For over a century, the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) has set the benchmark for musical assessment, guiding the journey of musicians from the first tentative note to the mastery of their instrument. ABRSM examinations are a rite of passage for many pre-college musicians (as are RCM, MTNA exams, and other associations).
They offer a structured way to track progress, celebrate achievements, and gain recognition. But the benefits of participating in these exams go far beyond certificates and better changes at college acceptance. Let’s explore the advantages that ABRSM exams provide to students who prepare for and take advantage of these certifications.
The Key Benefits of ABRSM For Young Musicians and Adults
ABRSM Offers a Structured Learning Pathway
ABRSM exams offer a clearly defined syllabus for each instrument, providing a progressive structure that helps students and teachers focus their practice and teaching strategies. From the initial grade to Grade 8 and beyond, each level builds on the skills developed in the preceding one, ensuring a comprehensive grasp of both technical and interpretive aspects of music. This structured learning pathway aids students in setting achievable goals and encourages consistent improvement, a strategy that can be beneficial not only in music but in other academic and personal pursuits.
This structured progression helps teachers, not just students. By aligning lesson materials with ABRSM Grade 1, 2, 3, and so forth, teachers can choose repertoire, technical exercises, and music theory exercises accordingly.
Internationally Recognized Standard of Excellence
Holding an ABRSM qualification speaks volumes about a musician’s capabilities, as it is an internationally recognized standard of excellence. This recognition can open doors for further education and career opportunities in music. Universities, conservatoires, and employers often regard ABRSM grade levels as a testament to a candidate’s commitment and proficiency in music. Additionally, ABRSM is respected by RCM teachers and other affiliations. Whether you are working with a piano teacher in Mississauga or a music theory professor in California, your ABRSM achievements will be recognized.
Performance Skills, Not Just Paper-and-Pencil Exams
ABRSM exams are performance-based assessments that require candidates to present a balanced program of music in front of an examiner. This experience is invaluable, as it helps musicians to develop the confidence and poise needed for public performance. Overcoming nerves and learning to communicate through music under pressure are skills that translate into any performance situation, from solo recitals to ensemble work.
Learn More Repertoire by More Composers
The syllabus for each instrument includes a wide range of musical styles and periods, compelling students to explore and perform a diverse repertoire. This exposure not only enhances a musician’s versatility but also deepens their appreciation for different musical traditions and composers. It can ignite a lifelong passion for discovering new works and can inform a musician’s own stylistic development. Any piano teacher in Houston will encourage you to learn some Bach, Beethoven, or Chopin,
Gain and Test Your Technical Proficiency
The technical exercises and scales required in ABRSM exams are carefully selected to challenge the student’s proficiency in key areas of musicianship. Mastery of these elements is fundamental to a musician’s development and provides the foundation for more expressive performance and the ability to tackle complex pieces.
Music Theory is Held in High Esteem
ABRSM isn’t solely focused on performance; theory exams consolidate a musician’s understanding of the language of music. From reading and writing music to comprehending harmonic and structural forms, theoretical knowledge enables musicians to approach their practice and performance with deeper insight.
Get Feedback From Jury Members
Candidates receive detailed, written feedback from examiners who are seasoned musicians and educators. This feedback is a valuable tool for identifying strengths and areas for improvement, providing a professional perspective that can help guide future learning. You will hear feedback of all kinds; perhaps your dynamic contrast did not communicate to the audience, perhaps your mixed voice technique came across as forced, or maybe your technique prohibits you from playing evenly with speed.
Motivation and Achievement
Preparing for an ABRSM exam requires discipline, perseverance, and dedication. The motivation to reach a recognized standard of playing can propel a student’s practice routine and encourage a diligent work ethic. The sense of accomplishment in passing an exam, especially at higher grades, is a powerful affirmation of a musician’s skill and hard work.
In Summary: ABRSM is a Valuable Program
ABRSM isn’t just for pre-college students planning on attending a conservatory. It’s a wonderful guide for amateurs, adults learning an instrument, and everyone in between. Furthermore, a qualified teacher can help you specifically prepare for the technical, performance, music theory, composition, or other elements of ABRSM exams. These exams will test your knowledge, give you motivation, and even help you strengthen a college resume, whether you plan to pursue a music degree or not.