Grade 5 Theory ABRSM or Grade 6 Practical Trinity??? Watch

Samuelcd
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So a month ago I passed, with merit, my Grade 5 practical saxophone exam with ABRSM. My music teacher is giving me a choice of either going to Grade 6 with Trinity Guidhall or do Theory Grade 5 with ABRSM first, then Grade 6 Practical with them.
There are pros and cons for each: (Apparently means this is what a friend has told me)

Trinity Guildhall

Pros-
Cheaper (apparently)
Easier (apparently)
I don't have to scales (I didn't do too good on them in my last exam)
Aural is less singing based

Cons-
Not as respected or recognised (apparently)

ABRSM

Pros-
More respected (apparently)
Theory will help me with GCSE music

Cons-
I have to miss half of a music group I enjoy on a saturday for theory classes
I don't see myself enjoying theory
More expensive (paying for theory)
I have to do scales


I know it is my decision but I would like some opinions from people first.
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Jessem96
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Well, maybe I'm biased since all the exams I took were with ABRSM.
But at the time, I REALLY hated grade 5 theory, now I'm quite proud to say I passed it. Also, if you do the ABRSM exams, I think that if they are harder, then you'll feel a better sense of achievement if you pass, especially if you were struggling with some of the components. Although if you don't think you'll pass the theory or practicals, then maybe it would be a waste of time and money...
That's just my (biased) opinion. As you said though, it is your choice!!
By the way, well done on passing the grade 5 exam!! I never got as far as doing exams on the sax, I just did piano exams. What kind of saxophone do you play?

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vanday1
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I am studying level 3 BTEC extended diploma in Music Performance and am aware that i need to have at leat a grade 5 in music theory before i can be considerd for some universities.
I have never done a music theory exam before but know abit about the basics.
Do I have to start at grade 1 and work my way up through each exam or can i just take the grade 5 music theory exam straight away if i study for it?

Thanks
Amber
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Kvothe the Arcane
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(Original post by vanday1)
I am studying level 3 BTEC extended diploma in Music Performance and am aware that i need to have at leat a grade 5 in music theory before i can be considerd for some universities.
I have never done a music theory exam before but know abit about the basics.
Do I have to start at grade 1 and work my way up through each exam or can i just take the grade 5 music theory exam straight away if i study for it?

Thanks
Amber
you can do it straight away. I am

Memoirs of a misunderstood teen
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NinjaNerdfighter
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(Original post by Samuelcd)
So a month ago I passed, with merit, my Grade 5 practical saxophone exam with ABRSM. My music teacher is giving me a choice of either going to Grade 6 with Trinity Guidhall or do Theory Grade 5 with ABRSM first, then Grade 6 Practical with them.
There are pros and cons for each: (Apparently means this is what a friend has told me)

Trinity Guildhall

Pros-
Cheaper (apparently)
Easier (apparently)
I don't have to scales (I didn't do too good on them in my last exam)
Aural is less singing based

Cons-
Not as respected or recognised (apparently)

ABRSM

Pros-
More respected (apparently)
Theory will help me with GCSE music

Cons-
I have to miss half of a music group I enjoy on a saturday for theory classes
I don't see myself enjoying theory
More expensive (paying for theory)
I have to do scales


I know it is my decision but I would like some opinions from people first.
I'm a bit surprised, I'd heard that Trinity exams were actually harder cause they tested more of your theory during the exam as they don't have the theory requirement!
I hated theory but I would recommend doing ABRSM Theory because it will be useful for GCSE Music.
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seanfromtheblock
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Do the ABRSM route, the theory exam is useful - there's a reason they require it, it really does help to develop you into a better all-round musician.
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Samuelcd
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(Original post by Jessem96)
By the way, well done on passing the grade 5 exam!! I never got as far as doing exams on the sax, I just did piano exams. What kind of saxophone do you play?

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I've been playing the Alto for 3 years, and Grade 5 was the first exam I did.
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Jessem96
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(Original post by Samuelcd)
I've been playing the Alto for 3 years, and Grade 5 was the first exam I did.
Cool, I played the alto sax too for about two years, until I decided I couldn't keep up piano, sax and my studies, so I stopped.
That's quite impressive! Grade 5 after only 3 years! My first grade was grade 3 on piano...
So have you decided what to do yet?

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Samuelcd
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(Original post by Jessem96)
Cool, I played the alto sax too for about two years, until I decided I couldn't keep up piano, sax and my studies, so I stopped.
That's quite impressive! Grade 5 after only 3 years! My first grade was grade 3 on piano...
So have you decided what to do yet?

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Nope but I have till next Wednesday to decide.

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beautifulbigmacs
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Ive done practical and theory with both trinity, abrsm and lcm too come to think of it. Oh yeah and rockschool too. Anyways, point is that ive never found anyone more or less sceptical of what i can do based on the exam boards of qualified with so im not sure that this really matters. At the end of the day grade 6 is grade 6.

I would be tempted to go with trinity for grade 6 so that i could get straight on with acticing for that. Grade 5 theory is definately worth doing but if you do grade 6 practical with trinity then theres no need to rush your theory and hope to cram it in asap before youre able to do practical grade 6. Like assuming youre not in a rush, you could do your theory in the background whilst doing practical grades with trinity.
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beautifulbigmacs
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Annnnd trinity offer exams in jazz saxophone up to grade 8 which is why i went with them predominantly. Well worth a look
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Samuelcd
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In the end I chose Trinity. Not because I ignored all your answers, but because the positives outweighed the negatives, to put it simply.

Thanks all!

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Jessem96
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(Original post by Samuelcd)
In the end I chose Trinity. Not because I ignored all your answers, but because the positives outweighed the negatives, to put it simply.

Thanks all!

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Yeah, in the end it was your choice to make.
Good luck with all your future exams too!!

