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Music Medals are teacher-led assessments for younger learners, building on what's already taught in group lessons and enabling students to gain recognition for their hard work.

Before the assessment day

Make sure you've received parental permission and have printed the confidential options test and a report form for each student.

 

On the assessment day

A Music Medal assessment lasts between five and ten minutes for each student.

Test the camera and make sure you have a good view of the student.

Record the Ensemble and Solo pieces and the Option test for each student without a break. Make sure you include the verbal announcements.

When performing the Solo piece, students can play on their own, with CD accompaniment or with an accompanist.

Complete your report form and check your marking against the criteria.

Submit your assessment online by logging in and uploading your videos and report forms for each student. For postal submissions, you’ll also need to send in your video log and the Option tests.

After the moderation process, our team will email you when results are ready to view online.

Your students will then receive a certificate, a commentary and a shiny Music Medal!

Your role as the teacher-assessor

Teacher-assessors prepare, administer and assess each Medal. On the day of the assessment, they're responsible for:

  • Setting up and operating the video equipment and making the introductory announcement
  • Positioning the pupils
  • Ensuring a smooth and uninterrupted sequence between the three sections of each Medal
  • Administering the Option tests
  • Completing the report forms and video log
  • Uploading or dispatching the video recording(s) and supporting paperwork to ABRSM

You may act as an accompanist in your student’s Solo piece. You can also contribute to the Ensemble section by taking a line in any of the trios and quartets, or by being a duet partner at Copper and Bronze levels. This will often give your pupils a confidence boost.

Preparing your group

Running some mock assessments prior to the Medal itself will help to make sure that your students are well-prepared and used to the processes involved.

Specimen Option tests are available in ABRSM’s Option Practice Books and in our Music Medals sampler.

Managing your students

Let your students know that you won't give them any verbal feedback after each individual component. In the assessment, simply saying ‘thank you' is enough to acknowledge their performances.

Video recording tips and guidelines

If possible, rehearse the process of recording Music Medals before you begin. Having confidence with your equipment will help prevent it from becoming a distraction and hindering the assessment.

Use a tripod or ensure that the camera is placed on a firm base. Avoid filming your students standing in front of a window or bright light source. Avoid having the camera too far away. Check your shot before starting to record.

A wide-angle lens should be used, allowing you to fit the whole scene into shot even if you're in a small room. Before you record, give yourself an idea of sound levels by recording yourself playing or talking through the instructions.

When recording the Medal, make sure you use a side-on angle to film your student – this prevents their face, hands and instrument being obscured by the music stand.

Please remember that only one student may be assessed per Medal. For example, if you're entering four students, you'll need to record four Solo pieces, Ensemble pieces and Option tests in sequence.

In the assessment, the three components must run consecutively in the order stated above and the recording shouldn't be stopped between sections.

Verbal introductions from the teacher-assessor of each student should be recorded before each individual Medal and Medal component.

Formats we accept: video uploads, DVD, memory stick, Mini DV, Digital 8.

Download a blank video log.

See our FAQs for more information.

Verbal introductions

You and your student are both required to announce various details to the camera before beginning the performance of each Music Medal and individual Music Medal component.

You and your student are both required to announce various details to the camera before beginning the performance of each Music Medal and individual Music Medal component.

At the start of each assessment, you should announce:

  • Your name
  • The name of the school, if applicable
  • The name of their Music Medals partner, if applicable
  • The date

At the start of each Medal, your student should announce:

  • Their name
  • The Medal level for which they're entering

Before each Solo and Ensemble piece, your student should announce:

  • The title of the piece
  • The book from which it's taken
  • For Ensemble pieces, the line number that the student will perform

Before the Option test, you should either announce to the camera which test is to be taken or ask your student which test they wish to take.

Your student should be encouraged to speak clearly, as if directly to an audience, and this will usually need to be rehearsed. While this is a useful exercise for students in that it prepares them for other verbal performance situations, it may be that some are uncomfortable with this. If this is the case, the teacher-assessor should make the announcements.

The Ensemble performance

The Music Medal assessment begins with the Ensemble component, which is designed to help students develop the vital skills of leading the group, counting in, giving appropriate cues, listening, balancing and blending.

Preparation

While preparing your Ensemble group, creating a relaxed atmosphere in which students can produce their best is vital.

Positioning the players so that they're facing each other allows them to exchange clear visual clues. When filming the Ensemble performance, it's essential that the student being assessed stands nearest to the camera and appears to the left of the screen. Try to fit the whole group on screen if possible.

Tuning should take place before the Medal is recorded and not during the assessment itself unless absolutely essential, as this slows down the filming process. Always bear in mind the guidelines and recommendations set out during your teacher-assessor training.

The performance

You should begin the video recording and ensure that verbal introductions are made before allowing pupils to begin the Ensemble performance.

Students should be encouraged where possible to lead their group during the assessment, gaining confidence by making eye contact with their peers and using gestures to communicate musical intentions. Developing this kind of independence is a gradual process that'll vary from pupil to pupil – as a result, you may need to encourage and assist your pupils by bringing the group in at the start or even conducting the entire performance.

