Graded Singing Exams (Singing Teachers)
MemberMay 5, 2016 at 7:35 pm
So after some encouraging words from Matt I have decided to write my first post! Eeek!
I wanted to know about teachers experiences with exam bodies; ABRSM, Rock school, trinity guildhall etc. I use to teach in Ireland and I used RIAM exam system so I am very familiar with this but am now teaching in England and not sure where to start!
Just pros and cons of your experience, or recommendations for one over the other. Any detail would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
ModeratorMay 6, 2016 at 6:32 pm
Welcome 🙂 I have only done Rock School, and just Grade 1 with two students (most of mine just learn for fun) but I highly recommend it – I even put myself through Grade 8 through RS and enjoyed the structure and what it covers! Both students passed and it was more in keeping with the style I teach!
Read up on it here: https://www.rslawards.com/
MemberMay 7, 2016 at 6:27 pm
Hello, I put my students in for the London College of Music Popular Vocals Exams, validated by Thames Valley University. They’ve gone up to Grade 8 and 99.9% have had really good experiences. Although there are guidelines on their website as to which songs go with which grade, in practice you can choose anything, so long as it’s hard enough! The aural and theory tests are quite tricky, so there’s a real sense of progression. Good luck! Alison
MemberMay 7, 2016 at 6:46 pm
Hi! I use Rockschool for Vocals and ABRSM for Piano and Music Theory 🙂
I really recommend the Rockschool Vocals syllabus (I’ve taught it up to Grade 7 and I have my Grade 8), the staff are lovely and my students really enjoy it!
ABRSM is better for ‘classical’ styles, which I don’t really teach for vocals, and it is a lot more formal than Rockschool. I would definitely look at their websites, if you have any questions about either of the syllabus’ feel free to ask! 🙂
ModeratorMay 7, 2016 at 7:23 pm
What songs did you do for your Rock School Grade 8 Beckie, and how did you find it all? When did you do it?
MemberMay 7, 2016 at 11:04 pm
I took my Grade 8 in December 2013, with the old Rockschool Syllabus (the new one came out the following September) – it was hard work! I ended up singing Apologize by One Republic, Total Eclipse of the Heart by Bonnie Tyler and Dynamite by Taio Cruz (this was a Grade 5 song but at Grade 8 you can pick one song from any grade). I found the technical exercises quite difficult, I had to spend a fair bit of time sitting at my piano working them out! Ruth guided me really well through it all so she gets some credit too 🙂
ModeratorMay 8, 2016 at 7:16 pm
Brilliant – what did you get?
MemberMay 10, 2016 at 6:43 pm
Thanks for all your advice 🙂
MemberMay 13, 2016 at 7:33 pm
Sorry for the late reply – I’ve been on holiday! I got a Merit overall 🙂
MemberMay 14, 2016 at 11:14 am
For Rockschool there isn’t a theory requirement like there is with ABRSM, they do build some music theory questions into the exam though. They obviously do advise learning the theory though!
From what I remember, I found the technical exercises challenging because of the speed and having to use my full range in quite quick movements! There were a lot of semitones as well. The rhythm wasn’t too bad because I treated it like I was learning a new song, it was just that it moved through different keys and scales quite quickly!
ModeratorMay 14, 2016 at 12:15 pm
Yes that was hard – I actually messed up on the rhythm of one of the technical exercises and felt like a total idiot for not realising they were quavers (as you can pre-prepare these for God’s sake!!) but somehow managed to scrape a distinction so I was pretty pleased. Was ill on the day too! Which they don’t care about by the way.
MemberMay 17, 2016 at 1:12 pm
I went through the ABRSM system myself and I cannot recommend enough. It produces well-rounded musicians because of the demands of theory, sight-singing, a cappella work, aural tests, etc. I can definitely see the difference between myself and other singers who have fantastic voices but have no idea how to communicate with a band/musical director. Not to say that everyone should go through it, but I definitely wouldn’t be in the position I am today without it. My students get into it as well, even those that aren’t really interested in classical, which I imagine is because I’m so passionate about it!
MemberJune 2, 2016 at 12:16 am
Yayy! I just got a job teaching at a highschool, and they’re considering bringing in the Rock School syllabus. If I hadn’t read this thread I would have been at a complete loss to talk about it. Thanks team! 😉
MemberJune 3, 2016 at 9:29 am
I teach Trinity’s Rock and Pop syllabus. My students really enjoy it. The song selection is good and you can pick your own piece as one of the three songs so long as it is the same level as the exam you’re taking. You have to sing either an improvisation to a chord progression or sight sing a piece of music that is played to you. My students find the improvisation easier if they aren’t used to reading music but I teach everyone both skills.
So far I have had students enter up to grade 6 and have had 100% Merit or Distinction results.
MemberJune 11, 2016 at 1:40 pm
I have a student who wants to go through grade 6 ABRSM, which is not a problem…but I’m a little unsure of how to go about teaching the extra parts of the exam. The songs themselves are fine (and I did grade 8 myself, so I know how it goes – but I did my grade 5 theory and then went straight to grade 8 practical, so I’m not all that familiar with the system in general) but has anyone got any advice about teaching the extra tests (sight-singing and aural).
MemberSeptember 6, 2016 at 10:30 am
I have used ABRSM for three years for my students taking singing, music theory and cello exams. It was the exam board I was examined in growing up. ABRSM are pretty organised as an exam board and their syllabus’ are easy to use for teaching and system is easy to submit students for exams.
I have also used for two terms-LCM for Pop Vocals and Musical Theatre grades. I really like both syllabuses and it has opened up a lot more repertoire for students that really prefer to ‘perform on stage’ and who really want to do musical theatre songs and pop.
I have only had one negative experience with LCM, and this was with the first student taking the exams. Since all students have thoroughly enjoyed them. On reflection I believe they did not work hard enough. Their systems are not so slick as ABRSM but still okay. The chief examiner always responds promptly to any questions I have.
MemberNovember 9, 2016 at 4:22 pm
I’m looking into using LCM for Popular Vocal exams – I have a question for anyone who has used them before, are there any books? I can’t seem to find any online that relate to each grade, only a general one that oversees grade 1-8 for teachers.
Or if anyone can tell me their experiences of LCM or Trinity Rock & Pop, I would be really grateful 🙂
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