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elinesMotivatingmusicalachievementWelcome to ABRSM

Contents2Welcome to ABRSM4Exams & assessments16Publications18Professional development19Further informationABRSM is the leading authority on musicalassessment. By delivering our examsrigorously and consistently we set theworldwide gold standard, with over 600,000people, in over 90 countries, choosing totake them every year.As part of our commitment to excellence inmusic education, we provide a rich resourceof materials, from albums of repertoire forthe earliest stages of learning to scholarlyeditions of the great composers. Our onlinepresence includes SoundJunction, ouraward-winning site for music learners.We know that good teachers endeavourto enhance their professional skills. Wesupport their continuing professionaldevelopment through our innovative coursesand online learning resources.To build on our 120 years inspiringgenerations of musicians, we providecharitable donations, scholarships andsponsorships, as well as acting as anadvocate for music education. We do allwe can to give music a voice in public lifebecause we believe it has the power tochange people’s lives.Welcome to ABRSMMusic is at the heart of our work. We are here to supportand encourage music learning throughout the world so thateveryone can share in its power.We motivate musical achievement through our authoritativeassessment of students, the professional development of theirteachers, and a wide range of published resources. We alsoactively support music education through funding and advocacy.2This booklet aims to give you an overviewof all our activities. You can explore in moredetail at has the authority of fourof the UK’s leading conservatoires:nRoyal Academy of Music, LondonnRoyal College of Music, LondonnRoyal Northern College of Music,ManchesternRoyal Scottish Academy ofMusic & Drama, Glasgow3

Exams andassessmentsnPrep TestnGrades 1–8nDiplomasnMusic MedalsnPerformance AssessmentnEnsemblesSince 1889, we have provided music teachers and their studentswith exams and assessments that nurture and evaluate anindividual’s performance and progress. As the world’s largestand leading specialist in music assessment, our consistent andrigorous approach carries recognised international authority.Motivation and encouragementWe have designed our exams and assessments to motivate students of all levelsand ages, giving them a series of realistic goals and tangible rewards for theirachievements.Exam syllabuses are not intended to provide a complete curriculum. Students areencouraged to play and experience as much music as possible, embracing a widerange of genres.4Beginners and upwardsWe want to bring the power of music to all age groups and every level of ability.Many students will start with the Prep Test and then work through all the gradesfrom 1 to 8, but we do not impose a set pattern. A student may begin with the gradethat best suits their ability – and it does not matter if a grade is ‘missed out’.For people to get the richest experience from performing music, we believe that athorough knowledge and understanding of the elements of music is essential. So,before moving on to a practical exam at Grade 6, 7 or 8, a student must first passGrade 5 (or above) in Theory of Music, Practical Musicianship or a solo Jazz subject.These have in common a level of musical understanding which acts as a solidfoundation for further development as a musician.Certificates and mark formsAll successful exam candidatesreceive a certificate to mark theirachievement. Practical graded examcandidates also receive a mark form,written by the examiner during theexam. Theory candidates receive aform listing the marks awarded toeach question.We provide the mark form to giveteachers, candidates and parents aclear, consistent and fair indicationof the strengths and weaknesses ineach part of the exam.5

