One of the happiest things I get to do as a musician is help coordinate local examiner visits for the world's leading music examination organization, The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music.
It's hard to explain and describe ABRSM in twenty words or less, living as we do in the Age of Twitter, which demands instant wisdom in 140 characters or less.
So allow me to take a stab at it: ABRSM is the very best system ever invented to motivate and measure progress in music students. It was founded in London some 120 years ago. Its reach is world-wide, some 650,000 examinations annually, in every corner of the planet.
Carol and I had the pleasure last night of greeting this week's examiner, Richard Storry, and look forward to his week with us in Nashville, and a further week in Louisville in late May. He is an award-winning guitarist and composer, as well as an experienced examiner. ABRSM has sent him around the world, from the US to Hong Kong to Malaysia to Guyana to New Zealand to Tanzania and South Africa. He brings with him, as do all these extraordinary musicians, a great good cheer, a love for music and students and life.
Having greeted examiners since 1998, and watched over many thousands of exams, I have met wonderful examiners--some now lifelong friends--and have seen the lives of students transformed by their participation in Board exams and the approach inherent in their syllabus.
So, this week, I'll try to journal the week's events, to give parents and teachers an account of how and why this works so well.
The link to ABRSM is here, and I hope you take a few minutes to explore.
A parents' guide to ABRSM is available by download here.