Latest Exam News: Updated 22 July

Initial Performance Grade - coming soon for Piano and Bowed Strings

1 month ago


Early learners playing the piano, violin, viola, cello or double bass will soon have the opportunity to take a new exam. From August this year you’ll be able to book an Initial Performance Grade for these instruments with the first exam submission deadlines in September.

  • First booking period: August
  • First exam submission dates: September

You can find booking dates on our website here.

What’s an Initial Grade?

Our Initial Grade is a pre-Grade 1 exam which helps beginners to measure progress and celebrate achievement at the early stages of learning. We already offer an Initial Practical Grade for Piano and Bowed Strings. Our Initial Performance Grade will now offer an alternative digital assessment opportunity for these instruments with a focus on performance.

What does an Initial Performance Grade involve?

The Initial Performance Grade follows the same format, structure and marking criteria as Performance Grades at other levels.

  • Candidates select and prepare four pieces to present as a continuous programme: three pieces from the syllabus (one from each list) and one piece of the candidate’s own choice.
  • They then record their performance in a location and at a time of their choice.
  • Once the exam has been booked, you can submit the video for assessment at any time up to the exam submission deadline.

Getting ready

We will be publishing the updated Performance Grades qualification specification and syllabuses in July. As the repertoire lists for Initial Performance Grades will be the same as those for our Practical Grades, you can start thinking about pieces to include now, based on those lists. However, make sure you check the ‘Selecting repertoire’ requirements for Initial Grade in the updated Performance Grades syllabus (available in July), before finalising programmes or making exam recordings.

And if you’re new to Performance Grades and thinking about booking an Initial Grade exam, don’t forget to read the essential information, guidance and advice available on our website here.

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