Latest exam updates

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.

Mark a Performance Grade exam

Watch, mark, and listen to commentary on a Performance Grade exam - see if your mark matches that of our Chief Examiner, John Holmes.

Get a greater understanding of how Performance Grade exams are assessed and what examiners are looking for when marking the performance as a whole.

More instruments will be coming soon!

Intro from the Chief Examiner

Grade 1 Piano, Kaiden


What mark would you give this exam?

Select a mark by clicking on one of the boxes below and see how it compares to the mark given by our Chief Examiner.

View marking criteria


Marking criteria

Each piece/song is marked out of 30. We are assessing your control of pitch, time, tone, shape and performance.

Distinction

27-30

Pitch

  • Highly accurate notes and intonation

Time 

  • Fluent, with flexibility where appropriate
  • Rhythmic character well conveyed

Tone

  • Well projected
  • Sensitive use of tonal qualities

Shape 

  • Expressive, idiomatic musical shaping and detail

Performance 

  • Assured
  • Fully committed
  • Vivid communication of character and style

Merit

24-26

Pitch 

  • Largely accurate notes and intonation

Time 

  • Sustained, effective tempo
  • Good sense of rhythm

Tone 

  • Mainly controlled and consistent
  • Good tonal awareness

Shape 

  • Clear musical shaping, well-realised detail

Performance 

  • Positive
  • Carrying musical conviction
  • Character and style communicated

Pass

20-23

Pitch 

  • Generally correct notes
  • Sufficiently reliable intonation to maintain tonality

Time 

  • Suitable tempo
  • Generally stable pulse
  • Overall rhythmic accuracy

Tone 

  • Generally reliable
  • Adequate tonal awareness

Shape 

  • Some realisation of musical shape and/or detail

Performance

  • Generally secure, prompt recovery from slips
  • Some musical involvement

Below Pass

Pitch 

  • Frequent note errors
  • Insufficiently reliable intonation to maintain tonality

Time 

  • Unsuitable and/or uncontrolled tempo
  • Irregular pulse
  • Inaccurate rhythm

Tone 

  • Uneven and/or unreliable
  • Inadequate tonal awareness

Shape 

  • Musical shape and detail insufficiently conveyed

Performance

  • Insecure, inadequate recovery from slips
  • Insufficient musical involvement

After the full programme has been completed, a mark out of 30 is awarded for the performance as a whole.

 

Communication

Interpretation

Delivery

Distinction

27-30

  • Consistently well-projected and involved, showing strong performance commitment and conviction
  • Effective sequence and pacing of chosen programme; consistently good performance awareness and control
  • Consistently effective stylistic characterisation; interpretative demands of the programme well met
  • Consistently good awareness and control of textures and ensemble, with effective blending and balancing
  • Consistently assured and controlled; technical challenges of the programme well met
  • Consistently effective instrument management, fully responsive to the performance situation

Merit

24-26

  • Mainly well-projected and involved, showing positive performance commitment
  • Largely effective sequence and pacing of chosen programme; mainly good performance awareness and control
  • Mostly effective stylistic realisation; interpretative demands of the programme largely well met
  • Mainly good awareness and control of textures and ensemble, with appropriate blending and balancing
  • Effectively controlled; most technical challenges of the programme well met
  • Mostly effective instrument management, mainly responsive to the performance situation

Pass

20-23

  • Projection and involvement sufficient to maintain an overall sense of performance
  • Sequence and pacing of chosen programme shows adequate performance awareness and control
  • Sufficient stylistic realisation to meet the interpretative demands of the programme
  • Adequate awareness and control of textures and ensemble, with sufficient blending and balancing
  • Generally controlled; technical challenges of the programme securely met overall
  • Sufficiently reliable instrument management to meet the demands of the performance situation

Below Pass

15-19

  • Insufficient projection or sense of involvement to maintain a sense of performance
  • Sequence and/or pacing of chosen programme shows inadequate performance awareness or control
  • Stylistic realisation not equal to the interpretative demands of the programme
  • Insufficient awareness or control of textures and ensemble, and/or unsuitable blending and balancing
  • Consistency of control insufficient to meet the technical challenges of the programme
  • Insufficiently reliable instrument management to meet the demands of the performance situation

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