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New International Scholarship Procedures LIBRETTO First Jazz exams & UK events CT ABRSM launched in Hong Kong Exam entries on-line Spectrum 2: miniatures for pianists LIBRETTO The journal of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music May 1999

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New InternationalScholarship Procedures


First Jazz exams& UK events

CT ABRSM launched in Hong Kong

Exam entrieson-line

Spectrum 2:miniatures for pianists


The journal of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music May 1999

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UK UPDATE 3First Jazz ExamsMusic for Youth Regional FestivalsSpecial Visits BulletinJazz QuestionnaireNAME ConferenceNational Jazz Events

INTERNATIONAL UPDATE 4USA WebsiteEducational Support ProgrammeNew ZealandUSA: IAJE 1999Singapore High Scorers’ Concert

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT UPDATE 5Malta CourseUK TastersSingapore Year 1UK Award CeremonyCT ABRSM ConferenceHong Kong Launch

EXAMINATIONS 6-7How the exam pieces are chosenJazz ExaminationsSTOP PRESS: Grade 5 Jazz PianoInternational Scholarships

FEATURE 8-9A Tale of Two CTs

TEACHERS’ FORUM 10Influences - Major or Minor?



Setting the StandardsThe Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music

14 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3JG, England

Telephone 0171- 636 5400 Fax 0171-637 0234

E-mail [email protected]

Registered as a Charity No. 292182

© 1999 by The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music.

All rights reserved. Unauthorised reproduction inwhole or in part is prohibited without permission.

Libretto is published termly by the Marketing Department

Editor: Suzannah Power, Head of Marketing

Production Manager: Nicola Rattray, Marketing Executive

Design:Lawrence Cheung

Photo credits: Cover and pages 9 and 10Robert Carpenter Turner. Pages 3(MFY) and 8 Dominic Dibbs.



Earlier this year the Associated Board, along with many other

organisations working in music education, applauded the UK

Government for its new initiatives designed to support and

expand the learning of musical instruments. Now that this year’s

new central funding has been allocated, it has become apparent

that the well-being of instrumental music in the UK is still

ultimately a local issue. Where one local authority has taken the

opportunity of matching new central funds to expand its music

services, another has felt relieved of its former obligations and

withdrawn all its existing funding, sometimes even leaving its

music service in a weaker position than before. So there is still a

long way to go on the journey towards equal entitlement for all

children to learn to play an instrument.

But any sense of disappointment must be kept in perspective.

There never was a single panacea and there will always be a

continuing need for those of us who are convinced of the value of

music in education to present the case and win the argument.

We have done so at national level with remarkable success,

resulting in a new collaboration between Government

Departments responsible for Education and Culture and in a clear

articulation that instrumental as well as classroom music is a vital

part of every child’s education. Although Government cannot

intervene directly in local affairs, it has accepted a responsibility

for this wider music provision and will certainly want to encourage

the implementation of the principles to which it has given public

commitment. Alongside this, teachers and parents now need to

add their voices in all parts of the country where children are

being denied this entitlement.

Richard MorrisChief Executive

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L I B R E T T O M A Y 1 9 9 9 U K U P D A T E | 3

Congratulations to Megan Jones,our first Jazz Piano candidate.Megan, 15, took Grade 1 JazzPiano on 18 January and wasawarded a Distinction.

A musical all-rounder, Meganrecently passed Grade 4 Pianoand Grade 5 Trombone and iscurrently preparing to take Grade5 Theory.

For both Megan and her pianoteacher, Kathryn England, JazzPiano was a step into theunknown, a real learning experi-ence and eye opener for themboth…and enjoyable too.

So for all those pianists, of anyage, who feel just a bit nervousabout getting started with jazzand improvisation, Megan’s ownexperience should provide a reas-suring and inspiring example, “I had never really tried improvisa-tion before and at first I was a little

unsure. However, I soon got the ideaand I realised that it was mucheasier than I had expected.”

Already over 550 candidateshave taken Jazz Piano andEnsembles exams this year andour congratulations go out to allthe pioneering teachers andcandidates who have set out onthe great jazz adventure ■

First Jazz Exams

Please note that Tuesday 20 Julywill not be available for UKSpecial Visits.

Teachers who fulfil the minimumentry of 3 hours may apply for aSpecial Visit on any other day

Special Visits Bulletin

Many thanks to the 2,500 peoplewho completed our jazz ques-tionnaire. The winners, who wereawarded vouchers for ABRSMpublications, were: Linda Love andClare Green from London andElizabeth Lloyd from Amersham.

Linda Love, winner of the 1stprize, reports that jazz has been

Jazz Questionnaire

Richard Crozier, Director ofProfessional Development, is alsoChair of the National Associationof Music Educators. The 1999NAME annual conference isbeing held at the Swallow Hotel,Huntingdon from 25 – 27 Juneand speakers will include TonyKnight (QCA) and Janet Mills

NAME Conference

Music for Youth RegionalFestivals 1999

The Associated Board recentlycontributed to two major eventsin the annual jazz calendar - theLeeds International JazzEducators’ Conference and theCheltenham International JazzFestival. Our participationinvolved workshops for musicteachers to develop skills forbringing jazz into the classroom

and incorporate jazz into pupils’lessons.

The Board’s workshop at theLeeds conference marked thefirst time that jazz academics andpractitioners had joined forces tooffer jazz education training forall music teachers - not just theHE sector ■

National Jazz Events

Rowland Chapman of Barnstaple Music Centre, Devon, who was recently presented with a framed cover of Music Theoryin Practice (Grade 1), to commemorate the sale of the one millionth copy of this publication

music these festivals provide anapposite reminder that with thenecessary supporting resourcesour dedicated music educatorsand talented children are keepingmusic very much alive andkicking in our schools andcommunities.

