Q. What elements of music are typically assessed in a practical music exam?

The music exams are graded from Grade 1 to 8 for all exams boards. Their is also a grade before the Grade-1, which is known as the Debut or Initial or Prep grade depending on the exam boards.

The various aspects of music typically accessed in a practical exam include performance skills (3 prepared pieces of music from the prescribed list of music), Sight-reading, Aural tests and Technical work. Some boards also test the ability to improvise and spontaneously accompany a given melody.

Q. How does the grade system for the music exams work?

The music exams are graded from Grade 1 to 8 for all exams boards. Their is also a grade before the Grade-1, which is known as the Debut or Initial or Prep grade depending on the exam boards.

The practical exams take place in the months of October, November and December by all exam boards. Only Trinity College London offers practical exams twice in a year, i.e. May and November.

Q. Which instruments are taught at Bridge Music Academy?

At Bridge we teach all popular western music instruments, i.e. Piano, Electric Guitar, Bass Guitar, Classical Guitar, Steel String Acoustic Guitar, Electronic Keyboard, Violin, Singing and Drumkit.

Q. Can students choose to learn in a group?

Groups classes are available only for Electric and Steel String Acoustic Guitar up to intermediate level. The group size is maximum of 6 at beginners level and 4 at intermediate level. At advance and pro levels the students study in individual class setting.

Q. Where can we buy a good instrument?

There are good music instruments stores near most of the Bridge centers. Kindly check with the concerned teachers for guidance on an instrument of recommended quality and brand.

Q. What is the difference between Electric and Acoustic Guitar?

Any instrument that does not use electricity to create sound can be called acoustic. The difference between electric and acoustic guitar from point of view of the student are:

Electric guitar has thinner strings as compared to an acoustic and uses an amplifier to make sound.

Due to thinner strings, it take greater control to play an electric as compared to acoustic.

Electric guitar has a thinner and heavier body as it is made of solid wood, this makes electric guitar harder to handle for young children. Acoustic guitar on the other hand is a hollow body instrument that comes in various sizes to suit young students, these are also easier to handle due to their light weight.

The action of electric guitar (space between fret board and strings) is lower in electric guitar that makes it easier to play on but difficult to maintain. However, acoustic does not have a considerably higer action and usually works well for first time learners as it’s easy to maintain.

Electric guitar is not as portable as acoustic due to its accessories (amplifier, leads, etc.) whereas Acoustic guitar is highly portable.

Q. What is the difference between a Acoustic and Classical Guitar?

Firstly, both Steel string and Classical are acoustic guitar. The differences between the two are as follows:

Classical guitar is made to be played with fingers (finger style) whereas Steel string is primarily made to be played with plectrum, although it is often played using finger style too.
The music taught on these two instruments is very different, classical guitar students study European Classical music, i.e. Mozart, Villa Lobos, etc. and Acoustic guitar students study contemporary rock and pop music.
Classical guitar has shorter fret board, uses nylon strings and has slightly more space between strings making it easier to play with fingers. Steel string on the other hand has longer neck, steel strings and gap between strings is less making it apt for playing with a plectrum.

Q. What is the difference between Piano and Electronic Keyboard?

Piano and keyboard both fall in the catagory of keyboard instruments, other instruments in this catagory include Organ, Accordion, Harpsichord, to name a few. The inportant differences between Piano and Electronic Keyboard (Ekb) are as follows:

Piano is an acoustic instrument and Ekb is an electronic instrument.
Piano is a more specialized instrument and requires higher level of professional training to master the technique as compared to Ekb.
Music taught on the Piano ranges from classical to jazz and popular music whereas music taught on Ekb is mostly rock and pop.
Piano, like and other acoustic instrument, has only one sound whereas Ekb has hundreds of sounds and rhythm available.
Piano is a solo as well as a band instrument whereas performance opportunities with Ekb are limited to playing with bands.

Any Pianist acquired the technique to play Ekb whereas Ekb players cannot play the piano.

Ekb players learn the use of backing rhythms and learn to use different sounds that match the chosed rhythm style. Pianists don’t have backing rhythms or sounds available.

Q. Should we buy a cheap instrument to start with?

We do not recommend to start on a cheap instrument that doesn’t produce an inspiring sound, students with such instruments don’t like to practice regularly. Such instruments could include entry level drumkit, keyboards without touch response, low end Indian or Chineese guitars, etc.

