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Trumpet grade 3 for 11 yo DS

10 replies

dollybird · 18/12/2013 20:29

DS has been playing trumpet for a little over 3 years now, and is in his schools concert band. His music teacher has suggested he could do grade 3. His junior school trumpet teacher told him it's not worth doing grades and they're expensive, so I think he's put off and says he doesn't want to to do it. When I asked him why he said because it might be hard and he might fail. I won't push him to do them as he enjoys playing at the moment and I wouldn't want him to stop enjoying it because of the pressure of exams. However, I am quite proud that he's good enough/ready and think it would be good for him to say he's achieved it. What are peoples thoughts on grades (and are they that expensive?) TIA

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Ferguson · 21/12/2013 18:29

Hi -

Our DS played alto sax, took grades up to Grade 8 and got distinction, and played in school jazz band, annual school stage musical, and later the County jazz band. Also did 'A' level music at school.

I assume you mean Associated Board exams - there is also Guildhall (or is it called Trinity now, I always forget - was Guildhall Trinity at one time.) AB is under £50 for Grade 3, prices increase as Grades go higher, as obviously more needs to be tested and to a higher standard. Even though it is a 'practical' test, that is Playing, there is also some theory, scales, sight reading etc involved. It's twenty years since our DS was doing it, so I'm out of touch but here is the AB scale of fees, and you can get more details on their site:

I agree not to 'push', but on the other hand it won't be that many years before he is into GCSEs etc, and it's not much good saying don't want to do it in case it's hard and might fail. So having a bit of pressure and having to work towards something is probably a good experience to get used to. Especially when it doesn't matter THAT much how high he scores in music, unlike GCSE, which is a bit more important.

As a TA I taught informal recorder lessons in primary school for ten years, and I think the more musical experience a young person can get, the better. Besides the music, it can be a valuable social experience.

dollybird · 22/12/2013 18:42

Thanks for the link, Ferguson, that's really useful. Agree with all your comments, it's always good to have something to work towards..

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BackforGood · 22/12/2013 18:56

I too think it's good to get them, if the child is capable - doesn't have to be all of them, but a 'marker' is useful when your child is wanting to join something / take part in something, etc., it's tricky if they have no 'level' to tell the people / group / thing they want to join.
My dd hates doing all the scales and stuff that go with grades, and says she doesn't want to do the exams, so she has sort of done 'odd number' grades rather than all of them (ie, missed out Grade 2 and Grade 4) as a compromise.

dollybird · 23/12/2013 20:52

He has decided to go for it. I said, even if he only does the one then he will have one to his name (assuming he passes). Am very pleased Grin

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BabyMummy29 · 23/12/2013 21:03

My son did piano exams up to Grade 5 Associated Board but stopped because he didn't like playing classical music.

He now plays lots of stuff that he hears on YouTube, probably up to Grade 7/8 standard.

However he is now finding it hard to get into courses because he doesn't have the actual grades.

I'd suggest your son do grades if he's thinking about doing it as a career or as part of a course when he's older

BackforGood · 24/12/2013 00:26

I think it also tells people who don't know the dc, something about them, even when it's not a musical path they are going down.
When I read an application form or am doing an interview, from/with a young person, if someone has written down they have Grade 5 Trumpet {or whatever it may be} it shows that they have stuck at something for several years, had the discipline to do the boring bits too that you need to do for the exams, etc. - obviously same applies if it's grades in ballet or awards in Scouts/Guides, or DofE, etc.,etc.,etc. the point is, they've not just "gone along" for a few weeks and put it on their application form, they must have shown some commitment over time. That's a quality that has to be on the plus side of any application for anything, even where it's nothing to do with the job or course or thing you are applying for.

Blushingm · 25/12/2013 14:06

When I was young (longer ago than I will admit!) ABRSM grades were used as to whether you could audition/be invited to join orchestra/ensembles etc so I'd say it might be useful if he wants to join orchestras etc which are outside of school

Ferguson · 25/12/2013 18:42

BabyMummy29 - Grades aren't as 'stuffy' as they used to be, and you can now do lighter music and jazz in some exams, so it's worth exploring that. Jazz is very much a study in it's own right these days, and the JazzWise web site has masses of study music, including the Jamey Aebersold series of books with CDs.

dollybird - besides playing trumpet, it is also useful to learn a certain amount of Theory (which isn't quite as daunting as it sounds). If you have a piano or keyboard available (presumably there would be at school, if not at home) this makes it easier to assimilate Theory. Quite a lot can be learned on-line these days, but come back to me if you want any more info.

Happy Christmas!

BabyMummy29 · 25/12/2013 23:08

My son is now 19 so he must have given up on grades around 6 years ago.

Thanks for info though - hopefully he will decide to continue while he's still keen!

dollybird · 29/12/2013 16:20

just returned to this and found all these replies - thanks! Ferguson, we have a keyboard at home which DS and DD really enjoy playing (DD also plays cornet). They also like writing out music - the other week DS was re-writing We wish you a merry Christmas 'to make it better'! I'm not musical at all so it's all a bit beyond me :)

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