Our exams and assessmentsLet’s take a closer look at the exams and assessments we offer.Prep TestThe Prep Test is designed for students who have been learning an instrument for aboutsix to nine months. Working towards this early goal encourages the development of goodtechnique and sound musicianship. It is also an ideal introduction to the experience oftaking an exam.We have developed the Prep Test to be as relaxed and enjoyable as possible. No marksare awarded and there is no pass or fail. At the end of the assessment every candidate isrewarded with a certificate which includes positive and helpful comments from the examiner.Grades 1–8Each of the eight graded exams representsa logical step in the musical developmentof a student.Graded exams are available for:nnnPiano, Jazz Piano*HarpsichordOrgannHornTrumpet,Jazz Trumpet*Cornet, Jazz Cornet*Flugelhorn,Jazz Flugelhorn*E HornTrombone,Jazz Trombone*Bass heory of laCelloDouble BassGuitarHarpnRecorderFlute, Jazz Flute*OboeClarinet,Jazz Clarinet*BassoonSaxophone,Jazz Sax*nnnnnnGrades 1–8: Instrumental and singing examsPractical syllabuses are available in over 35 subjects, from Piano to Percussion, andfrom Harpsichord to Horn. There is a separate Jazz syllabus for Flute, Clarinet, Sax,Trumpet, Trombone, Piano and Ensembles.Pieces for each syllabus have been carefully selected to provide maximum choice whilstcovering the key skills necessary at a particular level. Our aim is to inspire teachers andstudents by giving them the widest possible variety of repertoire.Practical exams have four sections, giving candidates the opportunity to demonstratetheir skills through prepared work and musicianship tests:nSet pieces/songsnScales and arpeggios/broken chords, or, for singers,an unaccompanied folk songnSight-reading or quick studynAural testsGrades 1–8: Theory of Music andPractical Musicianship examsWe aim to encourage an educationin music that is as broad as possible,covering both the theoretical andthe practical. We provide a Theory ofMusic syllabus, examined throughwritten exams, and a PracticalMusicianship syllabus that usespractical methods to assess musicalunderstanding.In a Practical Musicianship examcandidates demonstrate theirunderstanding of melody, harmony,rhythm and form by responding toquestions about music and by singingor playing an instrument of theirchoice in a series of tests.* Not available in all countries: check the Examination Information & Regulations booklet for availablity67

DiplomasABRSM diplomas provide an authoritativeassessment framework for a wide rangeof musicians.There are three subjects for diplomas:nMusic PerformancenMusic DirectionnInstrumental/Vocal Teachingand each subject has three levels of award:nDiploma of The Associated Board of theRoyal Schools of Music (DipABRSM)nLicentiate of the Royal Schools of Music(LRSM)nFellowship of the Royal Schools of Music(FRSM)Music MedalsMusic Medals are our assessments and teaching resources, devised to introduceessential musical skills and encourage playing together.Progressively structured across five levels, Music Medals provide goals and celebrateachievement. Copper and Bronze are for beginners, whilst Silver, Gold and Platinumreward further musical progress.Fully supported by award winning publications, Music Medals are flexible and inclusive,providing a suggested teaching format and resources. Assessments take place innormal lesson time and each Music Medal covers three activities: playing together,playing solo and musicianship skills. Performances are video recorded, marked by theteacher and moderated by ABRSM. Successful candidates are awarded a certificate,and, of course, a Music Medal. Find out more at Medals assessments are available in the UK, and the ensemble publicationsare available worldwide.The diplomas are designed to encouragea diversity of approaches to performing,directing and teaching music and tostimulate achievement through acquiringskills, knowledge and understanding.These highly respected and letter-bearingqualifications provide valuable opportunitiesfor professional musicians (and thoseaspiring to be so) to gain recognition fortheir abilities and achievements.89

Performance AssessmentFor many adults who return to playingor singing after a long break, whobegin to learn a new instrument fromscratch, or for musicians with specificneeds, an exam is not always themost appropriate kind of assessment.The Performance Assessment is analternative that provides a valuableperforming experience.Participants can play their own choiceof repertoire and come away with awritten report containing constructivecomments and advice from a memberof our examining panel.EnsemblesWe offer syllabuses for a wide rangeof ensembles from duos and trios tojazz ensembles and choirs.1011

