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Leadership Team for Herts Music Service

Lisa Quinlan-Rahman
Vicki Roberts
Michael Mabbitt
Katherine Wolfenden
Deena Day
Angela Gilby
Rebecca Kelly
Nick Denham

Music Exams

At some point your child's teacher may recommend that they take some sort of assessment or exam. This can be in the form of a Grade Exam run by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) or Trinity Guildhall or a Music Medal, also run by ABRSM.


Music Medals from the Associated Board for the Royal Schools of Music, provide a fun and rewarding framework of assessments and teaching resources. Music Medals introduce essential musical skills and inspire younger learners to play and enjoy music together. Medals run parallel to the traditional Grade Exams and are especially appropriate for early learners and pupis having group or shared lessons.

The exam is made up of:

  • ENSEMBLE (duet, trio or quartet)
  • SOLO (accompanied or unaccompanied)
  • OPTIONS (choose one)
                         Call and Response
                         Make a Tune
                         Question and Answer
                         Sight Reading

The assessment is videoed and marked by the teacher and sent to the Board where it is moderated. Pupils are awarded Excellent, Pass or Working Towards and successful candidates receive a certificate, comment sheet and medal.

Music Medals can be taken in Schools and Music Centres in Hertfordshire and, since their introduction in 2004, have been awarded to over 6600 pupils in Hertfordshire. The most entries are for descant recorder, closely followed by violin, guitar and flute.

Music Medals or Grades?

Medals (Copper, Bronze, Silver, Gold & Platinum) are popular in Primary Schools and with pupils having group or shared lessons. They focus on ensemble skills and the options test develop the link between listening and playing. Having the test in school is suited to pupils who have performance nerves and the flexible scheduling cna avoid an 'off day'.

Secondary pupil tend to take Grade exams (Grades 1-8 and prep exam). The more formal exam setting gives a sense of occasion and the inclusion of scales, aural tests and sigh reading are recognised as important aspects of instrumental playing.

Assessment plays an important part in a pupils musical journey, rewarding sustained practice and giving pupils, teachers and parents a nationally recognised benchmark.


It is important that pupils develop ALL their muscal skills and just working towards exams will not necessarily produce good players. Parental support and encouragement in all areas of musical development makes an enormous difference in progress and enjoyment.