Latest exam updates

Performance Grades: Booking for June Performance Grades is open now until 13 May.

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.

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.

New Piano syllabus released

2 years ago

Today (7 June) we’ve released our new Piano syllabus, which will come into effect on January 2019.

100% refreshed repertoire

The 2019 & 2020 syllabus lists cover a breadth of styles and an attractive, varied range of music, including pieces from the teaching canon, recent favourites and popular tunes, as well as new commissions. Highlights are Close Every Door (Andrew Lloyd Webber) at Grade 1, Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen) at Grade 3 and Lullaby (for Edna Trident Hornbryce), one of the new commissions by Raymond Yiu at Grade 8. As in previous years, we’ve refreshed the repertoire lists 100%. There’s a vast amount of piano music available, and we always aim to bring a balance of familiar and new pieces to the syllabus while maintaining consistency in quality and standards. Specially commissioned items feature on Grades 3, 4, 5 and 8, and there are contemporary options at all grades. Philippa Bunting, our Learning & Qualifications Director, said: “We're excited to offer this wide choice of repertoire, since the pieces learners choose are so vital to motivation and have such an impact on musicians as they develop and grow in experience. This time, we've particularly focused on young learners at the outset of their musical journeys and sought to select accessible, attractive pieces for them in a wide range of styles. As part of our development process, we take careful note of the pieces candidates choose to play in the exam room, and we bear this in mind as we seek out both familiar and new repertoire – all part of ABRSM’s overarching aim to 'do our best to help you do your best'.”

ABRSM books and recordings

The supporting Piano Exam Pieces books are available to buy with or without CD, and audio downloads of individual pieces are also available to buy online. The new edition of Teaching Notes offers valuable guidance for piano teachers on the 2019 & 2020 Piano syllabus. In a clear and easy-to-use layout, the notes for each piece feature teaching ideas relating to three areas of learning: musical context, technical challenges, and performance and interpretation.

Digital support

ABRSM’s Piano Practice Partner app has now been updated with pieces from the new syllabus. Piano Practice Partner allows you to play along with real musicians’ performances, exactly as recorded or at a reduced tempo. You can practise one hand while the app plays the other. Piano Practice Partner comes with three free sample pieces from the new Piano Exam Pieces books. In-app purchases are then available for all grades of the new syllabus.

A reminder about dates
Candidates in the UK and Ireland can play pieces from the 2017 & 2018 syllabus until 31 May 2019. Candidates from all other countries can use pieces from the 2017 & 2018 syllabus until 31 December 2019. There are no changes to scales, sight-reading or aural tests.
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