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New Singing syllabus on the way

We are currently working on a new Singing syllabus for use in graded exams from 2018 onwards. The syllabus will launch on 7 September.

The Singing syllabus will be available 7 September 2017 and will be valid from 1 January 2018. It will include refreshed repertoire lists for all grades as well as a number of changes to the accompanied song requirements at Grades 6 to 8. We are not making any changes to the unaccompanied traditional song or sight-singing requirements at any grade.

ABRSM Singing consultants, Heidi Pegler and Eileen Field, give us a flavour of what they are looking forward to:

"There are so many exciting developments! Old favourites are still there but you will find new songs to add to the vast singing teacher library. Special attention has been paid to treble and counter-tenor voices to ensure they have enough choice but all singers should find something which will appeal to them and show them off at their best. I can't wait to get stuck in and I hope you enjoy exploring the syllabus too.” Heidi Pegler

"Great emphasis has been placed on the inclusion of a wider range of musical theatre songs and broadening the choice of repertoire at higher grades with three items to be chosen from five lists. Enjoy!" Eileen Field

New books for Grades 1 to 5

We are creating five exciting books for Singers! The new Songbook Plus series will be available towards the end of the year. Selections from our current Songbooks will still feature on the syllabus, with the new books providing additional songs at Grades 1 to 5.

Changes at Grades 6 to 8

We are introducing some changes to the accompanied song requirements at Grades 6 to 8 only. The changes are designed to ensure that the new syllabus reflects the different needs and motivations of upper-grade singers. Our aim is to provide greater choice and flexibility so that singers at this level can perform repertoire that matches and showcases their strengths and interests.

The changes from 2018, at Grades 6 to 8 only, are:

  • Candidates perform three songs, rather than four. Each song will be marked out of 30. This is consistent with the requirements and marking for Singing at Grades 1 to 5 and instrumental exams at all grades.
  • We are expanding the number of repertoire lists, so singers at these grades can choose their three songs from five different lists. The lists will be:
    • List A: Early and sacred songs
    • List B: Art songs in French and German
    • List C: Art songs in English
    • List D: Art songs in other languages
    • List E: Opera, operetta and musical theatre
  • Candidates will no longer be required to sing in two languages or to sing certain songs in their original language. However, the five lists encourage teachers and candidates to consider songs in various languages, and provide plenty of opportunities for students to develop skills in this area if they want to
  • Any song can be sung by any voice type and in any key, as is already the case at Grades 1 to 5.

Overlap arrangements

The usual overlap period will apply for songs from the old syllabus, which candidates can perform until Spring 2018 in the UK and Ireland, and until 31 December 2018 in all other countries.

However, from 1 January 2018 onwards candidates at Grades 6 to 8 should only perform three songs. During the overlap period, candidates at Grades 6 to 8 presenting songs from the previous syllabus are free to choose from any three of the four old lists.


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