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Grades and Exams at Mole Valley Music

The best person to speak to about grades and exams is your teacher!

The grades provide a measure of your musical progress, progressing from pre-Grade 1 through to Grade 8 and beyond to Diplomas.

Applications for a Grade exam are usually made by your teacher or school.

The main examination boards are:

Trinity College London (Trinity)

Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM)

Trinity College London

Trinity College London and Guildhall School of Music and Drama examination boards amalgamated in March 2004 resulting in the Trinitiy Guildhall examination board, now called Trinity College London.

The Trinity website provides details of the exams.

Trinity exams cover: 

Classical Grades - practical exams for instruments and singing

Jazz Grades - practical exams for saxophone, flute and clarinet to grade VIII

Theory Grades

Rock & Pop

The syllabuses and associated "Information and Regulations" can be downloaded in pdf form from the Trinity website, or a paper copy can be requested direct from their Contacts page (by telephoning or emailing).

The Trinity exam structure is designed to intuitive for the pupils. Separate marks are awarded for each piece for: 

Notational Accuracy and Fluency

Technical Facility

Communication & interpretation

Up to grade 5, pupils are given a choice of two of AURAL - SIGHTREADING - IMPROVISATION - MUSICAL KNOWLEDGE. From grade 6, SIGHTREADING is compulsory, and a choice is given between AURAL and IMPROVISATION.

The FAQs page provides more information about the new grades.

Unlike the ABRSM, grade 5 theory is not required for the higher grades.

Details of the special publications (for scales, exercises, studies, etc.) can be found on the Trinity website, from where the books can also be ordered. The publications are also available from local music shops.

The entry procedure pages provide information about entering for a grade. Usually, your music teacher will enter you for the grade and provide further information.

The most local Trinity exam centre is:


Elaine Miller
020 8942 3023

Exams are normally run during the course of one or two weeks.  Information for other exam centres can be found in the "UK & Ireland list of Muisc centres, reps and exam dates" pdf document on the entry procedure pages. As well as Leatherhead, other nearby Trinity centres include Ewell, Guildford and Frimley (near Woking). 

Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM)

The ABRSM website provides details of their exams.  The exams section includes:

Classical Music Grades - instrumental and singing syllabuses

Jazz Grades - instrumental and ensemble syllabuses

Theory Grades - what to know for each grade

Examination Regulations & Information

The syllabuses can be downloaded in pdf format, a paper copy can be requested direct from their Contact page (by telephoning or emailing), or a copy can usually be obtained from your local music shop.

ABRSM publications are available from local music shops, web music suppliers and direct from the publishers and include a large range of music books and CDs to support the exams, including:

Repertoire for classical and jazz grades (some with accompanying CDs)

Aural test (books and CDs)

Past theory papers

Local ABRSM exam centres include:



Clare Harris (Practical Only)
01372 457495
Centre number: X249



Contact (Practical Only)
020 7467 8211
Centre number: X133



Sheila Colchester
01737 644779
Centre number: X176



020 7467 8211
Centre number: X184



020 7467 8261
Centre number: G108


All music used for exams must be published, not photocopies.

For music performed from memory, a published copy must be provided for the examiner.



Copyright © 2006 Philip Bishop. All rights reserved.