Instrumental Music Exams: our tips and thoughts on taking your grades
Instrumental Music Exams: our tips and thoughts on taking your grades

Examinations can be a very useful part of learning for students and a vital component for growth and progression. They offer a defined and quantifiable way to measure growth and provide a roadmap for development. It’s true that exams can be expensive and, therefore, sometimes difficult to finance, but they do offer an invaluable opportunity for students to demonstrate skills and showcase abilities – and can help to maintain motivation for some students, whilst also providing a sense of accomplishment and a boost to confidence when successfully completed. We are really keen that our students feel that they are given the opportunity to progress through graded exams (if they wish). Whether you decide to take exams or not, it is really important that you are regularly discussing your aims with your tutor and setting goals for the year ahead, so that you are both clear about what you want to achieve.Your exam board will depend on the syllabus taught by your tutor and they will be able to guide you regarding exam readiness, as they will know when the time is right! The exam process will be different for each board, but your tutor should be able to explain exam options and make you aware of the choices available to you.Most boards currently offer digital/online exams, which some students may prefer, but different exam boards will have different options as well as their own specific submission deadlines, so please talk all of this through with your tutor or check out the exam board websites for more information. The different syllabi taught by tutors at Coda include: Trinity (Classical), Trinity (Rock & Pop), ABRSM and LAMDA and you can find out more about exams with these boards in the links below: ABRSMPractical GradesPerformance Grades TRINITY (Rock & Pop) Graded exams (examinations are held at Absolute Music)Digital grades LAMDA With LAMDA, you have the option to book an exam at a public centre, book a remote online assessment or book an exam at a private centre. Click the link below to find out more:LAMDA exam booking options For Classical Trinity exams, Coda is an examination centre ((this means we are the venue where they are held, but we do not co-ordinate them).The entry deadline for the Summer Trinity exams is 9th May wth exam dates proposed for 6th & 7th JulyIf you are interested in taking a Trinity classical exam in July and feel you will be ready, please speak to your tutor. They will be able to discuss your readiness, confirm fees and explain the process to you.

The process for submitting exam application forms is as follows:

  1.  Complete an application form (which can be supplied to you by your tutor or the Coda office) 
  2.  Attach the completed form to the relevant payment (by cheque), and give to your tutor (or hand in to the office at Coda)
  3.  The Trinity exam co-ordinator will collect these on the entry deadline date and will inform students directly of their specific exam date and time
  4.  If you have not received a date and time at least 2 weeks prior to the exam, then please follow up with your tutor (who will contact the exam co-ordinator)
  5. Following the exams, the exam co-ordinator will deliver the certificates to Coda for tutors to hand out

If you have any specific questions relating to the exams, please ask your tutor, who can advise you (or who can contact the exam co-ordinator), as the Coda office will not have this information!We hope we have provided some useful insight regarding the benefits of exams and some helpful information about next steps for anyone interested in taking graded instrumental or vocal examinations. VIOLIN DIPLOMA PERFORMANCE15th MARCH at 6pmat Coda Music Centre

One of our very talented students, Oscar Davis (not pictured!), who has been learning with Coda for almost 8 years, will be taking his post-Grade 8 ARSM violin Diploma exam later this month. The Diploma is an advanced qualification for students at a very high level, providing an opportunity for learners beyond Grade 8 to create and perform an extended programme of music and demonstrate performance skills.On 15th March, Oscar will be performing a concert featuring the repertoire he will be playing for his Diploma exam, accompanied by Matthew Fairman (on piano). The programme of violin and piano classical pieces will last approximately 35 minutes.

If you would like to be a part of a supportive and friendly audience for this short programme, please let us know (so that we can make sure we provide enough seating).

Contact Coda on 01425 276161 or contact@coda.org.uk to confirm your attendance. Wishing Oscar the very best of luck with his examination – and we look forward to seeing some of you at the performance.