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Although this is only a survey and not a vote for what people would subjectively view as being 'the best board', feel free to mention in a separate posting, the strengths or weaknesses of the board you have experienced, either as a pupil or teacher.
1 AB have an established reputation, which is unrivalled in this country and abroad. Their standards are absolute and are universally recognised. They have made huge advances in user-friendliness and approachability in recent years.
2 Trinity/Guildhall offer a slightly different emphasis, with comparable standards, but perhaps there is still a feeling in some quarters that it is an easier option. (Unjust, I admit.) Since there is no Theory qualification for the higher grades, there is a tendency for those who find Theory difficult to move to T/G after Grade 5. This, sadly, perpetuates the "easier option" impression.
3 T/G has a more adventurous approach to set pieces. AB has attempted to get up to date with the 2009 syllabus, with some surprising choices of repertoire. It seems regrettable that this has included the introduction of arrangements of orchestral pieces, especially in the lower grades. There is plenty of genuine piano music of a similar technical standard!
4 There does appear to be more consistency in the marking of AB exams. Perhaps this is due to their policy of moderating the marks before releasing the results. T/G give the results on the day of the exam. However, having known people who have applied to be examiners for both boards, the AB does seem to be far more stringent in its selection process!
So, no overall conclusions, I am afraid. But I stick with AB!
They have the same basic qualifications as ABRSM, but they do have theory examinations going from initial right up to Grade 8 and then beyond that through Associate, Licentiate and Fellowship level. I know that their new books for Grade 6-8 theory haven't been released yet but they are due out anytime soon. Apparently, theory examinations throughout the world seem to cut off at around Grade 5 level, irrespective of the board name and that is why Gd1-5 got pushed out first.
I was impressed by their new marks scheme. For each of the pieces, they use three core areas for assessment, with a set amount of marks being allocated to each of the three competences. I'd need to go over notes to check the wording but their mark scheme is very comprehensive and fair as opposed to the old regime where a performance fell into one of six potential, though generic bandings and an appropriate mark selected.
However, I do tend to use ABRSM after that, although I think the LCM Leisure Play exams are brilliant for those pupils (especially adults) who would like their playing to be accessed and have a standard to aim for, but don't feel confident enough to deal with sightreading and aural.
Living in Ireland, learning since September 2008 and heading for G1. Goal is G8 and a Baby Grand, yeah!
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