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Everything You Need To Know About Piano Grades!


Piano Exam

There are many factors to consider before enrolling your child for piano lessons. For those of you parents out there who will love your child to be well-versed in piano, you will definitely want to let your child go through the various piano grades, but how does the piano grades work? In this article, I will be sharing with you about everything you need to know about piano grades!

The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) and Trinity College London (TCL) are the two most popular choice of music exams in Singapore. The main difference between the two music exams is the format in which the exams are conducted.

ABRSM Format

The ABRSM music exam focuses on 4 elements, namely Scales & Arpeggios, Sight-Reading, Aural Tests and last but not least, 3 music pieces prepared by ABRSM themselves. The music exam is be graded by a point system, adding up to a total of 150 points. The breakdown of the points are as of the following:

1. 3 Prepared Music Piece - 30 points each; 90 points in total

2. Scales & Arpeggios - 21 points

3. Sight-Reading - 21 points

4. Aural Tests - 18 points

To pass, you will need to score at least 100 points. To achieve a Merit or Distinction, the student will be required to score 120 or 130 points respectively.

For more information regarding ABRSM's music exam format, take a look at their piano syllabus for the year 2019 & 2020. The prices for the ABRSM music exam can be found here.

TCL Format

The TCL music exam, as compared to the ones conducted by ABRSM, are more flexible as their flexible graded exams allow the student to play their strengths. The TCL music exam is split into 3 sections, namely Pieces, Technical Work and Supporting Tests. The exam is also graded by a point system, adding up to a total of 100 points. The section explanation and point system is as of the following:

Grade 1 - 5:

1. Pieces (Choose 3 music pieces)

~ 22 points each; 66 points in total

2. Technical Work (Scales, Arpeggios & Exercises)

~ 14 points

3. Supporting Tests (Choose 2 out of 4 from sight reading, aural, improvisation and musical knowledge)

~ 20 points

Grade 6 & Above

1. Pieces (Choose 3 music pieces)

~ 22 points each; 66 points in total

2. Technical Work (Scales, Arpeggios & Exercises)

~ 14 points