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ABRSM: Music Exams with a Focus on Performance

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ABRSM is The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music and a global music education charity. At the heart of ABRSM is the belief that music enriches lives. Building on a 135-year heritage, they offer face-to-face and digital exams, sheet music, recordings, apps and courses for teachers and learners.

ABRSM works in partnership with four Royal Schools of Music in the UK. As a charity ABRSM’s donations include grants, scholarships and awards for organisations and individuals. All promote music learning and support progression, creativity, diversity, inclusion, sustainability and leadership in music education around the world.

All ABRSM exams are designed to inspire, challenge and recognise progress, helping learners to gain skills that encourage a life-long love of music that they can share with others.

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New Digital Exams: Performance Grades

In 2020 ABRSM introduced Performance Grades, new digital exams that focus entirely on performance. They are available at nine levels – Initial Grade for Piano and Bowed Strings only and Grades 1 to 8 for all classical instruments and Singing. Performance Grades for Singing for Musical Theatre are also available as well as digital ARSM diploma exams.

As digital exams, Performance Grades are assessed entirely from a video recording, so they can take place at home, at school or in a community setting, offering great flexibility and accessibility to candidates of all ages.

Inspiring performance

Performance Grades are regulated qualifications that assess the essential performance skills of musical communication, interpretation and storytelling. For the exam, candidates perform four pieces or songs, selecting three pieces from the syllabus repertoire lists and one own-choice piece to create a programme that reflects their musical interests, tastes, strengths and personality.

These performance-focused exams are equivalent in demand, recognition and value to ABRSM’s familiar Practical Grades. Although they have a different emphasis, they are based on the same repertoire and syllabuses, assessment criteria and quality assurance measures and are assessed by the same highly trained examiners.

Book now with a discount

Performance Grades are available permanently from now on with an exam session every month. During 2021 you can take advantage of an introductory 15% discount for all digital Performance Grade and ARSM exams. Just enter the code ABPG15MY when you book.

FREE Performance Grades webinars

Learn more about Performance Grades, including how they’re marked and the benefits for students at a free webinar, led by ABRSM’s Chief Examiner, John Holmes. There will be a live Performance Grades Q&A session with John following each webinar.

Sign up for the date and time that works best for you (the same content will feature in each webinar):

Thursday 18 November 17:00 – 18:00 (GMT)
Wednesday 8 December 13:00 – 14:00 (GMT)

Additional support: Explore the How-to Hub

ABRSM’s How to Hub is packed full of essential information and step-by-step guides to help candidates with setting up, recording and submitting a Performance Grade exam.

More than 250,000 musicians around the world have now taken a Performance Grade! Find out more at https://www.abrsm.org/performancegrades.




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