Trumpet Grades? Whaa?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Alex_C, Nov 1, 2010.

  1. Alex_C

    Alex_C Piano User

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    May 30, 2010
    Gilroy, California
    Ok now I'm all curious, what are trumpet "grades"? I don't mean the grade of trumpet, like student or intermediate or pro, I mean, like someone on here was talking about studying to pass his "grade 8" test or something, and I don't think he's in the 8th grade in elementary school, I think there are grades of trumpet playing.

    I'm wondering, is this a Suzuki thing? Or some series of books I don't know about? Or something you do when you're a music major in college?
     
  2. craigph

    craigph Piano User

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    Mar 12, 2010
    Japan
    No, its not a Suzuki thing. As far as I know there are graded levels for all classical instruments. Any young people who study an instrument formally would likely use materials aimed at their grade level, and take a practical exam at that grade once a year or so.

    I studied both piano and trumpet when I was young and took all of the practical and theory exams offered by the Royal Conservatory of Music (a Canadian body) as well as exams from the Associated Board for the Royal Schools of Music (a British organization). (I am Canadian but grew up in Bermuda, a British colony, which is why I did both kinds of tests.) I think the RCM has 11 (practical) grades, while the ABRSM has 8 levels. I am not sure what the name of the system is in the US or how the grading compares to the system in Canada and Britian, but that is likely what the posters you read were referring to.
     
  3. samej

    samej New Friend

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    Apr 22, 2010
    Bristol, Uk
    Yep,

    In the UK there are two (i think!) major examining boards - ABRSM, and Trinity Guildhall. Grades 1 to 8 take you from absolute beginner to reasonably proficient (you can see the brass syllabus here Trinity College London - as an example the first mvmt of the Hummel is on the grade 8 list). Then there are 3 more exams which are supposedly equivalent to reaching the level of postgraduate study at a music college. They are just really a method of encouraging and assessing progress, usually for school age kids I think though there is no reason for adults not to. I guess they just normally don't need motivating in the same kind of way!
     
  4. Alex_C

    Alex_C Piano User

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    May 30, 2010
    Gilroy, California
    Thanks guys, I looked it up, and the ABRSM has some presence in the US, there are testers and teachers etc. I think it's a good idea.

    Suzuki DOES have levels, and I listened to a (very cute) gal playing violin on the street and using her Suzuki books which turn out to have really nice classical music at the high levels. Needless to say, she was making a mint.
     
  5. NanoBear

    NanoBear New Friend

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    Apr 15, 2009
    Perth, Western Australia
    We have a similar thing in Australia too. I think the main one here is AMEB, however my school didn't participate. Once I got out of school and started playing with other people, I got the classic "how big is yours" question: what grade are you? Seems to me that's about all its good for. Too many of the 'higher graded' players here have no idea when it comes to playing in a band. Or for that matter, when asked to play anything they haven't rehearsed 100 times.
     
  6. samej

    samej New Friend

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    Apr 22, 2010
    Bristol, Uk
    Yes, certainly they don't test ensemble playing, and yes you do get kids claiming to be better and using their grade as justification. Ensemble playing is another skill that has to be learnt. But they are pretty good for something to aim for, and a continuous increase in difficulty. Even if you don't do them, it can be useful to look at the repertoire lists. Also there is a sight reading component so you should be able to play stuff you haven't rehearsed! In theory at least...
     
  7. reedy

    reedy Piano User

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    Jul 31, 2009
    Wiltshire, UK
    oww yeah, someone asked me what grade 8 was as I was talking about it on another thread, basically whats been said above. I had a uni lecture the other day which mentioned it and it originated in the UK and many other country's especially in Europe either steal the idea and make there own or just use our system, I have all my ABRSM grades 1-8 now. basically what happens during this exam is you have to play 2 accompanied solo's ie hyden trumpet concerto, one study, then scales, sight reading, sight singing, sing back a passage the examiner plays and describe a piece that the examiner plays. the trinity ones work slightly differently I think. the pass mark is 100 and a top score of 150, but that never happens, might get 130-140 tops! unless you really are amazing! grades 1-3 are beginner, 4-6 are intermediate with 7 and 8 pro level. many bands and university require a certain grade, my uni in bath required me to have grade 8 before I applied.

    this system can be used on all instruments and now they have introduced grade 1-5 jazz. you also need to have done a theory exam to grade 5 standard or grade 5 jazz to progress onto grade 6, 7 or 8 practical.
     

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