Latest exam updates

Practical Exams Update – Italy

We appreciate how much the cancellation of our exams has affected learners and we are working hard on solutions to ensure learners can gain their qualifications at the earliest opportunity.

However, on the basis of official UK Government advice, due to Covid-19, ABRSM has made the decision to cancel all Practical Exams in Italy until further notice. This decision affects all 2020 Practical Exams, ARSM and Diplomas. Following this decision, we will process refunds for all existing exam bookings and we will provide further detailed guidance on this process including timescales soon.

We are sorry for the impact on teachers and candidates and thank you for your loyalty and support while these restrictions remain in place. We are continuing to review when live Practical exams can resume in Italy and will offer them again at the earliest possible opportunity.

Our new remotely-assessed Performance Grades provide  an alternative progression route for students during this period of disruption. The Performance Grades are equivalent to our Practical Grades in demand, recognition and value. They are based on the same repertoire and syllabuses, assessment criteria and quality assurance measures as our existing exams and will be assessed by the same highly trained examiners. Booking will open in Italy before the end of the year and you can record your video submission any time from now on. Find out more here.

Help light up the world with #learningmusic

by Michael Elliott

Everyone who has ever had a positive experience of playing an instrument or singing will agree that – however big the challenges – learning music is good for us.Whether you live in Beijing, Manilla, Mumbai or Manchester, learning to play or sing music has the power to reward effort with a unique sense of satisfaction and achievement. It builds confidence and personal resilience, it encourages concentration and, as studies constantly show, it improves children’s performance in key classroom subjects.

During lockdown we have seen daily examples of how the power of learning music can also transform the lives of others, with stirring and often breath-taking musical performances on balconies, residential streets and online platforms bringing communities together and giving audiences as well as performers a real sense of wellbeing which contributes to mental health.

Beyond the personal and social benefits it brings, many nations are increasingly realising that learning music is good for economies. This is because the qualities and disciplines that are nurtured through playing an instrument or singing foster adaptability, resilience and other soft skills in areas such as communication, team working and creativity that are likely to be required for many of the jobs and industries of tomorrow.

Music education organisations such as ABRSM know all this but we, like many others, are often guilty of taking it for granted and assuming that everyone else also knows the full extent of what learning music can do. There are, of course, also huge swathes of people around the world who have not had the opportunity to learn music or to recognise any of the benefits that it brings or who, for a range of reasons, see it as an activity reserved only for the privileged.

We need to do something about this and get better at telling others why it matters, partly by connecting the wealth of personal, social and economic arguments so that people understand the range of everything that learning music does. We need to get better too at showing how the music that has so thrilled us and lifted our spirits during the weeks of lockdown does not just appear by magic and is the product of individual talent and years of dedication to learning music.

Today ABRSM is delighted to launch #LearningMusic, a new social media initiative which we hope will start the ball rolling by helping more people understand precisely what learning music can do for them – and we want you to get involved.

#LearningMusic is a celebration and a chance to share what learning music means for you. It’s also a great chance for you to tell others who have yet to get the message about the incredible benefits.

Over the next ten weeks you’ll be able to visit our #LearningMusic website and literally ‘light up the world’ by showing your support for music learning and making the relevant part of our world map light up.

So help us light up the world by visiting, show your support and then share it with your social media networks, using the hashtag #LearningMusic and tagging us @ABRSM. 

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