Latest exam updates

Performance Grade booking

The next booking period for remotely-assessed Performance Grade and ARSM exams opens in February. For details, see our dates and fees page.

Music Theory exams – March 2021

  • Online Music Theory exams (Grades 1 to 5) – we are cancelling the online exams planned for 16 March. Exams in May and June will go ahead as planned.
  • Paper Music Theory exams (Grades 6 to 8) – we will not be offering these exams in March. The next exams at Grades 6 to 8 will be in June 2021.
  • Grade 5 Music Theory requirement - from 1 January to 30 April 2021 only, candidates can take Grade 6 to 8 Performance or Practical exams without first passing Grade 5 Music Theory. From 1 May 2021, the Grade 5 Music Theory requirement will return with flexibility about timing.

For more information click here.

Face-to-face practical exams, session 1 - USA

Due to current COVID restrictions, we will not be opening our normal booking period in January for face-to-face practical exams in April-June. We hope to provide a practical session later in the year, but need to keep all dates under review as we can only accept bookings if COVID travel and government restrictions are lifted. We will provide an update nearer to the next booking period.

Tony’s Sax journey

Tony Hales, Chair of ABRSM’s Governing Body, on making music in lockdown

As well as chairing our Governing Body, Tony is a keen saxophone student. He talks about his new focus on music in these extraordinary times.

New routines

Since the restrictions on leaving our homes came into place, I’ve been trying to turn a negative into a positive and focus more on my music. Instead of one face-to-face lesson every week, my fantastic teacher and I have two one-hour video lessons each week. We are preparing for my Grade 3 saxophone exam and I’m practising every day, often using ABRSM’s Practice Partner app. The app helps me to learn slowly at first and then faster with the accompaniment. Some days I do become frustrated with myself. When that happens I stop and return to my practice later in the day.

Goals to work towards

Alongside my Grade 3 work, I’m also learning the immortal Jerry Rafferty hit Baker St. My ambition is to be able to perform it with my local band, once that becomes possible again. For any Harry Potter fans, the band’s singer is actor David Bradley – or Filch in the films. As well as being friends, we are both of a mature age and love our music, everything from opera to rock and roll. 

My inspiration

My teacher, Manu Brazo, recently graduated from the Royal College of Music. He’s a great teacher and a wonderfully versatile musician. He has performed at London’s Royal Albert Hall and the Barbican, been the opening act for a Cliff Richard concert, serenaded guests at a Royal Gala, and has plans to travel to Milan to record a CD, hopefully in the not too distant future. I’m also inspired by the performances of ABRSM scholar Jess Gillam and the National Youth Jazz Orchestra. It’s my privilege to be able to support one of the sax seats in this amazing youth ensemble. And right now, I’m relaxing to the sounds of Paul Desmond and Gerry Mulligan, two masters of the saxophone.

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