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About Violin exams

We offer a range of assessments for violin players, from the Prep Test and Initial Grade for beginners to Grade 8 and diplomas in Music Performance for advanced musicians.  

Read on for details of everything we offer for violin players.

young girl smiles with a violin
What’s new

The new Bowed Strings syllabuses for Practical and Performance Grades feature refreshed repertoire lists for all instruments, including Violin. There are no changes to the scales and arpeggios, sight-reading and aural tests in the Practical Grade syllabus.   

The new syllabuses come into effect on 1 January 2024 and there is a one-year overlap period.  

Violin – Practical Grades

Practical Grades are face-to-face exams that focus on all-round musical knowledge and skills, including performance. In the exam you play three pieces and some scales and arpeggios, and take sight-reading and aural tests.  

Violinists can take Practical Grades at Initial Grade and Grades 1 to 8.


Download a PDF of the full Violin Practical Grades qualification specification. This includes the syllabus and marking criteria as well as detailed information about exam requirements.

Violin – Performance Grades

Performance Grades are digital exams assessed from a video recording. They have a strong focus on performance, including communication, interpretation and delivery. In the exam you perform a programme of four pieces.  

Violinists can take Performance Grades at Initial Grade and Grades 1 to 8. There are no booking periods or exam sessions so you can choose when to book, record and submit your exam.  

As well as reading the qualification specification and syllabus for your instrument, you should read our Performance Grade guidance which includes important information about recording and submitting your exam video. Follow the link below to find out more.    

Violin Star Theory

Watch a performance

Alistair Kennedy plays L'cha Dodi, a traditional Jewish song. This arrangement by Franklyn Gellnick is on the Grade 3 repertoire list and appears in our Violin Mix 3 book.

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