Entering for exams:UK and IrelandEntering for exams:All other countriesPractical examsThere are three exam periods per year,in the spring, summer and autumn.Theory examsThere are three exam days per year, inthe spring, summer and autumn.ABRSM CentresWe have exam centres throughout theUK and Ireland, many of which are runwith the assistance of our HonoraryLocal Representatives.When allocating appointments forpractical exams our administration teammakes every effort to be as flexible aspossible. We will always try to take intoconsideration any preferences indicatedon the exam entry form.Standard Visits and Special VisitsTeachers or schools with a large number of candidates and a suitable venue can opt forone of our visit schemes, where our examiner hears candidates at the school or teacher’shome, rather than at an ABRSM Centre.Standard Visits take place within oneof the three main exam periods (in thespring, summer and autumn). SpecialVisits take place outside these sessionson a date chosen by the teacher.Further information about entryarrangements, including exam datesand entry fees, can be found on entryforms (which we revise annually) andin the Examination Information &Regulations booklet for the UK andIreland.Online servicesOur online exam services offer teachersdirect access to all their exam entrydetails at any time. Each teacher’s onlineaccount provides a hub of essential andhelpful information at every step: makingan exam entry, briefing students aboutattending for their exam, and viewingtheir results. www.abrsm.orgDates of exams vary from countryto country. In most cases your localABRSM Representative will be ableto provide information about entryprocedures, dates and fees. Leafletsdetailing this information are alsopublished for each country. They areavailable from your Representative orfrom our office in London. Details ofyour nearest Representative can befound in the Examination Information& Regulations booklet (internationaledition) or at services:Malaysia and SingaporeOur online exam servicesoffer teachers in Malaysia andSingapore direct access to all theirexam entry details at any time.Each teacher’s online accountprovides a hub of essential andhelpful information at every step:making an exam entry, briefingstudents about attending for theirexam, and viewing their results.www.abrsm.orgAccess for our candidateswith specific needsWe are aware of the importance of providing opportunities for all candidates irrespective ofsensory impairment, learning difficulties, physical challenges, or other specific needs.One option is the Performance Assessment (see page 11). We also make provision for thosewho wish to take graded exams. We aim to ensure that all candidates can take part as fully aspossible in every section of an exam.We publish guidelines covering provisionsfor candidates who are blind or partiallysighted; deaf or hearing-impaired; withdyslexia and other learning difficulties;with autistic spectrum disorders andthose with other specific needs. In somecases the guidelines include details ofthe availability of alternative tests. Forcandidates with requirements outside ofthese guidelines, arrangements will beconsidered on an individual basis.Our guidelines are published

AccreditationIn the UKOur diplomas, graded exams (for individual instruments, Singing and Theory of Music) andMusic Medals are accredited in England by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority(QCA) and the corresponding regulatory authorities in Wales (ACCAC) and Northern Ireland(CCEA). They are part of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) and have also beenapproved under Section 96 of the Learning and Skills Act 2000.In other countriesOur exams are recognised formally in a number of other countries. In Australia, Canadaand South Africa our exams can be used for credit towards the relevant qualifications takenby students completing compulsory secondary education. Contact us for full details ofaccreditation worldwide.For UK higher education institutionsOur exams at Grades 6, 7 and 8 attract points under the tariff of the Universities andColleges Admissions Service (UCAS) for applications from students worldwide for places athigher education institutions in the UK.ExaminersOur examining panels consist of over 700musicians, all highly qualified and skilledin their own field. Individual experience iscombined with comprehensive and rigoroustraining, both prior to acceptance on to thepanel and whilst they remain a member of it.We provide all our examiners withcontinuing professional development,moderation and monitoring. The result is ateam of examiners that we trust and know tobe impartial, objective and consistent.ABRSM graded exams are music examsrather than instrumental or singing exams.Examiners are assessing the quality of themusic-making, not how it is achieved. Forthis reason we do not restrict examinersto assessing only their own instrument butrequire them to examine all instruments.14This places the emphasis firmly on themusic, rather than technique, and givesconsistency across the syllabuses.Examiners conducting Jazz exams areselected for their expertise, experienceand background in jazz, either asinstrumentalists or teachers. Jazzexaminers assess any instrument in theJazz syllabus.Where possible, two examiners are presentat every level of diploma exam. Wheneverpossible, one examiner will be a specialistin the discipline concerned, the other ageneralist.Safeguarding childrenThe overwhelming majority of our examcandidates are children. We acknowledgeour responsibility for the safety andwelfare of children while taking ourexams, or otherwise under our temporarycare. All staff working on behalf of ABRSMare required to accept this responsibilityand are committed to practices whichprotect children from harm.We have adopted formal childsafeguarding guidelines, supplementingexisting procedures with a code ofpractice for everyone working on ourbehalf. We regularly review our childsafeguarding policy.The policy can be viewed opportunitiesABRSM is committed to providingequality of opportunity and treatmentfor all and will not unlawfully or unfairlydiscriminate directly or indirectly onthe basis of gender, age, ethnic originor disability in our dealings with examcandidates, parents, teachers, examiners,representatives or stewards.15

