every two years, they can't possibly buy all the books. There are nine additional pieces (16 for flute!) per grade and eight grades, it would cost a fortune!
You can listen to the additional pieces on the ABRSM website to see if you like them, and then buy the books yourself.
I really recommend that your DD chooses pieces using her ears, you cab download a complete set of Gd 1 recordings from www.abrsmdownloads.org for £7.94. Looking at the music is often deceptive in terms of how accessible each piece is, even for experienced players. I like my students to listen to each piece and to write a list showing how much they like each one, just a happy/indifferent/sad face for each is helpful and informative for me about what kind of music appeals to each individual.
Just ABRSM grades 1-8 "selected pieces" books, without the CDs, comes to around £50. Add Trinity and LCM, jazz syllabus, Rockschool, and the fact that I also teach other instruments and theory... Buying all that every two years is bad enough. If I have copies of alternative pieces, or we can listen and like it, that's one thing...
For anything out of copyright - you can try the free online sheet music library at www.imslp.org. They usually have some of the pieces. I think I found the Gedike and the Bartok from this year's grade 1 there. Haven't looked for the others.
Otherwise youtube. There are sometimes people who put up youtube clips of a recording with the sheet music scrolling past. So you can get an idea of what's involved even if you can't actually play through it.
IMSLP is fine as the pieces there aren't subject to copyright law. It's a good source for Bach etc. however most early grade pieces are recent compositions and wouldn't be on there.
You need originals for the exams but not necessarily your own (could be borrowed) and not always the edition listed (unless the exam piece is an arrangement or simplification). Rockschool are stricter and stamp your exam books so nobody else can use them.
Oh, and the only way to choose is to listen - do not look at the music. They are all "of the standard" so you should choose something that sounds pleasing to the player - not something that "doesn't look too tricky" because it will be just as tricky as the others, just in different ways.
If it looks simple, is of slower speed, has fewer dynamics, whatever... a heck of a lot more musical interpretation is required to make it sound good and gain top marks.
If going for grade 1, you may also not be aware that musicality is much more important than accuracy of each note - I used to be a bit control-freaky about practise "you need to play the right note" - until I was told off by the piano teacher who said "No - you need to play it nicely"
Don't you need to have original copies when they do the exam though for legal copyright reasons?
That's an interesting point. The regulations say that you're supposed to have originals for the exam so as not to infringe copyright. But they also say you can use any edition you want. Since the editions on IMSLP are all in the public domain, printing out copies is not infringing copyright.
At any rate my understanding was that the OP mostly just wanted some way to check out the pieces before buying them.