Exploring the options
Working towards a music examination is a positive experience for many students leading to great confidence and improved attention to detail. It is also a great way to develop some of the supplementary skills that will lend greater depth to their musicianship, including sight-reading, scales, aural perception, in addition to the theory of music exams.
Examinations are offered in a wide variety of subjects from Introductory ones for young players, through grade and diploma levels for more experienced students, as appropriate to each pupil's musical aspirations and needs.
Most students work towards graded exams in piano and theory of music as two separate subjects; however, students are welcome to pursue alternatives such as jazz piano, piano accompaniment, piano duet, leisure-play, or composition. Typical grade exam components include a selection of pieces, scales or a study, and other supplementary tests.
With a range of diplomas on offer, including an entry-level qualification at DipLCM, many students now decide to continue their studies after grade 8, whether for their own personal satisfaction or as a foundation towards a career in music.
Options include pathways in piano performance, teaching or accompaniment at one of three diploma levels (DipLCM, ALCM, or LLCM). The preferred route for many students is in performance; here candidates can choose between a recital option or a shorter performance and the usual sight-reading, scales, study etc. Some of my students have worked towards teaching diplomas, which require a short lesson demonstration with one of their pupil in the exam room. The examiner will be looking for effective teaching, along with evidence that the candidate has suitable knowledge of the repertoire and clear ideas as to how to solve particular technical or expressive issues in performance.
About the exam board
London College of Music Examinations (LCM) is an international examination board that offers accredited qualifications at grade and diploma level. The institution, founded in 1887, also operates a full-time conservatoire of music in West London, offering undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in music, as well as an external examination department with over 250 centres throughout the UK and overseas.
As Area Representative for London College of Music, one of my duties include arranging for hundreds of candidates each season to be examined in a wide range of exams and disciplines including Classical, jazz and popular/folk subjects, music theatre and conducting. Many find LCM examiners to be friendly and approachable and this helps ensure that my candidates have every chance to relax and perform to their best at every level. And given the large student base here at IMJMusic, my pupils are fortunate to be able to take their examinations here in the studio on the instrument they are familiar with.
With a range of options to suit all levels and abilities, an exam is a great way to encourage you to develop your skills and confidence