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Re: Is it that different?
I was in HS in the mid-90's. We had weekly/bi-weekly tape assignments for region. We used Vivace, the predecessor to SmartMusic. It was a system tat you plugged into the computer. You purchased individual cartridges for the pieces that you were working on. The system had the ability to accompany you (it could follow your tempo), but I don't think it graded your performance. I am pretty sure I recorded my college auditions using the Vivace accompaniment.
I couldn't tell you how we were graded. I don't think I ever worried about it.