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

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. I have personally noticed throughout the years that preparing for exams helps students focus, set goals, work harder, and feel pride and pleasure.

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 at 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?

To succeed in practical exams, students need a combination of skills and understanding. 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 provides enormous pleasure, and working towards exams can help with staying focused and maintaining clear goals. It is a good combination for many of us.

Robert Boer

Director of MTO

Music Tutor Online

MusicTutorOnline provides high quality 1-on-1 online music lessons for different instruments, music theory, ABRSM & Trinity exams, and more.


We offer instructions for all levels, from beginning to advanced. All our teachers have music degrees from top-level music colleges. 

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