The program for young beginners is based on discovery, creativity, and adventure through music-making. There are five books in each level: Lesson, Theory, Technique & Artistry, Performance, and Sight-reading books. Classical music, traditional folk songs, jazz, rock, popular music, and original pieces are part of the pupil's repertoire.
The Primer Level introduces the keyboard, note values, and the grand staff. Students play in Middle C position, develop recognition of steps and skips, and learn letter names independent of finger numbers. Musicianship is built through the use of dynamics and coloristic experimentation with the pedal. As new units are introduced, earlier concepts and skills are constantly reviewed.
Level 1 introduces all the notes of the grand staff, elementary chord playing, and the concept of tonic and dominant notes. Musicianship is built with the introduction of legato and staccato touches. Students play in varied positions, reinforcing reading skills, and recognizing intervals through the 5th. It continues the interval orientation to reading across the full range of the grand staff.
Level 2A introduces eighth note rhythm patterns. Students work with 5-finger transposition, functional harmony, and musical phrases. Exploration of C, G, D and A major and minor 5-finger positions builds on intervallic reading skills that were introduced in the earlier level. Transposition and functional harmony skills are presented in highly musical settings.
Level 2B presents cross-hand arpeggios and transposition of full major scales in the keys of C, G, and F. Use of connected pedal and a variety of repertoire keep the students musically engaged as they explore primary chords (I, IV, V7). This level offers a systematic approach in exploring major and minor scale and chord patterns in all twelve keys.
Level 3A introduces 3/8 and 6/8 time signatures and the triplet. Students learn the chromatic scale, the 7th, one-octave arpeggios, and explore the key of D major. Exciting pieces reinforces key concepts and encourages students to explore musical expression through varied dynamics and tempos.
Level 3B offers appealing repertoire for a smooth transition to the intermediate level. Concepts include the octave, the one-octave minor scale, minor and D minor scales (natural and harmonic minor) motive and sequence, all 12 major and minor triads, triad inversions, syncopation, and sixteenth notes. This level continues to build musicianship with challenging and motivating pieces.
Level 4 stresses chord inversions, sixteenth notes, and minor keys. Attention to graceful touch and dynamics continue to focus the student pianist on musical expression. The emphasis on root position V7 chords, arpeggios, and power scales links applied theory to the pieces being studied. Expressive repertoire selections build a strong foundation in harmony and technique.
Level 5 continues to build musicianship with the circle of 5ths, cadences, flat key signatures, and the three forms of the minor scale. The use of octaves, arpeggios, and dynamic playing across the range of the keyboard develops pianistic skill for the student. Selections include well-known classics from great composers and original compositions.
Earning an ABRSM certificate is a rewarding experience. If students are working hard to make progress with music, they need a way to recognize success and reassurance that they are on the right track.
Music exams offer:
- Motivation and inspiration, working from a carefully structured syllabus towards a definite goal
- A measure of personal progress and attainment against internationally recognized benchmarks
- An objective guide to improve the student's musical skills
- Assessment by a respected and independent musician who's highly trained and is monitored
- Performance opportunities and a real sense of achievement