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Latest exam updates

Practical Grades: Brass Syllabus 2021

The current Brass syllabus has been extended to 2021.

Brass teachers should keep hold of their copies of the 2017–2020 syllabus booklet to refer to throughout 2021. The individual instrumental syllabuses are also available online.

A new syllabus is being developed to take effect from January 2022 and advance notice of planned changes will be posted here during 2021.

Practical Grades: Piano syllabus 2021 & 2022

Key dates

  • 9 July 2020: Online and print publication of Piano syllabus 2021 & 2022
  • 9 July 2020: Publication of Piano Exam Pieces (Grades Initial–8), Piano Scales & Arpeggios (Grades Initial–8), Teaching Notes on Piano Exam Pieces (Grades Initial–8) and audio recordings of all pieces on the syllabus
  • 9 July 2020: Publication of Specimen Piano Sight-Reading Tests for the new Initial Grade exam; Initial Grade Specimen Aural Tests  already available
  • 1 January 2021: Piano syllabus 2021 & 2022 comes into effect

What’s new

  • New repertoire lists and scale requirements at all grades
  • Repertoire:
    • More choice than ever before, with the lists extended to ten pieces (30 pieces in total per grade)
    • Duet option included for the first time – up to Grade 3
    • Revised list structure
  • Scales requirements
    • A more realistic and manageable assessment load, with the focus instead on technical development and progression
  • Initial Grade exam introduced – a pre-Grade 1 assessment following the same structure, content and assessment criteria as ABRSM’s existing graded music exams (three pieces, scales and arpeggios, sight-reading and aural tests)

Syllabus validity

Piano syllabus 2021 & 2022 comes into effect on 1 January 2021. This means:

  • Candidates can begin to present the pieces and scales requirements from the new syllabus;
  • Candidates can continue to present the pieces and scales requirements from the 2019 & 2020 syllabus during the overlap period (see below);
  • Sight-reading and aural test requirements remain exactly the same as for the 2019 & 2020 syllabus.

Syllabus overlap

For candidates wishing to present pieces and scale requirements from the 2019 & 2020 syllabus, a one-year overlap period (up to 31 December 2021) now applies to all countries – including the UK and Ireland.

All three pieces and the scales requirements must be prepared from the same syllabus.

Bowed Strings syllabus 2020–2023

Key dates

  • 6 June 2019: Publication of Bowed Strings syllabus 2020–2023
  • 6 June 2019: Publication of Violin Exam Pieces (Grades 1–8) and Cello Exam Pieces (Grades 1–5); audio recordings of all pieces in the books also available
  • 6 June 2019: Publication of Exam Pack books (pieces, scales and sight-reading) for Violin, Viola, Cello and Double Bass for the new Initial Grade exam; audio recordings of all pieces in the books also available; Initial Grade Specimen Aural Tests published separately
  • 1 January 2020: Bowed Strings syllabus 2020–2023 comes into effect

What’s new

  • Refreshed repertoire lists for all four instruments at all grades
  • More choice than ever before, with the lists extended to ten pieces (30 pieces in total per grade)
  • Duet option included for the first time – up to Grade 3
  • Cello Exam Pieces (Grades 1–5) published for the first time
  • New Initial Grade exam introduced – a pre-Grade 1 assessment following the same structure, content and assessment criteria as ABRSM’s existing graded music exams (three pieces, scales, sight-reading and aural tests)
  • All four instruments at Initial Grade supported with an Exam Pack publication containing nine pieces (three per list) from the syllabus, the scales requirements and sample sight-reading tests
  • A separate publication containing sample aural tests for the Initial Grade also available
  • Focus on cross-string teaching at the lower levels with some of the same pieces being set for multiple instruments
  • Revised list structure

Syllabus validity

Bowed Strings syllabus 2020–2023 comes into effect on 1 January 2020. This means that:

  • candidates can begin to present pieces from the new lists;
  • candidates can continue to present pieces from the 2016–2019 syllabus lists during the overlap period (see below);
  • scales and arpeggios, sight-reading and aural test requirements remain exactly the same as for the 2016–2019 syllabus.

Syllabus overlap

For candidates wishing to present pieces drawn from the 2016–2019 syllabus, a one-year overlap period (up to 31 December 2020) now applies to all countries – including the UK and Ireland.

More information coming soon.

Practical Grades: Harpsichord, Organ and Percussion 

All syllabus requirements for Harpsichord (from 2009), Organ (from 2011) and Percussion (from 1990) will remain unchanged in 2019. From 2019, these syllabuses will only be available to view online and download as individual PDFs.

 

Practical Grades: Percussion syllabus from 2020

Key dates

  • 17 October 2019: Percussion supporting publications available to pre-order
  • 7 November 2019: Publication of Percussion syllabus from 2020
  • 7 November 2019: Publication supporting resources available to purchase
  • 1 January 2020: Percussion syllabus from 2020 comes into effect

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