I wonder if anyone could help me with this?
It's just a general interest question. I've been thinking lately about graded examinations and how they have become a staple of virtually any type of instrumental learning. There must have been a time when people managed without them and still reached the same standards/built up the same skills that all of a sudden we've been led to believe can't be done without following a standard educational system.
I'm not specifically referring to ABRSM exams, I'm thinking of the wider world- well, probably wider Europe where the classical music tradition originated and the rest of the world at various points in history followed suit.
I'd be particularly interested of any reading people know of I could do around the subject, but if not a straight forward answer would be much appreciated.