For people who like to advanced their own musical talents there are many options, some people are happy left alone to practise and they develop their skills in that way, however there is an alternative and that is musical grades.

There are currently 3 major grade boards, in which you can take Classical grades. These are The Associated Board of the Royal School of Music (ASBRM), The Guildhall School of Music and finally The Trinity School of Music. There are of course differences with each board. With the Guildhall you do have the option of taking Jazz grades (although the ASBRM have recently started their own Jazz grades). In all honesty it is widely known that the ASBRM are the most recognised grade board in the country, the Queen herself has given permission for her named to be used just after the title.

There are 8 grades all togther, the higher the grade you go, the higher the standard the grade is. When you reach grade 5 with the ASBRM, you are then required to take a theory test, this is on basic music theory such as harmonies, things on sub-dominet, and dominent ECT. Untill you have passed this exam you cannot take another practical music grade with the ASBRM. For people who are more into Jazz then Classical then the Guildhall grade board does jazz grades. There are major changes because of this, firstly there is an improvisation section on which you can improvise a piece of music from a list provided by the Guildhall, these usually included pieces by Jamey Abersold who has over 30 volumes of books in which you can choose from. Therefore there is quite wide selection of choice. The Guildhall also looks for things such as tone and quality and whether you can play Jazz and have the right sound for it.

the higher the grade you go the more money the board wants to take off you, my last grade (grade 7) cost around £42, then add on the money for the books you need to buy and it all adds up.


    This system applies for UK Musicians only

The US system is pretty standard. There are Six grades. 1 being the easiest and for beginners and 6 being the hardest and for professionals and extremely advanced high school and college students. The listings vary from list to list. And Trombone solos are generally graded harder than the same solo for Euphonium. The lists are comprised of graded solos and various ensembles. The main one is the New York list, the NYSSMA There are solos and ensembles for almost every instrument in it, from voice to timpani and even bass trombone.

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