While many young musicians’ education experiences are often marked by winding paths of sporadic practice and scattered repertoire with limited accountability, music exams provide a way to objectively track progress and offer motivation for further self-improvement, validation of skills and recognition of achievement.
As the world’s leading provider of music exams, the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) delivers over 650,000 assessments annually in 93 countries. On the official website, the ABRSM states that its mission is to inspire achievement in music; it does so by “help[ing] build musical skills, provid[ing] goals and encourag[ing] progress.”
A range of music exams are offered by the ABRSM; the most commonly taken are the Music Performance exams, available for over 35 instruments. Structured progressively from Grades 1-8, these exams promote holistic musicianship by assessing a range of practical skills - including performance skills through 3 pieces or songs selected from an official syllabus, technical skills through scales and arpeggios, notation skills through a sight-reading test, and listening skills and musical perception through aural tests. The assessments have no age restriction, and students are able to begin at any grade and skip levels if desired. Unlike many other music evaluations, the ABRSMs are not a competitive match judged by an intimidating panel. With one-on-one feedback from an expert professional, the only thing you should worry about is one-upping last year’s self.
Because of the exams’ widespread utility and reputation built up over the course of 100+ years, they have become a sort of global currency for evaluating one’s level of musicianship. While there are not very many music programs that require the ABRSM certificate as part of an application or qualification process, especially outside of the UK, it’s still a good way to objectively demonstrate your ability through a trusted international standard of musicianship. Think of it as a kind of “resume booster”!
Roughly 20% of our students actively participate in two ABRSM tests annually, with a ~80% of them passing with high honors or distinction!
The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) include ABRSM Grades 6-8 as "point tariff" towards UK University and college entrance; accomplishments through the ABRSM qualify students to receive college credits, and at the discretion of individual institutions.
In the US, the ABRSM is known to effectively prep students for the AP Music Theory Test, covering important aspects of Theory, Aural Training, and Music Analysis. Passing the AP Music Theory Test provides course credit at universities all across the U.S, so ask your teacher about the exam today!
See if your child is qualified to participate in the ABRSM exam by speaking with our staff at (562)809-3886, or by asking your current teacher!
Last date of entry for Fall 2019 Practical or Theory Exams is Saturday,July 20th, 2019. Exams will take place Oct-Nov, date TBA.