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Marching on: film music and Afro-Cuban rhythms influence ABRSM’s widest ever brass syllabus repertoire

1 year ago

Cuban rhythms, Brass Band repertoire and the Harry Potter films are amongst influences in ABRSM’s widest ever Brass Syllabus repertoire.

The refreshed Brass Syllabus, launched today, keeps many past favourites but adds a host of new colourful and popular pieces from film, TV and musicals, as well as music from composers from traditionally underrepresented groups.

The syllabus, which takes effect from 1 January 2023, is designed for orchestral brass and brass band players to suit all kinds of learning and playing contexts – from solo practice to group learning, whether that’s in a whole class or a mixed ensemble.  

Russell Jackson, Learning and Qualifications Development Manager said: “We’re really pleased with the new syllabus and hope students and teachers alike will share our enthusiasm for the choice it offers. We’ve reflected valuable comments about supporting tests and gone to real lengths to recognise a broader range of tastes and genres. We’re also proud of the new flexibility that it offers to suit a wider range of learning environments and combinations of musicians.” 

The re-vamped repertoire includes a range of different pieces, such as Hogwarts’ March by Patrick Doyle, Gina Gillie’s Afro-Cuban-inspired Rondo from her Sonata for Horn, and Share My Yoke, a classic Salvation Army melody written by Joy Webb.

It covers Horn, Trumpet, Cornet, Trombone, Flugelhorn, Tenor Horn, Trombone, Baritone, Euphonium and Tuba and most instrument lists now extend to ten pieces, which means there is more choice than ever before.

A selection of syllabus pieces will feature in Brass Mix - two new repertoire books launching later this year. Each volume showcases music by a diverse range of composers, including many new commissions. Pieces from Brass Mix can be played on any brass instrument and, at Grades 1 to 3, can be performed either with piano accompaniment or as a duet for the first time.  



Note to editors

  1. The Brass Mix volumes will be published later this year. Brass Mix 1 (Grades 1-3) will feature 12 arrangements of works, all originally by a diverse range of composers, such as Ignatius Sancho, Ethel Smyth, Amanda Ira Aldridge, or from indigenous musical cultures. Brass Mix 2 (Grades 4-5) will include 8 newly commissioned pieces, with work by composers from under-represented groups including Callum Au, Shanti Paul Jayasinha and Christopher Augustine. Fifteen of these pieces appear on lists in the new Brass Syllabus. The two books will be a key contribution to the diversity of the wider brass players’ canon as well as ABRSM’s own repertoire lists.

Pieces featured will include an arrangement of Chris Smith’s Barnyard Rag, an arrangement of African American spiritual Wade in the Water and Shanti Jayasinha’s Cumbianita para ti.

Established in 1889, ABRSM (The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music) is a global music education charity that supports students and teachers across the world through its provision of face-to-face and digital exams, sheet music, recordings, apps and courses.

Further information from Jon Flinn [email protected]

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