The Music for Youth Conferencewill take place on 5 July. RichardMorris will be speaking alongsideThe Rt. Hon. Chris Smith MP, Prof.Kenneth Robinson, The Rt. Hon.David Blunkett MP and GavinHenderson, Chair of the NationalFederation for Youth Music.

For more information aboutMusic for Youth, tel: 0181 870 9624 ■

We are once again proud to besponsors of the Music for YouthRegional Festivals. Taking placeevery year the festivals representthe largest youth music event inEurope, a real celebration of theyoung musical talent thatsurrounds us.

Over 35,000 young people tookpart in 43 festivals held all overthe UK during February andMarch. The festivals were markedby a unique breadth and diversity– young performers of all ages andlevels of ability took part, playingin chamber groups, ensembles,orchestras, choirs and bands.

At a time when we all hear somuch about the decline in school

HMI. Membership of NAME isopen to anyone involved inmusic education and the first twodays of the conference are opento day delegates, including non-members.

For more information pleasecontact Alison Ley, tel: 01452780680 (www.name.org.uk) ■

outside the main exam period.

For further information aboutSpecial Visits contact KirstieDods, tel: 0171 467 8221 or [email protected]

received enthusiastically bypupils at the Blackheath BluecoatSchool. The jazz exams willextend the school’s current jazzactivities, which include cabaretevenings. The school plans to usethe Jazz Ensembles scheme aswell as the Jazz Piano Syllabus ■

Megan Jones

Spiritual Sounds performing at the recent Regional Festival Series in London

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L I B R E T T O M A Y 1 9 9 94 | I N T E R N A T I O N A L U P D A T E

This year’s High Scorers’ Concertincluded performances bypianists, singers, woodwind,brass and string players, and forthe first time a choir: the Anglo-Chinese Madrigal Choir,conducted by Jennifer Tham SowYing. Held at the SingaporeSymphony Orchestra’s VictoriaHall on 24 February, the eventwas expertly managed by Su-SanHay, Examinations Executive,

and Geoffrey Smith, SE AsiaRegional Consultant. Among theaudience of over 400 was RichardCrozier, Director of ProfessionalDevelopment, and SuzannahPower, Head of Marketing, bothof whom were mid-way througha tour of Singapore and Malaysia.

Our thanks go to SSO ManagerMr Liew Chin Choy whopresented badges to the participants ■

Singapore High Scorers’ Concert

Teachers in New Zealand areadvised to keep up to date withworkshops and other eventsthrough the NZ web site(www.abrsm.org.nz). The April1999 series of piano workshopscovered Christchurch, Dunedin,Wellington and Auckland andplans are already underway for asecond series to take place inSeptember. The annual HighScorers’ Concert will be inOctober 1999 and invitations toperform will be circulated inAugust.

Contact: NZ ExaminationsAdministrator, David Goodyear(tel: 482 0267) ■

New Zealand

In January, ABRSM Publishingexhibited the Jazz Piano publica-tions at the InternationalAssociation of Jazz EducatorsConference in Anaheim,California.

The conference was held in theDisneyland Hotel and delegateswere in excess of 6,000 jazz musi-cians from all over the world,including New Zealand, theNetherlands, Finland, Germanyas well as the UK and the UnitedStates. IAJE is a highly ratedevent for jazz educators: thekeynote speaker at the openingsession was Wynton Marsalisand there was a performance byHerbie Hancock on the last night.

Each of the four days was packedwith workshops, performances,jazz industry sessions andresearch presentations.

Among those who visited theexhibition stand was Billy Taylorcomposer of “I wish I knew how itfeels to be free” which is includedon the Grade 3 Jazz Piano list.Herbie Hancock, the celebratedjazz pianist who was therepromoting his new CD, left theconference with a copy of “JazzPiano from Scratch” under hisarm, not that he needs any hintsabout improving his ownplaying, but he was impressed bythe book nonetheless ■

USA: IAJE 1999

Following Clara Taylor’s 7-centretour in October 1998, attended bynearly 1,000 teachers acrossSingapore and Malaysia, we havean even bigger tour planned for1999. Three presenters – RuthGerald, Tim Arnold and AnnaButterworth - will present work-shops this September in:

• Penang – 5• Kuantan – 8• Kuala Lumpur – 12 & 13• Malacca - 14• Johor Bahru – 16• Kota Kinabalu – 19• Kuching – 20• Singapore – 22 & 23

Teachers planning to attend areadvised to pencil in these dates,then complete the booking formswhich will be circulated in July.

This year we’ve taken a newapproach to ESP and the presen-ters will be concentrating in

Educational SupportProgramme (ESP)

depth on three core subjects:Theory, Stylistic Awareness andViva Voce preparation. Thetheory sessions will help teachersand students to prepare for theAssociated Board’s Grade 6 – 8Theory exams, whilst the prac-tical sessions will focus onperformance at Grade 8 level andabove. Each day will featuremasterclasses and full-lengthperformances of set works,details of which will be circulatedin advance.

Further information will be available on the web site fromJune 1999 ■

USA WebsiteSince coming on-line in Januarythe USA web site has been visitedby many teachers and studentsthroughout the United States.Visitors to the site have been askedto comment on the USA page andwe have received very positivefeedback. The site has beendescribed as ‘very informative’,‘convenient’ ‘easy to use’ and‘pleasing to the eye’.www.abrsm.ac.uk/usa ■

Performers at the 1999 Singapore High Scorers’ Concert

Su-San Hay and Suzannah PowerMr Liew Chin Choy who presented badges to participants

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L I B R E T T O M A Y 1 9 9 9 P R O F E S S I O N A L D E V E L O P M E N T U P D A T E | 5

Each year the ProfessionalDevelopment department runs aone-day conference/workshopwhich is primarily for past andpresent CT ABRSM students,Course Leaders and mentors.

