We’ve been handing out exam certificates right, left and centre this week at Sweet Symphony – one of our favourite parts of the job! We never put any pressure on any of our Students to sit exams. That’s not the point of learning to play a musical instrument. But exams do provide a handy focus to your learning. They open up the doors to learning new repertoire, and can give you a useful focus now and again. Plus, it’s always nice to have a little bit of reward for all of the hard work you’re putting in on a regular basis – ask any of our Students when they receive their certificate if all of the blood, sweat and tears leading up to the exam was worth it and you’ll get a resounding “Yes”!
Up until recently, we only used 1 main exam board – Trinity. We’ve used Trinity for years and (WARNING: controversial opinion coming up!!) much prefer it to the other main UK exam board of ABRSM. Personally, we prefer the range of pieces offered in each Grade, and the choices it gives its Students with regards to supporting tests ie. sight-reading, aural etc, make sure that each Student is playing to their strengths. Two years ago we became a Trinity-registered exam centre, which meant that we can now hold the exams right here in the Studio. After our first exam session we had loads of positive feedback from both Parents and Students, who said that it was a lot less stressful coming to the Studio and being able to sit their exams in familiar surroundings. So the plan at that point was just to continue with Trinity.
But now that the Studio and its Student-base has grown so rapidly in recent years, we’re learning that there are perhaps some better-suited exam boards for some of our Students. For example, our piano, violin, keyboard, brass and woodwind Students still go down the Trinity Classical exam route but our guitar Students are a funny bunch: we currently use 3 different boards for them – Trinity Classical, Trinity Rock & Pop and, more recently, RGT (Registry of Guitar Tutors). Each of these syllabuses offer different approaches to guitar-playing, and different Students are attracted to the different methods. All-in-all, they provide the same level of certifications, so no one board is “better” than the other.
As a result, in the next set of exams we’ve got coming up, we’ll be using FOUR different exam boards! To avoid any confusion with entry dates, exam dates etc, we’ve placed a special Exam News noticeboard in our waiting room. Next time you’re in, make sure to take a look if you’re sitting an exam in the Spring!
Saturday Student Focus
Last week, we announced on our Facebook page that we’d be running a regular post each Saturday called Saturday Student Focus. The idea is for us to get to know our Students a little bit more. We’ve placed a little box in the waiting room and we’ve been asking Students to post a little slip of paper in there with a few fun facts about themselves and their time here with us at Sweet Symphony. Each week, we’ll select a new Student’s slip and will share their facts with you all. There’s a bonus….every Student who is selected will automatically be entered into a draw every 3 months to win a full month of tuition! We’ve had a great response so far, and so now to reveal our first Saturday Student…..
Lucy C. (Violin)
Lucy is one of our young violin Students. She’s been coming to Sweet Symphony for around a year and a half. She said that her favourite thing about her violin lessons is that she learns new songs – Jingle Bells was her favourite! When asked for a fun fact about herself, she wrote: “I always come to my lesson in my football kit.” Great fun fact, Lucy!
If you want to be our next Saturday Student, make sure to fill out one of the slips that are in the waiting room and pop it in the box on the wall. Don’t forget to check out our Facebook page to see each week’s Student – next week, it could be you!