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New Bowed Strings syllabus 2020-2023

What’s new

  • Refreshed repertoire lists for all four instruments at all grades
  • More choice than ever before, with the lists extended to ten pieces (30 pieces in total per grade)
  • Duet option included for the first time – up to Grade 3
  • Cello Exam Pieces (Grades 1–5) published for the first time 
  • New Initial Grade exam introduced – a pre-Grade 1 assessment following the same structure, content and assessment criteria as ABRSM’s existing graded music exams (three pieces, scales, sight-reading and aural tests)
  • All four instruments at Initial Grade supported with an Exam Pack publication containing nine pieces (three per list) from the syllabus, the scales requirements and sample sight-reading tests
  • A separate publication containing sample aural tests for the Initial Grade also available
  • Revised list structure
  • A focus on cross-string teaching at the lower levels with some of the same pieces being set for multiple instruments. For a list of these pieces see Compatible Pieces.

Syllabus validity

The Bowed Strings syllabus 2020–2023 comes into effect on 1 January 2020. This means that:

  • Candidates can begin to present pieces from the new lists;
  • Candidates can continue to present pieces from the 2016–2019 syllabus lists during the overlap period (see below);
  • Scales and arpeggios, sight-reading and aural test requirements remain exactly the same as for the 2016–2019 syllabus.

Syllabus overlap

From 2020 a one-year overlap period will apply worldwide. This means that all candidates can continue to play pieces from the 2016–2019 syllabus until 31 December 2020 (all pieces must be from the same syllabus).

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