Recently, I presented “The Value of Grade 5 Theory” at Hackney Music Service for a team of dedicated teachers led by James Thomas. Briefly, the message of “The Value of Grade 5 Theory” is that understanding music is the key to fully enjoying it and that Grade 5 Theory should be seen as an opportunity to develop this understanding and thereby a life time enjoyment of music.
I was impressed by James’ relationship with teachers and staff and his commitment to the Hub.
Discussion is a vital aspect of the teaching process. I was left with 2 questions in particular which still engage me.
1. Is the ABRSM’s Grade 5 Theory fit for purpose? There was certainly a feeling that its content is not entirely relevant.
2. Do the alternative equivalents such as the Grade 5 Jazz and the Grade 5 Practical Musicianship exams ensure the same understanding as the written Grade 5 Theory exam? The teachers at my presentation were suggesting that these alternatives left students needing to go back to Grade 5 Theory in order to understand the theoretical requirements of Music A level.
In light of this is it the case that, although Grade 5 Theory may not be entirely fit for purpose, it is still the best we have?