Many students find motivation in taking graded repertory exams, though these are not as commonplace in the United States as they are elsewhere.
If you don't know about them (or even if you do and want to know more), here is a list of some of the most common music exams, and where they take place:
There are other music exams, and some are more localized. I welcome your additions to this list!
As a teacher, I'm happy when students can have a goal that motivates their progress. If the test measures a student's foundation-building progress, that is great. However, if it becomes a situation of "teaching to the test" or long-term "preparing for the test" - not so great! For example, it's important to be a progressing through a full book of etudes at an appropriate level, rather than to pick one etude to polish for three months for a test.
What are your opinions about graded music exams for violin and string students? Have you participated in a music examination program (or more than one)? Do you wish you could, but they aren't offered in your area? Are exams motivating for you or for your students? Do they help you measure your progress as a student? Or are they a waste of time that interferes with other learning? Please share your thoughts on the subject!
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