ARSM FAQs

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Entry requirements

Candidates must have the result of their ABRSM Grade 8 (or listed alternative) before the closing date for booking their ARSM exam. For alternatives to ABRSM Grade 8 see ‘2. ARSM diploma/Entry requirements’ in the qualification specification.

Yes, there are no time limits on the validity of the Grade 8 prerequisite.

ARSM Harp repertoire is for the pedal harp only. Candidates with a Harp (Non-pedal) Grade 8 can enter for the ARSM and the related-instrument option means they can play one work on the non-pedal harp. For details see ‘2. ARSM syllabus/Entry requirements’ and ‘3. ARSM syllabus/Selecting repertoire’ in the qualification specification.

No, but we may ask for a copy of the certificate or other supporting documentation. If documentation cannot be provided or we find that a candidate does not have the correct qualification, we will cancel the exam entry without refunding the fee.

No, candidates don’t need a music theory qualification to take ARSM. You can read about our entry requirements see ‘2. ARSM diploma/Entry requirements’ in the qualification specification.

Exam requirements

Yes, candidates can choose a programme entirely from the ARSM repertoire list. For details see ‘3. ARSM syllabus/Selecting repertoire’ in the qualification specification.

You can also watch a video on putting together your programme.

No. Up to 10 minutes of the ARSM performance can be own-choice repertoire. This gives candidates the opportunity to tailor their performance to their interests and demonstrate the skill of building an effective programme. The own-choice repertoire must be of at least ABRSM Grade 8 standard but it does not have to come from current (or past) lists. However, candidates may find these lists provide a helpful guide to the standard we require.

For details see ‘3. ARSM syllabus/Selecting repertoire’ in the qualification specification

For certain instruments, there is the option to play one work on a related instrument and candidates should indicate this on the programme form. For details see ‘3. ARSM syllabus/Selecting repertoire’ in the qualification specification

As there are no tests that require a candidate to respond to questions from the examiner, an interpreter is unlikely to be needed. However, we may allow a candidate who is not comfortable using English to bring an independent person into the exam room as interpreter. Please refer to our exam regulations for more information.

Information for specific subjects

Yes, candidates can bring a registrant and don’t need to ask for permission. Examiners cannot help with changes of registration. The registrant may also act as page-turner.

Yes, candidates may play their programme on any one or any combination of F and C recorders. All works on the repertoire list are intended for treble (alto) recorder unless otherwise indicated.

Yes, candidates may play their programme on any one or any combination of E♭ and B♭ saxophones. All works on the repertoire list are published for alto saxophone in E♭ unless otherwise indicated.

Yes, candidates may play their programme on either the tenor or bass trombone or any combination, which may also include alto trombone. All works on the repertoire list are published for tenor trombone unless otherwise indicated.

The repertoire list is divided into four categories – Tuned Percussion, Timpani, Snare Drum and Multiple Percussion. Candidates must present a programme that includes at least one work from three of the four sections.

The singing repertoire is presented according to standard voice categories but candidates may perform suitable items from the list for any voice category.

The only language requirement is that the programme must include a minimum of two different languages.

Candidates may sing in any key, except for items from operas, operettas, oratorios, cantatas and sacred works. Candidates must sing these items in the keys in which they were written, although they may use original pitch in Baroque pieces, if appropriate.

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