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Abrsm theory grade 6 or 8

(32 Posts)
Greenleave Sun 27-Jan-19 20:24:10

Has any of your child took grade 8 theory exam, anyone less than 15 years old? My daughter sat grade 5 three years ago and now would like to sit for another theory exam. She thought of skipping grade 6,7 and jump to grade 8. She will be self studying as both her teachers dont teach theory. Any advice/experience is much appreciated.

NeleusTheStatue Mon 28-Jan-19 01:12:22

Have you let her try past papers of grade 6 or 8? That'll tell you whether she should skip a grade or two?

I know a few DCs well under 15 who self taught and passed grade 8 theory using workbooks and past papers and lots of reading. So get those materials if you haven't done so yet.

Some people seem to love theory and are disappointed there are no diploma. But, in case your DD is one of those people, I would like to mention that GT offers beyond grade 8. You may know this already but just in case!

Good luck.

NeleusTheStatue Mon 28-Jan-19 01:18:46

Oops, I meant TG (Trinity Guildhall) not GT!

Greenleave Mon 28-Jan-19 13:57:12

No I havent got neither the materials nor the past papers, she asked for it however we havent got any clue. She was being able to read and do past papers o her own and had G5 distinction withi few months when she was 8 so she thought she could give it a try now especially she is working on grade 8 practice. We dont know anyone who is doing theory in real life and our teachers are not familiar with Abrsm and not at all with regard to theory.

NeleusTheStatue Mon 28-Jan-19 15:01:09

So I guess your first step is to let her have a go at the past papers and see where she is? You can buy them online. If she plays grade 8 standard, likes theory and enjoys reading a couple of theory books, she can take grade 6, 7 or 8, whatever and whenever she's ready. Well, at least I know a few DCs who did that way. I have no clue though!

busyspinning Mon 28-Jan-19 16:37:59

Ds is older but is going to skip forward to grade 8 apparently , though I’m going to get him to work through a harmony book first . I won’t be able to help him at all . He’s decided he wants both grade 8s in the bag so to speak to take the pressure off A level music ( though this is a very long way off ) he also taught himself the theory for grade 5 - once he finally got round to it !!
I do think it’s a massive step up from grade 5 though ( even grade 6 I think) a bit like the difference between gcse and a level so maybe look at a bit if grade 6 first? , but your dd is doing so well and is so clever I’d say go for it smile

busyspinning Mon 28-Jan-19 16:38:45

Oh and I have no idea when he’s actually fitting this in grin

Couchpotato3 Mon 28-Jan-19 16:45:26

There's no reason why she can't go straight for the Grade 8 exam, as there is no requirement to sit 6 and 7, but she will need to cover the work for the other grades in order to tackle Grade 8. It is possible to get 'model answers' to past papers, so she might find those helpful. Suggest:
The AB Guide to Music Theory - Books 1 and 2 (Eric Taylor) - broadly speaking, Book 1 covers Grades 1-5 and Book 2 Grades 6-8
Harmony in Practice (Butterworth) - answer book is also available for this one

Moominmammacat Mon 28-Jan-19 17:12:30

I wouldn't skip them ... a lot of what it done in G8 needs understanding of 6 and 7 so at least do the workbooks if not the exams. I have a PhD in music and I still think G8 theory is hard. It seems to appeal to the more mathematical/logical sort of musicians in my experience ...

busyspinning Mon 28-Jan-19 17:41:23

Yes I think I’ll definitely get ds to at least look through and do some examples from the earlier workbooks .

Boyskeepswinging Mon 28-Jan-19 17:42:52

My DS got 99% in his G5 theory aged 13 so he is no slouch but he is finding G6 a huge jump up. It's in no way comparable to the difference between G4 and G5. He is going to work through all the books then take the G8 exam. He is finding it really interesting (which is why he wants to do it) but it is definitely challenging. Given this, I don't see how you could skip the G6 and 7 books and just take the G8 exam "cold". As Moomin says, theory post G5 is a completely different beast ... He is working through the G6 book quite happily on his own, though, using the AB Guide as mentioned above.

Boyskeepswinging Mon 28-Jan-19 17:59:34

Sorry, I didn't put the 99% thing in as a stealth boast, rather to emphasise that someone who found G5 straightforward is finding G6 a huge jump up and challenging blush

busyspinning Mon 28-Jan-19 18:47:16

No i think you’re right boyskeepswinging.
And I didn’t think it was a stealth boast - ds did well ( though not THAT wellsmile !) but I still don’t think he’ll find it easy
When I said ds was going to skip to grade 8 I meant not do the grade 6 and 7 exams - but you still need to know and understand what goes before .

Greenleave Mon 28-Jan-19 19:11:09

I didnt find it a boast at all, in fact I am very appreciated your sharing and your view @boyskeepswinging.
So she should read the books, thanks so much for the info on books, I remember the pink and blue AB music guide books.
She said she needs to even revise grade 4 so it wont be just dive in straight to g8. I dont know the benefit of doing it even g6 or g7 to be honest however she said it should help her with practice and she likes it so I will pay for the books and the exam whenever she is ready. This is completely for her own “fun” as she doesnt even consider going for musical route at the moment so completely no pressure from anyone.

