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ABRSM introduces new Woodwind Syllabus

Laura  Barnes
ABRSM introduces new Woodwind Syllabus

ABRSM has released a new Woodwind Syllabus for candidates who will be taking exams from January 2018 onwards.

The syllabus features revised sight-reading tests, new scales and arpeggio requirements, and refreshed repertoire for Flute, Clarinet, Saxophones, Recorders, Oboe and Bassoon.

A broad selection of inspiring pieces has been carefully selected to offer variety and new challenges to teachers and learners alike. There are more pieces than ever before to choose from, with each list expanding to contain at least 10 pieces.

“We’ve listened to feedback from teachers and candidates to help us select pieces for our syllabuses that are exciting, imaginative and inspiring to play and teach,” said Philippa Bunting, ABRSM’s learning and qualifications director.
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“Some popular pieces from the current syllabus remain, while lots of new works have been introduced including an increased number of famous classical melodies and colourful, appealing pieces from films, TV and musicals.

“For example, Wouldn’t It Be Loverly? might be a good choice for a Grade 2 flautist with a sense of humour. Grade 5 saxophonists can slink their way through The Pink Panther and Grade 6 clarinettists pour heart and soul into Pete Churchill’s new take on Blue Moon.”

The syllabus features newly designed sight-reading tests and scale requirements, which reflect the needs and experiences of teachers and students and encourage and support progression.

“The new sight-reading tests have been written in a range of familiar and accessible styles, to allow candidates to demonstrate their musical intelligence,” continued Bunting.

“Scale requirements for all instruments have been rationalised, with a general reduction in the number asked from Grade 3 onwards. This allows candidates and teachers to focus on accuracy, fluency and sound quality rather than on memorising a large number of different patterns.”

ABRSM has introduced Saxophone Exam Pieces for Grades 1 to 5 for the first time and published Clarinet Exam Pieces and Flute Exam Pieces for Grades 1 to 7. All the books contain an attractive choice of music, including new arrangements and original pieces commissioned for the syllabus.

In response to feedback from teachers, ABRSM has published a new Exam Pack format. The Exam Packs, which are excellent value for learners, are available for Flute, Clarinet and Saxophones at Grades 1 to 5 and bring together the selected exam pieces (along with piano accompaniment and audio download codes), scales and arpeggios and sight-reading material in one convenient place.

Recordings of every piece in the Clarinet, Flute and Saxophone books will be available as audio downloads, along with a selection of pieces for Clarinet and Flute at Grade 8, and Saxophones at Grades 6 to 8. New sight-reading and scale and arpeggio books are also available for woodwind instruments for Grades 1 to 8. 

ABRSM will add to its Practice Partner series with apps for Flute, Clarinet and Saxophone in September. The apps are useful motivational tools for students to use in practice in between lessons and will be available for Grades 1 to 7 for Flute and Clarinet and Grades 1 to 5 for Saxophone.

For more information about the Woodwind Syllabus and supporting materials, and do download the full syllabus, visit

Tags: abrsm , education , Woodwind Syllabus

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