This is the second in a series of podcasts taking a look piano exams. Today I’m talking with Tim Arnold about the most global music exam board, the ‘Associated Boards of the Royal Schools of Music‘. ABRSM is the UK’s largest music education body, one of its largest music publishers and the world’s leading provider of music exams, offering assessments to more than 630,000 candidates in 93 countries every year.
One of the things that the ABRSM strives for is consistency in their exams, no matter where you happen to take them. Their examiners participate in ongoing professional development and are assessed regularly to ensure the standard is maintained.
ABRSM also creates some fantastic teaching apps and resources, and provides scholarships every year to college students. Take a listen to today’s podcast to learn all about the ABRSM, what they do, and how you can better prepare students for piano exams.
In this episode, you’ll learn:
- How the ABRSM ensures absolute consistency in their exams
- The structure of exams with the ABRSM
- An overview of the marking criteria used in ABRSM exams
- The ethos behind the grade 5 theory requirement for the grade 6 examinations
- Why the syllabus changes every two years
- How to apply for an ABRSM scholarship
- The diploma structure at ABRSM
Items mentioned in this podcast:
- On Your Marks (let’s you try to mark an exam yourself and see how accurate you were)
Today’s sponsor: ABRSM
Are your students struggling with their aural skills?
ABRSM is an exam board that supports the teaching and learning of music in partnership with the Royal Schools of Music. Its award-winning Aural Trainer app for iOS devices offers an exciting way for students to practise their aural skills.
Through a series of interactive challenges, pupils can learn to identify and describe musical features and differences quickly and accurately. They can gain feedback on their answers and keep track of improvements. Students can practise exercises in any order, as often or as little as they’d like, anytime and anywhere.
Aural Trainer covers all of the elements of ABRSM’s aural tests for their Grades 1 to 8 exams, including sight–singing and echo tests. There are two versions of the app: Aural Trainer 1 to 5, and Aural Trainer 6 to 8 which is new! Free copies of each app are available to download so you can try a few exercises before you upgrade.
ABRSM offers a whole suite of digital resources to develop general musical skills and knowledge and help with exam preparation.
Thank You for Tuning In!
There are a lot of podcasts you could be tuning into today, and I’m grateful that you’ve chosen mine.
Being a full-time teacher myself, I know how busy teachers are and how much time, effort and passion we put into our students. Sometimes, the last thing we want to do in our time off is listen to more piano teaching stuff! So, well done for using this time for self-improvement.
Whether you’re at the gym, on the bike or in the car, I know that you and your students will get lots out of what you learn in the long run. Just make sure you try out some of the ideas before they get lost in the business of your next lessons.
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Do your students do ABRSM exams?
If not, are you thinking about trying them? Or using one of their fantastic apps? I’d love to hear your experiences with the ABRSM in the comments.
The interview was compelling and caused me to check out their web sites.
Found them to be non friendly and looking at the Australian site uninspiring.
Resources seemed to all have costs connected with it.
Would have liked to at least be able to get samples of some of the things they offer.
I got the impression the Australian scene was small .
I intend staying with the varieties I know in AMEB and ANZCA.
Find my life is too busy now and would need much more reason to change.
Thanks for your message and feedback John! We’ll take it into consideration! As Tim mentioned, the On Your Marks is a useful resource to get insight into what an ABRSM is like and how the exam is assessed. Available from http://www.abrsm.org/onyourmarks
Or ‘Your guide to ABRSM exams’ outlines the exam elements and what to expect from an exam. http://www.abrsm.org/en/exam-support/your-guide-to-abrsm-exams/
Most of ABRSM’s digital resources and apps have free lite versions available. http://www.abrsm.org/en/exam-support/practice-tools-and-applications/
If you have any specific questions, please do let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org or find out more at http://www.abrsm.org/en/exam-support/
Fab interview discussion but wondered apart from the subject why Tim Arnold didn’t mention ABRSM Music Medals. They are still out to consultation for piano. The teacher is trained to assess & ABRSM moderate the teacher/assessor decision. Some of our schools in Scotland use them. There are five levels copper bronze silver gold & platinum & at the final level it’s similar to grade 5 ability. It takes in ensemble work. Music Medals have only been going since 2004.
Hi Marion. I’m not sure about Music Medals or why they weren’t mentioned as I’m not familiar with them. Thanks for bringing it up – perhaps others can comment. So this gives teachers the ability to assess to an ABRSM level but not be an assessor? Kind of? 🙂
Oh and here’s the link I found for them: http://gb.abrsm.org/pt/exam-booking/music-medals/