Playing and singing with other musicians is a wonderful way to learn and to enjoy music. Taking Ensembles exams is another alternative way that is fun and interesting. These are suitable for existing with individual assessment exams experience or new candidates with equivalent requirements.

Groups comprising any reasonable combination of two to ten instrumentalists and/or singers (without conductor) with one performer to each part may enter for examination. All groups are required to perform two pieces, contrasting in style and tempo. These may be chosen either from the suggested lists of works (either in or outside Syllabus) of the group’s own choice, which are similar in standard and length, provided a score has been submitted to the Board for approval one month prior to the date of entry. Full scores of all works offered should be made available for the use of the examiner.

There are three levels of examination:

Primary • for performers of Grades 4 to 5 standard
Intermediate •
for performers of Grades 6 to 7 standard
Advanced •
for performers of Grade 8 standard

The gradings

The examiner will award an overall grading, rather than a mark, taking into account the following elements of the performance:

• Technical competence (including accuracy of notes and rhythm, ensemble, balance and intonation)
• Texture (including detail, contrast and blend)
• Interpretation (including suitable choice of tempo and details of expression and phrasing)

The gradings are as follows:

A: achieve a pass with distinction
B: achieve a pass with merit
C: achieve a pass
F: failure to reach the standard required to pass

Here are some examples of Ensembles exams:

Piano Duet • Violin and Piano • Viola and Piano • Cello and Piano • Double Bass and Piano • Flute and Piano • Oboe and Piano • Clarinet and Piano • Bassoon and Piano • Horn and Piano • Trumpet and Piano • Trombone and Piano • Piano Trio • Piano Quartet • Piano Quintet • String Trio Sonata • String Trio • Recorder Trio Sonata • Recorder Trio • Wind Trio • String Quartet • Recorder Quartet • Wind Quartet • Brass Quartet • Recorder Quintet • Wind Quintet • Brass Quintet