UK Trinity Guitar Exams - self composed pieces - anyone done this?

Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.
martin_z
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Joined: Wed Feb 22, 2017 12:10 pm
Location: London

UK Trinity Guitar Exams - self composed pieces - anyone done this?

Post by martin_z » Tue Apr 18, 2017 4:35 pm

Hi all

I've been playing guitar for about 15 months, and classical guitar for a few months. I've decided I'm going to take the UK classical guitar exams (Trinity rather that ABRSM), starting at grade 3. I find it useful to have a target - keeps me going even when I'm not in the mood!

Now, something that Trinity allow you to do is to play a self-composed piece as one of your three pieces for the exam. I think this is quite an interesting idea, and something I'm considering. I wrote a tune many many MANY years ago, which I think will arrange quite well for guitar - it could be fun.

What I really wanted to know is - has anyone else done this? What are your views?

Thanks.

DevonBadger
Posts: 57
Joined: Sun May 29, 2016 8:03 pm
Location: Devon, UK

Re: UK Trinity Guitar Exams - self composed pieces - anyone done this?

Post by DevonBadger » Tue Apr 18, 2017 4:52 pm

I haven't composed anything (random noodling doesn't count does it, even if it is very enjoyable) but I'm also planning to take the Trinity grade 3 exam this summer and just wanted to say good luck with it.

My teacher was a bit surprised when I said I would be interested in the exams - I'm about 40 years older than his usual entrants - but he has been completely supportive. Like you, I thought it would be good to have a target. It's also brought to my attention pieces I probably wouldn't have known about.

Just need to get a grip on my nerves and be able to play in front of other people... that's all! :)

DerekB
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Joined: Tue May 01, 2012 10:22 am
Location: Bollington, Cheshire UK

Re: UK Trinity Guitar Exams - self composed pieces - anyone done this?

Post by DerekB » Tue Apr 18, 2017 5:54 pm

I wouldn't dream of playing a self-composed piece in an exam. It effectively places an extra obstacle in the way of obtaining high marks. The piece has to be technically up to the standard of the set pieces and capable of allowing you to communicate musically. Can you write a piece that meets those criteria?

Trinity set some excellent pieces at all levels and I have never felt the urge or need to look outside their set pieces. I have passed grades 4, 6 and 7 (I skipped grade 5 due to a minor illness on the day of the exam) and will soon be returning to preparing grade 8 after a break caused by a hand injury. I will be 72 by the time I take the exam.

Whatever you decide to do, best of luck with the exam.
I've suffered for my music. Now it's your turn... - Seasick Steve

Ana Espinosa 2014 Swiss spruce/IRW
Yulong Guo 2009 640mm scale cedar/IRW

Mr Kite

Re: UK Trinity Guitar Exams - self composed pieces - anyone done this?

Post by Mr Kite » Tue Apr 18, 2017 7:10 pm

I think it's a great idea. Can't think how they mark you or make sure they are being consistent when one candidate may be playing something far far more difficult than another, but that's their problem.

Why Trinity BTW?

martin_z
Posts: 12
Joined: Wed Feb 22, 2017 12:10 pm
Location: London

Re: UK Trinity Guitar Exams - self composed pieces - anyone done this?

Post by martin_z » Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:10 pm

Mr Kite - Are you asking why Trinity vs ABRSM? Simply because my teacher prefers the syllabus. And looking over the internet, the general consensus seems to be that Trinity's pieces are more interesting. And it certainly wasn't hard to choose three different but interesting pieces for the exam - even if I decide in the end not to compose one.

DevonBadger - good luck to you in summer. I don't think I'll be taking the exam until at least the autumn. Which pieces are you playing?

Mr Kite

Re: UK Trinity Guitar Exams - self composed pieces - anyone done this?

Post by Mr Kite » Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:16 pm

Yes, that's what I meant - sounds like the way forward then.

Nick Clow
Posts: 277
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2014 2:58 am
Location: Murwillumbah, Australia

Re: UK Trinity Guitar Exams - self composed pieces - anyone done this?

Post by Nick Clow » Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:15 am

Hi Martin

Yes, I played one of my own pieces for Trinity Grade 6 last year in Australia. I got 21 out of 22 for it, so it didn't do me any harm!

Trinity build in this option for a reason (to encourage creativity and to allow a more R-brained, less prescriptive approach to exams and music in general, I would suggest!) There is no reason why you shouldn't do it, in fact you are likely to get a positive response from the examiner for having the gumption to do so. So go for it!

I would recommend having a close look at the syllabus to check the regulations and to ensure your piece complies with them, including length. From memory they give you some themes to write a piece around, although you don't have to use them. Your piece needs to equate to the grade you are doing in terms of difficulty. I would stress the importance of your score - you are required to hand over a copy and it goes without saying that it needs to be 100 % accurate and correctly express the rhythm, dynamics, voicing etc.

I had no special reason to do an exam. Having had a terrific teacher in Sydney, I moved up here to a country area 2 years ago. Just to keep my interest up (now being a little isolated) and simply to find out what doing an exam was like, I decided to do one. I could have taken AMEB or Trinity. I found the Trinity syllabus friendlier both in terms of the choice of pieces and in being somehow less didactic. I write lots of music, so loved the option of playing one of my own pieces. Also, I could do the exam on the Gold Coast, only 25 minutes away. The local Trinity contact and visiting examiner were both really friendly and encouraging. I could not speak more highly of the Trinity experience.

Good luck, let us know how it goes :D
formerly Edward Frillypants

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