👉 Official information on exam regulation and UCAS points on the ABRSM website 👉 Explore piano lessons for all grades and diplomas 📖 “I often think that teachers make a great mistake by giving too complicated exercises. A complicated exercise leads away from clear thinking and concentration. The simple exercise will never seem dull or dry if the pupil’s ambition is right. After all, it is not so much what is done as how it is done. Give less thought to the material and more to the correction of the means with which one plays. There should be unceasing variety in studies. A change at every practice period is advisable, as it gives the pupil new material for thought. There are hundreds of different exercises in the different books, and the student has no reason for suffering for want of variety.” Wilhelm Backhaus in James Francis Cooke's Great Pianists on Piano Playing 📖 “The piano is, of all instruments, the least expressive naturally, and it is of the greatest importance that the student should realize the nature of its resistance. The action of a piano is purely a piece of machinery where the individual note has no meaning. When the key is once struck and the note sounded there is a completed action and the note cannot then be modified nor changed in the least. The only thing over which the pianist has any control is the length of the tone, and this again may not last any longer than the natural vibrations of the strings, although it may be shortened by relinquishing the keys. It makes no difference whether the individual note is struck by a child or by Paderewski—it has in itself no expressive value. In the case of the violin, the voice and all other instruments except the organ, the individual note may be modified after it is emitted or struck, and in this modification is contained the possibility of a whole world of emotional expression. Our sole means of expression, then, in piano playing lies in the relation of one note to the other notes in a series or in a chord. Herein lies the difficulty, the resistance to perfect freedom of which I have spoken before, the principal subject for intelligence and careful study, and yet so few students appear to understand it. Their great effort seems to be to make all the noise in a given series as much alike as coins from a mint. They come to the piano as their only instrument, and never seek to take a lesson from the voice or from the other instruments which have expressive resources infinitely superior to those pos- sessed by the piano. The principal charm of the piano lies in the command which the player has over many voices singing together. But until the pianist has a regard for the individual voice in its relation to the ensemble he has no means with which to make his work really beautiful." Harold Bauer in James Francis Cooke's Great Pianists on Piano Playing 📖 "We must do more than appreciate music. We must understand it, by doing, feeling, and listening." In Alec Rowley Practical Musicianship (1941) 📖 ON EXAMINATIONS "The outlook seems to be: - 'Oh! I'll dazzle the examiners with my playing, and trust to luck in the tests.' This is fallacy - believe me. The examiners are not to be bluffed, and the real musical capabilities the candidate are discovered by ear, sight, and viva voce tests. Scales (a necessary evil) are slopped over and smudged, or jerked and rushed. The sight test is frequently played in the wrong key, and the accidentals omitted altogether. This suggests to the examiner that the candidate has worked and slaved at the pieces, but nevertheless has a poor a faulty musical ear. Every one of the various requirements should be digested and thoroughly studied. Nothing should be left to chance. Week by week new things should be pointed out and added by the teacher, and the tests should be taken thoroughly through, on every possible occasion. This impresses the pupil with their importance, and keeps them up to the mark." Alec Rowley Do's and Don'ts for Musicians. A Handbook for Teachers and Performers 📖 Alec Rowley's DON'TS FOR CANDIDATES FOR EXAMINATIONS "Don't be late. Don't forget your music. Don't offer to shake hands with the examiner. Don't imagine that a slip will cost you the examination. Don't be too sure that a correct rendering only, will pass. Don't forget to concentrate on the music itself. Don't allow yourself to hurry if you feel nervous, but take a more deliberate tempo. Don't think the examiner is out to fail you; he is just as anxious that you should pass. Don't forgot to wash your hands before the examination. If you don't, it is always the succeeding candidate who suffers. Don't