Frequently Asked Questions and Guidance for Trinity College London exams

Frequently Asked Questions and Guidance for Trinity College London exams

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BY: Samantha Steele
03 July 2024

Whether you are new to Trinity College London’s music exams or entering an exam after a long hiatus you might have questions that are frequently asked and answered by the Sector Support Team here at Trinity. This post aims to give you some useful insight into our frequently asked questions across our many different music syllabuses.  

Singing repertoire Group A songs are split into A(i) and A(ii). Do these constitute two separate groups or one single group? If my student wanted to choose two items from group A(ii) is this permissible? 

Yes, we only subdivide the group to help teachers and candidates navigate the extensive list. They can sing two songs from Group A(ii) but then their 2 remaining songs (assuming a face-to-face exam, or the Technical-pathway for Digital Grades and Diplomas) must come from other groups and they must present songs in at least two living languages. For more information, please read our Singing syllabus.  

The Repertoire-only pathway for digital Woodwind exams states four pieces must be played and the syllabus requires two from Group A and one from Group B. Can my student choose three from Group A and one from Group B or two from Group A and two from Group B? 

Yes – the pieces can be chosen from any list for digital Repertoire-only Woodwind exams where the syllabus stipulates two from Group A and one from Group B. The candidate must prepare pieces by at least two composers and can play one piece from the Jazz Woodwind syllabus in place of one of the listed pieces. The chosen piece must be listed for the same instrument and grade and the music be selected from the same group (A or B). You can find more information in our classical Woodwind syllabus. 

 Can you mix and match Piano syllabuses so 2021 technical work and 2023 pieces? 

Building on the existing 2021 publications, we will be continuing to increase the repertoire available to candidates through an ongoing programme of new publication releases. Both the 2021 exercises and the 2023 exercises are listed in the 2023 syllabus. They can choose from one set or mix and match. You can find more information in our Piano repertoire list or Piano syllabus. 

Must I use the edition of a piece stipulated on the repertoire list or can I use an edition by a different publisher? 

No, recommended editions are listed in the repertoire lists, but candidates may perform from any reliable edition which has not been shortened or otherwise altered or simplified. Product codes for publications are included where available. 

 Do I have to use a Trinity backing track for my Rock & Pop exam? 

Rock & Pop performances must always be accompanied by the Trinity backing tracks, for all songs chosen from the Trinity songbooks or the eStore, backing tracks are located in the book as a code. The only circumstances in which a non-Trinity backing track can be used is for Song 2, if performing an own-choice song or one composed by the candidate. 

 Does the examiner have the backing tracks in face-to-face Rock & Pop exams? 

In face-to-face exams the examiner will have all the backing tracks for songs in the Trinity songbooks, as well as official additional tracks published by Trinity for purchase from the eStore. Examiners will operate the backing tracks to provide a sound check using the opening bars of the first song. The Trinity backing tracks must be used for any songs chosen from the Trinity songbooks or eStore. If Song 2 is an own-choice song, the backing track should be given to the examiner on a USB stick (in MP3 format) or CD (if appropriate). 

 Which scales and technical exercises do I have to do for my digital exam? 

The relevant technical work requirements for Classical and Jazz Digital Grades can be found online here.  

 Do I have to record my digital exam in a specific order such as pieces first? 

You may choose the order of your performance – provided that your technical work is played as one complete section, it can be presented either before or after your pieces. 

 Can saxophone, flute and clarinet Diplomas be done with a full jazz programme of repertoire if people want?  

Programmes must comprise predominantly classical repertoire, and programmes consisting entirely of popular or jazz repertoire will not be approved. The programme would need to be submitted for approval and it is possible it may not be allowed due to containing too many items in genres not represented in the published repertoire lists, which should be used as a guide. In particular, we ask that own-choice pieces do not contain improvised sections as the examiner needs to assess for notational accuracy. You can use our Diploma pages to find out more. 

 I have recorded my exam and you cannot see the music on the stand. Do I need to re-record the exam or will I lose marks? 

Trinity guidelines state you should position your camera so that your face, hands and all of your instruments are in shot while ensuring that your music stand does not obscure the view. However, you do not need to see the music stand in the recording. You can find more information on our recording guidance.

 Do I need approval for the Rock & Pop Song 2 choice? 

No, own-choice songs must be equivalent in standard to the songs in the Trinity songbook for the grade. Parameters indicating the length and level of difficulty required at each grade are listed on pages in each syllabus to aid you with your choice. You can view the different Rock & Pop syllabuses here.  

 Can I send you single scans of my music for approval at Diploma level? 

No, any programme including own choice items, or single movements from items listed complete in the repertoire lists, must be approved by Trinity as a complete programme before you can enter for the exam. We are unable to consider submissions of individual pieces. If your programme is all taken from the Diploma repertoire lists then you won’t need approval. You can now use the online portal to submit your diploma-level approval.  

 Do I need to perform repeats in the music? 

Candidates should observe repeats of up to 4 bars, but longer repeats should not be played unless stated otherwise in the repertoire list. All da capo and dal segno instructions should be observed. Candidates are not required to play cadenzas unless stated otherwise in the repertoire list.  You can find more information in the syllabus relating to your instrument.

These are just some of the most common questions we are often asked. If you need further support, why not try our new support desk and browse our knowledge base for answers to your questions? Or submit a question of your own if you are unable to find an answer. You can find all music related questions by clicking here and navigating our pages. 


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