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ABRSM releases new singing syllabus

6 years ago

ABRSM has today (7 September) released a new singing syllabus for candidates who will be taking exams from January 2018 onwards.

The repertoire lists have been refreshed for all eight grades. In addition, for Grades 6 to 8 only, ABRSM are introducing some changes to the accompanied song requirements. The full syllabus is available to download from The new singing syllabus offers a huge variety of new songs. From core classics and opera to songs from the stage and screen, there is a broader choice of repertoire than ever before. There are over 900 songs to choose from and 5 lists at each grade. Philippa Bunting, ABRSM’s Learning and Qualifications Director said: ’Because singing is such a personal form of musical expression, it’s vital that candidates have repertoire lists to choose from that really allow them to give of their best – and because singers are individuals, that means providing a huge range, catering for all voice types. Working with our experienced team of consultants, we have produced a syllabus which offers more choice than ever before, with exciting options for younger voices, for changing voices, for adults, for classical singers, for those wishing to pursue an interest in the music of stage and screen – and for anyone in between. And we have increased that choice still further by allowing any song to be sung in any key from Grade 1 to Grade 8.’ Philippa continued: ’Our examiners can’t wait to hear singers getting their teeth into instant classics Conkers! at Grade 1 or Monsters at Grade 2, exploring exciting new arrangements of Over the Rainbow or Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child at Grade 4, or revelling in the sensuous sonorities of familiar favourite Summertime at Grade 8. Those who want to explore languages other than English will find plenty of challenges, including Maori, Mandarin and Icelandic, alongside the more traditional French, German, Italian, Spanish and Russian.’ 

Revised requirements for Grades 6 to 8

Candidates can perform songs from the old syllabus until Spring 2018 in the UK and Ireland, and until 31 December 2018 in all other countries. There are a number of changes to the accompanied song requirements at Grades 6 to 8. At Grades 6 to 8: 1. There are an increased the number and range of lists to choose from, helping teachers guide students to the right repertoire for them. 2. The requirement to sing in two languages has been removed. However ABRSM has added a greater variety of languages in the new syllabus for candidates who want to specialise in this area. 3. The number of songs required in the exam has been reduced from four to three. Examiners will use the same criteria, to the same standard but now all songs performed carry equal weight in the overall mark bringing this syllabus in line with all other instruments. 4. Requirements have been opened up in order to give candidates the freedom for any song to be sung by any voice type in any key. There are no changes to the unaccompanied traditional song or sight-singing requirements at any grade.

New books

ABRSM is adding to its Songbook series with the addition of the new Songbook Plus books at Grades 1 to 5 which will be available on 26 October. Complementing the existing Songbooks, each of the five new books contains a selection of songs drawn from a diverse range of pieces from core classics to songs from stage and screen. It also includes fresh new arrangements, newly-commissioned editions and English singing translations and notes on the songs, to aid practice and performance. The books are available for pre-order from and prices range from £8.95 to £10.95. ABRSM will add to its Practice Partner series with an app for singing. The app is a useful motivational tools for students to use in practice in between lessons and will be available for Grades 1 to 5. Singing Practice Partner allows users to transpose accompaniments into different keys and practice at a tempo that suits them. Singing Practice Partner app will be available to download for free, with in-app purchases, from 26 October, alongside audio downloads of the singing syllabus. For more information about the singing syllabus and supporting materials, visit

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