While exams aren’t essential, they’re a useful way to judge your progress as you learn your instrument. Some music exams are taken all over the world and you can earn internationally recognised qualifications.
There are 8 grades. Depending on your instrument and how much you practise, you can probably expect to take your Grade 1 exam within a year or two of starting lessons. Grade 5 is roughly equivalent to GCSE standard, and Grade 8 is about A level standard. You can get UCAS points for Grades 6-8.
If you want to think about music as a career, you should probably expect to be about Grade 8 standard when you leave school.
When and where are the next ABRSM practical music exams?
This year Lewisham Music will be hosting exams at their new community music spaces – First Floor, The Fellowship, Randlesdown Road, Bellingham, SE6 3BT from Tuesday 11 July (please note that ABRSM set the dates, and depending on number of applications the exam date could be up to Thursday 13 July).
ABRSM is a national organisation and it sets the fees for its exams – we have no control over these charges.
Initial Practical Grade
Do you offer any discounts?
We are able to offer discounted fees of 50%-95% if your child/ren are eligible for Pupil Premium, are Looked After Child/ren (in care), or for families currently experiencing financial pressures (please get in touch if you think you might be eligible). If your child requires an accompanist during the exam then the discounted fees are outlined below.
Exam accompaniment – what is an accompanist?
An accompanist is a musician who plays an accompaniment part during the exam to provide rhythmic and/or harmonic support for the pieces, this will usually be on a piano. Accompanists are not required for piano exams and some guitar exams (please check with your tutor).
How do I find an accompanist and how much does it cost?
If your child requires an accompanist, Lewisham Music will provide one at an additional cost.
How to apply for an exam
The deadline to apply to take a music exam with Lewisham Music has now passed, there are however other exam centres around London where you can take the exam, please click the button below to have a look at what is available on the ABRSM website.
What happens in exams?
You’ll play three short pieces, some technical exercises (typically scales and arpeggios) and answer some tests of musicianship (or ‘aural’ tests). They provide a test of all-round musicianship, not just the ability to play pieces.
Can I use photocopies of the music?
No. You must purchase the original exam books and pieces.
For more information about ABRSM exams please click the button below and head to their website where you’ll find support, advice and useful practice/preparation tips.