For pupils who learn through Hounslow Music Service.

Why take an exam

Examinations are a good way of measuring pupil progress and can help to motivate pupils by setting a goal towards which pupils can work.   Hounslow Music Service helps pupils prepare for examinations with have been accredited and are therefore internationally recognised benchmarks in terms of achievement.

We recognise that examinations are not suitable for all children, and it is possible for pupils to make progress without taking graded examinations.   No pupil will be forced to take an exam.  Entry is suggested by the teacher, and it is then up to pupils and parents to decide whether to go ahead with the exam.

What do I need to do to prepare for an examination?

Graded examinations always require you to prepare well in advance.   Generally, you will need to fluently perform:

It is important to work on all required elements and not just the pieces.  Good marks in scales, sight-reading and aural tests make the difference between a pass and a fail, or between a pass and a higher mark.

When should I enter for an examination?

You should not enter for an examination until you have worked on and mastered all aspects required for that examination.   By the time you enter for the examination you should be able to play all the pieces fluently and know all the scales from memory.   This is particularly true of the higher grades, where it is simply not possible to learn pieces or scales in a few weeks.

It is sensible to plan 6 – 8 months in advance, so if you plan to take a graded exam in July, you should have purchased the music and scale book and started preparation by December of the previous year.

Do I need to purchase the piano accompaniment for my pieces?

Yes.   You need to play your examination pieces with the accompaniment otherwise you will be disqualified.   Candidates are responsible for providing the pianist with the relevant music.   You must purchase the piano part and bring it with you on the day for the accompanist.

A CD backing track is not acceptable.   Please note that photocopying music is illegal and the board will refuse to examine any candidate not using original music.

Will HMS provide an accompanist for the special examination centre?

Yes, we provide an accompanist and even include a short rehearsal before your examination.   There is a small charge for this as follows:

Alternatively, you may provide your own accompanist and arrange to pay them directly.   Please note they are likely to cost quite a lot more than the above rates.

Do I need an accompaniment if I am doing a piano/guitar exam?


Which examination boards does Hounslow Music Service use?

Hounslow Music Service runs special examination centres for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) and for Trinity College London.   These take place in January and July, although Trinity usually takes place just during July.   Please note that this special visit is only available to pupils who learn through Hounslow Music Service.  

Our teachers also prepare pupils for other examinations, e.g. Rockschool, GCSE/AS/A level practical exams; however, these do not take place at the Music Offices.

Will Hounslow Music Service arrange transport to take me to and from my exam?

No, candidates are responsible for getting themselves to and from the examination centre.   They should arrive in good time for their exam, and not less than 20 minutes before the scheduled examination time.

Practical exams

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Hounslow Music Service
64A Pears Road
020 3325 3142

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