ABRSM releases new piano syllabus with a broader range of styles than before

ABRSM has just released their new Piano syllabus which will come into effect in January 2019.

The 2019 & 2020 syllabus lists cover a breadth of styles and an attractive, varied range of music, including pieces from the teaching canon, recent favourites, popular tunes as well as new commissions. Some highlights are Close every door (Andrew Lloyd Webber) in Grade 1, Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen) in Grade 3 and Lullaby Lullaby (for Edna Trident Hornbryce), one of the new commissions, by Raymond Yiu in Grade 8. As in previous years, there has been a 100% refreshment of the repertoire lists. There’s a vast amount of piano repertoire available and ABRSM always aims to bring a balance of familiar and new pieces to the syllabus, whilst maintaining consistency in both quality and standards. Specially commissioned items feature on Grades 3, 4, 5 and 8 and there are other contemporary options at all grades.

“We are excited to be offering this wide choice of repertoire, since the pieces learners choose are so vital to motivation, and have such an impact on musicians as they develop and grow in experience. This time, we have particularly focussed on young learners, at the outset of their musical journeys, and sought to select for them accessible, attractive pieces in a wide range of styles. As part of our development process, we take careful note of the pieces candidates choose to bring to the exam room, and we bear this in mind as we seek out both familiar and new repertoire – all part of ABRSM’s overarching aim to “do our best to help you do your best.” Philippa Bunting Learning & Qualifications Director

The supporting Piano Exam Pieces are available to buy with or without CD and audio downloads of individual pieces are also available to purchase online.

The new edition of Teaching Notes offers invaluable guidance for piano teachers on the 2019 & 2020 Piano syllabus. In a clear and easy-to-use layout, the notes for each piece feature teaching ideas relating to three areas of learning: musical context, technical challenges, and performance and interpretation.

ABRSM’s Piano Practice Partner app has now been updated with pieces from the new syllabus. Piano Practice Partner allows a learner to play along with real musicians’ performances, exactly as recorded or at a reduced tempo. The app allows the learner to practise one hand while it plays the other. It comes with three free examples from across the grades of the new ABRSM Piano Exam Pieces and with in-app purchases for all grades of the new syllabus.


Candidates from the UK and Ireland wishing to present pieces drawn from the 2017 & 2018 syllabus will be able to do so until 31 May 2019. Candidates from all other countries will be able to use pieces from the 2017 & 2018 syllabus until 31 December 2019. There are no changes to the scales, sight-reading or aural test requirements.

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