Our online booking service will be unavailable on Monday 19 April while we make some important updates. We will provide a new message here once the service is available again. If you have a Performance Grade exam booking this session, please see our Latest Updates page for important information on how this may affect you.

Latest exam updates

Grade 5 Music Theory waiver (not applicable in the UK & Ireland)

We are extending our Grade 5 Music Theory waiver until 23 May 2021. This means that candidates with a Grade 6 to 8 Performance Grade exam submission date up to and including 23 May can take their exam without first passing Grade 5 Music Theory. We are making this exceptional arrangement to allow candidates who have been unable to take an exam in recent months to progress with their learning. From 24 May, the Grade 5 Music Theory requirement will return. For exam dates/exam submission dates after 23 May, all candidates taking a Grade 6 to 8 Performance or Practical Grade must first pass Grade 5 Music Theory.

Performance Grade exams

We are pleased to confirm that we will be offering Performance Grade exams every month for the remainder of 2021. Please check our Dates and Fees page for details.

New Initial Grade

What is Initial Grade?

Our new Initial Grade for Piano is a pre-Grade 1 assessment following the same structure, content and marking criteria as our other graded music exams (three pieces, scales, sight-reading and aural tests).

Initial Grade does not replace Prep Test, but it sits alongside it as an alternative assessment. It’s designed to allow pianists at the earliest stages of their musical journeys to celebrate their achievement, and is an ideal qualification for those who want a mark as well as helpful feedback. Initial Grade is available for Practical grades only.

What supporting resources are available?

Piano Initial Grade is supported with individual books of Piano Exam Pieces (available with or without CD), Piano Scales & Arpeggios and Specimen Piano Sight-reading Tests as well as a book of Specimen Aural Tests. Find out more.

Piano Star Skills Builder is a new book by David Blackwell and Karen Marshall in the popular Piano Star series. It will develop musicianship skills for young pianists who are working towards Initial Grade level and beyond, providing a firm foundation in scales, aural, and sight-reading skills, building essential techniques progressively. The varied material includes fun pieces to play, songs to sing, written and listening activities, composition games, and much more. Based on decades of proven teaching strategies, with all content tried out on – and approved! – by children, Piano Star Skills Builder will grow young pianists’ confidence and skill around all areas of musicianship, providing them with the underpinnings they need to succeed at ABRSM Initial Grade Piano and beyond, and develop their musical journey for many years to come. The book publishes on 3 September and is available to pre-order now!

Watch Konya Kanneh-Mason perform The Elephant Parade by Nikki Iles - a newly-commissioned piece on our Initial Grade Piano syllabus.

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