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#1 mature clarinetist

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Posted 23 September 2019 - 09:00

Has anyone on this forum taken the ARSM as an adult amateur? What are your opinions of its benefits?

 

I passed Grade 8 with merit last year on the clarinet with a view that it would be my last exam.  When taking exams the pieces have always been my strength. I took 6,7 and 8 in consecutive years and the scales and aural were my nightmare. My teacher has suggested that as I enjoy playing the pieces the ARSM would be ideal for me and so I have continued lessons.

 

I am wavering as to whether it is a good idea.  I feel that it is good to have a challenge, but I have good days and bad days working on my pieces.  When applying for courses I am quite comfortable ticking the grade 6-8 box and fear that if I move to a higher band I will lose confidence among other musicians.

 

I play in both a concert wind band and a clarinet ensemble so regularly play outside of lessons.


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#2 corenfa

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Posted 23 September 2019 - 09:03

You don't have to take it immediately, you could work on your programme until you feel confident. I took ATCL piano recently and had been working on a diploma programme for 5 years.
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#3 clarry

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Posted 23 September 2019 - 09:12

I took Grade 8 recently, and I'm fully intending to take the ARSM at some point.  I think the value of exams is that it points up what you need to do next.  I've learned so much from doing my Grades 5, 6, 7 and 8 on clarinet, and think that I will certainly learn a lot more from progressing to the ARSM.  However, it won't be for some time, as I feel there is so much to improve in my playing first.

I think you should definitely go for it!


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#4 fsharpminor

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Posted 23 September 2019 - 09:42

ARSM is in my opinion unneccessary, and money making ploy. Its a dumbed down DipABRSM and anyone with a Grade 8 should be able to tackle DipABRSM  .within a year or so.  ARSM is not worthy of being a Diploma. Its barely harder than Grade 8.


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#5 zwhe

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Posted 23 September 2019 - 12:43

I'm not sure I agree - dipABRSM is considerably harder than grade 8, and the reason the pass rate is so low is that too many people try to do it a year or so after grade 8. If it took a year to progress from grade 7 to grade 8, it will take considerably longer than that to do the diploma. The reason the ARSM was introduced was to fill the gap and hopefully improve the pass rate for the diplomas.


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#6 Dr. Rogers

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Posted 23 September 2019 - 13:29

I'm currently working on ARSM in piano.  My initial thoughts on ARSM echoed those of f#, but my teacher (whom I call the Professor) suggested I give it a go.  She treats it as the equivalent of Trinity's Advanced Certificate.  This was hot off the heels of two of her adult students failing ATCL - she had some choice words for Trinity!  (For reference, she is a retired conservatory department chair - she knows a good performance when she hears one.)

 

The Professor felt that I needed more experience working up diploma-level pieces before tackling a full-fledged diploma, and since she was miffed at Trinity and I had already done some exams with ABRSM, the ARSM fit the bill quite well.

 

I'm rather enjoying preparing my ARSM programme, and I'm starting to work on the Bach selection for DipABRSM in parallel with polishing up the ARSM pieces.


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#7 ejw21

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Posted 23 September 2019 - 15:02

I am intending to take ARSM after grade 8 (nearly at grade 7). I know other adult amateurs who have taken ARSM and found it a useful stepping-stone to higher diplomas. As far as I understand, there's quite a difference in the length of the programme required and some of my acquaintances struggled with that.


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#8 corenfa

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Posted 23 September 2019 - 15:40

I think the "value" of ARSM depends on what one wants. As a post grade 8 qualification in and of itself, maybe not so much. As a stepping stone to get one used to the idea of performance diplomas- seems reasonably useful.
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#9 helen_flute

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Posted 23 September 2019 - 17:36

I'm really interested that you've asked this question, because I've swithered about ARSM myself.

 

I sat G8 earlier this year, and particularly hated the scales/aural aspect of the exam. I did also struggle with nerves, and swore off another exam, but loved the challenge of working in depth on my pieces, and that aspect of ARSM really appeals.

 

Before I sat my G8, my teacher was very keen that I progress to a diploma, but immediately after my exam I said never again. Now I'm not so sure, although I've not said that to him, and I do think for me ARSM would be the right next step, partly to help me work on my nerves. For the moment, I'm working on pieces which coincidentally are on the repertoire list, which more reflects that I'm not resting on my laurels now I've got my G8 under my belt, than I'm seriously planning on sitting ARSM any time soon. I just don't want my skills to suffer now I'm not working towards an exam, and my teacher knows I enjoy playing challenging pieces, so it works for both of us.


