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Piano

About Piano exams

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

Read on to find out more. 

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What’s new
New Piano Syllabuses – available 6 June 2024

Piano Syllabuses 2025 & 2026 for Performance and Practical Grades with refreshed repertoire for all grades from Initial to Grade 8. 

  • There are no changes to scales and arpeggios, sight-reading and aural tests for Practical Grades. 
  • You can use the new repertoire in exams from 1 January 2025. 
  • There’s a one-year overlap period ending on 31 December 2025. During the overlap period you can choose your three set pieces from the previous (2023 & 2024) syllabus.   

New Piano Prep Test book – featuring new pieces for use from January 2025. We've commissioned the pieces to inspire and motivate, making this a fun and creative pre-grade assessment. 

New Piano books – available to pre-order now

Piano Exam Pieces 2025 & 2026 – books of selected pieces for all grades with access to audio recordings of the entire syllabus through major streaming platforms. 

Piano Teaching Notes – expert guidance on teaching the pieces in our Piano Exams Pieces books from Initial to Grade 8.

Other resources – available 6 June  

Digital sheet music – for selected pieces.

Piano Practice Partner – our popular practice app updated with repertoire from the new syllabuses. 

Piano – Practical Grades

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

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

Exams are open to candidates of any age, but if you are taking a Practical Grade 6, 7 or 8 you must pass Grade 5 (or above) in Music Theory, Practical Musicianship or a Jazz Practical Grade before you book your exam. 

Downloads

Download the Piano Practical Grades qualification specification. This includes the syllabus, repertoire lists, marking criteria and exam requirements.

Piano – 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.  

Pianists 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.  

Exams are open to candidates of any age, but if you are taking a Performance Grade 6, 7 or 8 you must pass Grade 5 (or above) in Music Theory, Practical Musicianship or a Jazz Practical Grade before you book 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. 

Downloads

Download the Performance Grades qualification specification and Piano Performance Grades syllabus, which includes the repertoire lists.

Piano Star Theory

Watch a performance

Enjoy this performance of Jinx, from Mean Little Monsters by Diane Hidy, featured in our Initial Grade Piano Syllabuses 2023 & 2024.

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