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Refreshingly modern grade & diploma exams


In developing a refreshing and thoroughly up to date music exam syllabus we have taken the 'old style' methods of other exam boards and created what surely has to be one of the most rewarding and feature rich exam stimuli that teachers and music students have been yearning for.

Music teachers will be delighted with the broad range of instrument categories that are covered. As well as the traditional instrument syllabi, we also cater for other popular instruments such as Rock Guitar, Bass Guitar, Kit Drumming, Pop and Contemporary Vocals amongst others.

A fresh and modern approach to taking music exams. Suitable for both the beginner, and for the more advanced musician.

Guitar music grade exams
Music grade and diploma exams
Exam syllabuses
Published and available in PDF format, please use the Request Form (click me)
Enter the name for this tabbed section: Keyboard & String

Keyboard Instrument Syllabuses

Active - Published
  • Piano
  • Keyboard
  • Home Organ
  • Classical Organ
Available - please contact the office
  • Accordian
  • Accompanying
  • Harpsichord
  • Harp

Stringed Instrument Syllabuses

Active - Published
  • Violin
  • Viola
Available - please contact the office
  • Cello
  • Double Bass
Enter the name for this tabbed section: Woodwind & Brass

Woodwind Instrument Syllabuses

Active - Published
  • Flute
  • Clarinet
  • Saxophones
Available - please contact the office
  • Recorders
  • Oboe
  • Bassoon

Brass Instrument Syllabuses

Active - Published
  • Bb Trumpet
Available - please contact the office
  • French Horn
  • Trombone
  • Bass Trombone
  • Bb Cornet
  • Eb Cornet
  • Flugel Horn
  • Tenor Horn
  • Baritone
  • Euphonium
  • Tuba
Enter the name for this tabbed section: Guitar - Mandolin - Kit Drumming & Percussion

Guitar Syllabuses

Active - Published
  • Classical
  • Acoustic
  • Electric
  • Rock
  • Bass
  • Mandolin

Kit Drumming & Percussion Syllabuses

Active - Published
  • Kit Drumming
Available - please contact the office
  • Percussion
Enter the name for this tabbed section: Voice - Musical Theatre - Church Music & Ensembles

Vocal Syllabuses

Active - Published
  • Singing
  • Contemporary Vocals
  • Pop Vocals
  • Musical Theatre

Church Music & Ensemble Syllabuses

Active - Published
  • Chorister
  • Organist
  • Choir Trainer
  • Ensembles
Available - please contact the office
  • Creative Performing
Enter the name for this tabbed section: Celtic - Speech & Communication

Celtic Traditional Instrument Syllabuses

Active - Published
  • Scottish Fiddle
  • Clarsach
  • Irish Harp
Available - please contact the office
  • Bagpipes

Communication, Speech & Reading Syllabuses

Active - Published
  • Effective Communication
Available - please contact the office
  • Speech
  • Bible Reading
Enter the name for this tabbed section: General Music - Theory & All Other Subjects

'General' Music & Theory Syllabuses

Active - Published
  • General Music
  • General Musicianship
  • Research
  • Composing
  • Conducting
  • Theory of Music
  • Webcam and DVD Assessments
Available - please contact the office
Enter the name for this tabbed section: Grades - Medals - Certificates & Diplomas

Practical - *Direct entry permitted

*Initial: Entry Grade Examination (selected subjects only)
*Grades 1 - 3: Foundation Grade Examinations
*Grades 4 - 5: Intermediate Grade Examinations
*Grades 6 - 7: Higher Grade Examinations
*Grades 8: Advanced Grade Examinations
*Performance Assessment: Practical Grade Assessments

Medals: Inter-Grade Examinations (music)

Teacher / Recitalist: Post-Grade 8 / Pre-Diploma Examination (music)

*Dip -: Diploma for Teachers / Performers / Practitioners
FDip -: Fellowship Diploma for Teachers / Performers
*FDip (direct entry where permitted): Fellowship Diploma by Direct Entry
*DASM: Advanced Diploma Programme for Musicians
*PPICMA: Advanced Diploma for Performers
*CT;ICMA: Certified Teacher of the ICMA Guild
*AMG/LMG/FMG (no fee): Associate/Licentiate/Fellowship - ICMA Guild

