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Music Medals

Introducing Music Medals

Music Medals are teacher-led assessments for younger learners that introduce essential skills and encourage playing together. They build on what's taught in lessons and enable students to gain recognition for their hard work.

We only offer Music Medals in the UK. 

Why do Music Medals?

Music Medals are the ideal choice for teachers preparing their candidates for assessments from pre-Grade 1 to Grade 4 level. We’ve designed them for learners at the beginning of their musical journey, so you can measure and reward achievement from the start. 

The teacher-assessor leads and video records the assessment before submitting the video and results to us for moderation. We then issue the results, Music Medal badges and certificates. 

These assessments are available to candidates through private teachers, schools and music services in the UK. We offer them for the following subjects and at five levels: Copper, Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. 

  • Woodwind: Recorder, Flute (including Fife at Copper/Bronze levels), Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, Saxophone
  • Strings: Violin, Viola, Cello, Double Bass, Guitar 
  • Brass: French Horn, Trumpet, Cornet, Flugelhorn, E flat Horn, Trombone, Baritone, Euphonium, Tuba 
  • Electronic Keyboard 
  • Piano
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Getting started

Music Medals are assessed by the teacher. 

To enter and assess your candidates: 

  • Register and create an ABRSM account. 
  • Register as a teacher-assessor and complete our Music Medals training by attending a free training event or completing our course on the Teacher Hub. Find out more on our Music Medal registration and training page
  • After the training, you can book Music Medals at any time.  
  • Once you’ve booked we will email you the Option tests within five days, and you have eight weeks to video record and submit the assessment.  
  • Assessments can take place at a time to suit you and your candidates. We recommend that you allow at least five working days between booking and the assessment to give enough time to receive and download the Option tests.  
What’s in the assessment

There are three components in a Music Medal assessment: 

  • One ensemble piece 
  • One solo piece 
  • One option test – from a choice of four, covering a range of musicianship skills 

Information for electronic keyboard players 

At Copper, Bronze and Silver levels, candidates can play chords with a single finger or fully fingered. At Gold and Platinum levels, they should play full-fingered chords over a rhythmic groove. 

An integral part of the Electronic Keyboard assessment is using the rhythmic groove, chord sequences and voice change functions on a keyboard. This means that candidates must perform on a electronic keyboard, rather than a piano. 

Ensemble

Making music together is a distinctive and essential part of Music Medals. Leading the ensemble, counting in, giving appropriate cues, listening, balancing and blending are all vital skills that the Ensemble component of the Medal helps to develop. 

  • The candidate plays an individual line in an ensemble piece for two, three or four players. 
  • Each line must be performed by a single player.
  • Only the Medal candidate is assessed and not the other ensemble members.  

Candidates choose their piece from one of our Music Medals Ensemble books or from the repertoire list for their instrument, available to download below.  

Solo

Performing as a soloist develops musical independence and individuality, allowing young musicians to focus on their own sound as well as their personal expression. 

  • The candidate plays one piece from the solo repertoire list for their instrument, available to download below or, at Bronze upwards, from a corresponding Practical or Performance Grade repertoire list as shown here:
    • Bronze – Initial Grade (Piano and Bowed Strings only) or Grade 1
    • Silver – Grade 1 or 2
    • Gold – Grade 2 or 3
    • Platinum – Grade 3 or 4
Option 1: Call and response

This test is taken by ear. 

All instruments apart from Electronic Keyboard

  • Candidates provide a musical response on their instrument to each of two separate short phrases of unfamiliar music played by the teacher-assessor. 
  • For each phrase, the teacher-assessor states the key and starting note and then counts in two bars before playing the phrase. 
  • The musical interaction should be continuous, in time and without a break. 

Electronic Keyboard

  • Candidates provide a musical response on their instrument to each of two separate short phrases of unfamiliar music played over a rhythmic groove by the teacher-assessor. 
  • For each phrase, the teacher-assessor states the key and starting note and then plays the rhythmic groove for two bars before playing the phrase. 
  • The musical interaction should be continuous, in time and without a break. 
Option 2: Make a tune

Copper and Bronze – all instruments apart from Electronic Keyboard  

  • The candidate makes up a tune on their instrument using a given rhythm at a set speed. 
  • At Copper and Bronze levels, candidates can choose to take the test by ear or at sight from notation.  
    • If taken by ear – the teacher-assessor provides a two-bar count and then claps the rhythm. They do this three times. The candidate then has half a minute to prepare before playing their tune. 
    • If taken at sight – the teacher-assessor gives the candidate the notated rhythm and two bars of the pulse. The candidate then has half a minute to prepare before the teacher-assessor provides a two-bar count in and the candidate plays their tune. 
  • At Copper level there are two versions of the test to choose from, one with crotchets and quavers and one with minims and crotchets. 
  • Candidates must use at least three pitches to pass. 

Silver, Gold and Platinum – all instruments apart from Electronic Keyboard 

  • The candidate makes up a tune on their instrument using a given rhythm and in a specified key. 
  • From Silver level, candidates are given the rhythm in notation only.  
  • The teacher-assessor provides two bars of the pulse. The candidate then has half a minute of preparation time before the teacher-assessor counts them in for two bars. 
  • Candidates must use at least five pitches to pass. 

