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Graded Music Exams

Practical Graded Music Exams from ABRSM and TRINITY. What are they, and why take them?

A cello.

Taking a music exam encourages commitment, stimulates the student to practice, and gives the student an extra nudge to their learning. Graded music exams are designed so that skills such as technique, memorization, and musical awareness can be developed gradually and thoroughly. Throughout the years, I have time and again noticed that preparing for exams helps students focus, set goals, work harder, and feel pride and pleasure.

A person playing piano.

What exactly is a graded music exam?

ABRSM and TRINITY have designed their practical graded music exams to motivate instrumental and singing students of all ages and a wide range of abilities. They're available in Grades 1 to 8, as well as a pre-Grade 1 Initial Grade for some subjects. They provide:

  • Progressive goals to aim for

  • Recognition for achievement

  • Carefully structured syllabus requirements

  • One-to-one assessment by an expert professional

  • An objective guide to a candidate’s skills and progress

Graded music exams are music exams rather than instrumental or singing exams. Examiners assess the quality of the music-making, not how it's achieved.

There are no age restrictions, and students can start with any grade or skip grades if they want to.

What's included in a Practical exam?

Students need a combination of skills and understanding to succeed in practical exams. What is assessed:

  • Performance skills through pieces or songs

  • Technical skills through scales and arpeggios

  • Notation skills through a sight-reading test

  • Listening skills and musical perception through aural tests

As we know, making music can lower stress and provide enormous pleasure, and working toward exams can help stay focused and maintain clear goals. It is a good combination for many of us.

At MusicTutorOnline, we offer full support for a wide variety of instruments and Music Theory for ABRSM & Trinity grades 1-8 and Diplomas.

Robert Boer

Director of MTO

A classical guitar


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