ABRSM: focus on singing

Singers and their teachers have plenty to look forward to in our new Singing syllabus. Here’s a quick overview of what’s new: refreshed song lists at all grades, updates to the accompanied song requirements at Grades 6 to 8, and new books of songs for Grade 1 to 5. 


New songs at all grades

From core classics and opera, to songs from the stage and screen, there’s something for everyone in the new song lists!

London based singing teacher and ABRSM examiner Heidi Pegler was one of our consultants for the syllabus. She emphasises that “old favourites are still there but you will find new songs to add to the vast singing teacher library. Special attention has been paid to treble and counter-tenor voices to ensure they have enough choice but all singers should find something which will appeal to them and show them off at their best.” 

So what will you find in the new lists?  There are exciting arrangements such as Over the Rainbow  from The Wizard of Oz (Grade 4), favourites like Purcell’s Fairest Isle (Grade 5), songs specially chosen for young voices (Monsters!, Grade 2) and hits from stage and screen (Popular from Wicked, Grade 8).


Penny Milsom, ABRSM’s Executive Director: Products and Services, sums up our approach – 

“We’ve listened to and consulted with teachers and candidates to select pieces for the syllabus that are exciting, imaginative and inspiring.”

More choice at Grades 6 to 8 from 2018

As well as introducing new songs at all grades, we’ve made some changes to the accompanied song requirements at Grades 6 to 8 only. We’re providing greater choice and flexibility so that singers at this level can perform repertoire that matches and showcases their strengths and interests. There are four changes at Grades 6 to 8:

  1. From January 2018, singers will perform three songs in their exam, rather than four. Each song will be marked out of 30. This is consistent with the requirements and marking for Singing at Grades 1 to 5 and instrumental exams at all grades.
  2. We are expanding the number of repertoire lists, so singers at these grades can choose their three songs from five different lists. From 2018 the lists will be: List A: Early and sacred songs; List B: Art songs in French and German; List C: Art songs in English; List D: Art songs in other languages; and List E: Opera, operetta and musical theatre.
  3. Candidates no longer have to sing in two languages or sing certain songs in their original language. However, the five new lists provide plenty of opportunities for students to develop these skills if they want to.
  4. Finally, in the new syllabus any song can be sung by any voice type and in any key, which is already the case at Grades 1 to 5.

Exciting new books and resources

Look out for our new Songbook Plus series which were published on October 26th. There are five books – for Grades 1 to 5 – with each include a selection of songs from the new syllabus. We’ve also produced a new Singing Practice Partner app providing 66 piano accompaniments in all keys for the songs in the books.

Syllabus dates and overlap arrangements

The new ABRSM Singing syllabus from 2018 comes into effect in January 2018.

The usual overlap period applies for songs from the old syllabus, which candidates can perform until 31 December 2018 in India and all countries other than the UK and Ireland.  However, from 1 January 2018 Grade 6 to 8 candidates should only perform three songs. During the overlap period, candidates at these grades presenting songs from the previous syllabus can choose from any three of the four old lists.


Discover the new Singing syllabus, books and resources at www.abrsm.org/singing2018