Copper and Bronze – Electronic Keyboard  

  • The candidate makes up a tune on their instrument over a given rhythmic groove and in a specified key. 
  • The candidate first plays the groove for four bars as written, then repeats it, adding their tune. 
  • At Copper level, Keyboard candidates must use at least three pitches to pass. 
  • At Bronze level, Keyboard candidates must use at least five pitches to pass. 

Silver, Gold and Platinum – Electronic  Keyboard 

  • The candidate makes up a tune on their instrument in a specified key and in a given style with auto-accompaniment activated. 
  • The candidate first plays a given chord sequence, then repeats it, adding their tune. 
  • Candidates must use at least five pitches to pass. 
Option 3: Question and answer

Copper – all instruments apart from Electronic  Keyboard 

  • The candidate plays two separate one-bar rhythms in 4/4 on their instrument, in time and as an echo. 
  • For each rhythm, the teacher-assessor counts in two bars before clapping the rhythm or playing it on one note. 
  • The candidate then plays their answer on a single note or on a series of notes, although there is no additional credit for using more than one note. 
  • There is no preparation time.  

Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum – all instruments apart from Electronic Keyboard 

  • From Bronze level, the candidate plays at sight a two-bar passage of unfamiliar music and improvises a two-bar answering phrase. 
  • After giving two bars of the pulse, the teacher-assessor allows the candidate half a minute of preparation time and then gives a two-bar count-in. 

Copper, Bronze and Silver – Electronic Keyboard  

  • The candidate harmonises a given melody in a specified key and with specified chords. 
  • The teacher-assessor plays the melody while the candidate provides the rhythmic groove, having first played the same groove as a two-bar introduction. 
  • The teacher-assessor then repeats the melody and the candidate activates the auto-accompaniment and adds suitable chords. 

Gold and Platinum – Electronic Keyboard 

  • The candidate harmonises a given melody in a specified key and with specified chords. 
  • Candidates have half a minute of preparation time. 
  • They then play the melody and choose suitable chords in the left hand, which should be fully fingered. 
Option 4: Sight-reading
  • The candidate plays a piece of unfamiliar music following half a minute of preparation. 
  • There are no tempo indications to encourage candidates to establish an appropriate tempo for themselves. This should take into account the speed at which they can play the music while maintaining a steady pulse and, at higher levels, the character of the music. 
  • All instruments apart from Electronic Keyboard – candidates play four bars of unfamiliar music following half a minute of preparation. Candidates can try out any part or parts of the test for half a minute before playing the whole test. 
  • Electronic Keyboard at Copper, Bronze and Silver levels, the piece will be four bars long. At Gold and Platinum levels, the piece will be eight bars long and will include chords. 

How to book Music Medals

Repertoire lists

Select your subject to download a Music Medals repertoire list.  For the solo, candidates can choose a piece from the Music Medals list or, at Bronze upwards, from the Practical or Performance Grade syllabus listed here:

  • Bronze – Initial Grade (Piano and Bowed Strings only) or Grade 1
  • Silver – Grade 1 or 2
  • Gold – Grade 2 or 3
  • Platinum – Grade 3 or 4
Download
FAQs
I have entered a candidate for the wrong level. What should I do?

You have a 14-day cooling off period when you can cancel the Music Medal online and receive an automatic refund. You can then book again with the correct level.  

What happens if my candidate is ill? Can I get a refund?

We only provide refunds in exceptional circumstances as the eight-week period allowed for each Music Medal gives flexibility for assessments to be rescheduled. 

I printed the Option tests but there are errors on the page/parts of the image are missing. What should I do?

When printing via Adobe Acrobat, select the ‘Fit to page’ or ‘Print as image’ checkbox.  

Which Medals components/levels can the teacher-assessor play a part in?

The teacher-assessor can play a line in the Ensemble section for Copper and Bronze, but not for Silver, Gold and Platinum. 

We understand that there may be occasions where it's not possible to have another student play in a duet at Silver, Gold or Platinum level (for example: there's no suitably advanced student, or they're ill on the day). In these cases, we'll accept assessments where the teacher-assessor plays in a duet at Silver, Gold or Platinum level. 

The Ensemble piece I've chosen is a trio with three lines marked CC(C). What do the brackets mean?

The brackets indicate that the line is Copper level and must be played, but it can't be assessed for the purposes of a Medal. 

The Ensemble piece I've chosen has a line marked (T). What does this mean?

The line should be played by the teacher-assessor, although it may also be played by a suitably advanced student. 

What happens if one of the ensemble players not being assessed makes a mistake?

The accompanying parts aren't assessed. The ability of a candidate to respond to other players in the ensemble is one of the criteria that can be marked for a Music Medal. 

Can more than one candidate play each line in the Ensemble piece?

No, doubling of lines is not allowed. Each candidate must have their own separate assessment. 

What should I do if I'm not happy with the changes made by the moderator?

First, check that your assessment complied with the regulations. Candidates must pass at least two sections to be awarded a medal and one of these sections must be the Ensemble. At Bronze to Platinum levels, candidate must achieve Excellent in all three sections to be awarded an overall Excellent. 

To appeal the moderator’s decision, email [email protected] with your concerns within 28 days of receiving the result. Music Medal appeals can take up to four weeks to resolve and there is no fee.  

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