Music exams

While exams aren’t essential, they’re a useful way to judge your progress as you learn your instrument. Some music exams are taken all over the world and you can earn internationally recognised qualifications.

 

There are 8 grades. Depending on your instrument and how much you practise, you can probably expect to take your Grade 1 exam within a year or two of starting lessons. Grade 5 is roughly equivalent to GCSE standard, and Grade 8 is about A level standard. You can get UCAS points for Grades 6-8.

 

If you want to think about music as a career, you should probably expect to be about Grade 8 standard when you leave school.

 

WHEN CAN I TAKE EXAMS?

Your teacher will advise when you are ready to take your exams. Exams take place near the end of every term, although you’ll need to register early – usually by the first few weeks of term. Check with your teacher for details as this varies each term.

 

Lewisham Music host ABRSM exams at the end of the summer term each year, information will be sent to schools/teachers leading up to the exam period.

 

EXAM ACCOMPANIMENT – WHAT IS AN ACCOMPANIST?

An accompanist is a musician who plays an accompaniment part during the exam to provide rhythmic and/or harmonic support for the pieces, this will usually be on a piano. Accompanists are not required for piano exams and some guitar exams (please check with your tutor).

 

HOW DO I FIND AN ACCOMPANIST?

If your child requires an accompanist, Lewisham Music will provide one when they host exams in the summer term. If you require an accompanist for an exam outside of our exam period then please speak to your child’s tutor.

 

CAN I USE PHOTOCOPIES OF THE MUSIC?

No. You must purchase the original exam books and pieces.

 

WHAT HAPPENS IN THE EXAMS?

You’ll play three short pieces, some technical exercises (typically scales and arpeggios) and answer some tests of musicianship (or ‘aural’ tests). They provide a test of all-round musicianship, not just the ability to play pieces.

 

EXAM BOARDS

ABRSM TRINITY COLLEGE

 

If you have any questions about exams then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.