So far, I only had a look at both but not the actual sheet music. So I can only comment on the pieces I know (loads though) and my first impressions:
I'm quite disappointed that so many pieces are staying for another 4 years! After 4 years and with a year overlap, some more change would have been welcome.
On top, both boards are recycling each other's current pieces and those from the syllabus before that, which many of us will still remember!
Some are obviously standard pupils repertoire. Vivaldi g major and Bach concertos - we shouldn't rob pupils of these pieces just because they're overplayed. For them it's a new experience and only fair they get the chance to play them in an exam.
Occasionally, a piece was/is a lower or higher grade in the other board (but then obviously one has to take into account how it's being played), but on the whole at least they seem to agree about the difficulty.
Interestingly, Trinity now offers less choice! ABRSM has now 30 pieces to choose from, Trinity only about 22 to 24 depending on the grade (sorry haven't counted them all exactly).
The Brahms d minor at grade 8 is obviously completely ridiculous - it's on ABRSM's very own FRSM list. I understand they expect a different level of playing, but even so, there would have been works much better suited to the average grade 8 student who is nowhere near professional level. So that one is obviously not a real option.
Also, I think Mozart and Beethoven sonatas should be left to post grade 8 and should not be on a grade 7 or 8 list. Many professionals have a lot of respect for these, and played by a grade 7/8 student they tend to sound more unsatisfactory than say, Haydn or Beriot or Ten Have (which are luckily on the lists), which I think are far more suitable for that level.
I will have to have a closer look at both board's Initial requirements. I'm glad the Prep test is gone though, I never saw the point because it was so much harder than ABRSM's own grade 1 exam. I've always used Trinity's Initial exam a lot even when parents wanted their children to switch to ABRSM after that.
But Trinity's Initial requirements seem to become harder with each syllabus change so I will certainly look into the ABRSM option.
The piece "Bell Ringers" set for Trinity Initial requires fluent and fast A major scale descending playing, meaning finding 3rd finger quickly on the lower strings and faster than the actual scale required in the scale requirement for grade 1. This is something many beginners struggle with, especially when asked to maintain a good left hand shape. So sometimes I don't know how certain pieces end up in a grade. Do they actually try out pieces with really average pupils? If a pupil can play Bell Ringers in tempo and technically well, they are by definition well beyond Initial level but more around grade 2.
Just first impressions! There might be more of this once I've had a proper look. Planning to try out all the pieces I don't know over the summer. I'm always interested in the alternative pieces and not just the standard exam books. I'm glad that despite the initial disappointment that I know so many inside out that there is at least something new or at least not so familiar to discover.
I had so far 2/3 of pupils on Trinity and 1/3 on ABRSM. The technically and generally weaker ones I tend to always put on ABRSM as it is obviously almost impossible to fail.
Now, with the new syllabus, I'll have to see.
It would be interesting to read about other teacher's views.