Before coming across this article, you probably have already heard of many children as well adults learning the piano and taking piano exams in Singapore. Even though everyone talks about it, do you really know what the Piano Exams are? Do you know what are ABRSM, Trinity, ATCL or LRSM? Read on and find out more!
ABRSM and Trinity
When it comes to piano, there are two main exam authorities in Singapore. They are The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) and Trinity College London (Trinity). Both ABRSM and Trinity are examination boards based in UK which offers music examinations in music centres internationally. The certification from these two exam authorities are commonly recognized in Singapore and music institutions around the world. As a result, almost all piano learners in Singapore take either the ABRSM or Trinity graded examinations syllabus.
Grade Structure - 1 to 8
Both ABRSM and Trinity use the same grade structure as follow.
For ABRSM, there is no prerequisite required to take the Grade 1 - 5 Theory Exams or Practical Exams. As long as one knows the piano well enough and is confident to pass the exams, he/she is qualified to sign up for the exams. You can even attempt the Grade 5 exams directly without clearing the prior grades. For Grade 6 – 8 theory, there is no prerequisite as well. As for Grade 6 – 8 practical, you will need to have at least passed the Grade 5 Theory or Practical musicianship before you are qualified to sign up.
For Trinity, there is no prerequisite required to take the Grade 1 – 8 Theory Exams or Practical Exams. Based on your piano competency, you are free to take any Practical or Theory Exams of any grades (up to Grade 8) you want.
Both ABRSM and Trinity exams are in increasing level of difficulty from Grade 1 to 8. As such, even though the prerequisite for the graded exams are not always required, most candidates still take the exams progressively from Grade 1.
For Diplomas, ABRSM and Trinity vary quite drastically and offer different types of assessments. Generally, there are 3 types of Diplomas – Associate, Licentiate and Fellowship. ABRSM offers DipABRSM, LRSM and FRSM while Trinity offers ATCL, LTCL and FTCL. The equivalent level of each diploma is as follows:
DipABRSM and ATCL – 1st year of undergraduate degree
LRSM and LTCL – Final year of undergraduate degree
FRSM and FTCL – Postgraduate study at university
Exam Period and Venues
The Theory Exams for both ABRSM and Trinity are held twice a year - once in the first half of the year around April and the other in the second half of the year around October. The actual exam dates vary so it is important to check with the respective examination boards before signing up. (Please find the Singapore ABRSM and Trinity contact details below)
For Practical Exams, ABRSM generally has 3 sessions per year (Feb/Mar, Jul/Aug, Aug/Sep) while Trinity has 2 sessions per year (May/June and Nov/Dec). The actual exam dates vary so it is important to check with the respective examination boards before signing up. (Once again, the Singapore ABRSM and Trinity contact details can be found below)
Both practical and theory exams are held at authorized locations around Singapore. You will be informed of the exam locations in advance by your respective exams administrators.
We hope the above information gives you a better understanding about piano exams in Singapore! Following are useful websites about ABRSM and Trinity for you to find out more in details. You can also find the official Singapore contact for you to find out the exact exam schedule and book your exams.
ABRSM Singapore Exam Contact: http://sg.abrsm.org/en/exam-booking/abrsm-exam-centres
Trinity Singapore Exam Contact: http://www.tcmexams.com
ABRSM Official Website: http://sg.abrsm.org/en/home
Trinity Official Website: http://www.trinitycollege.com/piano