Huntingdonshire Music School Association

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Music Exams

Any student can take exams. The normal process is that your teacher will tell you when they think that you are ready to take an exam. You then get an entry form from reception, the teacher signs it and you then hand it in with the entry fee before the closing date for entries. Exams are normally taken at the end of each of the 3 terms. The closing date for entries falls at the end of the first week of each term. Once entered you’ll get confirmation of the time and date of the exam by post.

The college deals with the following exam boards:-

Practical Exam Format

A practical exam lasts from just over ten minutes, at Grade 1, to possibly 30 minutes at Grade 8.

A typical exam has scales, sight reading and set pieces with various listening tests

A Typical Exam has Parts requiring You to Play and Aural Tests of Your Listening Powers

It typically consists of the following parts:-

  • playing scales. The examiner will choose some from the set that are specified for your instrument and grade.
  • playing of 3 pieces (which you will have chosen and practised - endlessly - in the months beforehand)
  • playing a piece provided by the examiner to test sight reading
  • aural tests. These usually involve listening to a piece and describing it in musical terms that you’ve covered in theory lessons, listening to a piece played twice but with rhythmic and/or melodic differences and identifying what the differences were, and singing - either repeating a phrase played by the examiner or sight-singing (at higher grades)

Theory Exams

It is possible to take practical exams without theory up until Grade 5. In order to be able to take Grade 6 or higher you first have to have passed the Grade 5 theory exam. The good news is that there is no theory exam needed beyond this at Grades 6 to 8. The bad news is that the Grade 5 theory exam includes everything you’ve learnt from Grades 1 to 5 inclusive.

The Music College provides, if you want to, the ability to take theory exams at any level. We usually use the ABRSM board. Practice papers are available and can be bought from reception.

Using Music Exam Results for University and College Entrance

It is possible to use the results of ABRSM practical and theory examinations to count towards the total number of points needed by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). [[ucas.htm]] More information is available….

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Music Exams - Not For Everyone!

If you wish to, you can be entered to take a formal music examination such as those run by the Associated Board of the Royal School of Music (ABRSM). These, for example, start at Grade 1 and finish at Grade 8 and include practical (playing) as well as a listening (aural) part. Your teacher will tell you if you are ready to take one. The exams take place at the end of each term and registration closes at the beginning of the term. If you have entered for an exam you have the option to practice with accompaniment (if relevant) and practice the aural as part of your theory lesson. Depending on the instrument other examination boards are used.

It is also possible to take exams at Grades 1 to 5 for music theory. In fact, to move beyond Grade 5 at the practical (playing) side you have to have passed a Grade 5 theory exam.

Pupils only take exams if they want to. Whilst a formal qualification is nationally recognised, if you simply want to turn up and play - you can!

See also

Music ExamsCounting Music Exams Towards UCAS Admission

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Learning Music

There are many reasons for learning a musical instrument (and this includes singing), including:-

  • it’s a skill for life (many of us return to it later on in life)
  • it’s fun
  • it feels good to ‘make music’ with others in a group situation
  • it’s different to school or work and a relaxing diversion
  • it’s therapy
  • it helps develop parts of the brain that benefit other subject areas e.g. maths
  • someone else you know plays and you’d like to join in with them(a precious chance to bond with the kids, perhaps)
  • you like learning new things
  • you already take someone to music lessons and are fed up with merely being seen as a source of ready cash and transport
  • you didn’t get the chance at school or earlier in life, for whatever reason

What you may not realise is that the Huntingdonshire Music School is one of the largest music schools in the UK and, apart from sitting humbly on the doorstep for some 38 years, offers many benefits that are very difficult to get elsewhere:-

[[a href=”[[../college/enrol.htm#prospectus”>]]A prospectus is available from this site.

See also

‘It’s Time We Made a Noise About Our Music’Choosing an Instrument

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