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Trinity improvisation tests given incorrectly in exams


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#1 zwhe

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Posted 09 July 2019 - 16:52

Has anyone else experienced this? This is the second time I have had this happen to a pupil, so I'm not impressed. The first time was last November, when the pupil was given the wrong type, despite it being marked on the exam slip. On Saturday, the examiner decided to play along. My pupil said "my teacher doesn't do this" and he told her I should have! The syllabus clearly states that the examiner will not be playing and will not accompany. She was really put off by it and said she couldn't do it. I complained the last time and didn't get any response. I really don't think they should give it as an option if they don't teach the examiners how to administer the tests!


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#2 BabyGrand

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Posted 09 July 2019 - 21:34

Oh dear!!  ohmy.png 

Which type was she doing?  I understand that the examiner does play along for one of the options (stylistic??), but not for the others?  Maybe the examiner mixed it up?  Or gave the wrong stimulus again?  Either way, if they've got it wrong I would definitely complain, and make sure I got an answer, and an apology to your student.  

 

I've never let a student choose improvisation because I find the supporting materials to be so vague and unhelpful that I've never felt confident preparing them for it, although we do plenty of improvisation in lessons.  Which is a shame because I think it's a great inclusion in the exam, but it just seems to be too much of gamble.  


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#3 HelenVJ

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Posted 10 July 2019 - 07:15

I think there is a video now, which gives clearer guide lines, as does the syllabus, and my  students get a choice of doing Musical Knowledge or Improvisation. I'm assuming this was Piano, zwhe? I can't find anything in the syllabus where it says that th examiner will not accompany. Which stimulus did you specify ( if it was Piano)?

Yes BGrand, in the Stylistic stimulus they improvise over the examiner's notated part (we never choose this one!). Generally we do Harmonic stimulus, where they improvise over a notated chord sequence. Maybe you should give it a try, BG - I've found it's usually marked very generously.


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#4 zwhe

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Posted 10 July 2019 - 07:43

It was the harmonic stimulus in both cases. From the trinity website:

 

Harmonic stimulus The harmonic stimulus requires candidates to improvise unaccompanied in response to a chord sequence. Candidates are given a notated chord sequence, including chord symbols, which the examiner plays twice on the piano for candidates’ reference. Candidates are then given 30 seconds’ preparation time, during which they may prepare for their improvisation aloud if they wish. The test then follows. Candidates should improvise for the specified number of repeats, following the chord sequence. Please note that this test is always unaccompanied and the examiner will not provide a piano accompaniment for melodic instruments.

 

The supporting tests options are the main reason I use Trinity, and if they can't get this sorted, I will go back to AB. I really shouldn't have to complain about the same thing twice in one year! I've also had mark sheets incorrectly added, and wrong scales for the grade asked this year. Last year the rep was seriously ill, and there was no cover to do the job, so we had to wait months for the results as nobody put them in the post!


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#5 HelenVJ

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Posted 10 July 2019 - 07:58

That does sound extremely disorganised, as well as being very disappointing. Probably the examiners don't have to test Improvisation all that often, but of course that's no excuse. I'm not sure who the best person to contact would be - probably someone at Head Office rather than your local rep. Go to the top -  and Good luck.


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#6 musicposy

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Posted 10 July 2019 - 23:05

and wrong scales for the grade asked this year.

I've had wrong scales for grade asked this year by ABRSM. I don't mind so much when it's higher grades but low grades are often too scared to speak out (despite the fact I always tell them to speak up if they are given something I haven't prepared them for). I had a Grade 2 piano student asked B major and luckily she said "I don't know that one" and then the examiner said "oh yes, that's grade 3".

For my grade 8 (a few years back, mind you) I was asked A major a third apart. I thought it would be no problem so I played it anyway then said "that's not in the syllabus". She said "oh no, sorry, it isn't" and gave me a kind of knowing smile that made me certain it was deliberate!

Mistakes happen more often than I'd like, i have to say. I guess examiners are only human, but I assume they have the relevant syllabus to hand?

zwhe I think I'd write and complain in your shoes, even if you think it won't make a difference. I always do so before the result as I think it has more clout (though I've heard Trinity results are quicker).
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#7 zwhe

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Posted 11 July 2019 - 06:29

We had the result yesterday and she got a low merit, and a fairly good score for the improvisation (7 out of 10) so its just a complaint - I don't need to appeal. That's a big relief! Trinity results can be much quicker, depending on what day the exam is. Ours were on Saturday, so it was only a few days - they probably sent out the whole week's results at the same time, and possibly the previous week's too.


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#8 ten left thumbs

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Posted 11 July 2019 - 08:23

It's a problem even if the numerical results were good. I did an ABRSM practical exam a few years ago and the examiner fluffed the improvisation by refusing to give me pulse. I could't do diddly squat. I complained and the result was good, as in I got a merit. However, the feeling of - I can't get anything out because I don't know where the pulse is - and this is an exam! - has stayed with me for years, and does hamper my ability to improvise. 


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#9 HelenVJ

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Posted 11 July 2019 - 09:27

Which ABRSM exams include Improvisation? Was it perhaps a Practical Musicianship exam ( an increasingly rare endangered species)?


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#10 ten left thumbs

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Posted 11 July 2019 - 15:21

Which ABRSM exams include Improvisation? Was it perhaps a Practical Musicianship exam ( an increasingly rare endangered species)?

Yes, sorry, Practical Musicianship grade 1. 


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