After being asked many times about music exams and what I think about them I decided to write about the subject in a blog post. I am going to talk from my own experience, as a student who went through the examination system and later as the a teacher.
There are some teachers, and some parents, who think that learning to play an instrument is simply a matter of moving from one grade examination to the next, and that if you don't do this you can't be making any progress. This is quite wrong. It is not a good idea to let the pursuit of the grade stop your children enjoying music.
As a teacher I try not to allow myself or my students to get stuck with examinations. We do recitals, compositions, and other activities during lessons. I use exams for what they are; tests that give me and my students a target to meet.
Pros of music exams:
Cons of music exams:
I am for doing music exams in the condition that they are kept as part of the picture, but NOT the whole picture.
A heavy reliance on the examination system will result in teaching the end goal instead of thinking in a broad context about what the students really need to learn.