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Sorry if this seems like a silly question, but sometimes I see references to someone playing at "Grade such and such". Being so new to playing, it doesn't apply to me anyway, but just curious what this is actually referring to. Perhaps I'm totally misunderstanding the context when I see it and there is no such thing lol. Just curious and if anyone has insight on this, thanks.

3 Responses
Posted: June 29, 2010
Last Comment: June 29, 2010

Posted: June 29, 2010
Ahhh. Hey, thanks guys for the very nice, detailed explanation. Makes pretty good sense to me now. Yay. Very helpful.

Posted: June 29, 2010
There are some boards of schools of music such as the ABRSM (associated board of the royal schools of music) in the UK that hold a series of examinations that increase in difficulty - they examine students in practical and theoretical music, and with the ABRSM, there are 8 Grades, after which there are three types of diplomas you can take (Associate, Licentiate and Fellowship). That's the only one that I'm familiar about, but there is a very similar one in Australia as well.

Posted: June 29, 2010
Hi John. There are associations out there that give you the option to obtain 'certificates' for your violin playing, like a little 'qualification'. One of them is the ABRSM (you can see at www.abrsm.org). Different organisations call the qualification different things but most or all I think give it a number (it will be either grade or level) from 1 upwards, at least for the earlier certificates. I sat 2 exams with the ABRSM and got the certificate for grade 1 and grade 5, I am now preparing for grade 8 (which I may not be able to take for another couple of years...). When I attend an exam I have to play 3 pieces (you can choose from a syllabus they publish), play a selection of scales/arpeggios/dominant and diminished 7ths, play a piece at sight (ie they put an unknown piece of music in front of you and you have 30 seconds to look at it then you have to play it), and also answer some 'aural' questions and sing some notes in tune... If you go to the ABRSM site you can find out all about it by clicking on the link for exams and look up 'practical graded music exams' After grade 8 you can start doing 'diplomas' there are 3 of them and the higher one is the equivalent of doing 'masters' at university I think...I am aiming to get to that one day :) Of course no one has to do these things, people decide to do it for different reasons. Some do it so that they can use it to gain entry in a school/conservatoire/orchestra (but usually not necessary as you can sit an audition for these), some do it for fun, some because you get a professional musician to listen to you and give you 'unbiased' advice, after the exam you get a marking sheet telling you what you did well and where you should have done 'better' (on the day anyway). Sometimes this can confirm what you thought were your weaknesses or expose something you did not realise too well (often your teacher or yourself already knew anyway but it confirms it). Hope the above helps Jo