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Piano

About Piano exams

We offer assessments for pianists at all levels.

Face-to-face Practical Grades and digital Performance Grades are available from Initial Grade to Grade 8. 

The Prep Test is a fun first assessment with no pass or fail and Music Medals (UK only) are teacher-led assessments for the early stages of learning. 

For advanced pianists we offer ARSM, LRSM and FRSM diplomas in Music Performance. 

Scroll down to find out more about Practical Grades and Performance Grades or click through for more information on the Prep Test, Music Medals and diplomas.

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What’s new
New syllabuses

Piano Syllabuses 2025 & 2026 – refreshed repertoire lists for Practical Grades and Performance Grades.  

  • Wide-ranging repertoire from Baroque and Classical to pop, stage and screen 
  • Pieces that you can play with one hand (right or left) for Performance Grades 1 to 5 
  • No changes to the supporting tests for Practical Grades  

You can use the new pieces in exams from 1 January 2025. There’s also a one-year overlap period ending on 31 December 2025. During this period you can choose your three set pieces from the 2023 & 2024 syllabus.   

Piano Prep Test – new tunes and pieces to inspire creativity and imagination. You can use the new Piano Prep Test book (from 2025) in exams from 1 January 2025. You can continue to use the current Piano Prep Test book until 31 December 2025. 

Music Performance ARSM – an expanded piano repertoire list that provides more choice and a wider variety of genres and composers from across the world. You can use the new repertoire immediately - you don't have to wait until 2025.

New books 

Piano Prep Test – an inspiring, illustrated book to support this fun first assessment. 

Piano Exam Pieces 2025 & 2026 – books of selected pieces for each grade. Audio recordings are available through major streaming platforms - see Audio below. 

Piano Teaching Notes – expert guidance on teaching the repertoire in our Piano Exams Pieces books. 

More resources

Audio - professional recordings of all syllabus pieces are available through major streaming platforms.

Digital sheet music – for selected pieces. 

Piano Practice Partner – our popular practice app now featuring pieces from the new syllabuses.  

Piano Practical Grades

Initial Grade and Grades 1 to 8

Piano Practical Grades are accredited face-to-face exams. They 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.  

The Piano Practical Grades Qualification Specification, which includes the syllabus and repertoire lists, is available under 'downloads' on this page.

General information and additional guidance for all subjects is available on our Practical Grades page

Grade 6 to 8 entry requirements

If you’re taking Practical Grade 6, 7 or 8 you must pass Grade 5 (or above) in one of the following before you book: Music Theory, Practical Musicianship, a Jazz Practical Grade.   

You can find a list of accepted alternatives on our Practical Grades page.

2025 & 2026 Piano Practical Grades Qualification Specification
Downloads

The qualification specification includes: the syllabus and repertoire lists, exam requirements and marking criteria.

You can play your three pieces from the 2023 & 2024 syllabus until 31 December 2025. All your pieces must be from the same syllabus. 

Piano Performance Grades

Initial Grade and Grades 1 to 8

Performance Grades are accredited exams that we assess from a video recording. They have a strong focus on performance, including communication, interpretation, delivery and performance as a whole. 

In the exam you perform four pieces: three from the syllabus lists and one own-choice piece.

The Performance Grades Qualification Specification and the Piano Performance Grades Syllabus are available under 'downloads' on this page. 

General information for all subjects is available on our Performance Grades page. It’s also essential that you read our guidance for Performance Grades. This includes important information about recording and submitting your exam video.  

Grade 6 to 8 entry requirements

If you’re taking Performance Grade 6, 7 or 8 you must pass Grade 5 (or above) in one of the following before you book: Music Theory, Practical Musicianship, a Jazz Practical Grade.   

You can find a list of accepted alternatives on our Performance Grades page.

Downloads

The Piano Performance Grades Syllabus includes the Piano repertoire lists and exam requirements. 

The Performance Grades Qualification Specification is for all subjects and includes the entry requirements and marking criteria.

You can play your three set pieces from the 2023 & 2024 syllabus until 31 December 2025. All your set pieces must be from the same syllabus. 

Audio recordings

Recordings of all pieces in the 2025 & 2026 Piano Syllabuses are available from major streaming platforms, including Amazon, Apple Music and Spotify.  With over 400 pieces available, they’re a great way to inspire practice, playing and teaching.

Add and save the recordings to your music libraries for access any time.

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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