Bye Bye Associated Board. Hello Trinity.

My first tour working as an examiner for the Associated Board examiner was in Autumn 1992. That’s more than twenty years ago and since then I have examined in every session and in many countries from the USA to the Far East. This picture was taken some years ago checking the piano in a Hong Kong exam studio.









Not all has been sweetness and light, however. Examiners may be held in awe by many of the people that really matter, such as candidates, parents and teachers, but for those that have the power to hire and fire them, AB examiners appear to have fewer rights than illegal immigrants; on a whim they can suddenly find themselves suspended or banned from working and with no means of redress. Heaven help any AB examiner that dare speak his mind! In 2004 I myself experienced the rough justice meted out by the suits and skirts at Portland Place.

When I was examining in Kuching, Borneo, I met fellow examiner Dr Marc Rochester who’d moved out there not long before.  His story as an examiner, working firstly for the AB for about two decades, having an unpleasant experience and then going over to Trinity, is not a million miles away from my own. He also has a gift for the written word, so you may like to read something of his adventures, often hilariously expressed, and not least since he touches on some of the differences between the AB and Trinity, albeit mainly from the examiner’s point of view.  If so, click HERE (opens in a new window).

tcl_london_officeSo it was that in May 2013 I was delighted to resign from the AB. Shortly before that, I had attended an interview with Trinity at their London office. As you can see from the photo it’s next to MI6, so it’s best not to get them mixed up! After that, I was accepted for their examiner training. Having twenty years experience under my belt, I thought it would be a walk in the park. It wasn’t. Their systems are at least as rigorous as the Board’s and the further breakdown of marks for the pieces adds to the task.

I also soon discovered that the TCL syllabuses are far more comprehensive and diverse than the Board’s with the addition of various options, like musical knowledge and improvisation, as well as sight reading and technical work, given to candidates. Many of the requirements are tailor made for the intstrument concerned and these have to be studied and understood in order to be correctly and confidently managed in the exam room.

The playing of aural tests too, depending as it does on the examiner often having to make slight changes, which have to be identified by the candidate, means that the examiner has to be able to play the tests consistently, otherwise mayhem would result!

peter_keep_closed_leedsAnother plus point for Trinity is the sense of musical egalitarianism with which I find myself more at home. For example, as well as the jazz versions of some instruments, such as flute, there is a syllabus for plectrum guitar and another one for electronic keyboard.

I grew up first playing the likes of Status Quo and the Stones in my own little group at home and then (far more interesting) jazz-rock fusion in the style of Mahavishnu Orchestra and Stanley Clark at Leeds Music College. At the same time I was benefiting from from having to learn more serious, classical things like Köhler studies on the flute, Mozart sonatas on the piano and Carcassi studies on the guitar.

So, from now onwards I am a Trinity examiner and not an AB one. If you’d like to visit the TCL site click HERE (opens in a new window).




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