Huntingdonshire Music School Association

Monday, October 11, 2010

Accompaniment Downloads for ABRSM Exams

ABRSM logo

Having an impending ABRSM tuba Grade 4 exam looming I thought it might make sense to see what means of playing with accompaniment were available to me (short of kidnapping a piano player). I’d heard that somewhere there might be some download options available. Unfortunately for me, or rather anyone with a tuba, I didn’t find anything to help me. I did, however, find that the ABRSM does itself now have a ‘download shop’.

The ABRSM Audio Download Shop ( provides the ability to download the piano part for Grades 1 - to 8 for the piano (!) [2009-2012], violin [2008 - 2011], clarinet [2008-2013] and flute [2008-2013]. Individual downloads are GBP 0.79 (79 pence) each or there’s an offer of 1 from each of the A, B and C lists (i.e. your complete exam) for GBP 1.95 available once per grade. Pretty cheap and a lot less hassle than trying to persuade the computer to create a backing track.

From the ABRSM site:

An expanding range

Launched in 2008 with recordings of ABRSM’s Piano syllabus (2009 & 2010), the download service has already proved highly popular with pianists. It now includes almost every piece from ABRSM syllabuses for Violin (2008–2011), Flute and Clarinet (both 2008–2013).

Amongst the huge range of repertoire, violinists will find Howard Blake’s jovial Dance of the Snowmen (from the famous animated film) at Grade 5, and can make new discoveries, such as the charming Sentimental Romance by Wilhelm Stenhammar (sometimes known as ‘the Swedish Elgar’) at Grade 8.

Individual movements from Koechlin’s 14 pieces were reintroduced to the Flute syllabus in 2008, and flautists at Grades 1, 2, 4 and 5 can enjoy these beautiful pieces. Grade 3 clarinettists can discover the highly effective transfer of Mendelssohn’s Song without Words. The Arabesque by Germaine Tailleferre (the only female member of the early 20th-century French group of composers, Les Six) is a wonderful find at Grade 7.

New features and offers

The preview facility allows all users to try out 10 seconds of any track before making the decision to purchase. Recordings of pieces set at Grades 1–5 are priced at 79 pence each, and those at Grades 6–8 are 99 pence each.

For the price of what is normally a single track, those purchasing Violin, Flute or Clarinet exam repertoire will actually receive two tracks: the exemplar recording of solo instrument with piano accompaniment, and a bonus track that includes just the piano accompaniment alone, for playalong practice.

This doesn’t help anyone on any other instrument, including the tuba. Are there any other sites out there than can provide accompaniment downloads for ABRSM (or Guildhall) exams?

See also

New ABRSM Syllabuses for 2010Music Exams - Not For Everyone!

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

HUMS Classical Guitar Ensemble Interview - BBC iPlayer (until 2nd August)

The interview of the HUMS Classical Guitar Ensemble with BBC Radio Cambrigheshire’s Sue Dougan is can now be listened to on BBC iPlayer at It will be available for 7 days (usual restriction) which means something like the 2nd August. I wouldn’t leave it that late mind!

The interview starts at around 1h 15mins into the programme.


PS The Interview features music from the recent CD, ‘El Huertos de los Olivos’ (The Olive Grove). A sample of the tracks from the CD can be heard on the Music Alley site (used to be the Podcast Music Network).

See also

Interview - BBC Radio Cambs - Thurs 29th July 3pmEl Huerto de los Olivos - CD Release on Behalf of HUMSA

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Interview - BBC Radio Cambs - Thurs 29th July 3pm

The HUMS Classical Guitar Ensemble got interviewed by Sue Dougan at the BBC Cowley Road studios in Cambridge today. This was the product of an initial cheeky email following the concert the ensemble gave in Old Hurst church and quite a bit on communication in the meantime. The representatives of the ensemble were Sandra Buckenham (ensemble director) with students Peter Maylor, Terry Schooling and Lorena Serna.

The interview lasted for something like 30 minutes and ranged far and wide not only about the guitar ensemble but also the music school itself. We always hit the problem of ‘school’ being associated with youngsters so often folks don’t realise that the music school is open to all ages. This has surfaced before when talking with the BBC but apparently Sue hadn’t even heard of the school. Well she has heard now and there’s a tentative suggestion that an future feature might be made on the music school itself, perhaps in September.

For those who’d like to listen to the interview it will be broadcast at around 3pm on Thursday 29th July on BBC Radio Cambridgshire. The schedule for Thursday is available here. You can always listen live from the BBC Radio Cambs website. It will be available via the BBC iPlayer for up to 7 days after the interview.

The photos have been added to the Huntingdonshire Music School group on Flickr.

See also

HUMS Classical Guitar Ensemble to Feature on BBC Radio CambridgeshireA School of Friends

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