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Updating the Jazz Piano Syllabus


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#1 DMC

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Posted 23 March 2018 - 12:39

It's really frustrating how the board don't support the Jazz syllabus.

 

Charlie Beale did a great job with it, as did all the other contributors, and I know a lot of work was done/commissioned on Grades 6-8 but never released.

Why?

 

Also, having the same Piano pieces for nearly 20 years is absurd. Surely they could at least publish some download only pieces as an 'alternative list'?

 

I don't know if the ABRSM had an unrealistic expectation of take up, but it took the main ABRSMs exams decades and a lot of investment of time and money to become adopted to the mainstream. Why not for Jazz?

 

The syllabus needs a complete revamp, and a new injection of funding into professional development, to get more teachers teaching Jazz.

 

 


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#2 maryellen

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Posted 23 March 2018 - 14:43

I too would welcome more interest from ABRSM and a change in the set pieces.
I have taught Jazz Piano since the board introduced the exams, and although there were never many Jazz exam candidates at our local exam centre , there were enough to make a visit from a Jazz examiner worthwhile.
Now , I still enter pupils for jazz exams but not many are interested because they have to travel 180 miles round trip to take their exam.
Yes, thats 180 miles ! For an exam which lasts at the most 15 minutes.
It’s a massive shame that ABRSM don’t promote these exams more , as they are fun and because they have a good deal of improvisation required , they help with general musicianship too.
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#3 jpiano

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Posted 23 March 2018 - 16:56

I agree, it is frustrating. It is a vicious circle really- less take-up for jazz grades so decline in available centres, leading to even lower uptake. Ditto the relative lack of teaching material published by ABRSM so teachers and pupils are less well supported, again this doesn't encourage entries. I've used the jazz exams in the past and really like them and use the books outside of grades as well. The same goes for the general musicianship exams- I'd like to see much more promotion of these.


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#4 HelenVJ

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Posted 23 March 2018 - 17:46

Although I've never used them, I've heard that both LCM and Trinity have highly respected jazz exams, and you may find there is a more convenient local centre.


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#5 Clovis

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Posted 23 March 2018 - 21:42

The jazz syllabus was very expensive to put together, with everything being in copyright, so I think there is reluctance to commission anything new. There has also been a move to train more jazz examiners to try and even out the centres offering the exams.
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#6 agricola

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Posted 30 March 2018 - 10:34

My experience is that very few pupils are interested in improvising.  Most who express an interest in 'jazz' just want to play fully scored jazz-style pieces.  When this syllabus first came out I invested time in developing my own skills and tried hard to interest pupils in it and did have one or two adult pupils who progressed quite well but so far none has wanted to take an exam. 


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#7 DMC

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Posted 11 September 2019 - 08:47

The jazz syllabus was very expensive to put together, with everything being in copyright, so I think there is reluctance to commission anything new. There has also been a move to train more jazz examiners to try and even out the centres offering the exams.

 

They're not training any exclusive Jazz examiners at the moment - only dual examiners.

Certainly there are costs involved in copyright, but costs could be saved by having alternative lists in download format only. Also, the ABRSM already have copyright permission for much of the material through their real book and various main exam publications. It wouldn't take much to tweak some of the list C structures so that they could incorporate a HEAD-SOLO-AltHEAD-CODA format.


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#8 Clovis

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Posted 11 September 2019 - 10:52

My local centre used to have three whole days' worth of ABRSM jazz exams, now it's down to a single morning with about 5 candidates taking exams. It's a real shame.


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#9 DMC

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Posted 11 September 2019 - 11:46

It is a shame.

And if you try to speak to anyone at the board regarding the Jazz syllabus, they clam up on you like politicians do when you ask them an awkward question.

 

Jazz has to be fun for the teachers to teach as well as for the pupils to learn. 

Do I want to teach the same pieces that I was teaching in my 20s, 20 years ago - or shall I use Stuart Corbett's comprehensive LCM syllabus?

 

If ABRSM classical pieces remained the same for 20 years, I'm pretty certain most teachers would migrate to Trinity. Why treat Jazz any differently?


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