It aims to build on the good workof the course and to remind andrefresh past students of theirstudies by focusing on an aspectof the course. This year’s focus ison improvisation and jazz. ‘Nomusic – no fear!’ will provide anopportunity for teachers to workwith two distinguished jazzmusicians and teachers, Pete

Churchill and Nikki Iles, both ofwhom were involved in thesetting up of the Board’s newJazz Syllabus. The accent will beon painless participation for all,regardless of skill level.

This year’s conference is onSaturday 5 June from 9.30am –5pm, and will be held at theRegent Hall, Oxford Street,London. If you would like moredetails about the conference or abooking form please contact theProfessional Developmentdepartment, tel/fax: 0171 467 8257.

The conference is also open tonon CT ABRSM colleagues ■

CT ABRSM Conference

This month sees our first evercourse for teachers in Malta. Aswe go to press, CT ABRSMmentors Rowan Cozens, IanSmith and Virginia Black arepreparing for a week-long courseand follow-up weekend forteachers at the Valletta MusicSchool. The course covers bothprofessional development andexamination subjects, includingrepertoire development, stylisticawareness, pupil motivation,keeping a teaching diary,

improving aural awareness andlesson planning.

The Board has enjoyed a longrelationship with teachers inMalta, having examined theresince 1903, and this course forteachers is one of a series ofevents planned for 1999. Laterthis year examiner AngusWatson will hold a Teachers’Meeting and in December ClaraTaylor will visit to present a‘Meet the Chief Examiner’evening. Special invitations willbe circulated in September.

Local Representative: EileenConrad (tel: 442719) ■

Malta course

The first CT ABRSM course inSingapore ended in January andthe following month RichardCrozier and Suzannah Powerattended the award ceremony forthe 40 students who had success-fully completed the course. Theceremony took place in theVictoria Hall, home of theSingapore Symphony Orchestraand the guest speaker was MrTan Boon Teik, Chairman of the

SSO. Speaking after the ceremonyMr Tan said; "It really is quite anoccasion: the first time we've hadthis professional development courseconducted here in Singapore and thefirst time that it’s been availableoutside the UK.

I congratulate everyone present onsuccessfully completing the courseand I hope that there will be manymore to follow them in the years tocome." ■

Singapore Year 1

This year’s 245 CT ABRSMstudents are now reaching theend of their course with the finalassessment taking place nextmonth. We would like to wisheveryone Good Luck for this finalhurdle and hope to see as manyas possible of you at the awardceremony in July.

The 1998-1999 CT ABRSM awardceremony will be held at 2.00pm

UK Award Ceremony on Wednesday 21 July at theRoyal Northern College ofMusic, Oxford Road, Manchester.The guest of honour will be SirErnest Hall, distinguished musi-cian, businessman and formerstudent of the RNCM.

Successful students will be noti-fied as soon as possible followingthe final assessment ■

Between February and April thisyear more than 700 teachersattended one of the 20 CTABRSM Taster events heldthroughout the UK.

Typical of comments fromteachers at the Tasters is this one;

“I’ve been interested in the CT ABRSM course for a while now,but it’s only recently that I have

UK Tasters begun to think seriously aboutenrolling. I booked to attend a Tasteras it seemed an ideal way to find outmore. Having already watched theCT ABRSM video many of my ques-tions had been answered but meetingCourse Leader, Ian Smith andmentors face to face we were able tochat and discuss my requirementsand suitability. Am I going to do thecourse next academic year? You justtry and stop me!” ■

Easter weekend saw the launchof the CT ABRSM course in HongKong, with Emeritus ProfessorDavid Gwilt, former Chair of theMusic Department at the ChineseUniversity in Hong Kong asRegional Course Leader, and UKmentors John Byrne, LaurenGoldthorpe and Heather James.For the inaugural year of thecourse in Hong Kong all 30student places have been filledand there is already a waiting listfor the second year of the coursewhich starts in April 2000.

Just before setting off, John Byrne,a professor at the Royal College ofMusic and teacher at the Purcelland Wells Cathedral schools,

said; “We’re really looking forwardto starting the course in Hong Kong.Lauren, Heather and myself workedon the course in Singapore last yearand so we have a good idea of what itis like to work in a culture that isdifferent to our own. We also knowthat Hong Kong is very different toSingapore and we are lookingforward to meeting teachers thereand making more new friends.”

Course Director Richard Croziervisited Hong Kong earlier thisyear to oversee preparations forthe start of the course. He said;“It is another great step forward forthe CT ABRSM course. I look forwardto meeting the Hong Kong studentsand hearing all about their studies.” ■

Hong Kong launch

After the Singapore award ceremony

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Teachers are understandablyinterested in knowing how theAssociated Board chooses thepieces for the syllabuses. Let me

unravel the mystery a little, and alsoexplain why it is so important to get it right.

We invite a number of teachers tosubmit lists of pieces that they findeffective as teaching material andwhich their pupils particularly enjoy.Where appropriate, groups repre-senting good practice in the teachingof the instrument concerned areapproached for suggestions. Then, wecollate these contributions and sortthem into approximate grade orderfor presentation to two consultantswho will advise on drawing up ashortlist. These consultants will havebeen chosen for their wide repertoireknowledge and their current activityas teachers at all levels - as well astheir ability to get a complex job doneon time!

