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New ABRSM Woodwind syllabus 2018-21

clarinet flute oboe bassoon recorder saxophone woodwind syllabus ABRSM 2018

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#1 barry-clari

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 18:56

I can't find a thread about this yet, so what do people think?
I'll post my own thoughts later :clarinet: :flute:
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#2 Flossie

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 19:13

I've posted in the flute thread, but will do so again here.

 

I am really not impressed with the flute syllabus.  I had kind of thought that one of the things behind the more major revamp was to address the entries lost to Trinity, but the new syllabus would not inspire me to switch back to ABRSM - I think Trinity still have a better offering.  

 

The text below with the blue background is what I posted in the flute thread - it was written in a conversation with Lemontree, so some of what I said is out of context here.  Can anyone answer my question about the extended range scales?

 

I have to admit that I'm not a big fan of the new syllabus for any of the grades (seems too focussed on trendy pieces for children rather than offering a balance).  Glad to see the Gaubert Madrigal back at grade 6 and the Berkeley at 7.  What were they thinking, though, with splitting the Faure Fantasie in two?   :wacko:   The entire thing is supposed to be grade 8...

 

From the grade 8 list, the Hamburger Sonata is nice and is fairly accessible - it's one of those pieces that just kind of falls under your fingers easily without too much work.  For playing it really well, the challenge is in the interpretation.  Careful with youtube clips because some of them play it at a ridiculous speed.  I think it is more classical than baroque, but it is kind of on the border.  The Martinu on list B is lovely.  The Aztec Dances are good if you like that sort of thing, but I found them a bit weird when I tried them.  I'm sure the Roussel used to have two movements for grade 8.  The Clarke Hypnosis and the Poulenc are very popular.  I prefer the 3rd movement of the Poulenc to the first.  I don't think I know any of the C list pieces.  Have tried bits from the James Rae book and the Taggart Pictures before and weren't that keen.  I don't think you're allowed to do two pieces by the same composer (you certainly aren't with Trinity).

 

The book with the Adams and Kohler studies is this book: https://www.justflut...uct1378047.html  I think is is relatively new.  Don't muddle it with the original 76 graded studies books.  

 

Anyone know what the extended range scales are supposed to be?  I've never bothered to learn any of the extended fingerings above top D because I've never had any desire to extend my flute playing beyond the instrument's standard range (surely a piccolo is better for playing the notes in the flutes extended range? It was at least designed to go that high).  The syllabus says that they are on p.15, but p.15 shows the grade 5 pieces list.  

 

I have to say that I still much prefer the Trinity syllabus...

 


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#3 Lucid

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 09:22

 


 

Anyone know what the extended range scales are supposed to be?  I've never bothered to learn any of the extended fingerings above top D because I've never had any desire to extend my flute playing beyond the instrument's standard range (surely a piccolo is better for playing the notes in the flutes extended range? It was at least designed to go that high).  The syllabus says that they are on p.15, but p.15 shows the grade 5 pieces list.  

 

It's p15 of the full woodwind syllabus - got mine in the post yesterday. By extended range they mean going up just a little further above the standard 2 octaves (for flute it's to either a top B or Bb - depending on the key you're in), and then when you descend to the tonic you continue to descend to bottom C and then return to the tonic. In the syllabus they give F major, G major and F harmonic minor as extended scales for the flute.

 

In F major you play your 2 octaves, then continue to top G A Bb and then return down to bottom F, where you continue to bottom C and then return up to bottom F. If you find the page on the syllabus it has it notated out.

 

In G major you play 2 octaves, then continue to top A and B and then return to bottom G, continue to bottom C and then return up to bottom G.

 

In F harmonic minor you play 2 octaves, then continue to top G Ab Bb, and then return to bottom F, continue to bottom C and then return to bottom F.

 

So they're taking the highest point of these scales (for flute) as a B or Bb (depending on the key), and the lowest point as a bottom C. I hope that helps make it a little clearer.

 

Lucid :)


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#4 sbhoa

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 10:18

I think they need to make sure that the information is in the separate instrument lists on the web site.

Especially now it's more difficult to get hold of paper copies and there seems to be an expectation that most of us will use online resources only.


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#5 Lucid

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 10:29

I think they need to make sure that the information is in the separate instrument lists on the web site.

Especially now it's more difficult to get hold of paper copies and there seems to be an expectation that most of us will use online resources only.

 

I reckon their expectation/hope is that people will buy the new scales books. ;) But yes, they should have that kind of thing appearing at the front of the relevant electronic syllabus.

 

Lucid :)


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#6 Clarimoo

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 10:33

It looks to me as if there are  fewer scales to learn than there used to be.

Surely they don't intend that people will only practice fewer scales?


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#7 sbhoa

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 10:51

It looks to me as if there are  fewer scales to learn than there used to be.

Surely they don't intend that people will only practice fewer scales?

