Advice about drum grades

Mighty_Joker

Silver Member
Hi all,

I'm starting drum lessons again shortly, and am planning to take my grades. I have a few questions and queries which I would appreciate a little advice on.

Firstly, in the UK we have to Grading Bodies: Rockshool, and Trinity Guildhall. From what I can tell, Trinity is the more "prestigious" of the two, with Rockschool being a little more modern and simplistic. Is this correct, and does anyone have any experience of these two exam boards?

Also, I have been drumming for about 11 years. 4 or 5 of those have been serious, with between 2-4hours a day of regular practice. I play in bands, gig and record, so I am pretty experienced in the drums. How will I find fitting in to the graded syllabus? Should I just start at Grade 1 for the sake of completion, or start at something more my level? I feel I would be at or above Grade 8 for some aspects of my playing, and perhaps lower for other aspects, so I'm not really sure what to expect.

With the amount of practice I do, what sort of time line would I be looking at for the completion of my grades?

A little advice and information about this would be really appreciated.

Thanks,

Jon


EDIT: Just to add, I will of course find a very good drum teacher for this.
 

mrbling

Silver Member
hey well ive been doing grades my teacher does the rockschool ones so i dont really have a comparison. tbh youd have to be a very good drummer to play grade 8 my teacher is very very good and is just doing his 8 now and we talk about it and there parts where he struggles.

but my advice is to go to a shop ask to look through the books then get a teacher play a bit ask his opinion on what you are capable of as well as giving your opinion on what you think you are capable of and hopefully you can come up with a realistic target.
 

drumbandit

Silver Member
I did the grades, passed Rockschool 6 and jumped straight to 8 which I'm studying for now. There's no point doing grade 1 if you've been playing for that number of years seriously it would be an exam which you could just sight read through. I'd say go to a drum shop and take a look at grade 6 or 7 books just to see what you think, but remember you could have months until you take the exams as the examination period is at times times throughout the year. So if it looks a bit difficult, think about how long you would have to prepare.

Also go to the back of the book and look at the technical exercises and the sight reading, improvisation parts just to see what the whole exam will be like.

Tom
 

Boomka

Platinum Member
Firstly, in the UK we have to Grading Bodies: Rockshool, and Trinity Guildhall. From what I can tell, Trinity is the more "prestigious" of the two, with Rockschool being a little more modern and simplistic. Is this correct, and does anyone have any experience of these two exam boards?
The Rockschool stuff - as the name implies - is geared much more heavily toward rock and pop music. You will find a lot more variation in styles in the Trinity books, including Latin, shuffles/swing, show-type grooves, etc. beginning in the early grades. Rockschool has included a few of these in the early grades, but they seem less well thought-out than the rest of the material, and can actually be pretty lame. I also like the fact that the Trinity rudimental component isn't simply performing a rudiment at a certain tempo, but incorporates the rudiment into a musical setting - i.e as fills, etc. I've found that with Rockschool, there isn't always enough connection between the technical studies in the back and the pieces. To me, the technical stuff should be incorporated as much as possible into the pieces. So, for that, I prefer the Trinity stuff. Moreover, I think it better prepares players for a wider range of musical demands. But, that isn't for everyone, so Rockschool may be just the thing for you.

Also, I have been drumming for about 11 years. 4 or 5 of those have been serious, with between 2-4hours a day of regular practice. I play in bands, gig and record, so I am pretty experienced in the drums. How will I find fitting in to the graded syllabus? Should I just start at Grade 1 for the sake of completion, or start at something more my level?
I would do as advised above and have a look at the books and pick one that you think will be challenging, but not a complete stretch your first time out. This is for a couple of reasons. One, if you aim too high, you may get discouraged and give up on the project. Also If you've never been in an examination environment, it can be a little nerve-wracking, so part of the learning process is learning how to be examined and be comfortable in that environment. A grade that takes some work, but that you can go in feeling very confident perfoming will help you get a sense for how the process works.

You might also find a teacher to help you choose which examination would be appropriate.

With the amount of practice I do, what sort of time line would I be looking at for the completion of my grades?
That's completely subjective and depends on how challenging the material is for you.
 
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Funky Crêpe

Silver Member
ya, i'd say do trinity....i did my grade 8 a year ago and got distinction. You have to play some jazz and other music, but i'm not a fan of actually DOING the grades, i'd say just take what you need from each piece at each grade and leave it at that. just my opinion though
 

sciomako

Silver Member
I'm considering to do drum grades to get myself motivated to learn the instrument in a more structured and progressive manner. I found this old thread when I was googling around.

I can't decide whether I should go with Rockschool or Trinity Guildhall.

I figured I would fit somewhere around Grade 3 or 4 at the moment.
I browsed and listened to some of their materials in these grades. On one hand, I found Rockschool's play-alongs are more interesting to play and listen to. On the other hand, I like Trinity's solo pieces which incorporate many interesting rudiment applications. Bookma said Rockschool offer less variety in terms of music styles. But the materials in these grades appear to offer a pretty good mix of styles. But I do have a feeling that Trinity's materials will get more interesting in the higher grades. And I think I need interesting materials to get myself motivated.

Any suggestions/opinions?
 

Witterings

Silver Member
A lot will also depend on how strong our reading is, mine really isn't good!!

I was going to do the same and in terms of playing ability am approx grade 5 / 6 but my reading was limited to grade 2 ish.
 
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