The consultants will bear in mind thepieces recommended by the contribu-tors, but they are not restricted in theirchoice of repertoire and are free toconsult other specialists and resources.Apart from their own personal librariesthey will have access to the piecesused for examinations for the last tenyears, copies of new pieces publishedsince the last syllabus review andmaterial in the Board’s extensivelibrary. All this adds up to a hugeresource from which to make selectionsfor the shortlist. They work to aspecific brief, looking for attractivepieces with musical character, takinginto account key and time signatures,moods and performance time to

L I B R E T T O M A Y 1 9 9 96 | E X A M I N A T I O N S

In this issue Philip Mundey, Director of Examinations, explains how examination pieces are chosen

provide a spread and balance acrossthe lists. The pieces, particularly at thelowest grades, will not necessarily bein the keys of the scales for the grade,or even their relative minors or majors,as this would be too restricting. It isthe unique combination of all thetechnical and musical elements thatwill give any particular piece itsgrade level. Some choices inevitablyhave to be discarded because they donot sit comfortably within the para-meters of a particular grade.

The next job is to go through theshortlisted pieces with a moderatorwhose task is to confirm or adjust thegrade of each piece and comment onits suitability for inclusion in thesyllabus. Moderators are chosen fortheir exceptional expertise within aparticular instrumental grouping andtheir wide teaching experience as wellas their intimate knowledge of theBoard’s grade parameters.

Once we are satisfied on all theseissues we research each of the short-listed pieces in detail, considering avariety of issues such as:

• checking the original sources• whether it has been set before and

for which grade• any potential copyright problems• the cost of the various editions• the availability of publications

worldwide during the lifetime ofthe syllabus.

Finally, we decide on a definitive list tobe used, and the process is completed.

As far as piano and violin areconcerned the Board publishes its ownanthologies of selected graded piecesso some of these tasks are easier for

these syllabuses than others.Increasingly, selections of the exami-nation pieces for other instruments atGrades 1 to 5 are becoming availablein the Board’s Time Pieces series.

It is of the greatest importance toensure that the repertoire lists areproperly progressive, and that all theitems are within the technical andmusical parameters of their respectivegrades. This allows examiners to assessthe performance of any piece againstthe criteria for the grade withouthaving to ask questions first aboutdifficulty level. This is a significantfactor in the Board’s quality assur-ance process because it contributes tothe consistency of the service acrossthe instruments and grades.

Each syllabus review brings with itthe opportunity of fine-tuning therequirements or extending the possi-bilities for candidates and teachers.Work is currently under way on thenew Woodwind syllabus, withrevised lists for Descant (Soprano)Recorder, Treble (Alto) Recorder,Flute, Clarinet and Bassoon. TheOboe and Saxophone lists will berevised for 2002. However, as fromJanuary 2000 we have decided tooffer Bb Saxophone candidates theoption of playing their List C piece onan Eb instrument, and vice versa. Thisextends the option currently availableonly to Recorder players under whichTreble players may play one of thespecified pieces on the Descantinstrument at the higher grades.There is no automatic advantage inplaying two instruments as far asmarks are concerned, and no penaltyfor not doing so either ■


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L I B R E T T O M A Y 1 9 9 9 E X A M I N A T I O N S | 7

We are delighted to introduce thenew ABRSM InternationalScholarships award holders for 1999.

Undergraduate violinists Jacobus Frickand Katherine Stillman from SouthAfrica, pianist Ying Ho from Australiaand flautist Jenny Robinson from theUnited States will be beginning theirstudies at one of the four RoyalSchools of Music in September 1999.

Commencing postgraduate studies atthe Royal Academy of Music will bepianist William Chen from Australia.Also from Australia, singerChristopher Steele will be studying atthe Royal College of Music. SouthAfrican violinists Amanda Goodburnand Lizelle le Roux have beenawarded scholarships at the RoyalNorthern College of Music and theRoyal Scottish Academy of Music andDrama respectively.

The Board looks forward to welcomingall new scholars to the Board’s officesin Bedford Square when they begintheir studies in the UK in September.

Associated Board InternationalScholarships have been awarded formore than fifty years. Up to eightawards are made annually tostudents who have shownoutstanding musical promise forstudy on performance courses at oneof the four Royal Schools of Music.

The International Department liaisesregularly with Representatives and

Examiners who are invited to recom-mend candidates they have heardduring exams. Recently, we havebeen working closely with the RoyalSchools in a complete review ofScholarships application procedures,eligibility and conditions.

From 1999 onwards, those applyingfor an International Scholarship areasked to make their application for aplace direct to the Royal School oftheir choice. At the same time, theyare asked to complete a form to besubmitted to the Associated Boardregistering their interest in anInternational Scholarship andagreeing to comply with the set ofconditions for award holders.

Copies of this new form and a newleaflet giving full details about thescholarships and conditions are avail-able from the InternationalDepartment at the Associated Board.Details of the scholarships are alsoavailable on the Board’s website,where we will also follow theprogress of past and present scholars.

The standard required for Scholarshipsis normally at least equivalent to theAdvanced Certificate for undergrad-uate study and to the LRSM forpostgraduate study. Conditionsinclude working with the Board forpromotion/publicity purposes in theUK and in the scholar’s own country.

Prospectuses and application formsmay be obtained by writing to theRoyal Schools or via their web sites.The closing date for scholarshipsbeing awarded for the academic yearbeginning in September 2000 is 31December 1999. However, candidatesare requested to observe the specificclosing dates for application set byeach of the Royal Schools.

