"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything." -Plato

What would the world be without music? If we didn't have songs to brighten our mood to what would we resort?

Music is a beautiful gift that makes life worth living and prevents the world from becoming a bleak place with no purpose.

For example, the sounds of popular instruments such as the piano, the guitar, the violin, the drums, and the cello evoke emotions of happiness, melancholy, sorrow, pain, joy, or excitement. It is sporadic for another medium to get a person to feel so many distinct sensations.

Many talented and passionate individuals have decided to go beyond only listening to music and are dedicating time to learn an instrument that reaches them on a personal level. Therefore, without any further delay, in today's article, we shall discuss how students across the UK can complete piano lessons in the best way possible.

Let's get started and see how shortcuts can save a lot of time!

The ABRSM

skipping piano grades
Pupils with musical talents are more likely to skip ahead a grade or two when learning piano. (Source: Unsplash)

Before explaining how shortcuts and skipping piano levels can be done, it is best to examine the organisation/institution that arranges the best music examinations in the UK, and probably the world. What establishment are we talking about? The renown and highly recommended the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM).

The ABRSM is an examinations board and registered charity board that operates and has its headquarters in London. It is estimated that more than 600,000 candidates across over 90 countries take music-based exams every year and piano assessments are one of the most popular.

When students analyse the piano at a high level of training, various grades need to be passed that contain a lot of valuable information such as essential pieces, scales and arpeggios, aural training. 

For example, the ABRSM provides eight grades of Practical Piano that are analysed to receive the necessary qualifications to move onto the next level. After each category, aspiring pianists complete an assessment that is graded based on aspects such as pitch, performance, time, tone, and shape.

To move onto the next grade of Practical Piano a pass of 100 marks is needed; nevertheless, for those who want to achieve more than a single passing result, a notice of merit is received for 120 marks, and a distinction, is pulled off when a piano student scores 130 marks or more.

Nonetheless, although the ABRSM has concocted a logical and well-structured programme with eight grades that are more complex than the next, some students wonder and request if skipping a class to move ahead faster is even possible. Is it?

Read the next subheading to find out how piano learners can skip a grade in the ABRSM. You shouldn't feel guilty for wanting to jump; the world's best minds have taken shortcuts at one time or another!

Skipping Practical Piano Grades

ABRSM exams
Unlike grades in primary or secondary schools, Practical Piano Grades with the ABRSM can be skipped. (Source: Unsplash)

"Skipping: the ultimate display of noncomformity." -Jessi Lane Adams

Skipping or moving ahead faster than expected is not anything to be ashamed of when learning a musical instrument. The standardised grades are put in place to help the majority of amateur pianists learn in a structured/organised way.

However, it's important to state that not everyone moves ahead at the same speed, and some are blessed with outstanding music talents that help them to advance more rapidly. 

Therefore, is it possible to skip ahead on Practical Piano Grades from the ABRSM? The short answer is yes. But how?

Since the ABRSM music assessments are known worldwide, there are experiences of many students who have skipped at least one or more piano grade based on their expertise and the advice of their piano teacher. It is essential to mention that piano grades have the same structure from 1-8; therefore, if pupils decide to skip, they will only experience material that is a bit more difficult than in previous levels.

All in all, based on the comments of past candidates, it is completely normal to skip at least one or two levels before Practical Piano Grade 5. 

Also, it is possible to skip Practical Piano Grades 1-4 without any repercussions; however, according to the ABRSM guidelines, the Grade 5 theory exam cannot be skipped by any means since it is a prerequisite for practical grades 6, 7, and 8.

For instance, the ABRSM considers the following options in Grade 5, or above, as suitable qualifications to acquire before moving onto advanced grades:

  • Music Theory, 
  • Practical Musicianship, 
  • Jazz Subject. 

The Practical Grades Jazz subject qualification can be in instruments such as the flute, the clarinet, the sax, the trumpet, or the trombone; this is good news if you didn't start learning the piano from the beginning.

