Music Medals ten years on
In 2004 we launched our assessments for children who are just starting to learn an instrument. Offering flexibility and choice in a familiar environment, Music Medals have never been more popular. 'Music Medals can help children enjoy music, almost from day one of learning an instrument,' says Penny Milsom, ABRSM’s UK Operations Director. In fact these assessments were specially designed to meet the needs of pupils at the early stages of learning, as well as the needs of their teachers. Since their launch a decade ago Music Medals have become increasingly popular, so much so that they now form part of the teacher training offered to undergraduate students at the Royal Northern College of Music. So what’s the secret of Music Medals? Pupils like them because they offer a wonderful choice of music to play and they can take the assessment in the same place they have their lessons at a time which suits them. They often play alongside their friends or teacher and their own teacher does the assessing. Teachers like them because they are flexible and provide opportunities to use their own skills and knowledge in assessing their pupils. With five levels of medal – Copper, Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum – and a syllabus that takes in a wide range of instruments and musical styles, we now have all kinds of teachers working in a variety of different environments who enjoy using Music Medals with their pupils.
Music Medals and me
Joshua Hinh is 18 and has been playing the violin for nine years. As an early user of Music Medals, we asked Joshua to look back and share his experiences.
What were the benefits of Music Medals for you?
They gave me a relaxed way to enter the world of exams. They made me feel at ease and prepared me for future graded exams.
What did you like most about doing Music Medals?
One of the things I enjoyed was performing with my teacher in the ensemble section. Also, being able to do the assessment in a familiar environment – I was used to the acoustic in the room which meant the piece didn’t sound different – and the variety of pieces available to play.
How did Music Medals help your violin playing?
Learning the pieces taught me to be patient and persistent because you have to put the effort and time in.
What’s your favourite part of learning to play the violin?
The thing I like most is perfecting a piece of music I’ve been practising for months and seeing the enjoyment in the faces in the audience after I’ve performed it. Completing my Music Medals helped me to appreciate and enjoy music!
Music Medals in figures
- Around 72,000 children have taken a Music Medal. If you stacked up all the medals we’ve awarded they would be five times higher than London’s tallest building – the Shard.
- There are 12,863 fantastic pieces of music on our Music Medals repertoire lists.
- We’ve sold over 7,000 award-winning Music Medals books.
- Brenda McAleer from Northern Ireland has entered 1,045 pupils for Music Medals – the most by any one teacher. Congratulations!
- 289 schools, music services and hubs are registered as Music Medals partners.
- We’ve run 172 free Music Medals training sessions for teachers around the UK.
- The first person to pass all five Music Medals was Holly Elvidge. Well done Holly!
This article was originally featured in the March 2014 edition of Libretto, ABRSM's magazine.
Become a Music Medals Teacher-Assessor at one of our free training sessions: www.abrsm.org/courses.
For more information visit www.abrsm.org/musicmedals.