My children both play instruments. My 11 year old plays the clarinet and did grades 3 and 4 with ABRSM and then moved to Trinity for grades 5 and 6. She got a distinction in grade 6 just after her 11th birthday. She prefers Trinity because it seems a bit more performance based.

My 10 year old is working towards grade 5 on the trombone. He's doing fine with ABRSM but it seems a bit more dull. Not just the scales but it just seems more structured and less interesting...am I wrong? Does anyone know anything about brass instruments and Trinity? (I should just add - they are never going to be professionals or anything. This is for fun, plain and simple. They just both love working towards a goal, hence doing exams.)


3 Answers 3


Be guided by their teachers. They should be well aware of the way the children work, learn and play. And aware of the 'limitations' of each board grade. It could even be down to the pieces currently available for playing at the exams.


There is no real difference in "difficulty" between ABRSM and Trinity. Both examination systems count exactly the same at grades 6 - 8 in terms of "UCAS points" for UK university admissions. (For non-UK readers, these are regulated at a national level by Ofqual).

If your children are doing this "for fun", you might want to investigate the ABRSM "Practical Musicianship" exams, which are available for singers or any instrumentalists, and focus on sight reading, improvising, etc rather than the "traditional" ABRSM exams which are more biased towards performing set pieces of music.


I would advice you to keep to the standards that your teachers adheres to. It is your childs teachers responsibility to get them good grades. The task is made more difficult when a teacher who has been teaching ABRSM all his teaching life suddenly has to change to trinty guildhall simply to appease a parent.

There is also the issues around theory. The methods say that you can have your theory work approved if it was done trough another organisation but I do believe this is only lip service. They really want you to do there theory.

Also if a ABRSM examiners asks a candidate what theory they have done and answer is ABRSM Grade 4 that examiner clearly knows exactly what level you have attained. If the answer is Trinity grade 4 that may actually mean nothing to that examiner.

  • Trying to think of a time when an examiner might have reason to ask a candidate what theory they've done - for any board. Examiners don't work exclusively for one board.
    – Tim
    Commented Nov 20, 2019 at 8:47

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.