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.

Theory worksWelcome to Theory Works

Bring music theory to life with fun and engaging challenges at Grades 1–5.

ABRSM Theory Works contains over 6,000 specially-written questions designed to test and challenge your music theory knowledge.

Start by learning the basics then test yourself and see if you can get a perfect score. Every time you complete a round, you’ll unlock the next level. Watch your music theory knowledge build up in these fun challenges and become a music theory expert!


Hey, phone users! Music notation is complex and phone screens are small. This app is best viewed on an iPad but there's still lots you can learn and enjoy if you’re using the app on a smaller phone. Make sure you check out the preview screenshots in the App Store.

Why music theory is important

Music theory is the study of how to express yourself with music. Understanding music theory means knowing the language of music – it's a way to explain the music we hear.

Music theory is not just learning how to build chords, intervals or key signatures. Every single concept in music theory is an idea or foundation for learning how to express your thoughts with sound and music.

How many times do you listen to music (from a playlist on your phone to your exam pieces) and think "that bit of this piece sounds just like a section from another one"? Why does that connection happen? 

The connection is likely to be a catchy chord sequence, a rhythmic motif or the mood that a particular cadence can create. Being able to understand the theory behind these connections will help you progress as a performer or composer.

For example, when you create your own music, understanding harmony will enable you to create a sound world that is poignant, magical, happy or sad, and to communicate these expressive intentions to other performers via a common language.

When you perform music, you use your musical knowledge to interpret the composer’s intentions from the score and realise musical detail and style so that you can bring the music off the page, along with your own musical ideas and intentions.

Download Theory Works

Available on the iTunes App Store

Get it on Google Play

Learn about

  • The musical stave, pitches and clefs
  • Scales, keys and chords
  • Rhythm and time signatures
  • Musical terminology and signs
  • Voices and instruments
  • And much, much more!

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