The three main exam boards have all been reviewing the way they offer face -to-face, digital or recorded exams over recent months. Most are continuing with Recorded or Remote Assessments, while additionally offering face-to-face options in public exam centres as well. Most Boards have adopted an 'always open' approach to booking for their digital exams, at least to some degree.
The calendar below lists upcoming booking dates and exam sessions.
For more detail about the requirements for each Board, please go to the Blog page.
To access a survey that will help me choose the platform and tools to best help you and your set up, click the QR code opposite
Piano4t teaching and learning is now entirely conducted on-line. We are transitioning from zoom, with its well-documented deficiencies for musicians, to a combination of Cleanfeed Pro for audio and Jitsi Meet for video. Here are a few thoughts on how that will work for us.
Using Cleanfeed audio and/or Jitsi video for lessons
You will need:
a laptop/tablet/phone with integral camera or separate webcam*;
on-ear, wired headphones* (backless if possible);
NO installation, downloads or account set up;
Piano4t set up as an email contact;
students under 18 must connect and work under the supervision of a responsible adult.
* Please let me know which device(s) you will use for lessons so I can send you the links that will work best for you. I'm very happy to have a free set up/ practice session with you at any convenient time.
Before the lesson
ensure good lighting;
choose to use as large a screen as possible;
if possible use an ethernet cable connection rather than wifi;
have a pencil to hand;
get all the music you will need ready;
think Safety First - set up the technology to avoid trip hazards and fire risk.
During the lesson:
no need to fiddle with settings - all will be done in the link you are sent;
no need to mute your audio during teacher demos/presentations - with Cleanfeed we can all talk/play at once;
position the camera/phone you are using for jitsi video at eye level, showing your face and hands if possible;
use that pencil to make notes on the printed music or in your notebook;
Optimising sound (Cleanfeed) No need! piano4t studio connections will all be optimised for music.
Optimising sound (Jitsi) No need! If you need to use Jitsi for audio, let us know, and you will be sent a link with an extra bit of code that will do this for you.
Why are you abandoning Zoom - I'd only just got used to it?
Piano4t is not abandoning Zoom completely - we still run a Pro licence and can go back to it, either as a one-off or longer term, any time we wish.
However, Zoom's sound quality for music-making, even when corrected to Original Sound, is still very poor. Only one person can speak or play at once, and the latency very high. While this may be tolerable for a 30 minute lesson once a week, for teachers experiencing it for up to 30 hours a week, it is not sustainable.
Both Cleanfeed and Jitsi Meet are 'peer to peer' connections, meaning that signals go directly between users rather than by way of several nodes of a network to a central server and out again. This, together with the fact that zoom packets audio and video together, leads to long lags and frequent screen-freezes.
Jitsi can use end-to-end encryption but in any case is more secure because it is ephemeral - there are no 'rooms' to be hacked.
Piano4t takes safeguarding very seriously and has set up additional safeguards for video conferencing on all platforms:
In Zoom, Cleanfeed and Jitsi, each student will be set up with a unique lesson code and password. Please keep these confidential and never share with a third party. These are sent to you as private scheduling info.
In Zoom and Jitsi, private chat, file sharing and screen sharing can only be enabled by the teacher.
No recordings are made apart from audio-only clips (Cleanfeed) or short video clips (Jitsi & Zoom) in keyboard demo mode; these are shared only with you and destroyed after use.
In zoom, participants are placed in a Waiting Room
In Jitsi, all participants are set to 'follow in' the teacher
Parents and guardians are encouraged to help set up each lesson, to be available throughout and to keep a door open to the room where lessons are taking place.
piano4t students are all enrolled on tonesavvy: contact us to receive your log on details