ABRSM Music Medals

The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) launched the Music Medals scheme in 2004. Since then, awards have been made to over 6000 successful candidates.

The scheme is designed to introduce essential music skills to younger learners and inspire them to play and enjoy music with others. It is based on both group teaching and performance, and for this reason is usually administered within the school environment. Schools can register as a Music Medal Partner, or they can benefit from the services of a peripatetic teacher who is registered individually as a teacher-assessor. This latter choice has the advantage that no significant administrative burden falls on the school, as the teacher-assessor assumes responsibility for all aspects of the assessment process.

There are five progressive levels: Copper, Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. These awards are accredited by the QCF and range from ‘Entry’ (Copper) to level 2, and overlap ABRSM grade 1 at Silver. They provide a gentle introduction to graded exams by having the students’ own teacher administer the assessment in a familiar environment.

The assessment is in three sections: Ensemble, Solo and Option. For the ensemble component, the candidate plays an individual line in an ensemble piece for two, three or four players. Although all play, only the candidate’s performance is assessed. In the Solo component, the candidate performs a piece from the solo repertoire list, and can choose to play unaccompanied, or to use a live accompanist or a CD backing track. The Option section tests fundamental musicianship skills. The candidate must choose one out of four activities: Call and Response, Make a Tune, Question and Answer, and Sight-Reading.

The assessment is recorded on video by the teacher-assessor, and the recording is sent to the ABRSM for moderation. Successful candidates receive a certificate and (of course!) a music medal. The assessment takes between five and ten minutes to complete and can easily be fitted into a normal lesson routine. Entry fees currently range from £10.30 (Copper) to £25.50 (Platinum).

Music Medals offer four main benefits:

    Evidence of progress – designed for beginners to reward and measure progress from the start
    Accredited qualifications – Music Medals are accredited by Ofqual within the QCF
    Affordable music for beginners – ideal material for lessons and school concerts
    Comprehensive statistics – view, search and download detailed results and entry information

As a registered teacher-assessor, I can fully administer Music Medals for clarinet, recorder and keyboard/piano.

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