Latest exam updates

Performance Grade exams

We are pleased to confirm that we will be offering Performance Grade exams every month for the remainder of 2021. Please check our Dates and Fees page for details.

Grade 5 Music Theory waiver (not applicable in the UK & Ireland)

We are extending our Grade 5 Music Theory waiver until 23 May 2021. This means that candidates with a Grade 6 to 8 Performance Grade exam submission date up to and including 23 May can take their exam without first passing Grade 5 Music Theory. We are making this exceptional arrangement to allow candidates who have been unable to take an exam in recent months to progress with their learning. From 24 May, the Grade 5 Music Theory requirement will return. For exam dates/exam submission dates after 23 May, all candidates taking a Grade 6 to 8 Performance or Practical Grade must first pass Grade 5 Music Theory.

New Percussion syllabus from 2020 out now!

Key dates

The new Percussion syllabus and supporting books will be available from 7 November 2019 for use in exams from 1 January 2020.

Syllabus overlap period

Candidates can start presenting repertoire from the new syllabus from 1 January 2020 and can present repertoire from the old syllabus until 31 December 2020 (all pieces and supporting tests must be from the same syllabus).

Exciting new repertoire

Our new Percussion syllabus offers over 80 exciting, newly commissioned pieces by leading percussion composers and educationalists. Learners can immerse themselves in innovative new repertoire, which offers:

  • A variety of genres and styles from baroque and classical to swing, contemporary, jazz and modern.
  • Solos, duets, accompanied and multi-percussion pieces.
  • A flexible and accessible approach to percussion assessment, reflecting the musical and practical realities of the contemporary, multi-skilled world of percussion.

New exam structure

The new syllabus offers more flexibility than ever before and learners can focus on a single subject – Snare Drum, Timpani or Tuned Percussion exams –can perform across all three subjects in the Percussion (Combined) exam. There are also opportunities to play pieces accompanied by both piano and percussion across all subjects, as well as pieces for multi-percussion.

New supporting publications

To accompany the new syllabus we’ve published a suite of supporting books to help learners prepare for their exams. These books cover the four percussion subjects – Snare Drum, Timpani, Tuned Percussion and Percussion (Combined) – and include:

Percussion Exam Pieces and Studies

  • Available for Grades 1 to 5, one book per grade
  • Five pieces per instrument strand, per grade – 15 pieces total per book.
  • Also includes four technical studies for each grade – two Snare Drum, two Timpani
  • Pull-out score containing duet parts and accompaniments

Principal Percussion

  • Available for Grades 6-8, one book for all three grades
  • Feature nine newly commissioned pieces - three per grade, one per instrument strand

Percussion Scales and Arpeggios

  • Available for Grades 1-5 and 6-8
  • Suitable for Tuned Percussion exams, or Tuned Percussion element in combined exam (if a candidate chooses to sit Scales and Arpeggios over a Technical Study)

Percussion Sight-Reading

  • Available books for Grades 1-5 and 6-8
  • Includes Snare Drum, Timpani and Tuned Percussion sight-reading pieces

Percussion Studies

  • Available for Grades 6-8, one book for all three grades
  • Contains four studies per grade - two Snare Drum, two Timpani

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