Music Exams

ABRSM Exam Changes

Dec 2020 Update

There have been some interesting developments with the ABRSM examination board regarding practical (playing) exams. They are now offering remotely assessed Performance Exams in addition to the more normal exams we are used to.

With the Performance Exams, there is no Pass or Fail. The advantage is that the pressure is removed, and a qualified examiner will offer an assessment in order to help the candidate progress.

For candidates wanting to sit a remotely assessed Performance Grade exam, the following is required:
1. A video recording made by them of their performance, which includes:
• a continuous, unedited, performance of the four pieces/songs
• a completed programme form is shown to the camera before the performance begins
• the opening of the own-choice piece/song shown to the camera before the performance begins
• announcements to the camera before the performance begins

There are no Scales, Sight-Reading or Aural Tests in this exam. For those who find these tricky, the remotely assessed Performance Exams might be a good option. Certificates will then be awarded by the ABRSM showing that a Performance Assessment has taken place.

ABRSM Examinations

Music Exams Available

Although learning to play the piano is rewarding, many budding pianists like to work towards more formal recognition of all their hard work and effort. Apart from the personal challenge involved, exams are a demonstrable method of appreciating progress and success. For pupils wishing to progress to a professional career as a musician, examinations are key milestones on the road to higher achievement. I take great pride in preparing students for music examinations. Before the exams I allow students to play on my baby grand piano to give them the chance to show off their capabilities.


Are Exams For Me?

Formal Recognition

My Newport and South Wales pupils who wish to follow the examination route undertake the exams set by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM). The ABRSM is a registered charity based in London which provides examinations in music at centres all over the world.

Piano exams consist of three pieces played from music, scales and arpeggios which have to be memorised, sight-reading, and aural tests. Total marks in all practical exams are 150. You need 100 marks to Pass, 120 marks to gain a Merit and 130 marks to achieve Distinction. There are eight grades in total.