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Practical Session 2 Update - Malta

We appreciate how much the cancellation of our exams has affected learners and we are working hard on solutions to ensure learners can gain their qualifications at the earliest opportunity.

Unfortunately government restrictions have not lifted in time for us to open the postponed booking period. Therefore we will be cancelling Session 2 Practical exams scheduled for October-December. Our Representative will provide further guidance in due course. We are very sorry for the impact on teachers and candidates and we will continue to monitor the situation. Thank you for your loyalty and support while these restrictions remain in place.

We will be gradually rolling out remotely-assessed Performance Grades https://gb.abrsm.org/en/performancegrades/ internationally and will share exam dates and booking periods soon.

The booking period for online Music Theory exams at Grades 1 to 5 is now open. The closing date is Monday 12 October. For information about Grades 6 to 8, see our dates and fees page. To book exams you will need to register and create an account with our new online booking service.

Pitch - the mystery of lines and spaces and where to put the stems!

1 year ago
Karen Marshall

Karen Marshall

Karen Marshall is a private, peri and classroom music teacher from York. An award winning author she has written 17 publications to date including ABRSM Piano Encores and joint edited Piano Star Grade 1. She is a co-author of the beginner piano method, Get Set! Piano as well as being trained in teaching music to special needs students. She is passionate about all children having access to a good quality music education.

ABRSM’s new Piano Star Theory book helps bridge the gap between student and teacher by providing solutions to common theory challenges.

A student once confessed to me that her previous teacher had talked about lines and spaces but she didn’t know what her teacher was talking about because in her mind, ‘there wasn’t any spaces anywhere on the music, just lines!’

To her, a space was a much larger blank page. Simply explaining that lines either run through the middle of the note, or sit at the bottom and top was the explanation she needed to gain some understanding. I wish I’d had Piano Star Theory to hand!

Lines and spaces are very clearly explained in Piano Star Theory so students can see the difference between the two. The space team and the line time provide useful activities from note drawing to identifying space and line notation. Additional quizzes can also help teachers to further consolidate.

It’s easy to forget that to many children it isn’t obvious where to put the stems on notes. Often they can be put the wrong way round and this concept needs much practice! Piano Star Theory has a catchy song to the tune of ‘The Wheels on the Bus’ as well as activities that encourage drawing stems and recognising when they have been presented correctly.

If you’re wondering how you can incorporate some of these techniques into your lesson you could try this activity: Support your student to make their own stave, a large A4 stave can be laminated and then used for your student to practice writing different pitches, note values and rests correctly. Do use the wonderful illustration in Piano Star Theory with everything labelled up for guidance.

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