Depends if you see new scales as add ons or replacements.

All scales not being tested doesn't mean forget the previous ones (though some will) and I don't think it's unfair to assume that someone who is taking exams knows the scales covered up to the level they are at. If they don't that's the choice of the student and any teachers who see the exam syllabus as the only thing you need to learn.


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#8 Clarimoo

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 11:04

 

It looks to me as if there are  fewer scales to learn than there used to be.

Surely they don't intend that people will only practice fewer scales?

Depends if you see new scales as add ons or replacements.

All scales not being tested doesn't mean forget the previous ones (though some will) and I don't think it's unfair to assume that someone who is taking exams knows the scales covered up to the level they are at. If they don't that's the choice of the student and any teachers who see the exam syllabus as the only thing you need to learn.

 

You are absolutely right.

But I think many people will rejoice that they only "need" to remember fewer scales at a time in order to pass their next exam.


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#9 Wai Kit Leung

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 11:08

Most people I know don't take every grade.

The new scale requirements are a bad idea and will result in students not learning all the scales.


It looks to me as if there are fewer scales to learn than there used to be.
Surely they don't intend that people will only practice fewer scales?

Depends if you see new scales as add ons or replacements.
All scales not being tested doesn't mean forget the previous ones (though some will) and I don't think it's unfair to assume that someone who is taking exams knows the scales covered up to the level they are at. If they don't that's the choice of the student and any teachers who see the exam syllabus as the only thing you need to learn.

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#10 sbhoa

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 12:10

Most people I know don't take every grade.

The new scale requirements are a bad idea and will result in students not learning all the scales.
 

 

It looks to me as if there are fewer scales to learn than there used to be.
Surely they don't intend that people will only practice fewer scales?

Depends if you see new scales as add ons or replacements.
All scales not being tested doesn't mean forget the previous ones (though some will) and I don't think it's unfair to assume that someone who is taking exams knows the scales covered up to the level they are at. If they don't that's the choice of the student and any teachers who see the exam syllabus as the only thing you need to learn.

 

You don't have to take every grade to choose to learn your scales. 

Exams can't test everything.


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#11 Wai Kit Leung

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 12:19

I can assure you that the vast majority of the students here (in Hong Kong) WON'T practise anything that's not required in the exam syllabus.

You don't have to take every grade to choose to learn your scales.
Exams can't test everything.


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#12 sbhoa

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 14:19

I can assure you that the vast majority of the students here (in Hong Kong) WON'T practise anything that's not required in the exam syllabus.

You don't have to take every grade to choose to learn your scales.
Exams can't test everything.

 

I'm sure that's true for many in the UK too but that's not the fault of the syllabus.

It's the difference between learning to pass exams and learning to do everything as well as you can.


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#13 Lemontree

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Posted 09 July 2017 - 14:07

I find that syllabus rather disappointing from what I have seen so far. I am really a little clueless what I like to prepare for my G8. It's overdue because I got delayed when opening my new business. But I was rather hoping for some exiting material not just the average audition ######. I like Martinu, Faure or Poulenc. But it is like those are the only pieces there are and the other nice ones are completely ignored. When I did repertoire work lately with my teacher instead of exam preparations we had so much fun discovering new material that I am now really thinking about switching boards.


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#14 elemimele

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Posted 09 July 2017 - 21:44

Just had a glance through the treble recorder version. Clearly there's been a strong attempt to make the early grades youth-friendly, but this attempt has evaporated noticeably as the grades progress.

The problem is that it's quite hard for an examining board to cater for all possible tastes and simultaneously offer much choice within each genre.

There's a lot of nice stuff there, but one can't help wondering if we aren't possibly trying to sell the Time pieces??? It's notable that in the early grades everything is an arrangement, so the candidate really must buy the recommended editions. Perhaps that's inevitable.

The choice problem is particularly severe for the player who wants to include a bit of descant above grade 5, where there is no descant exam any more, but there aren't a lot of descant options in the treble.

Looking through repertoire lists always reminds me how one piece can appeal at so many different levels. There are things on the grade 3 list that frighten me rather a lot (and have been dumped on my "for later" list), and things on the grade 7 list that I enjoy playing without undue alarm (but also, probably, without much musicality).

Incidentally, I can't get excited by tinkerings with the scale-requirements. The fact remains that for those of us interested primarily in early music (which is nearly all the recorder's repertoire), almost everything is somewhere between 2 sharps and 2 flats.


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#15 Misterioso

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Posted 10 July 2017 - 09:24

Does anyone have any initial thoughts about the G7 syllabus? I'm waiting impatiently for the music I ordered to arrive, so haven't seen it yet.

 

It seems ABRSM are now doing downloads instead of CDs to go with the books - but I have no idea what I am supposed to do with it, or even if I will recognise it. To IT buffs this will sound like a very daft question, but what does a download look like? Is it some kind of logo that I have to scan?


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