Cutting42, I am undecided whether or not to enter my son for this. Part of me thinks we have nothing to lose and then another part thinks is there any point given the circumstances. He has been playing the piano for less than a year and only has a 30 minute lesson once a fortnight. He is just starting to prepare for grade 1, so would only be playing a grade 1 piece if he made it to the audition. I do not have the skills to help him prepare. His piano teacher can do a little with him in his lessons although she is not familiar with the exams. He will also do the maths and verbal reasoning exam which he stands a better chance with and I can help him with. What do you think I should do or anyone else who has been through the process. Thanks. Oh feedbcak from his piano teacher - he is not the most musical child she has taught, but he did ok when she went through some chords etc with him.
You do not have much to lose except possible disappointment if he does not pass the Bentley test and therefore not get invited to audition.
The test and audition are setup for musical ability not how high up the grades they have got. My son played his grade 2 piece on the piano for his audition and he got a score of 42. I have heard plenty of people who have failed to get to audition or get into the school with grade 5 and above students.
In my opinion the Associated board exams can be passed and passed well up to grade 5 or 6 with just hard work and practice. True talent will only really tell at grades 7 and 8. A friend of mine's DD is currently 3rd on the waiting list for music entry to WGGS and she sang for the audition despite having no musical training in singing. She does sing nicely and has done grade 2 piano but I would not call her or my son, exceptional talents, just average kids with an ear for a tune.
Like everything else, it needs practice. I am tough on my kids when it comes to music practice especially when we come up to an exam. A little and often is the key even if it is only 10 mins per day, encourage singing along to pop songs and join the school choir. I am proud that DD now buys sheet music for pop artists like Taylor Swift, Olly Murs and a few others and learns and plays for her own love of music which is what I have always wanted for her. My DS is not into pop music (yet) but likes just messing about on the piano making stuff up and generally enjoying being able to play.
Good luck and well done for giving your DS the chance to learn music, whether you enter him into the music entry or not he is already on a fabulous journey.