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24/05/2020

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ABRSM Online Exams - NO MORE AURAL!!

Starting in August in the UK and then moving to the rest of the world, ABRSM are launching a new type of performance focused exam based on a recorded submission. This is NOT just in the light of COVID 19, but a plan for an ongoing type of exam. It will be especially useful in the future in countries where the options for exam dates is limited to once or twice a year.
The exam will be available for all grades all will consist of a programme of FOUR pieces from the current syllabus, one from each list and a fourth from any of the lists or choose a piece from any other published source, as long as the level of difficulty is the same. There will be no other supporting tests such as Aural, Scales or Sight Reading but marks will be awarded for the “programme as a whole”. So like the present style of exam, there will be a total of 150 marks, 30 marks for each of four pieces and another 30 for the “performance”. With this in mind you should choose pieces that fit well together that create a balanced programme, demonstrating a variety of styles moods and one which you can enjoy perform with confidence. I can’t stress enough the word “performance” which goes way beyond the technical requirements of the music. Think of it like this,
I went to a concert, how many marks out of 30 would I give for the whole experience of going to that concert. Well you are the performer in that concert. Make your audience “enjoy” your concert.
My concern however, is that many will see this as an easy option, not develop as a fully rounded musician and make the whole goal of learning an instrument just to get exams, an "exam factory" if you like, an even greater risk and temptation.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! I'm not ready to take my students down this route as they all benefit from the construction of scales, the ability to listen and to relate to the aural sense of music and to practise the skill of sight reading, not only as an important part of learning to play new pieces but knowing there will be a test in a forthcoming exam! I assume this is an alternative to the traditional exam and not the new format!

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