BBC Music Magazine - - LETTERS - Ste­wart Thomp­son, Lon­don

I read the let­ter by Pauline Carter (September) re­gard­ing the the­ory ex­am­i­na­tions of the ABRSM (As­so­ci­ated Board of the Royal Schools of Mu­sic) with in­ter­est. As I work for a fel­low exam board with re­spon­si­bil­ity for exam con­tent I was struck by the ref­er­ence to ABRSM as the body who are re­spon­si­ble for ex­cel­lence in mu­sic ed­u­ca­tion. The ABRSM does not hold of­fi­cial of­fice but there is an as­sump­tion that is does be­cause there is a lack of knowl­edge of other boards who do ex­actly the same job. Trin­ity Col­lege, Lon­don Col­lege, our­selves at Vic­to­ria Col­lege and Rockschool, to name a few, are all well-es­tab­lished or­gan­i­sa­tions who have his­to­ries go­ing back to the late 1800s in this field. We all aim for the high­est stan­dards in mu­tual re­spect and com­pe­ti­tion.

Re­gard­ing the change to exam con­tent, I can un­der­stand part of the rea­son­ing. For stu­dents who don’t have an in­ter­est in com­po­si­tion, it’s an ap­pro­pri­ate move, but for those who do it is a great loss. This is where choice of exam board is key. The can­di­date may be bet­ter suited to one board’s ap­proach. Even within the con­fines of the tra­di­tional mu­sic grade sys­tem, options ex­ist – you sim­ply have to look.

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