Royal Academy of Music, tel: +44 171 873 7393

Royal College of Music, tel: +44 171 589 3643

Royal Northern College of Music, tel: +44 161 907 5200

Royal Scottish Academy of Music andDrama, tel: +44 141 332 4101 ■

International ScholarshipsJazz Examinations The Jazz Piano and Ensembles exami-nations have finally come on stream,and hundreds of candidates havesuccessfully completed their firstexam. Indeed, the results overall havebeen very encouraging. Feedback hasbeen extremely positive, with candi-dates stating their intentions to comeback for more! Amongst the candi-dates are many teachers who havetaken a jazz exam in order to samplethe experience and be able to preparetheir pupils more effectively ■

STOP PRESS! Grade 5 Jazz Piano has been desig-nated as an alternative to Grade 5Theory or Practical Musicianship foraccess to the Board’s higher practicalexaminations. The Board’s syllabuseswill not contain this information untilthe time comes for their routine reviewand update, but candidates who passGrade 5 Jazz Piano may use this qual-ification with immediate effect as theirprerequisite for entry to Grade 6 andabove in any practical subject. Thedecision has been taken after a reviewof the content of the Jazz Piano syllabusrequirements and expectations which,at Grade 5, make demands compa-rable with those of the PracticalMusicianship syllabus in terms ofmusical understandings and skills ■

Jacobus Frick Katherine Stillman Ying Ho Jenny Robinson

William Chen Christopher Steele Amanda Goodburn Lizelle le Roux

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Tan Kee Boey was one of the firstintake of CT ABRSM students inSingapore. She completed thecourse this year and shared herexperiences of the course withme just before the award ceremony in February:

“I have been teaching the piano formany years. One year ago I consid-ered giving up teaching to sailaround the world alone. The onlyproblem was, I couldn’t swim. Sowhen I learned about the CT ABRSMcourse, I went for it without a secondthought. It seemed to meet all of myneeds, and was far less perilous thansolo circumnavigation in a sloop! Inany event, I have a high regard forUK teaching institutions.

I originally studied at the RoyalAcademy of Music. However, mydegree course contained no formaltraining in teaching, and although I thought I was a fairly good teacher,I always suspected that I could bebetter.

CT ABRSM students from Singaporefly to England to spend the initial weekat the Benslow Music Trust – and formany of us this was the highlight of

the course. The week opened my eyesto the way the mentors approachmusic, changed my whole attitudetowards teaching and left my mindracing with possibilities, for example,

• There is so much more to the job ofteaching music

• Teaching music is as much cerebralas emotional

• Being a music teacher is a privilegeand a responsibility

• Music is a living thing – not justsomething that is the subject of myteaching.

In some ways this first week made meexperience a sense of failure towardsmy past pupils, because I had paidinsufficient consideration towardsthem as individuals, and because myteaching methods had lacked variety.At the same time, I realised that thiswas where I could learn.

I started to incorporate elements ofthe course into my lessons as soon asI returned to Singapore. I started tosee each pupil as an individual; as aresult, my interaction became morepersonal, and they changed in theway they responded to me. Eachlesson became a much more happyevent. My pupils enjoy their lessonsnow, and they ask me a lot of ques-tions. The whole lesson experience isfar more interactive.

I’ve even noticed that my pupils’parents are more supportive, as theyunderstand more about what theirchild is doing. Now that their parentsunderstand our work method, they’retaking a step back and giving their child

L I B R E T T O M A Y 1 9 9 98 | F E A T U R E

the space needed to enjoy their music.

I was relieved that the study daysand assignments did not interferewith my teaching schedule, but thepreparation, research and assignmentswere a constant preoccupation. I wasnot really able to relax for as long asthe course lasted!

I had a very good mentor who waschallenging without being patronising.In fact all the mentors came across asfellow-learners. Even as ‘students’ wenever felt that we were being taught,but rather guided to experiment andexplore. Of course we were allnervous about the lesson observa-tions, but each mentor is really like a‘fly on the wall’, and within 5 to 10minutes I was able to concentrate andeven forget the mentor’s presence. Itdidn’t disrupt my pupils at all.

Now I try to make lessons interestingfor my pupils and this demands agreater amount of preparation andmore effort on my part. I’m alsoworking more with other musicteachers to exchange information, toencourage each other, and to learnfrom each other’s successes as well asmistakes. I think it’s vital to continuewith the habit of self-assessment, whichis a powerful tool for improvement.

The course did not provide one systemof teaching, but suggested, guided,provoked and inspired me to find thebest ways to meet the needs of eachpupil. I am a more sympathetic teachernow because I have been remindedhow difficult it is to be a learner of

The CT ABRSM course is now available in the UK,Singapore and Hong Kong, and is set to expand overthe next 5 years. Suzannah Power, Head of Marketing,interviewed two CT ABRSM teachers to find out howthe course has affected them.


A Tale of Two CTs

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L I B R E T T O M A Y 1 9 9 9 F E A T U R E | 9

Julia Duncan CT ABRSM will befamiliar to many readers – shehas already appeared in thecourse prospectus and on thecover of Libretto. I asked her totake time out of her increasinglybusy teaching practice to shareher experiences since shecompleted the course in 1997:

“It might sound dramatic, but if I saidthe CT ABRSM changed my life, I would really not be overstating thecase. I had reached a watershed in mylife and needed a new career. I tookup piano lessons again when mydaughter was a baby, and by the timeshe was at school, I had reachedperformance licentiate level and hadbeen persuaded into giving lessons tosome of the parents and children ather school.

I was pleasantly surprised at howmuch I enjoyed lessons, and the ideaof teaching took root in my mind as apossible career change. My ownteacher, Linda Bhattacharya, was veryencouraging and particularly enthusi-



astic about the CT ABRSM course.She’s now a mentor at the Chichestercentre where I hope her studentsderive as much pleasure from herwonderful sense of humour and herteaching skills as I did.

I considered both the LTCL and MtPPcourses, but felt that I didn’t havesufficient theoretical background, as Ididn’t have a music degree. Knowingthat I was very much a novice, I hopedthat the CT ABRSM course wouldequip me to expand my practice, assessand validate my current teachingmethods and provide me with newideas. The time commitment requiredwas manageable: 4 written assign-ments, 2 projects, 4 weekends and the5-day initial week at Dulwich College.

