Latest exam updates

Practical Update 

We appreciate how much the cancellation of our exams has affected learners and we are working hard on solutions to ensure learners can gain their qualifications at the earliest opportunity.

However, on the basis of official and local advice due to COVID-19, we have made the decision to cancel all Practical exams in Macau until further notice. This decision affects all 2020 bookings for Graded Music Exams, ARSM, Diploma, Choral Singing and Ensemble exams, but does not currently affect any bookings for Music Theory exams. Following this decision, we will process 100% refunds for all existing Practical exam bookings and our Representatives will provide further guidance in due course.

We are sorry for the impact on teachers and candidates and thank you for your loyalty and support while these restrictions remain in place. We are continuing to review when live Practical exams can resume in Macau and will offer them again at the earliest possible opportunity.

Our new remotely-assessed Performance Grades provide an alternative progression route for students during this period of disruption. The Performance Grades are equivalent to our Practical Grades in demand, recognition and value. They are based on the same repertoire and syllabuses, assessment criteria and quality assurance measures as our existing exams and will be assessed by the same highly trained examiners. Booking will open in Macau before the end of the year and you can record your video submission any time from now on. Find out more here.

Theory for young pianists

1 year ago
Karen Marshall

Karen Marshall

Karen Marshall is a private, peri and classroom music teacher from York. An award winning author she has written 17 publications to date including ABRSM Piano Encores and joint edited Piano Star Grade 1. She is a co-author of the beginner piano method, Get Set! Piano as well as being trained in teaching music to special needs students. She is passionate about all children having access to a good quality music education.

To a new piano student, theory opens up a new world of language and from staves to key signatures, there’s a vast amount to absorb and understand. It’s not an easy thing to do and whilst teachers have the luxury of vast theoretical knowledge and familiarity, it is easy to forget what it was like to start at the beginning. So how can we help young pianists grasp these difficult concepts sooner rather than later? In ABRSM’s new Piano Star Theory book, Kathy and David Blackwell address the challenges young pianists face when first encountering theory. Piano Star Theory provides solutions to some very common theory challenges for the beginner pianist. This special little book uses activities to demonstrate a range of creative strategies for children. These activities help young learners consolidate their music learning and provide a way for teachers to assess their students’ understanding in the areas of Rhythm, Pitch, Dynamics and Articulation. Piano Star Theory supports any piano method and will consolidate learning to make successful music making easier. There are also some fun theory activities that can be used immediately within lessons.The difference between pulse and rhythm

To understand the different note values, children need to have an underlying grasp of pulse as a steady beat and rhythm containing different note lengths. Piano Star Theory addresses this foundational principle with the use of clapping activities. In the book, the beat is illustrated underneath the rhythm by a small drum. The rhythms start sensibly crotchet beats before progressing to dotted minims and quavers. The rhythm grids in Piano Star Theory are sized appropriately to helpfully show the length of the notes in relation to one another. Drawing note values, answering questions about them and also simple note value addition all help to consolidate understanding and activities for all of these are included within the pages of Piano Star Theory! If you’re wondering how you can incorporate some of these techniques into your lesson you could try this activity: 

Support your student to compose their own rhythm using crotchets and minims and drawing the pulse underneath. It’s a great way to see how much they understand.



This website uses cookies to improve your experience. By using our website, you are agreeing to our cookie policy and consent to our use of cookies. Find out more.