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Discussion Starter #1
I am a late bloomer, 41 years old, playing sax for about 8 years, and stil pretty passionate about it. I play some jazz, some church music (mostly improv), and spend quite a lot of time in fairly organized practice routines, including scales, studies, learning jazz standards, etc etc.

I'm always up for a challenge, and have recently considered it may be worthwhile trying for a grade 8 sax exam with Royal schools. I discovered today that I would first have to do the grade 5 theory exam, but that should (I hope) be a formality. In a previous (young) life I did music as a school subject for a couple of years so no worries with the theory.

Now the question: Would pursuing an exam syllabus likely be of any benefit to my playing and further development as a saxophonist. Worthwhile in any way? Who does this kind of stuff? only schoolkids?

I can imagine sitting somewhere waiting to be called in, amongst a group of fifteen year olds or worse?

What do you think? Is this just a crazy idea I should let go before I really make a fool of myself?

Thanks for opinions.
 

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Forum Contributor 2011, SOTW's pedantic pet rodent
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In my opinion, you might find the grade 8 a very tough first sax exam with the background you describe - the syllabus includes some technically challenging classical material. Since you like jazz you could take the ABRSM jazz grade 5 (which gives you an exemption from theory grade 5 if you do do the higher grades) and then go 6, 7, 8 of the "traditional" sax syllabus (the jazz syllabus does not go beyond grade 5).

As to whether it is worthwhile, that very much depends on how motivating and enjoyable you find exam preparation and how much of a thrill you get out of exam success. Age is irrelevant.
 

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Reedsplinter said:
Ah, would that it were so my -- dare I say? -- old friend.

Me when I was younger:
He said 'irrelevant', not 'irreverent'.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, & Forum Contributor 200
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Alternatively you could look into the Trinity / Guildhall jazz exams, which I think are world wide as they hold them here Oz.

These go on to Grade 8, though you might want to look at the syllabus and judge what level you should enter for. They're written by pro jazz musicians and provide a structured way of learning. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yeah, thanks. I need to look at the classical and jazz syllabi i think to make up my mind. I think I do get some sort of kick out of proving to myself I could do it. If I say 'still' after that sentence I guess I will prove its about trying to stop getting older?
 

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There are many people who have 'grade 8' but are not grade 8 standard....The AB need to adjust the marking scheme there is no way you should be able to pass the exam if you don't know your scales, can't sight read or even get a basic mark at the aural. Sadly, money dictates that they let alot of people through who shouldn't ...anyway enough rant I would say do Grade 6 first as a prep, playing in exam is different from performing any where else, it's similar to people who are great on gigs but crap in the studio each discipline takes time to be mastered!!
 
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