Also, if you are from another country and have just recently started the ABRSM, your credits may be accepted if they are the following:

  • Grade 5 (or more) of Music Theory with the Australian Music Examination Board, 
  • Advanced Rudiments and Basic Harmony from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Canada, 
  • Grade 5 or above in the Theory of Music from the University of South Africa, 
  • B Grade or higher in Music Higher Level from the Irish Leaving Certificate. 

The main reason to not skip ahead during this crucial grade in music training is that the advanced levels require more attention and the theory exams in Grade 5 help to equip students with what they need to succeed.

Some of the pros of passing ahead and skipping a music grade is avoiding some of the assessments and continuing to challenge yourself by completing more challenging assignments in scales and pieces. Nonetheless, if you're an exam junkie or you like to do things traditionally, it is best to go through each Practical Piano Grade without skipping ahead.

If you are unsure about skipping a piano grade or need some advice, it would be best to talk to your piano instructor since they know you, your skills, and what would be best for your personalised learning process.

Did you know that Superprof offers some of the best and most qualified piano instructors in and around the United Kingdom? Check out our website to find a piano tutor near you!

Why Learn Piano

the silent killer
Millennials are more stressed than generations before; therefore, it is paramount to find an outlet. (Source: Unsplash)

"It's easy to play any musical instrument: all you have to do is touch the right key at the right time and the instrument will play itself." -Johann Sebastian Bach 

Unfortunately, musical talent is not something everyone possesses; however, timing is something that makes great music, and all can learn it. Through many different classes with professional instructors, amateur pianists can acquire timing, poise, and performance skills that equal the talent of gifted musicians.

Music truly is a beautiful thing, and pianists make people's hearts rejoice. Nonetheless, why should people make the decision and dedicate time to learn piano when there are so many instruments out there?

Without further delay, the following reasons to learn the piano will convince even the most pessimistic:

  • Splitting Your Attention: a prevalent benefit associated with piano playing is split concentration that is also known as divided attention and promotes excellent concentration skills. How is that done? For instance, when playing the piano, a person needs to share their attention towards playing with both hands, read the notes, and listen to the different scales. That sure is a lot to think about! Experts have noticed that lengthy time piano players are much better at multitasking than others.
  • Better Academic Results: there is quite a lot of scientific evidence and research that supports the claim that playing the piano helps students achieve higher test results than those who do not perform. How is that possible? Well, researchers have determined that playing the piano improves spatial cognitive development and concentration; both are needed to succeed during school exams or projects.
  • Develop a Sincere Appreciation for Music: to perform exceptionally and garner recognition as a piano player, possessing an advanced musical culture is necessary. Therefore, by learning how to play with piano with a tutor and analysing distinct pieces, your music knowledge will inevitably increase. When you learn more about the world of music, you start to appreciate the masterful works of those who tirelessly moved forward to break down the barriers and create art that can still be listened to today.
  • Stress Relief: let's be honest this world is so full of stress that it is imperative to find ways to reduce anxiety and do something relaxing; cue piano music! That's right; learning to play an instrument, especially the piano, is a fantastic stress reliever since the complexity of acquiring new techniques in piano requires full concentration and eliminates all worrying thoughts. By frequently practising the keyboard, you escape to a different dimension; a better world some might say!

If the previously mentioned reasons still don't convince you, consider talking with passionate piano players or teachers about what inspires them to continue playing. 

Also, it's worth mentioning that right now is the perfect time to learn the piano at home. Why? We're living a worldwide pandemic! With directions from governments to socially distance and stay at home, learning to play a musical instrument such as the piano is a beautiful idea since people have a lot more time on their hands.

In conclusion, when studying the ABRSM piano grades, it is possible to skip a level or two if you want. However, it's important to remember that the learning experience is extraordinary and should be much appreciated from start to finish.

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Brentyn

Avid movie-goer, reader, skier and language learner. Passionate about life, food and travelling.