ABRSM launches first ever drum kit syllabus

ABRSM is launching its first ever drum kit syllabus. Showcasing an unprecedented breadth of musical styles, the landmark syllabus offers drum candidates the opportunity to perform new and existing tracks by some of the world’s most popular artists and influential drummers, including: The White Stripes, James Brown, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Dua Lipa and Elton John.

The new syllabus gives drum kit candidates choice over when, where and what they play and covers everything from rock, pop, drum and bass, hip-hop, funk and heavy metal, to jazz, Afrobeat, reggae, fusion and country.

It features specially commissioned tracks by leading drummers such as Kaz Rodriguez, Ralph Salmins, Steve White, Vicky O’Neon and Jason Bowld, alongside drum arrangements of well-known songs like Nirvana’s Come As You Are (Grade 3), the Slipknot track Before I Forget (Grade 7) and Don’t Look Back in Anger by Oasis (Grade 4).

Chris Cobb, ABRSM’s Chief Executive, said: “We’re excited to share our new Drum Kit Performance Grades with the world and proud we’re now able to support drummers on their musical journeys.”

“We’ve been working with experts to develop this new syllabus and publications, created by drummers for drummers. Appeal and technical rigour are always at the front of our minds when commissioning and selecting pieces, and the result is the most musically varied syllabus that ABRSM has ever created. It’s not a rock and pop syllabus or a ‘traditional’ syllabus. It’s simply a syllabus of some of the best drum music from any style, any tradition, any region, and any writer.”

The new Drum Kit syllabus covers Initial to Grade 8 with assessment via digital Performance Grade exams, in which players are assessed from video recordings of their performances.

Candidates simply play four pieces, three from the exam syllabus and one free-choice piece or composition. ABRSM’s accompanying Drum Kit Exam Pieces books contain all nine pieces listed in the syllabus for each grade.

The syllabus launches later this spring, with the first examinations taking place in June.

For more information visit www.abrsm.org/drumkit.