"I enjoyed it enormously"
- now that's a comment we like to see from an examiner!
I'm an extremely proud and satisfied flute teacher as I've just received the mark sheet and certificates for an ABRSM ensemble exam. Have you heard of this exam? I hadn't until I stumbled across it on the ABRSM website and I'm so pleased I did, it is excellent! I was looking for something for a group of students to do to slow down the 'grade exam race'. All music teachers come across the situation where youngsters and their parents want to take the next exam as soon as possible. It really isn't a good idea just to go from grade to grade as so much technical and musical development can be missed. This exam really addresses this situation.
The exam is offered on 3 levels
- Primary (Grades 4-5)
- Intermediate (Grades 6-7)
- Advanced (Grade 8 and above)
It is for 2 to 10 players without conductor and you can choose your own programme.
Max, Sophie and Tomoko entered the Primary level. They could play a programme lasting for 12 minutes and they chose:
- Autumn Leaves - their own composition/improvisation based on the pentatonic scale with extended techniques
- Tambourin by Gossec arranged by Tom Phelan
- Londonderry Air arranged by David Overton
- Dance of the Blessed Spirits by Gluck arranged by David Overton
It helped enormously as they were able to work as a family and supported each other so well. I absolutely love group teaching, I can't understand why it isn't just the norm for music education. Everyone learns so much more and so much more efficiently working as a group. This group improved so much this term, their progress has been outstanding. Very aspect of their playing has come on leaps and bounds; I've been especially pleased with their dynamic development - the one thing the examiner didn't mention in his report, but his comments were very inspirational.
Max, Sophie and Tomoko were invited back to the venue where they took the exam, Under the Bridge Music Studios in Brighton, to perform in a charity concert last Saturday afternoon. It proved to be a perfect way to celebrate gaining an A mark and distinction in their exam. Many congratulations to them and thanks to the ABRSM. I'm looking forward to using this exam again.