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Is this acceptable in a music exam?

(8 Posts)
FiveHoursSleep Mon 23-Nov-15 19:00:11

My 12 year old DD had her Grade 3 Trombone exam last week ( Trinity). She has ASD so has to be prepared for exams quite thoroughly before she sits them.
When she went in she played her pieces first when she's used to doing scales first, so that threw her a bit, then the teacher asked her for a scale that she didn't know but she had a go at it anyhow. She didn't think she did it well anyhow.
Then the examiner asked her to play a sight reading piece in the tenor clef, but she plays a bass trombone- this is why she got asked to play a scale she didn't know. Luckily DD was confident enough to tell the examiner that it was in the wrong clef.
Will the wrong scale be counted towards her mark? I told her teacher what had happened but she said it was an 'easy enough mistake for the examiner to make' but I thought she should have known DD was playing a bass instrument as she had photocopies of her pieces.

Wafflenose Mon 23-Nov-15 21:07:23

The scale shouldn't count, as long as the examiner was made aware of the error at the time. If he wasn't, I would email the Area Rep right away, so that section can be corrected.

In an ideal world, mistakes wouldn't happen, but the amount of material/ grades/ instruments/ aural tests/ scales/ sight reading requirements the examiner has to be familiar with is mind-boggling. I have to check the syllabus very regularly, and I only teach woodwind. Well done to your DD for pointing out the sight reading thing.

BUT candidates can do the exam in any order they want. Trinity and ABRSM both usually provide sheets asking the candidate to write the pieces to be performed, in the order they want to play them. If they want to start with scales, sight reading or aural, they should tell the examiner at the start, and in that case they would enter the room without their accompanist. Some do, although starting with pieces is probably more common. There is also space to write on the sheet things like SEN, English as an Additional Language, which syllabus (old or new) is being used where there is an overlap, and which sight reading test is to be taken, if there is a choice. So as there was more than one possible type of sight reading, the teacher should have specified which one... as well as saying that DD wanted to start with her scales. Most of this sounds like an oversight on the part of the teacher, rather than the examiner. Next time, maybe you can get the sheet and fill it in yourself?

Anyway, I hope she gets a great result, and I hope some of this is helpful next time round.

FiveHoursSleep Mon 23-Nov-15 21:53:54

Thanks very much re the sheet. The accompanist wanted to go home so she took DD into the room first. Now I know what that means we'll discuss it next time.
I've never declared her ASD before ( she's G5 in piano too) so didn't bother this time, but I might make a point of it next time.
I just want her to pass but she's had distinctions before so I know she'll be upset if she doesn't get another one. I'm pretty sure she won't.

Wafflenose Mon 23-Nov-15 22:55:40

When they don't get the merit/ distinction or whatever it is, it does take the pressure off a bit for the future. My DD 10 is about to do her 11th music exam, and hasn't had anything below a merit yet. I am just hoping she will pass though! And nationwide, the majority do indeed just pass.

There are special guidelines for ASD, including extra time, not re-phrasing questions if that might cause confusion, and (for ABRSM at least) being able to take a chaperone (sibling, friend, etc) in to help settle them. The marking and standard stay exactly the same. I recently entered a young adult with autism for Grade 5 Theory, and he got extra time, not that he needed to use it. There are different guidelines for things like dyslexia. Some people find the extra time etc helpful, and some don't want or need it.

Wafflenose Mon 23-Nov-15 22:59:20

I should add that help can only be put in place if any additional needs are declared at the time of entry, with documentation. But I sometimes write EAL on the form, for children who don't need an interpreter or extra time, but who might be confused by unnecessary conversation or re-phrasing of questions.

Witchend Tue 24-Nov-15 14:28:01

All the exams my dc have had have started with the pieces, as both I and dh did when we did them too.

If she doesn't want to say that she'd rather start with scales, maybe she could write it down and hand it to the examiner when she gets in.

FiveHoursSleep Wed 25-Nov-15 18:37:23

She got 82% anyhow which I think was fair. She's a bit disappointed but hey, a pass is a pass!

Wafflenose Wed 25-Nov-15 23:08:51

Well done to her! That's just above the middle of the Merit category, and well above the national average. I will be happy if all of my current lot (9 children) score in the 70s.

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