forget to listen intently when the examiner speaks; he is not particularly keen on repeating his remarks. Don't go in for the examination in an over confident 'just-you-hear- me' spirit; on the other hand don't think that you will fail. The former will make your playing, or singing mechanical - the latter will not allow you to do yourself justice. Don't be under the illusion that the examiner is on the look-out for mistakes. It is a musical rendering that earns the highest marks. Don't blame the examiner if you fail. Don't praise him if you pass. He is perfectly impartial, and is entirely unmoved by the result. Don't take your pieces too fast. Don't take your pieces too slowly. Don't make repeats. Don't forget to observe in sight-reading the time - and key signature. Don't splash through everything. Don't crawl along musically as if you have the whole day in front of you. Don't forget to be polite and interested. Don't explain your errors away to the examiner. He has already heard them, and hates to be reminded of it. Don't be afraid of the examiner - he is not a god living upon air. Don't allow your mind to wander. If you think only of the music (and the mind cannot do two things at once) it will naturally follow that you will be oblivious to external surroundings. It is lack of concentrations on the matter in hand that is responsible for nervousness. Don't worry. If you are well prepared, there is no need to be apprehensive of the result. Don't neglect the scales and arpeggios, and think that you will make up your marks on the pieces. Everything counts in the total. Don't bluff the examiner - he will be down on you if you do. Don't neglect the training of the ear. So many examinations contain tests in this important subject now. Don't practice hard on the examination day. Just a few scales and technical exercises are enough to open out the fingers and take away any stiffness. Don't neglect sight-reading. This is a most important branch, and is being recognised as a big test in musicianship. Don't neglect to hear everything that will help you. Go to concerts, recitals, and lectures. Don't keep your foot on the right pedal all the time; rather leave it alone altogether. Don't if you fail the first time, bring again the same pieces. Change your list. Don't work only the examination requirements. Keep the mind active by avoiding groover. Don't forget to test your ability, and when you have been in for everything, forget all bout it, and concentrate on the only thing that matters - music itself." From Alec Rowley Do's and Don'ts for Musicians. A Handbook for Teachers and Performers 📖 "Every performance … consists of three fundamental elements: the work performed (the music), the performer and the instrument. Only a complete mastery of these three elements (and first of all, the music) can ensure a good artistic performance." Heinrich Neuhaus The Art of Piano Playing
ABRSM Piano Grades and Diplomas ABRSM is the Associated Board of Royal Schools of Music which offers worldwide recognisable grade exam and diploma qualifications. ABRSM qualifications improve chances for university applications, are sometimes necessary for better schools and scholarships and are also motivational deadlines which further progress. ABRSM also offers opportunities for those with very good results. You will find extensive lists with relevant materials on the following pages.
📖 "Musical training is a more potent instrument than any other, because rhythm and harmony find their way into the secret places of the soul." Plato 📖 "Through diligent study and perseverance you will rise ever higher." Robert Schumann Advice to Young Musicians Advice for Preparation for Grade Exams and Diplomas 🎵 Start early enough, do not leave anything to the last moment. 🎵 Prepare conscientiously. Aim at best possible results and not the minimum needed for a pass. 🎵 Plan regular practice for all components - sight-reading, scales, pieces and aural. 🎵 The ABRSM repertoire is selected according to a concept of systematic progression. Three pieces per grade are not enough to really master a particular level of skill. Candidates who limit their endeavours to only three pieces per exam could still progress to grade 8 level but they would not really learn to read music well enough to derive any joy from this activity and would also be ultimately deprived of technical skills which allow a move towards the diplomas without unnecessary complications and relearning. People who follow this system quite often close the lid of the piano as soon as the last grade exam is taken and do not open it for decades. 