exams, again

I have touched on the issue of exams before. It pops up regularly, particularly this time of year (end of May and nearly end of the school year as I write this).  Grade exams are good for many but not for all. Some people thrive on the extra pressure, some don’t take well to it. There are additional issues: inevitably, the syllabi for the exam are a narrow sample of what is possible to do on the instrument -not just in terms of the syllabus being centred on ‘classical’ Western music from the  XIX and XVIII centuries, to the exclusion of non-Western musics and also the many strands of popular music of the Western world in which the guitar is prominent.  There are, of course, positive sides: clear deadlines, the having to cover material (like scales and aural training, etc) which are beneficial for people’s formation but are often seen as boring or pointless.

At this point (summer of 2017) I have two pupils about to take Grade 7 and several others taking lower grade exams and a couple of people doing theory of music. From my own point of view, this is all a good thing as it keeps me on my toes and makes me have to refresh stuff that I had learnt long, long ago.

Like so many things in music learning, the process of having to learn all that stuff is as good (or better) for the pupil as the end result.


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