Performance notes

All ensemble performances are to be played without the use of a piano, guitar or other harmonic accompaniment, or a CD backing track.

Teacher-assessors may arrange the lines of set ensemble pieces – other than the line taken by the student – to suit the instruments available to them, taking into account balance, timbre and related ensemble considerations. This is to accommodate the range of combinations of instruments being taught in groups.

Teacher-assessors may contribute to Ensemble performances by playing in a duet with the student at Copper and Bronze levels only, or by taking a line in a trio or quartet at any level.

Repeats may be played at the discretion of the teacher-assessor or student. However, those repeats that are essential to the musical structure must be observed.

Ornaments may be simplified or omitted – a more confident, simpler version is preferable to a performance becoming unrhythmic.

For Keyboard assessments, please read our further guidance.

After completing the Ensemble component of the Music Medal the student should begin preparation for their Solo performance.

The Solo performance

The Solo component forms the second part of the Music Medal. This section of the assessment is designed to help students develop musical independence and individuality, allowing them to focus on their own sound as well as their personal expression.

The performance

Your student should verbally introduce the piece and publication title before beginning their Solo performance.

When performing their piece, students can play on their own, with CD accompaniment or with an accompanist.

Straight repeats aren't required – however, those repeats that are essential to the musical structure must be observed.

Ornaments may be simplified or omitted – a more confident, simpler version is preferable to a performance becoming unrhythmic.

 

The Option test

The Option test forms the final part of the Music Medal and is designed to help students build sound musicianship skills.

There are four options to choose from and students perform one as part of the assessment, providing them with the flexibility to play to their own individual strengths.

Preparation

The teacher-assessor should log in and download a set of confidential Option tests for each student no more than eight weeks before the assessment. Throughout this period, the confidentiality of the Option tests must be safeguarded.

It's important to establish the choice of Option before providing the personalised sheets so that there's no question of the student looking at and comparing the tests and only then deciding which one to do.

The Options

The teacher-assessor should verbally introduce the student’s selection of Option before the performance.

If the student selects Make a Tune, Question & Answer (at Bronze to Platinum levels) or Sight-reading, you should provide them with half a minute of preparation time and time this period accurately. You mustn't intervene in any way or provide assistance (e.g. by pointing out accidentals) to the student during this time.

Students who select Make a Tune, Call & Response or Question & Answer should be provided with a pulse by the teacher-assessor. When providing this, it's recommended that you beat or click time and count the beats out loud. Students who select Sight-reading shouldn't be provided with a pulse.

Once the student has finished their Option test, the assessment is over.

Completing the report form

Once a Music Medal assessment is completed, the teacher-assessor should fill in a report form providing feedback on the performance, an indication of the attainment categories awarded for each section and an overall result.

This report form can be completed online or downloaded with the Option tests and posted to us with the assessment (see below).

To pass the Medal, students have to achieve a Pass in a minimum of two of the three sections, of which one must be in the Ensemble section. From Bronze level, to pass ‘With Excellence', all three sections must be awarded an Excellent result.

Download an example report form.

When should I fill in the report form?

The report form should be completed during or just after the student’s performance, but this may not always be possible. If you've contributed to one of the performances, try to complete the form as soon after the Medal as possible while it's still fresh in your mind.

If you're unsure of the details of a performance, you may want to view the recording before you complete the report form.

The report form

The report form provides a series of boxes relating to the assessment criteria for each section of the assessment.

Overall result exemplar

Attainment categories exemplar

Under each heading, there's a set of grids representing various aspects of the performance. When assessing your students, cross boxes in each grid to indicate particularly significant aspects of the student’s performance that have influenced your assessment within each section.

Performance reporting exemplar

When completing the report form, you don’t have to have a mark under every individual criterion. However, it's important that you fill at least one descriptor in each of the grid sections to convey your overall impression.

For example, under each heading there's a set of grids representing various aspects of the performance. There are four grids for Ensemble, three for Solo and one for each Option test. To make the process of reporting as straightforward as possible, you fill boxes in each grid to indicate particularly significant aspects of the student’s performance that have influenced your assessment within each section.

Comprehensive guidance on how to complete the report form is provided as one of the core elements of teacher-assessor training.

Report form guidelines

Report forms should always be kept out of pupils’ sight – they shouldn't be told the results you've awarded as they're subject to ABRSM’s moderation process.

Submitting materials

Online

You can log in and upload your video and results – select 'Active entries' then 'Upload videos/results'.

Post

You can send the video recordings, video log, report forms and option tests to Music Medals Office, ABRSM, 4 London Wall Place, London, EC2Y 5AU. We recommend that all materials submitted by post are sent in a securely packaged envelope and that proof of postage is obtained.

The video dispatch regulations give detailed guidance on the dispatch of video recordings and assessment materials. Please follow this carefully to allow the assessments to be processed efficiently once received by ABRSM.

Moderation

Once received by ABRSM, the video recordings and assessment materials may be sent to a moderator whose task is to corroborate or amend the assessment made by the teacher-assessor.

To make sure that the moderation of the recorded assessments is rigorous, consistent and reliable, thorough quality-assurance procedures have been put in place.

See moderation regulations.

 

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