Music examinations

Taking an Exam

Taking a music exam can be a great way to motivate yourself to achieve your next goals in music performance. 

Students can choose to take practical performance exams in piano, guitar, bass and ukulele. We also train pupils to pass written exams in music theory. 

By taking an exam you could:

  • Develop your skills
  • Expand and deepen your musical knowledge
  • Build a foundation for further musical study
  • Grow in confidence and gain valuable performance experience
  • Gain a qualification


Here at Heron Music Tuition we can help you gain grades in your musical instrument.

The exam experience

Sitting an exam can be a nerve wracking experience, but we’re here to make sure you’re prepared and confident. 

Examiners want to hear you playing your best and showing what technical and artistic skill you have developed in your lessons. They will give you every opportunity to show your talents to the best of your ability.

Learning to perform is a musical skill in and of itself and we will give you lots of help to make sure that you’re equipped with strategies to make the exam experience a positive one. 

We want you to feel good about exams and pass them well, so our policy is to only enter our students once they are likely to succeed. We never rush our pupils into exams. 

Check out the FAQ below or get in touch if you have any more questions.


Learning to perform is a musical skill like any other. We can help you prepare for your exams and other performances so you successfully reach your goals.

When do I sit an exam?

Taking an exam requires lots of preparation and practice. Your teacher will speak to you if they think you’re ready to start. Exams are not compulsory though, so don’t feel pressured to take one. It can take around two years to learn the skills you need to sit each grade.

Exam dates will be posted on the News section of the website. Please note Heron Music Tuition is not entering students for exams during 2020 owing to the Coronavirus situation. 

Where do I take exams?

Exams are taken at dedicated exam centres and you will be given detailed information about where to go before your exam session. Some exam boards are now offering exams online and you will be informed if this is an option or requirement.

What do I have to play?

Practical exams require you to play a selection of pieces and technical exercises such as scales and arpeggios. You will also be asked to demonstrate your skills in listening and understanding music as well as your ability to read a piece of music at sight. You will be thoroughly prepared for all these elements and your teacher will let you know all the details of what you need to do.

Theory exams are written papers where you show your knowledge of the rules behind music. Some practical exams require you to have Grade 5 theory as a pre-requisite. We have a policy to teach theory from the very earliest lessons so if you need to take an exam, you’ll be prepared.

How much does an exam cost?

Exam fees are payable to the relevant exam board and vary depending on the grade you are taking. You can check the current fees on the board’s website where you will also find lots of other information about exams.

For piano exams see ABRSM for more details

For guitar exams visit RGT.