Students need an instrument that inspires them to practice. Cheaper instruments are often harder to play, for eg. a low quality guitar may have higher action that will put extra demands on fingers of young beginners!

Having said that, it is often feasible and appropriate to purchase a cheaper instrument for a start. Students and parents are adviced to consult the concerned teacher before investing in an instrument.

Q. What are the benifits of learning to play a musical instrument?

There is strong evidence to suggest that learning a musical instrument is good for a child. Principally, this is because music aids general concentration, but there are numerous other advantages, such as increased hand-eye coordination, an understanding of the value of hard work and persistence, an artistic outlet for personal expression and a source of fun.

While playing music in ensembles/bands students learn how to coordinate and develop important social skills.

Q. What is the appropriate age to start learning an instrument?

Children as young as 6 years of age may pursue learning an instrument. We do not encourage children below this age to start their formal music education as staff notation, the written language of music, requires basic mathamatical skills.

Children below 8 years of age who are keen to pursue Guitar, Drums or Singing are required to meet the teacher for a short audition. This is because there instruments are slightly more demanding that electronic keyboard or piano for reasons such as maturity of voice, physical capacity to hold or reach the instrument, etc.

Q. How long does it take to master an instrument?

Learning an instrument is not much different than learning a new language. It takes little time to grasp the basics but it takes years to build a good vocabulary and fluency.

On an average students take 2-3 years to reach intermediate level and about 5 years to reach advance level. However, this is subjective and depends on dedication, hard work and motivational levels of the student.

Q. How to choose an appropriate instrment for a young beginner?

If the student already has a preferrence of an instrument, whatever the motivation be, let them pursue the instrument of their choice. If not, parents are welcome to take a short tour of the Academy and let the student get a feel of all instruments.

Q. How soon do we need an instrument at home?

Student are adviced to get an instrument of recommended quality at the time they start their learning at the Academy. Learning without having an instrument to practice on is not much different than learning to drive without having a car!

Q. What are Essential Music lessons?

Essential music lessons are primarily lesson in music theory that also include training in other imporatant musicianship skills such as ear-training and composition. It is mandatory for all students at the Academy to attend these lessons.

EM lessons are held on weekly basis in a group of 12.

Q. Why is theory of music important?

Theory of music is firstly common for all instrumentalists including voice. Students learn the concepts of harmony, instrumentation, scales, etc. that helps students gain better understanding of the music they play in their practical lessons. This breaks down the building blocks of music for the students and allows them to explore music at a deeper level through indulging in composition, song writing, etc.

Q. Is it advisable to take a break during academic exams?

We do not advice to take a break during exam season as students attend only once a week lessons and these do not place much demands on the schedules of the students. A month’s break disturbs the rhythm of learning and teaching both for the student and the teacher. Rather than a month’s break It is advisable to continue attending classes in spite of reduced practice and few classes missed would always be considered for make up by our office administrators.

Q. How are students selected for annual concerts of the Academy?

Only the students who have achieved minimum performance standard of Grade-2 or above are considered for annual concerts such as Spring Recital, Rock Brigade and August Rush. However, we do try and arrange few tracks for young beginners in each concert to give all students a professional performance exposure.

Q. Is voice an instrument? Does someone who is naturally a good singer need a teacher for singing?

Voice is as much an instrument as a Guitar or a Violin, except that like other instruments, students don’t have a visual reference. Hence, training your voice involves many unique exercies and breathing teachniques which are best learnt with a teacher.

We hear out voice through our cheak bones whereas what our voice sounds like to others is different. This is the reason that our recorded voice sounds defferent to us but not to others! Due to this reason, voice training requires a teacher as much as any other instrument if not more.

Q. What are the career possibilities for serious music students?

There are many new career possibilities in music that have emerged as viable career option in the field of music. These include:

  • Music Production
  • Performance
  • Music Direction
  • Film Scoring
  • Sound Engineering
  • Sound Synthesis
  • Music Education
  • Music Business
  • Music Therapy

Most of these fields can be pursued in India and some require higher studies abroad. At Bridge Music Academy, students study music performance and Theory of music which provides the foundation to pursue any of these career options.

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