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Discussion Starter #1
Hi there,

Possibly one for those that are based in the UK. Which of these two exam systems would you recommend? I'm aware that Jazz learning goes much further with Trinity (> grade 8 as opposed to grade 5 only), but from the websites it seems that they are pretty even in what they offer, aside from this. Is ABRSM really more classical in the end? Is Trinity more contemporary in learning material? Does this matter? My aim is to be a better player. Thoughts?
 

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I teach the ABRSM Jazz syllabus. Reason: when i looked and compared Trinity the materials were fairly similar for the early Grades (1 to 5 as you say) but ABRSM support materials are better, I think - Book/CD backing packs etc. Some people do find studying towards exams motivating.
 

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I've used the ABRSM materials for years. What I like about them is that they give a reasonably balanced and structured curriculum and organised goals. I've used the piano, french horn, flute and others simultaneously. So I might be at one level in the flute program and another in the piano. It helps me keep track of where I am.
 

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The AB has always been rather stuffy, although it has lightened up in recent years - perhaps under the pressure from Trinity. Much may depend on purpose. If the exam is important for someone's career, I would check which is more acceptable to the prospective college/university, etc. Otherwise, use whichever syllabus is more friendly. I lean towards Trinity on this, but have always used the AB.
 

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the Trinity / Guildhall jazz exams have been going for a few years longer than the ABRSM equivalent and may have had longer to get it right. Don't forget the people who write the syllabus are great players / educators from Guildhall itself.
It doesn't work for everyone and I have found the top grades fairly easy, but it can be a great structured introduction to jazz improv and standard playing.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Cheers for the replies. I'm quite interested in using the exam format to keep me grounded in my progress and to just let me know where I am; I also want to learn more than just jazz. Transcribing is fine for a while, but I'm more interested in being able to develop something for myself that is more relevant to the times in which I live. My previous teacher used ABRSM material to let me have an idea of where I might be, whcih was pretty good, but did seem a little too almost "old world". There was a distinct lack of contemporary material in there. Career is unimportant and a relaxed but motivating method of teaching is. Sounds like a personal decision in the end. Rooty, I see that the Trinity exam format seems to have been reviewed as of 2007, do you know if the support materials have likewise been upgraded? You have a good point there.

Thanks a lot, any other thoughts greatly appreciated.
 
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