PublicationsSoundJunctionSoundJunction is our free, multi-awardwinning website where you can:As part of our commitmentto excellence in musiceducation, we provide arich range of materials tosupport our exams and tohelp everyone get the mostout of music-making.The scope of our publications covers wide-ranging and extensiveinstrumental catalogues, scholarly editions of the greatcomposers and jazz publications for a variety of instruments.There are also albums of specially-commissioned pieces bycontemporary composers in the Spectrum series.Publications to support our exams include:nAlbums that complement ourinstrumental and vocal syllabuses,both classical and jazznCDs and audio downloads of examrepertoirenPractice aural tests andsight-reading/quick studiesnScales, arpeggios and broken chordsnTheory and musicianship textbooksnScholarly, practical editions of themajor Baroque, Classical and Romanticcomposers’ keyboard musicnBiographies, guides and companionsnExplore music by taking it apart andlistening to individual instruments tofind out how it all worksnCreate your own music and discover thenuts and bolts of music theory byplaying and exploringnListen to music specially writtenand recorded by top musiciansand composersnDiscover music and instruments fromdifferent traditions and countriesSoundJunction has over 100 hours ofaudio and video and more than 1,000 pagescovering over 300 pieces of music fromtraditions around the latest news, features anddevelopments at ABRSM are available inour magazine Libretto, published threetimes a year and free to teachers all overthe world.You can browse through current and backissues of Libretto at publications are available at music shops worldwide and online

Further informationAll musicians need goodteachers to nurture and developtheir talents – and good teachersendeavour to enhance theirprofessional skills. We supporttheir continuing professionaldevelopment through ourinnovative courses and onlinelearning.In the UK teachers can choosefrom three core courses:nCertificate of Teaching (CT ABRSM)Available as a one year, part-timecourse, or as a fast-track residentialcourse over six monthsnTeaching Music EffectivelyA short course including four study daysnAn Introduction to Instrumentaland Vocal TeachingOne-day coursenAll syllabuses and other relevant information can be foundat, information booklets and entry forms areavailable free of charge from our Representatives,Honorary Local Representatives, or our office in London.nOutside the UK the following coursesare regularly available:nCertificate of Teaching (CT ABRSM)Available in the one year, part-timeformat in Hong Kong and IndonesianProfessional DevelopmentProgrammeRegular seminars and workshopsfor teachers in South East AsianCentenary Travel Grant FundSupports a variety of courses andconferences all over the worldAs well as our core courses, we provide syllabus seminars - whenever particular syllabusesare updated - and other courses to support teachers’ development throughout theircareers. We also offer a range of short courses, workshops and seminars around the worldthat provide for the needs of teachers at all stages in their careers and reflect the latestdevelopments in music education.These Music Exams is a comprehensive guide for candidates,teachers and parents which answers the questions they askmost frequently. It sets out the criteria used by our examinersand covers all aspects of preparing for and taking exams.It is available from our Representatives, Honorary LocalRepresentatives, our office in London or at in touchOur Representatives, Honorary Local Representatives andother contacts are listed on our website: www abrsm.orgPhotos:,, Fotolia.comProfessionaldevelopmentContact us:ABRSM24 Portland PlaceLondon W1B 1LUUnited KingdomUK and Ireland enquiriesT 44 (0)20 7636 5400E other countries enquiriesT 44 (0)20 7467 8240E can find further details about our teaching courses at

www.abrsm.org07/2009ABRSM24 Portland PlaceLondon W1B 1LUUnited Kingdom

n Flute, Jazz Flute* n Oboe n Clarinet, Jazz Clarinet* n Bassoon n Saxophone, Jazz Sax* Grades 1–8: Instrumental and singing exams Practical syllabuses are available in over 35 subjects, from Piano to Percussion, and from Harpsichord to Horn. There is a separate Jazz syllabus for Flute, Clarinet, Sax, Trumpet, Trombone, Piano and Ensembles.

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