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#10 BadStrad

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Posted 23 September 2019 - 22:21

I suspect the diploma pass rate has much to do with the ~grade 6 sight reading requirement.

I also think the ARSM is just a money making exercise, but I guess if people find it a useful stepping stone then it's their cash to spend.
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#11 helen_flute

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Posted 24 September 2019 - 07:10

On the back of this thread, I took a proper look at ARSM vs DipABRSM, and the repertoire list for flute is the same for both. I don’t know if this is the same for other instruments, but it sways me in a more cynical direction and I’m more inclined towards the “money making exercise” view than I was, although I like to imagine they’re looking for a different standard of playing at DipABRSM level in addition to the viva voce/quick study to differentiate the two.
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#12 Dr. Rogers

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Posted 24 September 2019 - 12:57

On the back of this thread, I took a proper look at ARSM vs DipABRSM, and the repertoire list for flute is the same for both. I don’t know if this is the same for other instruments, but it sways me in a more cynical direction and I’m more inclined towards the “money making exercise” view than I was, although I like to imagine they’re looking for a different standard of playing at DipABRSM level in addition to the viva voce/quick study to differentiate the two.

 

It's the same for piano as well.  It's worth it for me, not so much the qualification but the experience of putting together and polishing up a programme of music at this level (30 min +/- 2 min for ARSM, 35 min +/- 3.5 min for DipABRSM) without having to worry about quick study and via voce.  Even if I were not taking the ARSM, I would feel the need to the equivalent amount of work.  And ARSM isn't too expensive, only $341 here in the U.S. at present, so I figure why not.  The Professor says that the Diploma programme should come together more easily after all the work I've already done at this level, and I suspect she's right.  (The ARSM pieces are coming together much more quickly than G8.)

 

As always, YMMV.


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#13 mature clarinetist

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Posted 24 September 2019 - 15:12

On the back of this thread, I took a proper look at ARSM vs DipABRSM, and the repertoire list for flute is the same for both. I don’t know if this is the same for other instruments, but it sways me in a more cynical direction and I’m more inclined towards the “money making exercise” view than I was, although I like to imagine they’re looking for a different standard of playing at DipABRSM level in addition to the viva voce/quick study to differentiate the two.

Your reply prompted me to also look at the DipABRSM syllabus.  I can confirm that the repertoire list for clarinet is the same for both, but I do feel that  both exams have their place.  As an amateur looking for a challenge beyond Grade 8 I now feel the ARSM will meet my needs. The extra elements in the Dip, especially the viva voce, would be far more than I would want to contemplate.  I will never be a professional and will not find myself in the position on paying to enter ARSM and DipABRSM.

 

helen_flute looking at your exam dates I think my too long a break was bigger then yours.  Grade 5 was 1978!!     


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#14 helen_flute

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Posted 24 September 2019 - 18:08

That does put my break rather into perspective, mature clarinetist!

 

I broached the subject of another exam with my teacher last night for the first time, and he laughed out loud and said he had predicted this would happen, after having sworn off exams immediately following my G8. We discussed the pros and cons, and what my motivation was, as similarly, I'm never going to be a professional, although I do like something to keep me focussed.

 

I had originally thought ARSM, but I do enjoy the research aspect of things, so the viva voce would be OK. The quick study on the other hand...

 

Having said that, my teacher and I have decided to keep playing stuff from the repertoire list and not decide yet. So definitely still swithering.

 

I'll be interested in your experiences of ARSM, Dr Rogers, perhaps that will help me make my mind up!


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#15 SingingPython

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Posted 25 September 2019 - 00:52

A point I hadn't realised until it was mentioned by my daughter's school, is that ARSM is much easier to organise for students to do in school if they have a regular examiner visit, as it can be included.  Like you, helen_flute, my daughter would I think enjoy and benefit from preparing for the viva voce, and her sight-singing is very good, so I have said that I would like her to do a full diploma (singing) when ready and not ARSM.  If we could persuade her back to violin (and/or viola) then ARSM might be more suitable there, but I'm not entirely convinced, and that question now looks theoretical (latest idea is a third grade 8 in another instrument).  My other argument for her to be encouraged to try the Dip is as a partial "substitute" for A level music that she was not persuaded to do :)

 

I'm pretty sure ARSM was rolled out rapidly by having the same repertoire as the Dip across all instruments.


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