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Grade 8 Bass exam?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Pugz, Nov 7, 2005.

  1. Next year I will entering into the 6th form (6th year of comprehensive school) and I am seriously considering taking Music for an A level. However although I play bass and piano (grade 7 - although i didn't take the actual exam) I stupidly didn't take music /sigh :meh: for GCSE and therefore as a result cannot take it for A level except under special circumstances.

    Those special circumstances are that I simply must at least be grade 5 or above in any musical instrument. Simple eh?

    So I decided that I wanted to go for grade 8 Bass. I took a trip to my local music store and checked out the grade 8 bass exam book. Everything inside it looked shockingly simple. My first instinct was to check I picked up the right book but yes this was infact the grade 8 bass booklet even though it looked far to simple to be it.

    My question is - Can anybody tell me what is involved in the exam?

    I know there is a track you will have to play but what other things are involved? Is there any theory I would need to know? Would there be things like improvisations etc?

    Any info you can give me will help. Thanks.

  2. screwball


    Jul 25, 2004
    Manchester UK
    Which board is the exam with?

    I took a London College of Music bass grade in the summer, which is done through the Registry of Guitar Tutors. Did you get the green grades 6-8 book or something else? the RGT book says exactly what is required for the exams
  3. burntgorilla


    Jan 24, 2005
    I opened the Rockschool grade 8 book, and was surprised by how easy it looked. Then I noticed that lots of them had odd time signatures and pretty complicated rhythms, and also had large solo tracts. And some are played at a pretty fast tempo.
  4. Unfortunately I cannot remember the book I picked up. I did not buy it, I only flicked through to have a look. I'll find out about it and post hopefully as soon as I decided to go back to the store. Thanks so far though.
  5. SuperSonic!!!


    Oct 26, 2005
    I got a grade 8 bass book not long ago, and its not hard at all. Some unusual time signatures but thats about it as far as tricky things go. Its probably easy because bass is supposed to have a "supportive" role and only play simple bass lines.
    ( although i dont think this is true, bass can be complex as well! )
  6. I remember looking at the rock school grade 8 book, then closing it, and promising never to do that again, i didnt even pass grade 3 :D, granted, i had been playing bass for about 3 months and didnt look at the music before the exam . . . haha, fool!
  7. dirtgroove


    Jan 10, 2003
    Taipei, Taiwan
    I went as far as grade 7 violin abot 12 years ago with the London college of music. So obviously this answer is a little out of date and may also be a little misleading.
    But- What I do remember is that the prestudied parts of music were the easist part of he exam. The hardest part for me was the sight reading peice, there will probably be a part where you'll be asked to perform scales on request- I couldn't tell you what you'd be asked for bass- but I do remember being asked to perform some 3 octave slurred minor scale in triplets that I completely botched.

    Contact the examination board you decide to go with and they'll be able to show you the guidelines and a breakdown of what you'd be expected to know and demonstrate on request during the exam.
  8. No, they really are that easy. The time signatures vary, but the songs feel consistent, if you see what I mean? It's fairly paint-by-numbers style music, so it still feels 'normal' with odd signatures. Plus, the solo sections aren't too long, and you don't need to do super tech solos to complete that section.

    Agreed about the sight-reading in a later post; I spent a lot of time working on sight reading before I quit bass earlier this year, and now I'm back into it I'm gonna have to brush up on sight-reading again. Either way, it's crucial for you to pass exams, and also just opens up a wider range of opportunities for you, so it's worth learning anyway.

    Either way, my school's exam board wanted us to play to grade 6 or above standard in our final exams in Year 13, and I asked if I could play two of the grade 8 rockschool songs as they had backings and I knew I could play them well. They simply put them down as being Grade 8 ABRSM, and so I got 3 marks + per song I did. Which wasn't too bad ;)

    But yeah, just talk to whoever you need to talk to.

    Personally, 6th form music bored the pants off of me. It wasn't really what I wanted to be doing music-wise, but it did open my ears up a bit more to other music, and I learnt to compose for a wider range of instruments so I suppose it's all good in that sense...
  9. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    The RGT grades are accredited by the LCM, so maybe not.

    I've compared the classical woodwind ABRSM grades with how they were when I took them (ouch) 20 years ago... they're pretty much the same as they always were. LCM grades are apparently of equal standard of difficulty to ABRSM grades and always have been.