Theory - (Music) *Direct entry permitted

*Initial: Entry Written Grade Examination
*Grades 1 - 3: Foundation Written Grade Examinations
*Grades 4 - 5: Intermediate Written Grade Examinations
*DipMusTh: Diploma in the Theory of Music
FDipMusTh: Fellowship Diploma in the Theory of Music
ICMA request form
Complete the form below to receive syllabus information in PDF format.
FAQ answers to some often asked questions
Syllabuses are published as individual subjects and are available only from ICMA as pdf attachments to an email or as a hard copy by special request. Please ensure that your syllabuses are current, as up-dates automatically cancel previous editions. The up-date list is posted on our website www.icma-exams.co.uk and the numbers at the end of each document give the latest edition eg 15.3 supersedes 15.2 and 15.1. ICMA cannot accept responsibility for any situation arising due to working from out-dated information.
The set pieces (List A) should be considered a guide to the standard required for the grade. Teachers/candidates may use the set pieces or use/mix their own choice of pieces (Alternative B). Own choice pieces must be sent for approval before candidates begin to prepare them for examination. Alternative B forms are available from ICMA and should be returned, along with a copy of the music and a large SAE, to the relevant Music & Specifications Consultant – contact details are published in the ’Contact Us’ document or on our website. Pieces set by other boards may be presented without prior approval, provided the piece(s) is not already set by ICMA at a different grade – higher or lower. However, candidates must bring evidence to present to the examiner that the piece(s) presented is set for the same grade by the board. This may be a print-off of a download from their website or a copy of the actual syllabus. Failure to comply with this requirement may result in disqualification.
Unlike other exam boards, ICMA does not operate public exam centres with local representatives. Anyone can set up a centre on their own or by amalgamating with others in the area, so long as the total examination time is at least 2 hours. However, all examinations are subject to viability and examiner availability. A teacher responsible for entering a group of candidates is referred to as the Applicant. Each applicant must complete an individual entry form. A centre is usually the teacher’s studio/house or a church hall, school. ICMA is unable to meet any costs incurred in providing the centre. Please consult the Regulations for more details.
We don’t have set exam periods. We examine throughout the year except on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day ! Sundays are very popular as it doesn’t interfere with most people’s teaching. We ask applicants to avoid anything that involves travelling on a Friday as this can be a nightmare, making the session unreliable, but we try to oblige if there is no alternative. Of course, your choice of date is subject to examiner availability.
Entry forms for the current year are available from ICMA or as downloads from our website, and the list of fees is available from ICMA as an email attachment. Entry forms must be completed legibly, as directed and in full.

Applicants must choose at least 2 dates when all candidates are available. Although we will do our best to accommodate one of the dates, we cannot guarantee to examine as requested, and applicants must be prepared to negotiate to fit in with examiner availability.

Completed entry forms must be forwarded to ICMA along with one cheque to cover all fees – we do not accept post-dated cheques. Certificates are produced from this information, and applicants are advised to check spellings of names very carefully, as a hefty charge is made for replacement certificates due to applicant error.
Within a week or so, the examiner will contact the applicant direct by phone or email to agree the date, starting time and other practicalities such as refreshments to be provided - please see the Regulations and Guide for Applicants for further information.

The examiner will then post the admin pack to the applicant. The contents will include exam centre and exam room signs, a schedule sheet to be completed by the applicant and returned to the examiner, and a spare schedule sheet for the applicant’s own record.

Applicants are required to complete the schedule of exam times using the guide on the sheet, remembering to include any breaks that the examiner has requested. A simple map/instructions to find the centre is always useful for those examiners without a sat nav. This should be posted in the sae provided to reach the examiner in time for them to top and tail the reports from the information you have provided. Please note that the options entered on the schedule for each candidate must be as on the entry form. Changes cannot be made.

All entered candidates must be listed even if since withdrawn. Reports are produced from this information, and applicants are advised to check spellings of names very carefully.
Circumstances that may affect a candidate's performance should be recorded on the schedule, giving full details.
Candidates with learning difficulties will be allowed an extra five minutes in practical examinations, which will go towards ensuring that the candidate fully understands oral and written instructions, plus extra preparation time for any tests involving the reading of music. It is the applicant’s responsibility to include this when preparing the schedule.
If applicants wish to provide a written record of their exam time for each candidate, a master sheet of appointment slips is available for photocopying and can also be downloaded from our website. Where these have been provided, the candidate should hand it to the examiner on entering the exam room.
Yes, but there will be no refund for candidates who are withdrawn at any stage, no matter how early the entry was submitted.
It is usually possible to accept 1 or 2 late candidates to be added so long as the examiner is agreeable and it does not affect his/her travel arrangements, and there is time for us to post any extra exam material that may be required. This must be arranged direct with ICMA and not with the examiner.
A quiet, warm and well-lit room must be provided, and provision for candidates/teachers/applicants/parents to wait where the tests will not be overheard. All examination and accompaniment instruments, (tuned to Concert Pitch) music stand(s), writing table and chair, and a CD player (capable of playing CD-Rs) for any Aural (1) or General Music Knowledge (10) Options must be provided, without incurring any cost to ICMA. Please be aware that your examiner will probably be grateful if you would provide a sandwich and a drink where a session crosses over a mealtime, and/or where (s)he has travelled for more than 75 miles/1.5 hours.
Examiners are not permitted to discuss the results of the examination with anyone, so please don’t ask him/her. Results are checked at the office and then sent out to applicants along with the certificates usually within 7 days.
Examiners can only mark what they hear on the day. Candidates are often quite nervous, and may not perform at their best. However, you may appeal against the result if you wish. There is an official procedure – see the General Regulations.
Yes! ‘Word’ and ‘Sibelius’ files may be submitted as email attachments. However, please do not assume that we have received your work until an acknowledgement has been received from the office.

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