🎵 Do not avoid learning studies systematically in addition to scales. ABRSM does not include studies in the exam curriculum but technical development does not happen with pieces only. 🎵 Plan at least one performance of the exam pieces in a concert or festival (for example) before playing in the exam. 🎵 Once prepared, be confident and do not be afraid of anything that might happen in the exam. Performance is quite a lot of fun, whether in a private, public, competitive, none-competitive or assessment environment. 🎵 Remember that music is not just about playing the notes "perfectly" - the notes on paper are only shadow images of musical contents, messages and stories. Create an atmosphere with the very first notes you play and narrate the stories. Preliminary | Initial Grade Piano 🎹 Preliminary | Initial Grade Piano - Summary Page Materials for the piano initial grade examination. Visit the ABRSM Piano Initial Grade page to find official information. 🎹 Initial Grade - Piano Beginnings 🎹 Initial Grade - Exam Materials 🎹 Initial Grade - Sight-Reading 🎹 Initial Grade - Scales 🎹 Initial Grade - Studies 🎹 Initial Grade - Pieces 🎹 Initial Grade - Duets 🎹 Initial Grade - Theory 🎹 Initial Grade - Aural 🎹 Initial Grade - Piano Christmas Piano Grade 1 Materials for the piano grade 1 examination. Go to the ABRSM Piano Grade 1 page to find official information. It may take between 6 months and 2 years to prepare for the grade 1 exam depending on age and practice. 🎹 Grade One - Exam Materials 🎹 Grade One - Sight-Reading 🎹 Grade One - Scales 🎹 Grade One - Studies 🎹 Grade One - Pieces 🎹 Grade One - Duets 🎹 Grade One - Theory 🎹 Grade One - Aural 🎹 Grade One - Piano Christmas Piano Grade 2 Materials for the piano grade 2 examination. Visit the ABRSM Piano Grade 2 page to find official information. 🎹 Grade Two - Exam Materials 🎹 Grade Two - Sight-Reading 🎹 Grade Two - Scales 🎹 Grade Two - Studies 🎹 Grade Two - Pieces 🎹 Grade Two - Duets 🎹 Grade Two - Theory 🎹 Grade Two - Aural 🎹 Grade Two - Piano Christmas Piano Grade 3 Materials for the piano grade 3 examination. Go to the ABRSM Piano Grade 3 page for official information. 🎹 Grade Three - Exam Materials 🎹 Grade Three - Sight-Reading 🎹 Grade Three - Scales 🎹 Grade Three - Studies 🎹 Grade Three - Pieces 🎹 Grade Three - Duets 🎹 Grade Three - Theory 🎹 Grade Three - Aural Piano Grade 4 Materials for the piano grade 4 examination. Visit the ABRSM Piano Grade 4 page for official information. 🎹 Grade Four - Exam Materials 🎹 Grade Four - Sight-Reading 🎹 Grade Four - Scales 🎹 Grade Four - Studies 🎹 Grade Four - Pieces 🎹 Grade Four - Duets 🎹 Grade Four - Theory 🎹 Grade Four - Aural Piano Grade 5 Materials for the piano grade 5 examination. Check the ABRSM Piano Grade 5 page to find official information. 🎹 Grade Five - Exam Materials 🎹 Grade Five - Sight-Reading 🎹 Grade Five - Scales 🎹 Grade Five - Studies 🎹 Grade Five - Pieces 🎹 Grade Five - Duets 🎹 Grade Five - Theory 🎹 Grade Five - Aural Piano Grade 6 Materials for the piano grade 6 examination. Also check the ABRSM Piano Grade 6 page to find official information. 🎹 Grade Six - Exam Materials 🎹 Grade Six - Sight-Reading 🎹 Grade Six - Scales 🎹 Grade Six - Studies 🎹 Grade Six - Pieces 🎹 Grade Six - Duets 🎹 Grade Six - Theory 🎹 Grade Six - Aural Piano Grade 7 Find materials for the piano grade 7 examination. Go to the ABRSM Piano Grade 7 page to find official information. 🎹 Grade Seven - Exam Materials 🎹 Grade Seven - Sight-Reading 🎹 Grade Seven - Scales 🎹 Grade Seven - Studies 🎹 Grade Seven - Pieces 🎹 Grade Seven - Duets 🎹 Grade Seven - Theory 🎹 Grade Seven - Aural Piano Grade 8 Materials for the piano grade 8 examination. Go to the ABRSM Piano Grade 8 page to find official information and repertoire, regulations, expectations, benefits and more. 🎹 Grade Eight - Exam Materials 🎹 Grade Eight - Sight-Reading 🎹 Grade Eight - Scales 🎹 Grade Eight - Studies 🎹 Grade Eight - Pieces 🎹 Grade Eight - Duets 🎹 Grade Eight - Theory 🎹 Grade Eight - Aural Piano ARSM Materials for preparation for the ARSM diploma. 🎹 Piano ARSM Piano DipABRSM Materials for preparation for the DipABRSM diploma. 🎹 Piano DipABRSM Piano LRSM Materials for preparation for the LRSM diploma. 🎹 Piano LRSM Piano FRSM Materials for preparation for the FRSM diploma. 🎹 Piano FRSM Piano Lessons London | Online Piano Lessons | Piano Teacher Bio | About Lessons | Piano Lessons for Beginners | Advanced Piano Lessons | Piano Lessons for Kids | Piano Lessons for Adults | Locations | Fees & Discounts | Results | Ethos | Music Library | FAQ | Performance | Piano Hours | Teaching Schedule | News | Media | Links | Reviews | Policy | Blog | Materials | Contact