Latest exam updates

Music Theory June 2021 exam update

Unfortunately, in line with government guidelines, the Music Theory 6-8 paper exams have been cancelled for June 2021 due to COVID-19.

Performance Grade exams

We are pleased to confirm that we will be offering Performance Grade exams every month for the remainder of 2021. Please check our Dates and Fees page for details.

Grade 5 Music Theory waiver (not applicable in the UK & Ireland)

We are extending our Grade 5 Music Theory waiver until 23 May 2021. This means that candidates with a Grade 6 to 8 Performance Grade exam submission date up to and including 23 May can take their exam without first passing Grade 5 Music Theory. We are making this exceptional arrangement to allow candidates who have been unable to take an exam in recent months to progress with their learning. From 24 May, the Grade 5 Music Theory requirement will return. For exam dates/exam submission dates after 23 May, all candidates taking a Grade 6 to 8 Performance or Practical Grade must first pass Grade 5 Music Theory.

ABRSM International Sponsorship Fund

The International Sponsorship Fund was created in 2012 as part of ABRSM's commitment to inspire musical achievement and support music education for people from all across the world.

The fund is open to organisations whose projects are based outside the UK and Ireland, that provide musical training, performance opportunities and teacher development, particularly where there are barriers to accessing these opportunities.

The application period for the ABRSM International Sponsorship Fund 2021 has now closed. Thank you for your patience whilst applications are being reviewed. Successful applicants will be contacted in due course and the ISF 2021 recipients will be announced here and across our social media channels.

2020 recipients

This year's recipients represent the range of programmes that organisations run globally to give young learners opportunities to access music tuition and develop their musical skills.

YONA is an organisation with a vision to transform the lives of young people through music.  The programme is open to any child, regardless of race, gender, tribe or financial means.  YONA’s centre in Windhoek provides instruction in violin, viola, cello, flute, clarinet, oboe and recorder. There are currently 30 children aged 6 to 14 in the strings programme, which has been running since June 2017.  The dream is to grow YONA to such an extent that in future, every Namibian child would be able to receive a music education.

Founder and Director, Gretel Coetzee said: "YONA is constantly expanding to give more children the opportunity to learn an instrument. We are delighted that ABRSM supports our string programme. Their sponsorship will help us to acquire more violins, bows and essential instrument accessories."

Alegro believes that access to high quality music education should be for everyone, regardless of their background and so provides classical music education to children and young adults in situations of social vulnerability in Curitiba, Brazil.  Alegro supports music schools and provides opportunities in the form of two orchestras inspired by the el Sistema model.  

The ABRSM International Sponsorship Fund will provide a scholarship for a leading young musician from Brazil to spend an immersion period of study in the UK with professional orchestras and the Royal Northern College of Music.

Edward Matkin, president of Alegro says: “We provide young people in Brazil with musical education opportunities of excellence. We are delighted to be building a partnership with ABRSM to provide a life changing experience for the recipient of the fund and to build bridges between the UK and the vibrant classical music scene in Brazil.”

AMP's vision is for South Africa’s youth to have equal access to music education, creative industry, cultural heritage and artistic possibilities. Their centre is currently the only way for talented children in Makhanda's historically disadvantaged schools to have access to formal music education and training. AMP offers learners a diverse and exciting programme, teaching practical music, music literacy and theory, general music knowledge and sound technology to provide learners with a solid foundation and formal certificates that provide access to further music study and career pathways.

AMP’s Project Director, Gareth Walwyn, comments: “With ABRSM’s support, we will be able to open up our programme to a new group of learners this year – we are very excited about the new intake, and very grateful to ABRSM for making this possible!”


Little Fingers Music is a music school in Tanzania, devoted to teaching children as young as three years of age to play musical instruments.  Their long term aim is to expand the scope and diversity of musical training in Dar es Salaam.  The ABRSM International Sponsorship Fund will therefore be used to sponsor skilled instructors from neighbouring countries, such as Kenya and Uganda, to train young Tanzanian music teachers in theory and practical skills for string, woodwind and brass instruments.

Veronica Atambo-Eyakuze, Founder & Director of Little Fingers Music says: “This is a unique opportunity to help expand the variety of musical instruments for children to learn in the community.”

MusicArt Society is a registered non-profit organisation in Nepal providing free music education to young children from low-income families.  ABRSM’s International Sponsorship Fund is supporting MusicArt Society’s 'Music for the Nation' project.  Every year, a class of around 50 children from low income families is provided with a free music course and given a platform to explore and showcase their talent through performances.

The president of MusicArt Society, Sumit Pokhrel, says: "I truly believe that this programme will not only develop the children’s music learning skills, but also enhance personal growth, discipline, team work and cooperation and like in the past, we may produce soulful music performers and teachers, thus, empowering these children,"

DCMA is the only music school in Zanzibar and has a mission to preserve, develop and promote the unique musical heritage of Zanzibar and the Swahili coast.  Many of their students have gone on to pursue careers as musicians.  Through teaching, performing, documenting and recording traditional music and dance forms at the academy, the DCMA ensures the preservation and appreciation of Zanzibar’s musical heritage.

Managing Director Alessia Lombardo says "Thanks to the support of the ABRSM International Sponsorship Fund, the DCMA, a small music school with enormous talent and bigger dreams, will continue to protect and promote the Swahili culture through music. We are so happy about this contribution, that will support education for more women in traditional instruments such as the oud, tablah and qanun.  Carrying the torch of musicians like Siti binti Saad and Fatuma bin Baraka, or ’Bi. Kidude’, five young women will be trained in traditional instruments (qanun, oud, tablah) and a new women’s music band, a taarab ensemble of teachers and students, will be established.”

WA is providing services and support to children in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, including those struggling to cope with increasing mental health issues. The Music Therapy for Traumatised Children project, supported by the ABRSM International Sponsorship Fund, will provide psychosocial support to children aged 4 to 18 years, with a range of individual and group musical activities. New musical instruments will be provided for twice-weekly music sessions and community music events.

WA Director Caroline Qutteneh says: “Music therapy will help reduce the children’s stress levels and sharing their musical achievements with family and friends will bring some much needed happiness to the local community.”

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