1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Possible to Get Highest Music Grade in a Few Months?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Crazyfist, Jan 25, 2014.

  1. Crazyfist


    Sep 26, 2011
    Hey, I'm a British music student and I really want to be able to have the option of getting into a University on their Bachelor's degree in music (equivalent to the American Bachelor's degree I believe).
    The only problem is that I need to have Grade 8 bass (the American equivalent of that would be "really, really good at bass" ;)) and the next Rockschool examination is about 5 months away from the time of writing this.

    I was just wondering if the contents in the link below is possible to learn and master in that space of time, considering I have only a basic grasp of sight reading, but I've been playing for about 4 years.


    (it's on the right-hand side where it says 'Download Syllabus', which can just be opened as a PDF without downloading it and see page 29 onwards)

    Please have a look and could you tell me what you think? Is Grade 8 possible to learn in 5 months? How do I go about practising this stuff?

  2. lfmn16


    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Your best chance is to immediately find the best teacher you can and practice diligently for the next five months.
  3. Crazyfist


    Sep 26, 2011
    Thanks man, any advice on how to practise for the ear tests? :)
  4. lfmn16


    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    First learn to sing all of the intervals (up and down) and when you know them really well, have a friend play simple melodies until you can identify them by ear. It's not easy, but if you practice regularly you can do it.
  5. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    If you are planning on teaching yourself your teacher is not qualified and has no idea what he is doing. With the short amount of time you have find an instructor.
  6. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    What are you hoping Grade 8 in RockSchool is going to do for you?

    It can only offer a maximum of 75 ACAS points (for a distinction pass) to add to what you already have, and if you are short of points then Rock School may not best prepare you for what skills and knowledge you need to have in place to handle the study involved in a Bachelors course. :)
  7. Clef_de_fa


    Dec 25, 2011
    You may learn it but you may not assimilate it ... also I don't think Rockshool is the best way to be ready for Bachelor studies.
  8. DannyBob


    Aug 28, 2013
    I've been doing the rockschool exams one at a time for the past 4 years (started at grade 1 through to 6 where I am now) and I owe my successes down to a good music teacher. A good music teacher will be able to point out all of the small mistakes that otherwise you may not be able to tell, believe me, there is more than most people care to admit. It will be vital that you practise your butt off, as all of the examiners in the Rockschool company only give marks if they deserve it - I have heard Trinity Guildhall are more lenient to the students than Rockschool (don't quote me, just what I've heard).

    And as far as training for the listening tests, as long as you play notes from the right scale with sort of the right timings, you will get most of the marks :)

    So best thing to do, get the book now, and practise like hell until you can find a teacher, even if they charge quite a bit, because at the end of the day it helps for getting on the course.

    Also, I know that for the university course I am looking at doing (BMus at Newcastle University) a necessity for any of the performing modules is that you have grade 8 in at least 1 instrument, so it's not just for UCAS points.

    Finally, good luck! And if you are going to be entering into a Uni course for music with your bass playing, I'm sure you'll be fine with your exam, especially as a pass is like 60/100 marks :)

  9. Crazyfist


    Sep 26, 2011
    Thanks to everyone for their concerns and advice,

    I am aware a Grade 8 alone is not going to get me into University, I am currently on a BTEC Level 3 course that should get me all the UCAS point I need, this Grade 8 stuff is just a course requirement for the higher Universities I've applied to (it's nice to have the option of going there).

    I think I am capable of practising my butt off for the next few months as I can already see what to expect in the syllabus, I'll go right ahead and find a good teacher (my college bass tutor is a bit reluctant when it comes to teaching Grading material, unfortunately!)

    Thanks again everyone!
  10. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Great Post Danny and wish you well in your endevours.
    Unfortunately it is about UCAS points, the points system is to show Universities the validity of any educational merit so they do not dismiss potential students because they cannot quantify there previous education as the correct foundation for the course.

    Now any one can get certificates or qualifications that look good but in real terms of academic value are not worth the paper they are written on.
    What happens is the student without the right foundation takes a place, so denies a student with the correct though lesser impressive qualifications a place. So when the work rate over whelms the under qualified, though qualified on paper, student they quit or fail, so it is a double loss.

    Music education takes many forms and quiet a few disciplines, but for someone looking to make it a career sight reading is top priority.
    Now why this is so is because you play what is put in front of you whether you like the part or not, whether you agree with the part or not, you just play it. Within this you can comment on whether the part is correct, or of you feel the composer, producer, MD is open to it make suggestions, but you have to be able to see what you consider is wrong in the first place to make your suggestions worthwhile.

    Get this wrong the first few times and your phone will not ring, because there are plenty of players who will read what is put in front of them.
    Players that sight read make extra money while studying because they are low maintenance on time and effort.

    From an education point of view you can be turned on to resourses, ideas, studies, etc by a teacher saying "read chapters 18-21, study the accompanying notation and we will talk about any questions or Queries you have about it". Now it goes without saying if your foundation in sight reading is slow then you will take longer to read the accompanying notation.....if it takes you days to read what others can read in hours, then you will quickly lag behind...and you will become overwhelmed with the workload.

    Now that is just one example of many potential scenario's that an incomplete foundation can lead to.
    Yes I know there are many options for music education and what is available, but my advice to all thinking about such a move is go to the "Ask a pro" and talk to the Berkeley Faculty about what is best foundation courses and qualifications to make the most of a University education.....In any country.:)
  11. BassChuck


    Nov 15, 2005
    I don't know much about the British system, but the section on 'Ear Training' is really great. That's the way it should be taught. Ear training with your instrument in hand. Excellent. I'm earmarking this to go over myself.

    And to the OP. Excellent suggestion on getting a good teacher. In the end you always do the work yourself, but don't let that fool you into thinking you can teach yourself. A good teacher can organize the work to be done to fit your level of understanding. A good teacher will save you time, and it would seem that's mostly what you're interested in.
  12. AcidBogey


    Nov 10, 2012
    South Wales
    A lot of courses say you need grade 8 performance and grade 5 theory. The grade 8 performance part doesn't necessarily mean you have to of passed the grade, you just have to be able to play to that standard (RING THE UNI TO DOUBLE CHECK). Getting the book and learning the songs might be a good idea just to give you an idea of how hard the songs are though.

    But if you do want to do it I'd recommend the Trinity Rock and Pop grades over Rockschool. It's the same qualifications but you get to play real songs (Primus, Rush, Level 42 etc.) instead of the pieces created for rockschool. It was a lot more fun for me.

    Also, if you pass your theory modules on the Btec it counts as grade 5 theory (maybe even above I'm not too sure).

    Out of interest where are you applying?