I arrived on my first day and wasthrilled to find that Ruth Harte was mymentor. My mentor group (9 otherstudents, all piano teachers) turnedout to ‘gel’ extremely well, making allthe sessions great fun and intellectu-ally stimulating. Everyone was muchmore experienced than me, yet sogenerous with their expertise andsupport. Private teaching can be alonely profession, and I would say thatdeveloping a network of fellow teachersis an invaluable part of the course.

I am still in contact with my group –over the past year I have been tomusical events and last month we hada reunion, combining a teaching sessionwith personal news and talking shop.

It was quite a challenge to have to writeessays again after such a long time. Ifelt like a very dry sponge wanting tosoak up as much as I could about asubject for which I was feeling anincreasing passion. After the initialweek I went home bubbling with newideas to try with my pupils and veryhelpful suggestions on all sorts oftopics from my fellow students. Ireally felt that my pupils were bene-fitting from the very beginning.

As for being observed in the teachingsituation, I think it would be fair to

‘new things’. We’re all teachingpupils about music, not teaching apreconceived idea of what ‘music’ isand force-feeding it to our pupils.

At the start of the course I was over-whelmed at re-discovering that I hadso much to learn. Now that I feelbetter trained I have more confidenceto help and to motivate the beginnerto learn the piano and to learn tomake music for the joy of it. I feelmore eager to teach than I have everfelt in the past.”

say we were all slightly nervous, butRuth (our mentor) had such skill atmaking us feel at ease and equallyour pupils that it was one of the mostbeneficial aspects of the course. Thediscipline of writing a lesson plan,endeavouring to stick to it and thenanalysing my efforts later enhancedmy time management skills no end.Equally, although the prospect ofvideoing my teaching was a dauntingone, I would single it out as the partof the course from which I learntmost – both watching myself and theother members of the group.

The pupil who enjoyed being thesubject of my teaching video is still withme, and what’s more, my teachingpractice has grown fourfold since I

graduated. Now most of my pupilscome to me through recommenda-tions, which is very gratifying. Iwould cite the knowledge gained onthe course, and the subsequent confi-dence that this knowledge has givenme, as the reasons for this expansion.

As a further benefit, as the CT ABRSMcourse exempts students from a thirdof the LRSM, I am currently in hotpursuit of the other two sections, whichI hope to have by the end of this year.

I would wholeheartedly recommendthe CT ABRSM course to anyone whoisn’t sure whether to make thecommitment, as nothing but good hascome of it for me.”

Julia Duncan with pupil Jack Booth

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As Clara says it is oftenintriguing for musicians toreflect on their own experiencesas students, and the people whomade them the teachers theyare today. Do you have a partic-ular memory of the lesson thatchanged your life that youwould like to share with readersof Libretto? If so we should liketo hear from you. In the nextissue of Libretto we shall print anumber of your stories. Pleaseaddress letters to: MajorInfluences, Libretto, at the usualAssociated Board address oremail: [email protected]

We are all familiar with theconcept of genetic inheritance,but a professional legacy is alsoleft by those who give us alasting love of music and theskill with which to turn thewritten notes into sound. Manypersonal qualities are alsoabsorbed from the character andgeneral approach of our mentorsas well as technique.

It is intriguing and also illumi-nating for us as musicians toreflect on our own experiencesand the people who made us theteachers we are today. What wasit in your case? A life-changinglesson? A public concert or, as inmy case, a selection of experi-ences centred on a small numberof very significant people?

At the Royal Academy of Music,students of accompaniment havethe privilege of listening to a greatvariety of different teachers.Whilst they provide the essentialpiano part during lessons, theygather together not only future

‘clean articulation’. The longedfor Schubert and Schumann hadto wait. The nearest he came to acompliment was ‘You phrase verymusically, so I can forgive a lot’. Atleast determination was finelyhoned and staying power testedto the full.

Reassurance at the expense oftruth never convinces studentsand a balance between encour-agement and constructivecriticism, with flexibilityaccording to each student, is oneof the attributes of a greatteacher. Add to this a high levelof communication skills, theability to predict the potentialdevelopment, consistent support,direction, discipline, injections ofhumour, and you have a fewmore characteristics that are allpart of the necessary armoury.

Rex Stephens embodied all ofthese qualities and much more.His accompaniment studentshave spread to many parts of theworld, and as I do, remembertheir lessons as providing thebackbone to their careers. Hemade every student feel thateach lesson was an importantevent for both parties. Criticismwas always constructive, aimedwith deadly accuracy but alwaysworded so as to inspire betterefforts. Confidence is precious atall stages of learning and posi-tive qualities were alwaysacknowledged, not just forencouragement, but so that wecould be more aware and buildon them. He once remarked, in arare moment of self-revelation, ‘I try to deal with the main area ofimprovement first and then move onto the details’. Wise words, oftenremembered when the tempta-tion to become fixated on oneaspect presents itself. He would

also be the first to admit thatteachers learn from theirstudents in an extraordinarytwo-way exchange that pupilsgenerally don’t appreciate.

Many students have been giventhe stamp of approval from awell-known musician, whosignals the green light for afuture career. In my case, it wasHarold Craxton whopronounced that there were‘sufficiently promising signs’.Later, consolidation of manyinfluences came with the consis-tent guidance of Rex, who hasnow seen pupils and grand-pupils spreading his own brandof wisdom and practicality.

As teachers we are all aware ofour responsibilities to the presentand to the future. It is well worthtaking time - even 30 secondsduring a lesson whilst a pupilprepares for a sight-reading test -to reflect on those whose actions,words and example have playeda major part in forming not onlythe way we play or sing, but alsoour ways of passing the torch tothe next runner.

L I B R E T T O M A Y 1 9 9 91 0 | T E A C H E R S ’ F O R U M

repertoire, but also memorabledo’s and don’ts of teaching. Theywitness inspirational lessonswhen words hit the target withan effortless flow and also theoccasions when ‘auto-pilotsyndrome’ is in operation.

