Posted on

Differences between ABRSM and Trinity College London music theory

Differences between ABRSM and Trinity College London music theory exams are outlined in All-In-One to Grade 5 music theory book

There are some similarities as well as differences between ABRSM and Trinity College London theory exams. All-In-One to Grade 5’ ,unlike most other music theory books, is suitable for BOTH Associated Board (ABRSM) and Trinity College London students. Students can easily keep track of topics studied and their corresponding grades by examining the two graded checklists. The main book is fully comprehensive to ABRSM requirements grades 1 to 5 whilst Trinity College London (previously called Trinity Guildhall) students will require the separate ‘Trinity Guildhall Supplement’ booklet (£2.99) to use alongside. You are advised to see the graded checklists within the book itself to understand in detail the similarities and differences.

ABRSM is the most popular examination board yet Trinity College London exams are equally recognised qualifications. Trinity is perhaps most suitable for instrumentalists learning pop music or jazz due to its inclusion of jazz chord symbols (as well as Roman notation). It also focuses upon composition (at an earlier stage) via adding a bass line to a melody or vice-versa. Trinity students, unlike ABRSM students, are expected to know about ostinato (common in jazz music) , syncopation, sequences (real and tonal) the ‘natural minor’ and pentatonic scale, inverted intervals, arpeggios, broken chords and a little about the guitar and saxophone.

Topics contained in the  Supplement booklet are closely related to topics already studied in the main book (e.g. ‘broken chords’ can easily be understood by anyone with knowledge of the tonic chord and inversions). Therefore anyone who is studying All-In-One to Grade 5 will find the Supplement booklet easy and the next logical step.

Compound time signatures are introduced at grade 3 for both ABRSM and Trinity students. However,  ABRSM students are expected to know a wider variety of key signatures at a much earlier stage than Trinity students.

Unsure which exam syllabus to follow? Why not start with All-In-One to Grade 5 book and decide when you are ready, in your own time. If you are happy to stick to ABRSM theory exams, grade 1, 2,3,4 and 5, you will need no other material. If you wish to learn the few extra subjects required by Trinity College London syllabus, get the extra supplement booklet which is available at only a small cost. Which exam syllabus do you prefer and why; Associated Board or Trinity College London?

Posted on

Music theory exam dates, UK

Music theory exam dates in the UK, 2017.

ABRSM and Trinity College London music theory exam dates

ABRSM is an acronym for ‘Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music’. ABRSM music theory exams take place in 93 different countries around the world. In the UK they take place times a year in the Spring, Summer and Autumn (known as periods A, B and C).

A) Spring 2017 Music theory exam date: Wednesday 1st March (5 pm). Closing date for online entries: Friday 20th January. Closing date for postal entries: Friday 13th January.

B) Summer 2016 Music theory exam date: Saturday 17th June (10.00am). Closing date for online entries: Friday 12th May. Closing date for postal entries: Friday 5th April.

C) Autumn 2016 Music theory exam date: Tuesday 7th November (5 pm). Closing date for online entries: Friday 29th September. Closing date for postal entries: Friday 22rd September.

Trinity College London provide exams and award qualifications in over 60 countries around the world. The music theory exam dates are as follows:

Saturday 6th May 2016 (closing date Monday 27th March)
Monday 8th May 2016 (closing date Monday 27th March)
Saturday 4th November 2016 (closing date Monday 25th September)
Monday 6th November 2016 (closing date Monday 25th September)

How to enter an exam. You can enter yourself for a theory exam if you are age eighteen years or older. Alternatively candidates may be entered for an exam by a school, a teacher of music, a parent or guardian. Anyone who enters receives a unique applicant number. For details about ABRSM exam centres in your area speak to your local ABRSM representative  or Trinity Guildhall representative . Apply for entrance online using the ABRSM or Trinity Guildhall websites (or you can request a postal application form).

Accreditation. Both Associated Board and Trinity qualifications provide qualifications recognized by government educational authorities worldwide. A pass at Grade 5 (music theory) enables students to proceed to Grade 6-8 exams which can contribute towards higher education through the allocation of UCAS (University and Colleges Admission Service). UCAS points which can be used as part of a university or college application in the UK.

Please bookmark our site or join us on twitter to receive updates about forthcoming music theory exams. Feel free to ask the author any last minute questions you may have.

We are also very keen to hear from students who have used All-In-One to Grade 5 to pass their theory exams (a distinction we trust!).