The Associated Board of the Royal School of Music out of London, England

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Welcome to the wonderful world of international musical exams.  The Associated Board of the Royal School of Music out of London, England have been promoting Practical and Theory Exams for the past 120 years, coming to the US in 1989. These exams are used in over 90 countries.  There are over 636,000 candidates involved in this process each year. The ABRSM exams give the developing musician a set of worthwhile and motivational goals to work towards.  They provide an opportunity of performing high-quality music and developing all-round musicianship through a range of supporting activities such as sight reading, ear training and rhythm recogonition.  This exams are available for more than 35 instruments, voice, ensemble, practical musicianship and music theory.  This is the frame work for a lifetime of learning and appreciating music presented without restriction on age or length of study.


The practical exams take place twice yearly in the Spring and Fall.  The music exams are set up on a dual year basis. The graded music exams (grades 1 through 8) will be accepted for a two year period (such as 2011-2012).  The requirements of scales, arpeggios, broken chords for each grade level in addition the chromatic and contrary scales as well as all Major and parallel and relative minors scales. This is one portion of the exam.  Then there are 3 tunes from various musical time periods that are required and make up the second part of the exam.  Lastly, there is sight reading, aural training and rhythm recognition completing the testing period. Examiners come from the United Kingdom and spend half a year traveling through out the world judging the students on these exams.


The theory exams are present three times per year.  Always on a Saturday and always at 2:00 P.M. were ever you are in the world.  The theory exams are graded as well (1 through 8).  These exams I feel are most important because they help you to understand the music that you are playing better. I feel an area where we in the United States are loosing ground is critical thinking.  These theory exams, especially the later grades 6,7 and 8 are very important for this reason.