Even from those early days itwas fascinating to pick upteaching tactics, whether or notthey were consciously employed.One renowned professor knownfor her artistic pedigree (but notperhaps her tact) said; ‘You havehands like purple sausages, terriblyobvious on the platform, can’t youwear gloves?’ Another professorremarked; ‘You are one of thoseunfortunate people who look evenworse when they smile - don’t smile!’Then wearily, ‘Oh no, not tears!’

My own piano professor believedthat faults must be pointed outmeticulously and a tough regimehad to be survived. TwelvePreludes and Fugues werepainstakingly learned end to endas a sole diet, so as to acquire a

Influences – major or minor?Music teachers spend such a large part of theirlives directing their energies towards their pupils,that reflecting on their own musical influences may be a rare occurrence.

Rex Stephens

Clara Taylor who recently has been made a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music

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UK High Scorers’ ConcertsCentre Date RepresentativeDoncaster 16 May Jean Stewart

Bangor 10 June Carys Arwyn Evans

Sutton Coldfield 12 June Barbara Howell

Huddersfield 2 July Dorothy Drinkwater

Isle of Man 11 July Alan & Avril Pickard

L I B R E T T O M A Y 1 9 9 9 N O T I C E B O A R D | 1 1

The following HLRs have beenappointed recently:BasingstokeKate CooperTel: 01256 882173Hemel HempsteadAmanda WillsmoreTel: 01442 390111 (work)Tel: 01462 482365 (home)InvernessChristine CameronTel: 01463 221420MaidstoneKathleen MooreTel: 01622 749356PooleJudith DutchTel: 01202 742787Selly OakMarjorie PalmerTel: 0121 472 0558

If you enter candidates in the UKor Ireland many of your dealingswill be with staff in the UK andIreland AdministrationDepartment. Who are we andhow can we help you?

Altogether there are nearly 320people contributing to the depart-ment’s activities and we worktogether to provide an efficientservice for the 100,000 candidateswho take exams each term.

The team of 290 Honorary LocalRepresentatives serving centresthroughout the UK and Ireland isat the heart of the department’sactivities. HLRs are responsiblefor all arrangements at the locallevel and they provide a point ofcontact for teachers who use thecentres they represent. HLRs willhelp with any general questionsyou have about exams orarrangements and can supplyyou with entry forms, syllabusesand regulations booklets. If youwish to make contact with yourHLR you can find their namesand telephone numbers listed inthe current Regulations booklet.

Exam arrangements are co-ordi-nated from the Board’s offices inLondon by a permanent staff of30 supplemented at key times bya small group of part-time staff.We are organised into five offices(Northern, Southern, Midlandsand Ireland, London and SpecialVisits). This division enables us toprovide a small group of staffdedicated to serving a particulargroup of teachers. Staff within theoffice which handles your entrieswill always be happy to help youin any way they can.

If you need to telephone us forany reason you will find that it isbest to call the direct line of theoffice handling your entries (thisis always given at the top of thenotice informing you of yourcandidates’ exam dates and times).

Staff within each office willalways give their name whendealing with you - we hope thatover time you will recognise thenames and voices of thosehandling your entries. However,as one of 60,000 teachers enteringcandidates in the UK and Irelandwe may not always recogniseyour name! Nevertheless, we canaccess your records immediatelyif you quote your applicantnumber when calling us – thisnumber is unique to you.

We look forward to your next call.

UK and IrelandAdministration – Who are we?

DominicaThe dialling code for Dominica,West Indies, has changed.Catherine Daniel’s contact detailsare now:Tel: 767 4482401 Ext 3237Fax: 767 448 0644GhanaLydia Arthur’s telephonenumbers are now:233 21 306512/665555HungaryEszter Németh-Peterson hasmoved to: Akácfa u. 6 V/41072 BudapestHungary New Tel/Fax: 36 1 317 1065Mob: 36 20 929 4993Email: [email protected] George’s contact details are as follows:Tel: 972 2 567 7221E-mail: [email protected] Chu now has an email address:[email protected] (Kedah)Please address all further corre-spondence to our EducationDepartment in Kedah as: Mr Ahmad bin AbdullahJabatan Pendidikan Kedah

(Examinations Section)Kompleks PendidikanJalan Stadium05100 Alor SetarKedah Darul AmanMalaysiaMalaysia (Negeri Sembilan)En. Abu Latifei bin Mohd Thaniis the Board’s new contact in theEducation Dept in NegeriSembilan, Malaysia.OmanPhillip StallwoodPO Box 2652Code 111, CPO Sultanate of OmanTel/Fax: 968 693 248GSM Mobile: 968 9332752E-mail: [email protected] AfricaRosemary Wallace has a newtelephone number: 27 21 683 2805Spain (Catalonia)Teresa Pont has a new emailaddress:Email: [email protected] (California, North)RoseMarie Dunsford’s newTel/Fax numbers and emailaddress are:Tel: (831) 375 7290Fax: (831) 649 5054Email: [email protected]

International Representatives

UK Centre NewsEnfieldJennifer McGhie has new tele-phone numbers: Home: 0181 3630714, Mobile: 0410 213907NewportCarol Read has a new telephonenumber: 01633 277481RingwoodGeoffrey Smail has a new tele-phone number: 01425 489549SheffieldPeter Bell can no longer becontacted at his home address.Please use his office telephonenumber: 0114 250 6860Welwyn Garden CityDaphne Barker has a new tele-phone number: 01707 887364 WiganGary Davies has a new telephonenumber: 0151 420 0900The following HLRs now haveemail addresses;Bishop’s StortfordPatrick Ellis:[email protected] Schulz:[email protected] of ManAlan and Avril Pickard:[email protected]

Newcastle Upon TyneMargaret Huntingdon:[email protected] Foster: [email protected] Smail:[email protected] Thomas:[email protected] Garden CityDaphne Barker: [email protected] (Republic of Ireland)John Davis: [email protected]/fax: (61) 321371

Penny Milsom, Head of UK and Ireland Administration

New HLRs

UK on-line exam entriesUK applicants can now enter candi-dates via the world-wide-web. Intrials this has proved especiallyuseful to schools and other appli-cants who enter many candidatesand it is now available for generaluse in the UK. For further informa-tion please see www.abrsm.ac.uk/examentry.html.

