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.

Performance Grades

Performance Grades are digital exams designed to nurture and encourage musical skills, while showcasing a love of performance.

Performing anytime, anywhere

Performance Grades are assessed entirely from a video recording, so the performance could take place at home, at school or in a community setting – it’s your choice. Later in 2022 ABRSM is introducing a new way to book and submit these exams. Set booking periods and exam sessions are being replaced with an on-demand service that gives more choice and flexibility. With the freedom to record a performance at any time, in any place, these digital exams will nurture your musical journey at a pace that suits you.

Available at all levels

Whatever stage you are at , there’s an exam for you. Performance Grades are available at nine levels – Initial Grade (for Piano and Bowed Strings only) and Grades 1 to 8 for all classical instruments and singing, including Singing for Musical Theatre. ARSM diplomas are also available as digital exams.

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.

Add to your performance skills

ABRSM’s online Music Theory exams are the perfect way to broaden musical skills and knowledge – understanding how music works can open up a world of possibilities for developing performers. Achieving Grade 5 in Music Theory is also the gateway to accessing ABRSM’s more advanced Performance Grades and Practical Grades. Music Theory exams at Grades 1 to 5 are assessed online – whenever and wherever you choose.

Find out more.

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 here.

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