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ABRSM’s Music Medals - ten years in the making

9 years ago

This year ABRSM, the exam board of the Royal Schools of Music, is celebrating the 10th anniversary of Music Medals, its accredited framework of assessments and teaching resources for beginners. Since their launch in 2004, over 75,000 assessments have taken place across the UK with teachers using Music Medals to set goals and celebrate their students’ achievements.

How they work

Music Medals are available for all of the most commonly taught instruments. They are designed to suit the needs of both teachers and pupils, providing a suggested teaching format, as well as an affordable range of music for aspiring musicians. In addition to performing a solo piece, students are assessed on their group performance and all-round musicianship skills. The low-pressure performances are marked by the teacher, while the video of the performance is later moderated by ABRSM. From there, successful candidates are awarded a certificate and a Music Medal. The five-tier medal system ensures that each child has the opportunity to perform to the best of their abilities, as well as preparing them for graded music exams if they wish to take them. Penny Milsom, ABRSM’s UK Operations Director, said ’Music Medals offer an innovative structure for learning that not only supports students as they develop a range of musical skills, but also offers a flexible approach that falls in perfectly with how teachers are teaching right now. They’re affordable, rewarding and a fantastic way of measuring musical progress. It’s been great to see them grow in popularity over the last ten years.’ Brenda McAleer, a music teacher based in Northern Ireland, has entered over 1,100 candidates to date: ’Pupils can work towards their first Copper Music Medal very quickly. This motivates them and encourages a good practice ethos and is an incentive for perfecting pieces and technique. The ensemble performance sets the Music Medal exam apart from other exams. It is the development of ensemble skills from the very start that contributes to the development of the well-rounded musician. My pupils have an immense sense of achievement when they are presented their badge, certificate and comment sheet by the school Principal!’

Further information

To find out all you need to know about Music Medals and to register, please visit

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