Landmark music exam puts musicians’ performance skills centre stage for first time
The UK’s oldest music examination board is breaking with 131 years of tradition with the launch of a landmark exam which, for the first time, spotlights students’ performance skills, letting them choose what they play and then submit videos of their performances.
The new Performance Grade has been developed by ABRSM to complement traditional practical music grades and breaks with the organisation’s history by marking students entirely on their performance of their chosen music and how they bring it to life, including the essential skills of communication, interpretation and storytelling.
The innovative exam will also allow candidates greater choice in what they play and will be entirely assessed using a video recording which candidates submit – giving them freedom to choose where to record, and with whom, offering flexibility and accessibility.
Chief Executive Michael Elliott said: “The Performance Grade is all about sharing the thrill of performance, putting students in control and giving them the chance to share their love of performing by communicating their musical interests, tastes, strengths and personality.
“It’s a new direction for us on many fronts and is a very exciting addition to what we already offer because it complements our traditional Practical Grades and gives students an additional progression route.
“Curating a programme of music is a fundamental part of this, which is why we’ve placed such an emphasis on choice, with candidates able to select three pieces or songs from lists which we provide and given free rein to choose the fourth piece.”
The Performance Grade is a regulated qualification and is available at Grades 1 to 8. It carries the same value as traditional Practical Grades and students are able to switch between Practical and Performance Grades as they progress. Candidates will be awarded the same UCAS points for Performance Grades at Grades 6 to 8 as they would have received for Practical Grades for the same levels.
Candidates can book their Performance Grade ‘place’ from 28th September and submit their video recording immediately after they have received their confirmation.
Note to editors
- The Performance Grade exam session runs from 19th October to 7th November, with booking from 28th September to 5th October.
- Established in 1889, ABRSM is one of the UK’s leading music education organisations, one of its largest music publishers and the world’s leading provider of music exams, offering assessments to more than 600,000 candidates in over 90 countries every year. ABRSM’s mission is to inspire achievement in music. It does this globally by supporting music teaching and learning worldwide in partnership with four Royal Schools of Music: the Royal Academy of Music; Royal College of Music; Royal Northern College of Music and Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
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