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draghm
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(Original post by vanday1)
I am studying level 3 BTEC extended diploma in Music Performance and am aware that i need to have at leat a grade 5 in music theory before i can be considerd for some universities.
I have never done a music theory exam before but know abit about the basics.
Do I have to start at grade 1 and work my way up through each exam or can i just take the grade 5 music theory exam straight away if i study for it?

Thanks
Amber
You can take it on its own without working through the other grades. It is like any other grade exam as long as you have worked and studied on what you need to know for the exam.
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phishie
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Hello
i am not to familiar with the abbreviations. I just wanted to say that theory does go a long way. If you can learn it, you'll be surprised at how many things will fall into place for you. It's tedious at times. Go for the theory!!
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2007PSanHa
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It helps to do theory if you are taking music at school! I did grade 5 theory and got 5 marks off distiction but that took a long time!
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gingerdream
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I'd say do theory with ABRSM. I'm working on mine too this year. At first it might be difficult and sometimes hard to understand but it has helped me a lot when it came to analyzing pieces for sight reading and learning pieces faster in general.
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enimpri
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ABRSM have a better reputation in terms of putting candidates through their paces. The theory looks like it's a pain from the onset but once you learn it (which really doesn't take that long) it'll seem very easy. If you learn it properly it's not difficult to get 80%+ in past papers, and genuinely helps you with music as a whole (intervals, cadences, composition, scales etc.). The ABRSM practical exams make scales compulsory (whereas I don't think Trinity do?) but I've heard mixed opinions about which is easier. Go with ABRSM - you'll get another useful qualification from a more reputable board and it'll also help you with other music study
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dejima
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Interesting. I wish I'd stepped into this conversation at the time. Both exam boards are long established and have good reputations, but I'm glad to hear you chose Trinity. Here are a few points just in case anyone's still reading:

- Trinity invented the graded and diploma exam system in 1877
- Trinity exams are offered in 70 countries internationally and are accredited by Ofqual in exactly the same way as ABRSM
- It's true that for certain instruments e.g. saxophone you have the option under Trinity to replace scales with orchestral/band excerpts, but these can actually be harder. On piano, for instance, scales are compulsory, with different dynamics and articulations, and 3 technical exercises too.
- There are options within Trinity exams to do Improvisation (which can appeal to jazz sax players for instance). There are videos in the music section of the Trinity support site: http://support.trinitycollege.co.uk. There's also a great book written by one of their examiners, the Progressive Guide to Melodic Jazz Improvisation
- If you're interested in Theory, Trinity offer Theory exams, and Trinity Grade 5 Theory is an accepted prerequisite for ABRSM practical grade 6 and above (exam regulation 1d). Sample pages from a Trinity theory workbook here: http://www.trinitycollege.co.uk/resource/?id=4761 - compare it with the ABRSM ones and see what you think. They publish past papers and model answers too which you can download from the digital shop: http://trinitycollege.epartnershub.com/
- Trinity offer theory and composition diplomas as well as performing diplomas and teaching qualifications

One big difference, that nobody has mentioned, is the exam structure and mark scheme. With ABRSM 90 out of 150 marks (60%) are on your pieces, with Trinity 66% of the marks is on the performances. So if you really don't like the 'other bits of the exam' (technical work and supporting tests), this might be worth bearing in mind.
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happysmile
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(Original post by laurakate1988)
Ive done practical and theory with both trinity, abrsm and lcm too come to think of it. Oh yeah and rockschool too. Anyways, point is that ive never found anyone more or less sceptical of what i can do based on the exam boards of qualified with so im not sure that this really matters. At the end of the day grade 6 is grade 6.

I would be tempted to go with trinity for grade 6 so that i could get straight on with acticing for that. Grade 5 theory is definately worth doing but if you do grade 6 practical with trinity then theres no need to rush your theory and hope to cram it in asap before youre able to do practical grade 6. Like assuming youre not in a rush, you could do your theory in the background whilst doing practical grades with trinity.
Hey, I have a few questions about this if you don't mind me asking:

How many months does it take to learn ABRSM Grade 5 theory to take the exam? I know it depends on the individual and how much effort you put into it, but how long do you think it would take me to learn ABRSM Grade 5 theory to take the exam and pass if I already know a bit of basic theory (but I haven't done grades 1-4 before, I'm starting with grade 5 straight away) I'm a sixth form student who has to balance my A-level studies as well and will only have Grade 5 Theory class in school once a week during a lunchtime, so I'll probably spend an hour (and a half, depends) on theory per week.

The reason why I'm asking is because I passed my Grade 5 Piano with merit over the summer and I'm definitely starting Grade 6. However, I'd like to learn Grade 5 Theory alongside Grade 6 Piano and I'm wondering if it's possible to learn and pass the Grade 5 Theory before I'm ready to take the Grade 6 (don't know how long that would be, but it took me around seven months for Grade 5 Piano, half an hour lessons per week and approx two and a half hours at home practice each week) Do you think this is possible is I put into the same amount of practice (perhaps slightly less as it's my A-levels not GCSEs now) as I did for Grade 5? To learn grade 5 theory alongside grade 6 piano and pass the theory before I take the piano exam?

On a side note, do you think I should just do Grade 6 Piano with Trinity Guildhall instead? I don't really want to switch boards as I've done Grades 4 and 5 with ABRSM and I'd really like to learn ABRSM Grade 6 Piano but my goal is to pass Grade 6 Piano within a year and don't know which option is better (grade 6 piano with trinity guildhall or abrsm grade 5 theory alongside grade 6 piano) - also, what are the differences between ABRSM and Trinity Guildhall Grade 6 Exams?

Thank you so much, I'd really appreciate some advice from someone who has taken the theory and practicals before! Thanks in advance
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