Bummed out (failed my diploma!)

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by JackD, Aug 16, 2005.

  1. JackD

    JackD Mezzo Forte User

    Nov 30, 2003
    Manchester / London
    Well I just got my result for my ATCL diploma I did, after spending the whole of my last term at college working on it with my teacher - I got less than 50%!!

    I'm quite annoyed at this, because I don't think I played THAT badly. The examiner seems to take issue with my tone, which most people seem to say is one of my strong points. I'm most upset that I got a VERY low mark for "musical sense".

    I know I split a few high notes in the unaccompanied sonata I did (though I did nail the high C# lick) but he says I have a "very poor" high register.

    He also said I didn't provide a programme, even though I gave both examiners a very lengthy series of programme notes. Not sure what that's all about.

    So I'm a bit upset and annoyed, considering the amount of work I did for this, and considering I don't think I played that badly at all.

    Oh well, just a vent I suppose!
  2. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Jack, I feel your pain my friend. I went through a similar situation recently, although when I played, I wasn't trying for a diploma, so I really have no advice for you as far as your options are concerned.

    My situation revolves around an audition that I took for a full time playing gig. I really wanted it. I mean, I REALLY wanted it, and I worked hard learning the excerpts and trying to get my playing back to where I felt it needed to be in order to be competitive.

    I got into the audition room, had a serious case of nerves, and blew it in less than 10 minutes. It wasn't that I got beat by someone else. I played so poorly I was dismissed as a non-contender. It ranks up there as one of the most embarrassing and humiliating experiences of my life. Split notes, horrid sight reading....awful. :-(

    Anyway, while I certainly haven't forgotten about it, I have done a pretty good job of shrugging it off because even though I choked badly, a lot of positive things came from the experience. For one, I'm playing pretty solidly now and my overall ability is at a point where it hasn't been in YEARS. And, I still gig out on the weekends with the party band and I make good money doing it. I may not have won the audition, but no one can take away the fact that I am a solid, performing musician.

    By the way, out of curiousity, what are your options at this point? Has it all been a waste? Can you appeal at all?
  3. JackD

    JackD Mezzo Forte User

    Nov 30, 2003
    Manchester / London
    Patrick, as far as I'm aware that's it - I can't appeal at all.

    What upsets me is that I've had a few bad bad gigs, and this wasn't one of them. I felt I played pretty solidly, apart from one or two split notes in quite a hard piece.

    My teacher said he thought I would get a very good mark, and it's not like I suddenly fell apart (I too have had that happen before and it took a while for me to shake that off!).
  4. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    So does this mean that in order to pass and get your ATCL diploma you have to retake the whole thing after another term of school?

    :?: I wonder what the examiner's issue was. Does he have a reputation for failing trumpet players?

    Well, it may be a setback, but you can still learn from the experience. Use it as fuel for the fire that will propell you to even greater heights. I know that this sounds pretty cliche and might be a tad tough to swallow at the moment, but it doesn't sound like there is much else you can do.

    Well, good luck with it and keep us posted what you have to do in order to get your ATCL diploma.

    ROGERIO Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 30, 2004

    Sorry to hear of your recent negative experience. The important thing is (like what trickg said) you know you are a better player than what was represented.

    If you don't mind, can you explain what a ATCL is?

  6. davidquinlan

    davidquinlan Pianissimo User

    doh! ..
    it's tough when these things happen.. remember, it's their opinion of your playing at that point in time.

    However, you can't ignore what they had to say, however hard it is, there may be an element of truth in every criticism.

    They may have exaggerated your weak points in their critique, just as your teacher and peers may have exaggerated your strong points prior to the exam, there are two sides to everything.

    Put it down to experience (expensive experience, I've seen how much those exams cost!!)
  7. Mr. Semman

    Mr. Semman Pianissimo User

    Jan 5, 2005
    West Brookfield, MA
    My sympathies on your situation, but don't give up. Is it possible to locate one of the other contestants who did pass, and have them evaluate what you did, and get their constructive criticism?
  8. Clarino

    Clarino Mezzo Piano User

    Nov 9, 2003
    Sheffield, England, UK
    Jack, I don't know why but diplomas seem to be impossible to pass in London at the moment. Last year a flute player I know failed his diploma up there, and according to his accompanist (who is a good friend of mine, and an excellent musician) he played out of his skin! I mean he's a phenomenal player anyway, and he had a great day, everything was perfect (seemingly).

    It seems to be a problem with the London assessors, a tuba playing friend of mine got his diploma in Portsmouth about a year ago, and while he's a great player, he wasn't on the level of this flute player.

    Talk to your teacher, see if you can appeal the decision, I know my friend was going to (his teacher was severely pissed off with the examiner!)

    Failing that, try again next year in a different city. Aren't you moving to Manchester soon anyway? May be a better bet to try once you are up here.
  9. JackD

    JackD Mezzo Forte User

    Nov 30, 2003
    Manchester / London
    Well I definitely won't be taking a Trinity diploma ever again!

    That's interesting what you say Clarino - in fact when I was running through one the pieces before I went in my accompanist (who does loads of stuff at the RAM) was complimenting me on my sound, and yet the examiner seemed to think I had a "weak, uncontrolled tone".

    I read through the examiners comments again, and to be honest they're pretty unconstructive and just plain rude! I would normally agree that there's truth in every criticism, and I'm not normally an arrogant player (something my teacher has actually told me to work on!) but he says things about my playing that just aren't true, and are quite rude!

    Just to explain to those who aren't familiar with it: the ATCL is an "Associate of Trinity College of London" - basically a recital which you get a certificate for (if you pass! :lol: )

    I'm quite annoyed, because he criticises several things I did deliberately (the sonatina has a section where there are soft melodies contrasting with low long nasty growls, and he says I "showed a worrying lack of control in the low register" !!!!)

    So I'm not taking it to heart at all, but I'm a bit pissed off I wasted my money and my time on this thing!

    They had the nerve to send me another entry form for the same diploma too (only £155 for the privelege...)

  10. Trumpet Hobo

    Trumpet Hobo Pianissimo User

    Aug 14, 2005
    It's Ok....... take a nap or something, you'll be fine. :grouphug:

Share This Page