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Bowed Strings syllabus 2020–2023

Key dates

  • 6 June 2019: Publication of Bowed Strings syllabus 2020–2023
  • 6 June 2019: Publication of Violin Exam Pieces (Grades 1–8) and Cello Exam Pieces (Grades 1–5); audio recordings of all pieces in the books also available
  • 6 June 2019: Publication of Exam Pack books (pieces, scales and sight-reading) for Violin, Viola, Cello and Double Bass for the new Initial Grade exam; audio recordings of all pieces in the books also available; Initial Grade Specimen Aural Tests published separately
  • 1 January 2020: Bowed Strings syllabus 2020–2023 comes into effect

Find out more

What’s new

  • Refreshed repertoire lists for all four instruments at all grades
  • More choice than ever before, with the lists extended to ten pieces (30 pieces in total per grade)
  • Duet option included for the first time – up to Grade 3
  • Cello Exam Pieces (Grades 1–5) published for the first time
  • New Initial Grade exam introduced – a pre-Grade 1 assessment following the same structure, content and assessment criteria as ABRSM’s existing graded music exams (three pieces, scales, sight-reading and aural tests)
  • All four instruments at Initial Grade supported with an Exam Pack publication containing nine pieces (three per list) from the syllabus, the scales requirements and sample sight-reading tests
  • A separate publication containing sample aural tests for the Initial Grade also available
  • Focus on cross-string teaching at the lower levels with some of the same pieces being set for multiple instruments
  • Revised list structure

Syllabus validity

Bowed Strings syllabus 2020–2023 comes into effect on 1 January 2020. This means that:

  • candidates can begin to present pieces from the new lists;
  • candidates can continue to present pieces from the 2016–2019 syllabus lists during the overlap period (see below);
  • scales and arpeggios, sight-reading and aural test requirements remain exactly the same as for the 2016–2019 syllabus.

Syllabus overlap

For candidates wishing to present pieces drawn from the 2016–2019 syllabus, a one-year overlap period (up to 31 December 2020) now applies to all countries – including the UK and Ireland.

More information coming soon.

Piano syllabus 2019 & 2020

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What’s new

  • 100% refreshed repertoire

No change to scales

We've been considering making changes to the scales and arpeggios requirements and some of you may have been involved in this consultation.

Following extensive feedback from both expert consultants and piano teachers using our exams, we've decided to extend this fruitful period of consultative and developmental work and therefore won't publish new scale requirements for this syllabus.

We intend to publish new scales for the 2021 & 2022 syllabus and will give you as much notice as possible about any future changes.

Syllabus validity

Piano syllabus for 2019 & 2020 comes into effect on 1 January 2019. This means that:

  • candidates can begin to present pieces from the 2019 & 2020 lists;
  • candidates can continue to present pieces from the 2017 & 2018 lists during the overlap period (see below);
  • scales, sight-reading and aural test requirements remain exactly the same as for the 2017 & 2018 syllabus.

Syllabus overlap

For candidates wishing to present pieces drawn from the 2017 & 2018 syllabus, the following date limitations apply:

  • 31 May 2019: UK and Ireland only
  • 31 December 2019: All other countries

Guitar syllabus from 2019

Find out more

What’s new

  • Approximately 50% refreshed repertoire, with some of the most popular pieces retained from the 2009–2018 syllabus
  • More duets for Grades 1–3; duet option extended to Grades 4 and 5
  • ABRSM Guitar Exam Pieces (Grades 1–5) published for the first time
  • Refreshed Prep Test, including newly commissioned solos and duets

Syllabus validity

Guitar syllabus from 2019 comes into effect on 1 January 2019. This means that:

  • candidates can begin to present pieces from the new lists; 
  • candidates can continue to present pieces from the 2009–2018 lists during the overlap period (see below);
  • scales and arpeggios, sight-reading and aural test requirements remain exactly the same as for the 2009–2018 syllabus.

Syllabus overlap

For candidates wishing to present pieces drawn from the 2009–2018 syllabus, the following date limitations apply:

  • 31 May 2019: UK and Ireland only
  • 31 December 2019: All other countries

More information coming soon.

Harp syllabus from 2019 (Pedal and Non-pedal)

Find out more

What’s new

  • Separate syllabuses for Pedal Harp and Non-pedal Harp, based on the previous single syllabus
  • Candidates enter for either a Harp (Pedal) or a Harp (Non-pedal) exam and the specific instrument will appear on mark forms and certificates
  • A clearer presentation of the syllabus requirements 
  • Syllabuses available to view online and download as individual PDFs – we're not printing a new syllabus booklet for Harp
  • We're replacing a small number of pieces – you can find out which pieces are being replaced here
  • All other requirements – scales and arpeggios, sight-reading and aural tests – are staying the same

Syllabus validity

The Harp syllabus from 2019 (Pedal and Non-Pedal) comes into effect on 1 January 2019.

Syllabus overlap

Candidates who've been preparing any of the small number of replaced pieces can play them in exams worldwide until 31 December 2019.

More information coming soon.

Harpsichord, Organ and Percussion 

All syllabus requirements for Harpsichord (from 2009), Organ (from 2011) and Percussion (from 1990) will remain unchanged in 2019. From 2019, these syllabuses will only be available to view online and download as individual PDFs.

 

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