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ABRSM commission over 80 pieces for their new Percussion syllabus

3 years ago

ABRSM’s new Percussion syllabus has launched today with a bang!

The syllabus, available on 7 November 2019 for use in exams from 1 January 2020, provides learners with a flexible and accessible approach to percussion that reflects the musical and practical realities of the contemporary and multi-skilled world of percussion.

The new syllabus features over 80 newly commissioned pieces, representing a significant offering to the world of percussion. ABRSM’s new syllabus also offers more flexibility than ever before and learners can focus on a single subject – Snare Drum, Timpani or Tuned Percussion exams – or they can perform across all three subjects in the Percussion (Combined) exam. There are also opportunities to play pieces accompanied by both piano and percussion across all subjects, as well as pieces for multi-percussion.

ABRSM’s team of expert consultants are passionate about offering music that teachers will want to teach, and learners will want to learn and play. Ali Bowen-Davies, Deputy Head of Learning & Qualifications, said:

“We’re really excited to share our new Percussion syllabus. We wanted to generate something that was new, fresh and engaging. When we first began the redevelopment process, we found that as well as some fantastic already-existing works, we had an opportunity to create new repertoire that would showcase the different instruments, styles and techniques that are part of the modern percussionist’s experience from the early stages. Early on in the process we made the decision to commission new pieces as a really valuable addition to a percussionist’s repertoire.”

There are wide range of composers selected for the repertoire lists, covering both existing pieces and new commissions. Some highlights include pieces by Ney Rosauro, Nick Woud, Jan Bradley, David Hext, Arthur Lipner, Keiko Abe, Cameron Sinclair, and Pius Cheung.

“All the pieces in the syllabus have been through a robust selection process, and we’re confident the music will resonate with teachers and learners worldwide. For us, this is more than just a renewed syllabus, this is our offering to the world of Percussion,” said Ms Bowen-Davies.

Supporting resources
To accompany the syllabus ABRSM has published a suite of supporting books to help learners prepare for their exams. These books cover the four percussion subjects – Snare Drum, Timpani, Tuned Percussion and Percussion (Combined) – and include:

  • Percussion Exam Pieces & Studies books, featuring 15 pieces per book for Grades 1 to 5, and four technical studies (two for Timpani and two for Snare Drum)
  • Principal Percussion book, featuring nine pieces for Grades 6–8
  • Percussion Scales & Arpeggios books for Grade 1–5 and 6–8, for Tuned Percussion.
  • Percussion Studies book for Grades 6–8, for Timpani and Snare Drum.
  • Percussion Sight-Reading books for Grades 1–5 and 6–8, covering all subjects.

Buy supporting resources from the online shop.

Check out ABRSM’s repertoire
ABRSM’s repertoire videos bring the syllabus to life, you can view the first of a series of repertoire videos here: What's for Tea Tonight?, Vogler | Grade 2 Percussion

Interested in reviewing ABRSM’s Exam Pieces?
ABRSM always welcomes reviews of our publications and if you would be interested in reviewing ABRSM’s Percussion syllabus please contact [email protected].

For more information about ABRSM’s new percussion syllabus, check out

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