Grade 8 singing - easier than all the rest? Watch
For both exams you have to practice a lot - that's a given, but with instrument exams you can have the music in front of you, allowing you to 'wing it' if you forget a bar or two, and easily get back on track if you mess up. You don't have to worry about pitching the notes and whether they will be sharp/flat, and you only play the one instrument, albeit perhaps two parts (one per hand), whereas singers must think about many things such as lyrics, pitching, breathing and expression, which perhaps instrumentalists do not (with exceptions such as wind instrumentalists and breathing). Of course everyone must focus on melody, timing and technique.
With singing, however, one must memorise not only the notes but also the lyrics, and with classical singing one must perform in a variety of languages. For example I am singing one Italian song, one German song, one French song, and one English song. I am also doing two Italian exercises - Vaccai - which, although not very long, also must be memorised and test how well I can pitch intervals, which, at grade eight, are tricky ones such as 7ths. Furthermore, the many different languages and meanings to the songs mean you have to hold in a lot of information on pronunciation as well as how you will physically act the narrative or emotion of the song, which must be translated, making you focus on several different things while singing. Finally, techniques such as breathing in the correct places, pitching notes and making jumps seem more difficult to do vocally than on an instrument such as a piano, where the accurate tuning of the instrument is taken for granted and an interval is simply playing two notes. Sight reading and aural tests in singing test our actual musical knowledge and ability to identify certain features, the knowledge of which may be evident due to the repertoires of instrumentalists.
I think both are just as difficult, but do agree that singing gets a bad wrap - perhaps people ignore the other tests, such as aural and sight reading, and don't consider the other factors of singing, especially the added challenges of classical singing. Perhaps the skill of playing an instrument can be learned easier than the skill of singing - does one depend more on talent and another more on perseverance? I don't know. As I said I have never done an instrument exam, but I am trying to learn the guitar and do think it is much harder to learn than singing at the simple grades. When you get to the higher grades and classical styles, I think they become equal, and I have huge respect for instrumentalists. I haven't experienced any negativity towards singing grades rather than instrument grades, but I do think that adding "opera" to a singing exam makes it seem more prestigious and I got a far better reaction about my "opera grade eight" than my "singing grade six", despite the difference in level.
The main difference I’d say is that it’s a lot easier to do singing practice by quietly humming scales wherever then to get out an instrument and do that. There’s also the fact that with singing your instrument is with you for life so you have to make sure that your technique is right so that you don’t ruin it. The thing about singing is that with an instrument you will have to spend some time at the start nailing down technique whereas you could probably give a lower grade in singing without great technique. Another thing is that with singing, if you have talent it makes it a lot easier than I’d say it would if you were talented on guitar and it’s a lot lore evident, especially at competitions. You can do singing grades without, but I’ve seen people jump in at very high grades because their voice was naturally loud and clear while others were getting beaten at competition level by people singing for a much shorter time because their voice just didn’t have those qualities. And then there’s sight singing...........
I’d say that it’s around about the same amount of work tbh, but I might be biased because singing is my main thing
Do you guys think it is worth it to do an ARSM in singing if it's that easy? I just got a merit in my Grade 8 singing at 15 years old and am being encouraged to do an ARSM. Should I? Is it really worth all the time, effort and money if it's singing?