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Theory publications


The practical workbook formatwill enable students to preparefor a variety of musical exam-inations – for the AssociatedBoard’s Grade 6 to Grade 8Theory examinations; for A LevelMusic and Diploma examinations;for university and college entrancepapers. It will serve in particularas a vital aid in bridging the gapbetween Grade 5 and Grade 6Theory. A thorough pursuit ofthis workbook will also bring agreater understanding to bear onstudents’ music-making, and willenhance their awareness of styleand their appreciation of othermusicians’ performances.

Publication: Summer 1999

First Steps in Music TheoryGrades 1 to 5

Eric Taylor £4.95

First Steps in Music Theory is aninvaluable tool for studentspreparing for theory examinations,as well as being a perfect aid forthose learning to read music.Professor Eric Taylor’s conciseexplanations of the basic facts,written in plain English, makethis book accessible to students ofall ages. New material isintroduced within a logical andprogressive framework, helpingthe student to establish a strongunderstanding on which to buildfurther knowledge at every level.Presented in the ever-populargrade-by-grade format, thishandy reference book covers allthe necessary material for theAssociated Board’s Grade 1 to 5Theory examinations.

Publication: 15 July 1999


Spectrum 2

compiled by Thalia Myers £5.95

Spectrum 2 builds on theenormous success enjoyed bySpectrum, first published in 1996.This new volume presents 30specially commissionedminiatures for pianists, writtenby leading composers born ornow based in Great Britain.

Presenting a vibrant diversity ofmusical language and thought,Spectrum 2 reflects the breadth ofcurrent compositional trends andserves as an invaluable intro-duction to contemporary music.

Associated Board publications areavailable from your local music retailer. For a list of local stockists please contactthe publishing company’s marketingdepartment:

ABRSM (Publishing) Limited14 Bedford SquareLondon WC1B 3JG United Kingdom

Tel: +44 171 636 5400Fax: +44 171 637 0234e-mail: [email protected]

L I B R E T T O M A Y 1 9 9 91 2 | P U B L I C A T I O N S

Jazz WorksThe ABRSM Jazz Ensemble Series

Jazz Works is a brand newcollection of compositions for jazzensemble. There are three levels(Initial, Intermediate andAdvanced): a score edition pack,and a teachers book + CD, isavailable for each.

This is an innovative educationalpackage, containing works gearedto the standards expected inAssociated Board Jazz Ensembleexaminations, which introduceexciting repertoire for use inconcerts, classrooms andexaminations.

The teacher’s book providesbackground material for eachpiece along with informationabout artists, composers, recordingsand jazz culture; the CD containssamples of all the pieces and thetechniques described.

The score edition pack providesparts for flexible ensemble, fromduo to large band, containing partsfor: C, B flat, E flat and Bass Clefinstruments; for Piano, Guitar, Bassand Drums. Performance notesand tips on rehearsal techniquesare provided for each piece.

Purchase of the pack includes aCopying Licence authorising thepurchaser to make extra copies ofthe parts for larger groups.

Publication: July 1999

Harmony in Practice £tbc

Anna Butterworth

Answer book £tbc

Harmony in Practice explores the mainelements of tonal harmony. Studentsusing this book will acquire a secureknowledge of the basics of harmonicpractice. Singing, playing andcompleting the exercises, and studyingthe music examples, will provideessential experience of the ‘tools ofthe trade’. More than 280 musicexamples illustrate the author’s clear anddirect exposition of the history and practice of harmony whilethe student will be able to work through over 180 exercises.

Theory Workbooks

Grade 6 £5.95Grade 7 £tbcGrade 8 £tbc

This new series of Theory Workbooksprovides straightforward informa-tion and advice about, andpractice for, the Associated Board’shigher-grade Theory examinationpapers from 1999 onwards.

Each workbook describes thenature of the questions set on atheory paper for the grade andexplains clearly how to tackle them.Various approaches are outlinedand answers and responsesanalysed. Several samples aregiven for each question in turn sothat students can put theory intopractice immediately. Answers tothe sample context questions aregiven at the back of the books.

These workbooks focus preciselyon the skills and knowledgeneeded at each grade and willprovide candidates with the toolsto approach the papers positivelyand sit them successfully. Theyare complementary to the Board’sexisting theory publications.

Publication:Grade 6 4 February 1999Grades 7 and 8 in preparation

Spectrum 2 contains pieces thatare easier and shorter than thosein the original Spectrum; theyrange in standard from Grade 1to Grade 6 and are a concise andtrue representation of eachcomposer’s style. They aresuitable for amateur andprofessional pianists of all ages.

Publication: 18 May 1999

Also available:


compiled by Thalia Myers £8.50

‘... rewarding to play’ MUSICAL TIMES

‘An unmissable investment’MUSIC TEACHER

A double CD containing Spectrumand Spectrum 2, performed byThalia Myers, will be released byNMC Recordings on 18 May1999. Copies may be purchasedvia your local music retailer orfrom any good record store.


And finally…

No, this is not a new publication!Based on the 'Signature' seriesthis specially-created cover waspresented to Julian Hodgson onhis recent retirement from thepublishing company.