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Latest exam updates

Practical Update 

We appreciate how much the cancellation of our exams has affected learners and we are working hard on solutions to ensure learners can gain their qualifications at the earliest opportunity.

However, on the basis of official and local advice due to COVID-19, we have made the decision to cancel all Practical exams in Hong Kong until further notice. This decision affects all 2020 bookings for Graded Music Exams, ARSM, Diploma, Choral Singing and Ensemble exams, but does not currently affect any bookings for Music Theory exams. Following this decision, we will process 100% refunds for all existing Practical exam bookings and our Representatives will provide further guidance in due course.

We are sorry for the impact on teachers and candidates and thank you for your loyalty and support while these restrictions remain in place. We are continuing to review when live Practical exams can resume in Hong Kong and will offer them again at the earliest possible opportunity.

Our new remotely-assessed Performance Grades provide an alternative progression route for students during this period of disruption. The Performance Grades are equivalent to our Practical Grades in demand, recognition and value. They are based on the same repertoire and syllabuses, assessment criteria and quality assurance measures as our existing exams and will be assessed by the same highly trained examiners. Booking will open in Hong Kong before the end of the year and you can record your video submission any time from now on. Find out more here.

Sight reading for young pianists

1 year ago
Karen Marshall

Karen Marshall

Karen Marshall is a private, peri and classroom music teacher from York. An award winning author she has written 17 publications to date including ABRSM Piano Encores and joint edited Piano Star Grade 1. She is a co-author of the beginner piano method, Get Set! Piano as well as being trained in teaching music to special needs students. She is passionate about all children having access to a good quality music education.

Sight reading and aural tests are often a dreaded part of music exams but they don’t need to be feared. Piano Star Theory establishes dynamics and articulation so that young pianists can become familiar with the concepts. Sight reading after beginning stages often has dynamics omitted, which can make it very hard for students. Piano Star Theory cleverly uses the visual prop of a megaphone that amplifies sound in the shape of a crescendo mark to help students understand music gradually getting louder. Actually putting dynamics onto the music and playing it allows students to practice writing the terms. Encouraging students to think about the different musical effects that they can have on the music is great way to making them comfortable with playing music dynamically. Piano Star Theory uses a ‘pizza illustration’ for a fun dynamics quiz along with dynamic detective activities! It is important to identify a sound before linking it to a symbol and if a student can’t identify how legato or staccato sounds aurally, they will struggle to perform it themselves. Piano Star theory provides some practical examples that can be played. Visual representations are cleverly used in Piano Star Theory in a way that children can easily relate - they include a ‘smooth cat for legato’ and ‘spiky hedgehog for staccato’If you’re wondering how you can incorporate some of these techniques into your lesson you could try this activity: Play some legato and staccato passages to your student and ask them to identify them as legato or staccato, perhaps even using images of a Cat (for legato with a phrase mark) and a Hedgehog (for staccato with dots above a note).Piano Star Theory is packed with quizzes, aural tasks, singing and playing activities with exercises, crosswords and games all to make music theory accessible to all. Opportunities to compose and wonderful clear theoretical explanations of tricky concepts such as time signatures and the grand stave will all work together to make music theory not only understandable but a huge amount of fun!

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