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At ABRSM, we support the career-long professional development of music teachers through our innovative courses and online learning resources.

Here you'll find details of our current suite of INSET presentations, designed to support learning around our marking criteria – the foundation of assessment used by ABRSM examiners for graded music exams. Through these presentations and workshops, delivered by our network of experienced examiners, you'll be able to explore new repertoire, resources and teaching ideas.

Because we get a high volume of requests for in-service presentations at the start of the school session, we prioritise visits that bring together a wide and diverse community of practising musicians and teachers.


INSET sessions

All the sessions below can be tailored to your needs unless otherwise stated. Each lasts a minimum of 90 minutes.

Using the criteria: How our examiners assess musical performance

This session looks at how understanding the way ABRSM exams are assessed can support the exam journey, from planning and preparing through to the exam itself and beyond to the mark form. It explains how the exam structure works and, using recorded examples, how examiners apply the ABRSM marking criteria to assess exam sections. 

You'll gain helpful insights into the aspects of musical performance that you and your students need to consider to work effectively towards an ABRSM exam. You'll also 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 demonstrates how there are no simple answers to these questions.

Using the evolution of ABRSM's marking criteria as a starting point, you'll explore 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 to help your students 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 groups.

Music Medals

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

The session lasts between two and three hours and can be tailored to your specific needs. There's a plenary at the end of the training.

Please note that Music Medals are not available for Singing, 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.

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

Jazz: Got that swing?

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

This session helps you to understand the important elements in the music, and provides ideas that you can take away and work on to feel more comfortable yourself as well as to use as teaching tools for your students.

Developing musical knowledge and understanding

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

Highlighting the importance of music theory, it uses a range of resources to 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.

Digital resources for primary schools

Classical 100 is our free resource for primary schools that features 100 pieces of classical music in a dynamic list, ranging from Bach to Bernstein and Handel to Haydn. You can sort the music by mood, instrument, tempo and historical period, or in any other way that suits you. This year we’ve developed the app so each of the 100 pieces now features its own musical challenge.

Introduce your pupils to a wide range of classical music and develop their musical understanding through flexible activities. Listen, learn and explore all 100 pieces. The challenges are fun and flexible enough to use in a number of ways – from short starter activities to longer sessions spanning several hours. They're designed to support all teachers, with or without musical expertise.  

"The 100 pieces are a perfect stimulus for storytelling, drama and dance, with lots of ideas for music-making activities. The resource is ideal for introducing pupils to the joy of classical music, where pupils can improve their aural skills in identifying a range of orchestral instruments along with interpreting the emotions of the music while developing concentration in listening skills." – Kate Picken, Music Teacher and Youth Music Development Officer in Dumfries & Galloway Council

We regularly update our INSET offer, so remember to check this page for details of new sessions.


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