Nobody Needs Graded Music Exams

So Rockschool came out with new graded exams that focuses on band based keyboard fused together with the current piano syllabus and everyone went crazy.

Guildhall New SyllabusTruth is, why do you even need exams? Do they really make you better in music? Are these syllabus just a mean of association boards trying to rake in money?

Nobody Needs It!

Go back to basics. Why did you learn music?

Most of us learn music because it’s a healthy hobby or curriculum. There are also some of us who take it more seriously and made music a career. And as someone in the music industry, you will realize that there are so many other paths to choose from. You don’t have to necessarily end up as a music teacher.

Because everyone, music hobby-ists and career takers has different needs and paths that they look forward to, music association boards have been coming out with different types of syllabus to attract people.

However if you look around, you probably know a handful of musicians who didn’t take graded exams who are at the peak of their career.

Graded Music Exams Are Limited

Look into some of the syllabus and exam requirements for graded music exams and you’ll find usually the exams require a student to practice 2-4 music pieces from a selection of music pieces that they association board chooses. The associations has to choose a selection of music pieces that they think is equivalent for the grade level.

So what happens then? Well students will choose those 2 or 3 songs from the selected pieces and spend a full year practising those songs to perfection. Thus they end up only playing that 3 songs in one full year! Not so much a versatile musician anymore hmm?

You can also only take an exam a year. Although you can skip grades the following year, this type of system restricts students to only one level per year. This will affect the mindsets of students that they can only progress only by so much every year. Without exams, you can improve your music skills as much as you want without being restricted by syllabuses.

They Are Expensive!

Students will have to pay a high price to take music examinations. Every year the price for music examinations increase. And as you proceed to a higher grade exam, the price for the exam also increases.

Lets take the current Trinity college music examination fees. You pay about 30 pounds for the very first initial exam and as you climb through the grades each year, you’ll be paying more than three times the initial exam free at Grade 8.

But… Music Exams Are Important Too!

I conflicted the main topic here again when I say music exams are important as well.

As a musician myself, I’ve gone through my grades in piano & violin under the ABRSM music board. I also did my diplomas in music. However, the time I felt that I was really learning, was after I finished all my grades. So why is music exams important again and who is it for?

If you are a lazy person, then I’d probably recommend you to take music exams. I’d also recommend parents to send their child for music examinations. This is because when you have paid and enrolled for an examination, you’ll have more tendency to practice! Exams are progressions. It’s like forcing yourself to practice and get better in order to prep up for the exam.

So do you think exams are important? Or you would rather go all out in the music industry doing it the dirty way? Comment below!


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