What's your music examiner looking for on exam day?

What's your music examiner looking for on exam day?

Picture of Jean McCreery

BY: Jean McCreery
23 August 2017

Assessment Criteria
You don’t need to try and second guess how your Trinity music examiner will assess you on the day of your Classical & Jazz or Rock & Pop exam. Our exam assessment criteria is readily available so you can easily see how you and your students are progressing and where to place your focus for improvement to produce higher scores.

In this post I will touch on the key areas you should consider when assessing your current performance and skills and how your examiner will interpret it on exam day to apply an appropriate mark. 


Classical & Jazz Exams
If you haven’t seen the assessment criteria already, make sure to download your copy today.

Assessment Criteria for Classical & Jazz

The marking scheme for pieces divides the total mark available into three distinct categories:
1. Fluency & Accuracy
2. Technical Facility
3. Communication & Interpretation

A really good sense of how the three different categories work can be summarised like this:

Fluency & Accuracy | Me and the Music
Looking at the music, can you play all the right notes with the right rhythms and do so fluently with no stumbles or hesitations?

Technical Facility | Me and the Instrument
Thinking about your relationship with the instrument, have you developed the technical requirements to play the instrument in tune, with good control of the sound and any other pertinent technical challenges of your instrument?

Communication & Interpretation | Me and the Audience
Looking out at your audience, can you communicate the character of the piece through use of specific articulations, dynamics, correct tempo and other performance directions written in the music?

Judge for yourself
Grab a video camera or your phone and record yourself as you practise your instrument. As you listen back to your performance look carefully and consider the key words in the three boxes. 

Is your Fluency & Accuracy ‘excellent’ with a ‘very high degree of accuracy’? Or are you rather more ‘generally reliable’? Or perhaps you are still showing a ‘limited sense of fluency’!

By following the boxes in the document you’ll have a very real sense of what the examiner is looking for and how your marks will be awarded.

The criteria for marks awarded to the Technical Work and the Supporting Tests is also available in the guide. They follow a similar pattern in that each level puts a greater demand of expectation on your consistent performance and skills.


Rock & Pop Exams
The 3 categories used when marking Rock & Pop exams are very similar to Classical & Jazz – focusing on:

Assessment Criteria for Rock & Pop

1. Fluency & Musical Detail
2. Technical Control
3. Communication & Style

If you haven’t seen the assessment criteria already, download your copy now.




As you see, your potential marks for Song 3 are different because we award higher marks under the Technical Control to reflect the three areas of Technical focus.

Our Rock & Pop exams are designed to encourage musical performances where you as the candidate can demonstrate your own personal style and approach. This may involve some flexibility in the interpretation of the written notes, particularly at the higher grades, where consistent and stylish interpretation is encouraged. However, your performance should not be simplified and musical integrity should always be maintained.

Find out more about our Rock & Pop exams and download our new syllabus and get started with Trinity today.


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