Should I Take Music Examinations?

Should I Take Music Examinations? from ABC Studios Singing Guitar and Bass Lessons

By: ABC Studios Singing Guitar and Bass Lessons  20-Apr-2012
Keywords: Singing Lessons

Should I Take Music Examinations?  

At ABC Studios some students enrol in music examinations offered by Trinity Guildhall and TrinityRock. The examinations are provided by music schools based in the United Kingdom, [The English Kingdom] and administered in over twenty-five countries worldwide. Just to be clear from the outset:

The only qualification you need to be a musician is to play or sing music.

To qualify as a singer you need to have a love of singing. To sing every day and enjoy making music, whether you sing in a group, in a choir or at home in your room. The most important thing is to enjoy making music and experience the joy of making music.I have taught music professionally since 1981 and during that time I have had the pleasure of teaching many talented students. There are too many to name. The students who stand out in my mind are the ones who enjoy what they do. They take their music studies seriously of course, but also have time to joke, make fun fun of what they are doing and are happy to kid around with their learning. I recall there was once a section in Readers Digest magazine called, 'Laughter is the Best Medicine'. Learn technique? - Of course. Learn to listen? Yes. Learn about music and its structure? Absolutely. Read about musicians and their lives, about what music is and how it works? Definitely. Kid around and make jokes? Fine. The most important thing though is to make music every day.

The only qualification you need to be a musician is to play or sing music.

I once had a student who used to practise late at night while watching television. He was an excellent student and later went on to study quite specialised classical guitar at university graduating with a Master's Degree in Music. I was pleased to help him learn about music but he did the hard work sitting up late at night practising and listening.

I was writing about whether musicians should take formal qualifications so back to the subject. Qualifications are a way of getting recognition for the work you are doing and for musicians thinking about a career in music they have a dollar value as well. I have known some fantastic musicians who taught under the New Zealand itinerant music-teaching system who could play very well, and had advanced specialised knowledge in their instrument. Unfortunately because they had no formal qualifications they had to work on the lowest salary scale the union would allow them to get. My view is that we should celebrate the musicians in our society and reward them with a good living. When a plumber or a mechanic can charge fifty dollars an hour and more surely musicians should also be paid well. Imagine a world without music! Nothing against plumbers or mechanics of course. They deserve their wages too. My point is that if you want to make a living in music or get recognition for what you do as a musician then formal qualifications can be important.

Another reason we offer external examinations at ABC Studios is because the examinations are a way of ensuring that what we are doing here in our Auckland studio is equivalent in to what other musicians are doing around the world. We do do not make music in a vacuum. Music exists among groups of people and when you go to take Singing Lessons, Guitar Lessons or Bass Lessons you want to make sure that you are learning techniques and styles that are relevant to what you want to play. External examining institutions like TrinityRock are good at that. Suppose a music teacher took an interest in south Indian Classical music for the sitar which is amazing music both rhythmically and harmonically. Imagine a student goes to that teacher. He wants to learn to play modern music like we hear on the radio or on TV. He could get some benefit I suppose from learning about South-Indian classical music. George Harrison, the guitar-player for The Beatles did. But it is not very relevant for a young guy or girl wanting to play guitar or bass in an Acid-Jazz band at university. Music teachers know that external institutions can provide an all-round introduction to music styles and techniques. A talented student may later want to go and study music for the Sitar [or Peruvian nose-flute music] later. They may want to write and create in their own local styles too.

At ABC Studios we encourage students to connect with the music they love. We also encourage all musicians to develop their song-writing and composition skills and realise that music,  when it comes from an experience of joy and pleasure is a source of happiness and satisfaction that lasts a lifetime.

That is why at ABC Studios we put Music First.

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Keywords: Singing Lessons

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