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ABRSM’s Piano syllabuses 2021 & 2022 (Practical and Performance Grades), books and resources are available now for use in exams from 1 January 2021.

Here’s a summary of what’s new:

  • Two exam options – Practical Grades and Performance Grades
  • Completely revised scales requirements (for Practical Grades)
  • Completely revised repertoire choices and list structure, with lists defined by musical characteristics rather than period of composition
  • More choice and variety of repertoire (30 pieces per grade)
  • A duet option up to Grade 3
  • The introduction of a new Initial Grade for Piano (Practical Grades only), providing a pre-Grade 1 assessment that follows the same structure, content and marking criteria as the other graded music exams
  • A one-year overlap period, with the 2019 & 2020 syllabus valid until 31 December 2021. All three pieces and the scales requirements must be prepared from the same syllabus

There are different syllabuses for ABRSM’s Practical and Performance Grades. Download each of the Piano syllabuses 2021 & 2022 from their website to find out more about the many new features they offer. The syllabuses are now online documents rather than printed ones, as part of ABRSM’s ongoing commitment to act in a way that is environmentally responsible and sustainable.

Find out more

Supporting publications

For Practical and Performance Grades:

  • Piano Exam Pieces from Initial Grade to Grade 8 (with or without CD)
  • Teaching Notes from Initial Grade to Grade 8
  • Piano Star Duets (which includes five pieces featured on the new syllabus)

For Practical Grades:

  • Piano Scales & Arpeggios from Initial Grade to Grade 8 (revised to match the new scales requirements)
  • Scale Explorer (for Grades 1 to 5, a creative new resource for candidates learning the new scales requirements)
  • Initial Grade Specimen Sight-Reading Tests and Initial Grade Specimen Aural Tests

Books are available from music retailers worldwide and from ABRSM’s online shop.

Audio recordings

Recordings of all 270 pieces on the new syllabus are available, including those at Initial Grade. They are available on CD as part of the Piano Exam Pieces with CD books, or to download from www.abrsmdownloads.org.

Scales and arpeggios (Practical Grades)

Following extensive development work and valuable consultation with teachers, ABRSM have made changes to the scales requirements at every grade. The changes provide a more logical and gradual progression, from the new Initial Grade through to Grade 8.

The revised requirements are fewer in number overall, making them more manageable for preparation and assessment, while still maintaining the rigour you expect from ABRSM exams through focusing on tasks that are appropriate to each grade in their level of demand.

View the Guide to the new requirements 

Syllabus validity and overlap

This new syllabus is valid for use in exams from 1 January 2021. A year-long overlap period now applies in all countries when syllabuses change. For pianists taking Practical Grades in 2021, this means that:

  • They can present pieces and the scales & arpeggios from the new 2021 & 2022 syllabus in exams from 1 January 2021
  • They can present pieces and the scales & arpeggios from the old 2019 & 2020 syllabus in exams until 31 December 2021

All three pieces and the scales requirements must be prepared from the same syllabus.

Similarly, pianists taking Performance Grades in 2021 may play their three set pieces from the 2019 & 2020 syllabus until 31 December 2021. All set pieces must be from the same syllabus.

Digital support 

Piano Practice Partner plays the part for one hand so you can practise the other as you learn. The new Piano Exam Pieces, including Initial Grade, are available in the app now!

Piano Scales Trainer is an all-in-one scales companion. Get at-a-glance feedback about which scales to focus on, reflect critically and have fun playing with the specially-produced backing tracks. The app has been redesigned and covers all requirements at Grades 1 to 5 from the new Practical Grades syllabus (2021 onwards).

Sight-Reading Trainer helps develop skills to quickly spot the key features, patterns and characteristics in music. With 155 pieces of music included, it’s your perfect companion for sight-reading success.

Aural Trainer features interactive challenges to develop aural skills. Perfect for practising in-between lessons.