One persons grade three is another persons grade five

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by songbook, Jun 11, 2015.

  1. songbook

    songbook Piano User

    Apr 25, 2010
    Is there some kind of standard for grading the difficulty level of sheet music, or is it up to the publishers discretion? I find some level threes to be way above my difficulty level in some books, while in others their below my level.
  2. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    I suppose the grade level assigned to a piece is somewhat arbitrary, and is based more on the overall average level of difficulty of that piece. Any given composition can play either to your strengths or weaknesses, though, so that has a lot to do with how difficult it is for you specifically.
  3. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    I always thought that the grade level thing was interesting. In some conversations with people about concert band repertoire, I've often gotten the question, "what grade level is that?" The honest truth is that I never really knew - it was an assigned chart, we learned it, we played it, we made music, and I never thought too hard about the grade or difficulty level.
  4. dangeorges

    dangeorges Pianissimo User

    Oct 20, 2010
    good point. It can be the easiest chart in the world ("grade"-wise), but I was taught early on in my music training that nothing is beneath your dignity to play. If you're playing a C major scale, play it as if you're on stage at a command performance do it as well as you can.
  5. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    It could also be said that sometimes what appears to be easy from a tempo/notes/rhythms perspective, isn't always easy when it comes to executing it in a musical way. There is a lot of music that looks technically easy, but when it comes to balance, expressiveness, and intonation, it's actually quite difficult. I don't know if music grading takes that into account or not.
  6. trumpetsplus

    trumpetsplus Fortissimo User

    Jun 11, 2006
    South Salem, NY
    Too many keyboardists or guitarists have published collections of music written out for Clarinet, or Alto Sax, or Trumpet, and grade the difficulty purely by the rhythm of the notation. No regard to what is possible, or easy. If something is full of half notes and whole notes it is graded easy, even if it is all in the upper half of, or above, the staff.
  7. songbook

    songbook Piano User

    Apr 25, 2010
    That's exactly what I mean Trumpetsplus.
  8. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

    Aug 7, 2013
    Lagos, Nigeria
    Quite often you'll see sheet music in the UK at least rated 1 - 8+ approximating to the ABRSM grade examination standards.

    On the other hand, there's a not-too-difficult US audition piece (GMEA All State Band Etude) in front of me now that's marked "Grades 9-10" which I presume refers to school years.

    And any trumpet solo from Editions Marc Reift marked level 5 and above is likely be a little taxing (!).

    Even if the music is graded competently within each organisation, there's no guarantee of any uniformity between them.
  9. Sterling

    Sterling Mezzo Forte User

    Oct 22, 2007
    Marcellus, NY
    NYSSMA, the New York School Music Association grades solos and ensembles from 1-6. Leroy Anderson's Trumpeter's Lullaby is a level 3 and the Hindemith, Haydn, and Hummel are a level 6 and you must perform 2 movements.
  10. Culbe

    Culbe Forte User

    Jul 25, 2014
    A lot of oboe etudes are transposed and adapted clarinet pieces, with no knowledge of the oboe besides maybe basic range.

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