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British Musical Grading System

Discussion in 'Orchestral Auditions [DB]' started by TenorClef, Nov 19, 2004.

  1. Today i took my grade 2 exam on the double bass and i was very happy with the results i got from the Thomastik 'Superflexibles'. I will most defintely be using them for my grade 3 exam, i have some gut strings on back order from Upton's Basses, John the manager reckons they are pretty good strings for the price so i may consider using them for grades 4 & 5. Depends on how well they bow. I don't expect to reach grade 8 as i doubt i have the time/energy and probably ability but grade 5 would put me at intermediate ability and i think that is a more realistic goal for me. I guess in the USA and around the world you have a similar system?

    Grades 1-3 (Beginner)
    Grades 4-5 (Intermediate)
    Grades 6-8 (Advanced)
    Teacher's/Performer's Diploma
  2. I think this or a similar system is being adopted in the US now, however there was nothing like this when I was coming up. No testing system or anthing like that. Basically you would work on what was generally required for what ever school you were trying to get into. I am interested in what the various levels require for bass. Is there a website that lists the test requirements for each level? I'd like to see where I'm at.

  3. olivier


    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    Thanks Tenor I, find this interesting. I study with a teacher at a municipal school of music, but I don't really take exam.

    On the other hand, here you high-jack your own thread, whereas in another place in this forum you complain about high-jacking!!!
  4. Thanks TC.

    Just out of curiosity, what would Grade 8 correspond to in terms of School age? For instance, would this normally be someone just entering University?

  5. :bag: Oh God your right, sorry its so easy to digress and yes your right i did, i guess i'm going to have to stay focussed on a topic...

    Jon, in regard to your question thats a tough one. The Royal Schools of Music normally recommend one grade per year, so if a kid started at say 8, spent a couple of years getting the foundation stuff before grades that would put them at about 18, however i've heard of exceptions who complete the grades whilst very young but thats not the norm.

    However learning as an adult seems so much harder, i've just started to look at the grade 3 pieces and i see i have my work cut out for me. Most UK universities won't accept an applicant for a Music Degree unless they have at least grade 8 on their instrument and sometimes grade 8 theory.

  6. TC

    I spent some time on the ABRSM site and I find it fascinating. Everything is so structured and complete. Can you explain to me the Diploma(s)? What are these? Are these the exams after Grade 8? Based on the rep. lists I would be working toward the second or third one I think.

  7. Pieces that you would find in the diploma syllabus are also but not always similar to pieces you would expect to find in the grade 8 syllabus however the way they would be examined at grade 8 and diploma level are not the same. Greater scrutiny is shown at post grade 8 level, testing all aspects of ones ability, including artistic flare and technical accuracy. At the diploma standard you are expected to perform as if you where pro concert standard. Three diplomas are offered

    Dip ABRSM
    Licentaite Diploma (LRSM)
    Fellowship Diploma (FRSM)

  8. Did you mean grade 3 or did you mean you'd be onto your 2nd or 3rd diploma? I'm presently working on grade 3 and i find this quite tough, i can't even begin to imagine taking a diploma!
  9. TC

    I think it would be the second or third diploma. I'm working on the Koussevitzky concerto right now. Interestingly, since I've never had to take any tests or pass any auditions yet, my scale technique is spotty. I'd be hard pressed to rattle off all the major and minor scales and arppegioes without thinking about them first. I never realy bothered to memorize a lot of them, allthough I can play comfortably to the end of the fingerboard. I think I might purchase the Queen's scale and arppegio book for grades 6-8 just to feel more legit in this regard.

    Take care

  10. littlekatie


    Jul 14, 2004
    London, UK
    im working at my DipABRSM, im 17....and its a b*tch!

    hardly any bassists i know did one grade a year.... most of us shoot up through the rep and then steady out at grade 6-8, taking it to diploma, as in my case, if wanted.
  11. Katie

    I was wondering if one could sit for the DipABRSM (or the other more advanced diplomas for that matter) without having first passed Grade 5 and Grade8?, etc. I'm definitely at Diploma level but in the US the ABRSM system is fairly new, and so few experienced players have taken the tests. I'm not sure why I want the piece of paper except for a feeling of accomplishment. I'd rather not go back to intermediate level rep. if I can help it though.

  12. Some schools have a specific graded system, but the bigger conservatories often may not. My undergratuate had their own lists of pieces and scales etc. for eight different levels, and they were a very Music Education Degree-oriented department
    - but...

    Never heard anything about repertoire grading while I was at Indiana University! Your diploma is: taking and winning auditions! :bassist: