Our online service will be unavailable on Monday 21 September and Tuesday 22 September while we make some important updates. We will provide a new message here once the service is available again.

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.

For all press and media enquiries please contact Daniel Harris on 07989 309058

or email [email protected]

Award-winning Trinidadian musician tells young commonwealth composers: ‘be yourself’

1 month ago


An award-winning young Trinidadian composer has urged musicians to create music ‘that is an extension of themselves’ as they bid to repeat her success in the Commonwealth International Composition Award.

Aliyah Ramatally, from Trinidad and Tobago, won global plaudits after winning the audience vote in the inaugural Commonwealth International Composition Award (CICA), held in London last year and sponsored by ABRSM.

The Durham University music student’s final piece, Mundo Nuevo (New World), told the story of her native islands and fused her country’s national instrument- the steelpan- with traditional classical instruments like the Violin, Cello and Flute.

Aliyah said: “My life has changed significantly in many ways. When I was selected as a finalist for the Commonwealth International Composition Award, I took the opportunity to properly showcase the amazing diversity of the steelpan. I was elated to know that my first work to be debuted in London would exhibit my culture.”

Entries for this year’s contest must be submitted by 1st September and Aliyah has a clear message for young composers hoping to follow her footsteps and the success of fellow inaugural CICA winners, Xiaole Zhan from New Zealand, who won the 2019 Commonwealth International Composition Award, and young Singaporean, Isaiah Hui Zhou Rong, who received The Dorico Award for Innovation.

She said: “I have realised that being a composer is a journey of self-discovery of your own purpose in life. By taking the time to be open-minded to the world and new experiences, you discover a whole new collection of ideas which act as inspiration for your music. Be passionate and love what you do. Create music that is an extension of you and your audience will be in awe of you and your music.”

ABRSM Chief Executive Michael Elliott said: “Aliyah, Xiaole and Isaiah are amazing young talents and I hope their examples will inspire even more young composers from around the world to submit compositions before the deadline on 1st September.

“We’re proud of their achievements. We’re also proud of our part in encouraging their careers and the small but important role that sponsorship of the award plays in our wider and growing commitment to diversifying the pool of published music that we can draw on for inclusion in our syllabuses in the future.”

The awards were set up to promote composition around the world and to give young composers the skills they need to further their careers. They target different commonwealth regions each time and this year focus on The Soloman Islands, Belize, Kenya, and Sri Lanka, however composers outside these regions are still eligible to apply.

Young composers interested in taking part in this year’s CICA can get more details at https://cicompositionaward.com/.


Note to editors

  1. Links to last year’s winning compositions are here: https://cicompositionaward.com/cica-2019-finalist-compositions/
  2. Established in 1889, ABRSM is one of the UK’s leading music education organisations, one of its largest music publishers and the world’s leading provider of music exams, offering assessments to more than 600,000 candidates in over 90 countries every year. ABRSM’s mission is to inspire achievement in music. It does this globally by supporting music teaching and learning worldwide in partnership with four Royal Schools of Music: the Royal Academy of Music; Royal College of Music; Royal Northern College of Music and Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
  3. The Commonwealth International Composition Award (CICA) was founded by Alison Cox, Chair of Trustees of The Commonwealth Resounds, and Head of Composition and Outreach at The Purcell School for Young Musician.

Further information from Jon Flinn on 07811 397122

Back to listing

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.