    My advice to the original poster is not to go for the grade eight exam. The requirements are to have grade five, so go for that instead. Then, once you've passed that with distinction work your way up. A string of consecutive grades all with distinction is far more impressive than a marginally passed grade eight.

    Go to the RGT's website and order their intermediate grade handbook...


    I also suggest you might want to go for your piano grades too, if you don't already have them.
  10. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    Regarding working your way up... remember that music grades above grade 5 are worth UCAS points.

    Grade 6 pass = 25
    Grade 6 merit = 40
    Grade 6 distinction = 45
    Grade 7 pass = 40
    Grade 7 merit = 55
    Grade 7 distinction = 60
    Grade 8 pass = 55
    Grade 8 merit = 70
    Grade 8 distinction = 75

    (you only get points for the highest grade you have)

    For comparison, here's the tariffs for AS and A level:

    AS level E pass = 20
    AS level D pass = 30
    AS level C pass = 40
    AS level B pass = 50
    AS level A pass = 60
    A level E pass = 40
    A level D pass = 60
    A level C pass = 80
    A level B pass = 100
    A level A pass = 120
  11. burntgorilla


    Jan 24, 2005
    Um, I'm actually doing that grade 8 now. You make me feel stupid now. I suppose when I listen to the pieces, I never go "well that feels a bit odd", so I can see your point, but my complete inability to write solos is holding me back right now. I can play things well above the grade 8 in Rockschool, but it's the pieces you have to do by yourself I don't like. The QSP also looks a bit of a bitch.
  12. I suppose perhaps my wording was wrong. They are still difficult, but when I got the book, I thought "Grade 8. This is going to be tough", however, for the most part, they're just plugging away sorta ones. If you're really having trouble with the solos, you could try working out the examples on the CD supplied with the book? Either way, it's never too late to learn to improvise :p

    To the person talking about UCAS points - they're only accepted by some universities, and even then they sometimes only accept your highest grade's-worth (As it's the most relevant, really) of points.
  13. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    They're usually accepted by music departments. I mentioned that only the highest grade is taken into account. It's worth noting that grade 7 with distinction is worth more than a grade 8 pass.
  14. Thanks alot for the tips so far guys. :)

    So only the sight reading and scales seems to be the part that will need work.

    I can improvise and solo well, I can play the pieces in the book and I know all that won't be a problem. But because I have never had a teacher, most of the theory side of things is what i have learned on piano, and what I have learned from internet sites etc.

    Therefore I think it would require some major work on learning all the requirements.

    That has been very helpful and reading through it I can see there are quite a few areas that would need patching up on.

    However there is one other thing I am now taking in to consideration. What is actually involved in the A level Music?

    One person said they found it boring but had some benefits. Can anyone else tell me the kinds of things involved in the course? Thanks alot so far everyone.
  15. They vary from board to board.
    The "Areas of Study" on mine were Baroque music, 20th Century music, Musicals and...erm...there was one more, but I'll be damned if I can remember it. It was an interesting range, but the musicals/baroque aspects were poop. Having to play in those styles using just a bass was a bit sucky-sucky. It's do-able, especially the baroque side because there's plenty of stuff written for cello/DB you can use. However, trying to do a 'difficult' piece from a musical wasn't so hot for me. Ah well.
    20th Century music on hte other hand was fairly open, and I was even allowed to a looped, solo piece as my performance piece as it was included in one of the types of C20 music.
    There are benefits in that it opens your ears to other types of music, but it's not fun-o-rama or anything.
  16. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    I've not taken any grades before, but I am planning to get myself through rockschool grade 8 bass in the next year or so.

    I have the grade 6 and 8 books. I spent about an hour learning a couple of songs from grade 6, very easy. I havent got round to playing anything from grade 8 yet, but from looking it doesnt look impossibly harder.

    Initially I looked at the sections for the solos and thought they looked hard, but I was thinking I should improvise them... But of course, you can, and I expect most students would, write their solos for the exam. That's not hard at all.

    The ear tests and stuff aren't difficult because you can use your instrument to find the notes and I think they they are diatonic?

    Personally, I need to put in the most practice on the two octave scales and arpeggios.

    I suppose none of it is difficult per say, just requires work :)

    </not especially on topic>
  17. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    That's different from rockschool, which was something along the lines of: diatonic modes, maj/min pentatonic scales, diminished half-whole, whole tone, altered, jazz melodic and harmonic minior scales, over two octaves, in quavers at 140bpm, in all keys.

    Like I said, not actually difficult to learn, just v time consuming!