Latest exam updates

Music Theory exams – March 2021

  • Online Music Theory exams (Grades 1 to 5) – we are cancelling the online exams planned for 16 March. Exams in May and June will go ahead as planned.
  • Paper Music Theory exams (Grades 6 to 8) – the next exams will take place in June. Please note, dates and booking periods for Grades 1-5 and Grades 6-8 may be different from now on. For full details, see our dates and fees page.
  • Grade 5 Music Theory requirement - from 1 January to 30 April 2021 only, candidates can take Grade 6 to 8 Performance or Practical exams without first passing Grade 5 Music Theory. From 1 May 2021, the Grade 5 Music Theory requirement will return with flexibility about timing. If you receive an email asking for your proof of prerequisite, please ignore this. We will still release any results in line with the arrangements outlined here.

For more information click here.

Performance Grade booking

We will be offering Performance Grade exams every month for the remainder of 2021. Exact dates will be announced soon. Please check here for more information.

Next steps

Key themes and recommendations

Next stepsThis report is the result of a major collaboration between individuals and organisations deeply involved in music education across the UK. The conclusions drawn from this research have led those involved to look at the key messages that have emerged and to offer the following suggestions:

Next steps for the music education sector

  • Articulate a more coherent message about progression routes in musical learning, and the possible routes available for young people at all stages – this requires much greater collaboration and coordination among schools, private teachers, Music Services, community music and national organisations.
  • Implement more rigorous monitoring processes so that learners’ development and progress can be more effectively mapped, helping identify the most effective strategic support and practical interventions.
  • Champion the role of music and music specialists so head teachers and governors truly understand the positive impact they can make.

Next steps for policy makers and funding

  • Champion the role of creative learning in schools as part of the inspection framework – this would strengthen head teachers’ perceptions of music as an important contributor to school culture, outcomes and achievements for young people and attainment results.
  • More effectively target and align funding, to support disadvantaged learners from social grades C1, D and E, address regional imbalances, and ensure a more equitable supply of diverse instruments UK-wide.
  • Sustain and further enhance funding to Music Education Hubs in England to ensure they are able to meet the high ambitions set out for them.
  • Increase exposure to music at initial teacher training level to ensure new entrants to the profession are adequately skilled to fulfill their statutory obligations, particularly at primary level.

StringsNext steps for schools and teachers

  • Continue to provide a rich mix and depth of musical styles, repertoire and experiences in the classroom that engage young people and meet their own expectations.
  • Monitor learners’ progress more effectively to better identify both their individual needs and the resources and support required to meet them.
  • Encourage greater collaboration between teachers working across the private and public sectors – this would encourage better sharing of good practice and go towards ending the isolation teachers can feel.
  • Undertake regular and targeted continuing professional development via existing support structures – this requires greater collaboration between competing commercial and non-profit stakeholders.
  • Advocate the benefits of music education with parents and carers to ensure better understanding and garner more support.

A final word

Our Making Music report clearly demonstrates that there is a lot to celebrate in the field of instrumental teaching, learning and playing in the UK. It is our challenge to ensure that the findings of this report will galvanize and inspire those within our sector – and those who have the power – to influence, change and further improve the circumstances in which children and adults engage with music.

ABRSM & all of our Making Music partners

Next: Appendix

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