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We know that good teachers endeavour to enhance their professional skills and we are committed to supporting their career-long professional development through our innovative courses and online learning resources.

We also understand the value of professional dialogue, and will use our convening power to bring communities of teachers together through our INSET offer wherever we can.

On this page you will find details of our current suite of presentations designed to support learning around our marking criteria; the foundation of assessment used by ABRSM examiners for graded music exams. Through exciting presentations and practical workshops, delivered by our network of experienced examiners, teachers will be able to explore new repertoire, resources and teaching ideas.

We receive a high volume of requests for in-service presentations at the start of the school session. Priority for the delivery of these is given to visits that bring together a wide and diverse community of practising musicians and teachers.


Our offer

All of the sessions below can be tailored to your needs unless otherwise stated - however, each will last a minimum of ninety minutes.

Using the criteria: how ABRSM examiners assess musical performance

This session looks at how an understanding of the way ABRSM exams are assessed can support the exam journey, from planning and preparation through to the exam itself, and beyond to the mark form. You will gain helpful insights into the aspects of musical performance which you and your students need to consider in working effectively towards an ABRSM exam.

The session will explain how the structure of an exam works, and using recorded examples, it will also show how examiners apply the ABRSM marking criteria to assess sections of the exam. Finally, you will come away with a clear understanding of how the mark form comments are intended to help guide your students’ future musical development.

Musical progression and the role of assessment

Is assessment only about exams; and are exams only about assessment? By exploring the links between motivation, attainment, assessment and progression, this session will demonstrate that there are no simple answers to these questions.

Using the evolution of ABRSM's marking criteria as a starting point, consider how musical assessment can be used in a helpful and holistic way for all concerned – one that supports and guides progression in terms of the process itself and the outcome.

Creative lesson ideas and activities

This session provides inspirational lesson ideas that will help your students to excel in the qualities and skills that ABRSM examiners use to assess the musical outcome in a graded music exam - pitch, time, tone, shape and performance.

This is a hands-on, practical session that can be designed around small or large group teaching methodologies.

Music Medals

Our practical training sessions equip you with the knowledge and skills that you'll need to integrate Music Medals into your day-to-day teaching and to confidently and easily conduct the assessments with your pupils. This training is compulsory if you wish to enter candidates for this form of assessment.

The session will last between two and three hours and can be tailored to suit your needs. There will be a plenary at the end of the training.

Please note that Music Medals are not available for voice, piano or percussion.

Pathways through new syllabus repertoire

Discover ABRSM’s new exam repertoire in a session of practical demonstrations and discussions exploring a variety of musical approaches to teaching the music set for Grades 1–8.

The session will look at imaginative ways to focus your students’ exam preparation around the aspects of musical performance that examiners assess and help them to engage with the music with enthusiasm and confidence.

Got that swing?

Jazz is becoming an increasingly popular and in-demand style for pupils, and although many teachers are enthusiastic about the style not everyone feels confident about delivering jazz content in lessons.

This session will help you to understand the important elements in the music and provide some ideas that you can take away and work on both to feel more comfortable yourself and use as teaching tools for your pupils.

Developing Musical Knowledge & Understanding

This session explores and explains the close and vital relationship between knowledge, understanding and skill and between the study and the craft of music, as well as other performance-based activities.

We know that 'Music Theory' is increasingly at risk of seeming unnecessary – possibly even irrelevant – but this session will suggest that in fact it has never been more important to effective musical learning and sustainable progress. Using a range of resources, the session will demonstrate some of the intricate, inextricable connections between practical control and mental awareness and between musical literacy and articulacy, showing how musical knowledge and understanding lies at the heart of successful music-making.

We will regularly update our offer and add new presentations to support learning. Please continue to check this page for details of new sessions.


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