Music examinations are a method of formally assessing the accomplishments of pupils learning musical instruments. Although there are music examinations available to school and university students alongside other regular qualifications and assessments, there are also a number of independent, examination bodies who solely provide assessment in musical ability which are open to all.

Music exams are set in both theory and practical aspects. The theory examinations are taken by pupils of all instruments and typically cover areas such as musical notation, construction of scales and composition. The practical exams concentrate on the particular instrument favoured by the pupil, for example piano, guitar or flute. They cover elements such as playing set pieces; scales; sight reading and aural.

Most students who enter these exams have taken a course of music lessons with a private teacher. Often this is a way for children to receive music training over and above what is provided at their usual place of learning.

Examination Boards:

ABRSM: Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music

The Associated Board is the worlds leading examination body for music, with a system of examinations and assessments in over 80 countries around the world. The Associated Board is linked to some of Europes leading Conservatoires – the Royal College of Music and the Royal Academy of Music in London; the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester and the Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama.

Established in 1889, the Associated Board provides schools, private teachers of music and the general public with a scheme of music examinations of recognised authority. Examinations are offered in 35 instruments, singing, theory and practical musicianship and are open to students of all ages. The Associated Board examines over half a million candidates each year making it the largest examining body for music in the world.

In 1991, the Associated Board was delighted to be asked to return to examine in Australia after an absence of more than 30 years. Associated Board examinations are conducted at St.Andrews Cathedral School, with the Boards examiners making regular visits to Sydney.

AMEB: Australian Music Examinations Board

The Australian Music Examinations Board (AMEB) provides a full range of music and speech and drama education, from the first steps through to Diploma level performance and scholarship. The AMEB exists to provide a graded system of examinations in music, speech and drama, by offering high quality syllabuses, educative services to our teachers, examiners and candidates, and quality publications to the highest editorial standard. The AMEB has a long record of providing quality music examinations for students, with over 100,000 students nationally taking its examinations each year. AMEB standards are well respected internationally, and it is the only examining body with formal links to the major Australian universities and Ministers of Education.

AGMS: Australian Guild of Music Education
The AGMS was founded in 1969 as a continuation of the London Guild of Music and Speech (Australia). It is non-profit, Public Education Institution, constituted to provide professional and private Teachers and Students of Music and Speech (including Drama) with a responsive organization through a comprehensive set of syllabi throughout Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Singapore with examinations which recognize excellence in the selected study, as well as providing supportive encouragement for teachers and all music and speech students and candidates.

The Guild education system provides an avenue for music & speech teachers to offer a methodical teaching and assessment system for their students via the Guilds public examinations and opens the way for further education at Tertiary level, for both themselves and their students, by distance education in the Creative Skills program from Certificate to Advanced Diploma and the Higher Education program with the Bachelor of Music degree.

ANZCA: Australian and New Zealand Cultural Arts
Australian and New Zealand Cultural Arts Limited (ANZCA) offer syllabuses and both practical and written examinations in modern and classical streams, which stimulate students of all ages. For over twenty-three years, examinations have been conducted throughout Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Trinity Guildhall Examinations (Australia)
Trinity College London, the international examinations board incorporating Trinity Guildhall, offers accredited qualifications in English language and the performing arts. Trinity has been assessing students since 1872 and is considered a leader in performance assessment. Trinity is supported by the leading performing arts organizations, teacher associations, colleges and universities in Australia and worldwide. 500,000 assessments are conducted each year worldwide, from graded examinations and certificates to diplomas and higher level vocational qualifications. Trinity offers a flexible range of syllabuses, across a variety of teaching and learning styles, to encourage and motivate students to achieve their personal, vocational and professional goals.