Boyskeepswinging Mon 28-Jan-19 19:18:27

Phew! grin

When I said ds was going to skip to grade 8 I meant not do the grade 6 and 7 exams - but you still need to know and understand what goes before
Yup, mine is doing exactly the same. The cost of these flippin' Grade exams is eye watering never mind organising the logistics of time off school etc. So, yes, anything to minimise the number of exams taken!

NeleusTheStatue Mon 28-Jan-19 19:47:05

Greenleave, it sounds like you have someone who really enjoys systematic approach of learning, like some DCs I know. They all seem to have enjoyed learning grade 8 theory. Bet yours will have fun too.

For those who enjoy less rigid and more creative methods, there are plenty ways of learning theory. DS does lots of theory through composition and analysis (and of course together with practice study). It doesn't go with ABRSM exams so you don't feel like ticking a box diligently, but still learning enormously. Theory can be fun.

Greenleave Mon 28-Jan-19 21:19:03

I have been hoping for any “playing for fun” and “being creative” however I havent seen it, I think she needs to reach to certain level to be able to feel more freedom in creating her own music. She is in yr6 and almost no school homework so has been bored, no-one she knows within our family or friends circle plays so very little guidance, motivation given especially on the theory side. I remember she composed loads of very short, simple pieces when she did g5, 3 years ago however stopped and recently she has been mentioning alot about learning composing. We havent had music exams for a very long time.

Boyskeepswinging Mon 28-Jan-19 21:33:33

@Greenleave Does your DD's teacher encourage "playing for fun"? Exploring a wide range of different genres has been great for my DS and has encouraged him to "noodle" a lot more on his instruments. I think sometimes kids need permission to go off piste and realise that it is good for their overall musicality.
You could certainly investigate composition classes for her, maybe find a tutor who would combine composition with theory classes?

Greenleave Mon 28-Jan-19 21:42:53

Both of her teachers are Russian and very strict in their requirement so not much of the fun bit yet. She likes them though, one has been with us since she was 5, the violin teacher has been nearly a year now and after such a long time she has been making a great progress compare to in the past(we were very struggling with finding teachers as we need them to travel to us). I will suggest to them and see if they have anything to come up with.

Boyskeepswinging Mon 28-Jan-19 21:52:12

Ah, I see. Does she play for fun in any groups? My local music hub runs fun days for string players exploring pop and rock repertoire. Maybe there's something similar near you?

NeleusTheStatue Mon 28-Jan-19 21:55:35

There is not a right way of enjoying music. Everybody is different. Your dd is doing fine. Let her study for the theory exams if she finds it interesting. I reckon you are getting those theory materials suggested here, so hopefully they'll get her out of boredom and she enjoys going through those books.

TaggieOHara Tue 29-Jan-19 06:08:29

Some of the boys at DS2’s school did grade 8 theory in year 8. They had done grade 5 in year 4 and grade 6 a year or two after. All of them were seriously gifted both musically and academically, but it shows it can be done [very much doubt DS2 will follow that route though!]

Good luck to your DD! Sounds like she is doing so well smile

Greenleave Tue 29-Jan-19 08:48:50

Thanks Taggie, she might give up the next moment though and/or it could take her years. Will dig the AB books tonight and on amazon for gr6-7 practise books.

Pythonesque Thu 07-Mar-19 12:16:15

As people have alluded to above, grade 6 is a big jump up from grade 5 - really, the way the ABRSM grades are structured, (especially with recent changes), grades 1-5 are one subject, and grade 6-8 quite different.

My youngest is one of the boys Taggie alludes to above. They had an enthusiastic teacher when they were in year 6, who put a group of year 6-8s through grade 6 theory. The youngest ones had two lessons a week for a whole school year to do it. The two who then did grade 8 last summer (age 12) mostly prepared over about a term. But all the other music they'd done informed their "inner ear" and the styles of writing required for grade 8 came fairly naturally to them.

So far as workbooks are concerned, the ABRSM ones aren't the most useful at these grades, see what else you can find. She will need to work through structured harmony exercises and ideally play what she writes back on piano to help work out what works and what doesn't.

If you find she needs more teaching material than is in the suggestions people have given above, consider looking at workbooks from the Australian (AMEB) board. Unless it has changed, they structured theory rather differently and when I was young we used an excellent series of workbooks that stepped us through learning the principles of 4 part harmony writing. You'd need to start from about grade 3 in terms of where it diverges from ABRSM material I think.

Hope she has fun!

Greenleave Fri 08-Mar-19 11:36:38

Thanks so much Pythonesque, will look into the AMEB books. I have bought Theory music grade books by Victoria Williams. She hasnt open any of them yet, these evening I have seen her working on the composing bits from grade 5 theory books, she spends an hour or so at the piano then putting some notes on the grade5 theory book(she had a distinction when she took it in year 3 by herself however must have forgotten them all by now). She asked to sit for it this Summer however I havent paid, I really think she wont be able to do it(especially on her own) and hasnt started with G6 book now. She is joining a non-musical school, not a music scholar and isnt aiming for weekend music schools so there is absolutely Zero pressure which is nice.

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