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09 May 2020

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ABRSM Piano 2021-2022. Major Changes Coming.

The new ABRSM 2021-2022 Piano Syllabus will be published early next month but in this post, I am going to give a heads up on some MAJOR CHANGES we can expect.

First of all there will be more choice than ever before, with the lists extended to ten pieces (30 pieces in total per grade). Previously, the lower grades has only six pieces per list.

Also a "Duet" option will be included for the first time, up to and including Grade 3.

There will be a revised list structure. We will have to wait to find out exactly what that means, but reading between the lines it seems there will still be three lists with some flexibility in choice between the lists.

There will be MAJOR CHANGES to the Scales requirements. To quote the ABRSM’s official statement.
“A more realistic and manageable assessment load, with the focus instead on technical development and progression” 

It has long been a problem for many students of the higher grades, the sheer volume of scales  they need to remember. So now it seems they will be testing your technical development rather than just your memory - maybe more akin to the Trinity piano syllabus.

Again following in the pattern of current Trinity exams there will be a new Initial Grade exam introduced – a pre-Grade 1 assessment which follows the same structure, content and assessment criteria as the ABRSM’s existing graded music exams that is three pieces, scales and arpeggios, sight-reading and aural tests.

Another major change for next year regards the Syllabus validity
Previously UK candidates were given JUST a one term overlap period at the start of the new syllabus, in which they were allowed to use the pieces from the previous syllabus. For the rest of the world, this overlap period was for a whole year. Starting from next year,  candidates wishing to present pieces and scale requirements from the 2019 & 2020 syllabus, the  one-year overlap period now applies to all countries – including the UK and Ireland.

However all three pieces and the scales requirements must be prepared from the same syllabus. So if you want to use the new scale requirements, you need to use the new syllabus for pieces as well.

Obviously more information will be announced at the  beginning of next month, and here at MusicOnline, I will keep you up to date with any news - so subscribe to our YouTube channel to make sure you don’t miss out on vital information regarding your exams next year


  1. I think there was a rumour that Russian Scales would be coming in for Grade VI. Do you know if that has been confirmed?

    Thank you for the updates!

  2. We'll know for certain when the new syllabus is published 9th July

  3. Is that mean that pieces from 2021/2022 book we can perform in 2023 ? Thanks, Eliza


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