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Music Exam Strategy


Nottingham City Music Service have various strategies to further support the learning of students that have been involved in 'Whole Class Ensemble' (WCE). These include area bands, band camps, and a new exam strategy.


Any student progressing on their instrument after their initial WCE year has the opportunity to attend a two day band camp residential, and a weekly area band. As part of our ongoing support, we then provide opportunites to gain accreditation through ABRSM Music Medals (a Nottingham Music Service Award), Grade 1 (strings), Grade 1 Jazz (wind and brass), and Trinity College London Grade 1 (guitar).


There is also support available to schools for the Arts Award. (please see below)


Music Medals are accredited assessments and teaching resources from ABRSM. Year 4 students learning an instrument at schools through In Harmony with Nottingham Music Service are all given the opportunity to work toward a Music Medal, earning a recognised music qualification at just 8 & 9 years old. Music Medals are also available for Area Band students to take.


There are five progressive levels – Copper, Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum.



Students have to complete three tasks for this award.



Students will learn a piece throughout the year in preparation for our Music Medals Day in April, where all our In Harmony schools come together and perform the piece as a massed orchestra, which is filmed and sent to ABRSM for assessment. For Area Band students, filming will take place at Light Night in February. (Nottingham Music Service has negotiated with ABRSM to accept one of our area band pieces which have been accredited by ABRSM and form the ensemble part of the assessment.)



The candidate plays one piece from the solo repertoire list for his or her instrument and medal. Students learn this with, and are then assessed by, their instrumental teacher in school time.



The candidate selects one option test from a choice of four:

◦       Call & response

◦       Make a tune

◦       Question & answer

◦       Sight-reading

Each test helps to build musicianship skills yet candidates can play to their own individual strengths. Again this is assessed by their teacher and then sent to ABRSM for verification. (The solo and option assessments are between March and June).


More Information

If your child has completed a year of Whole Class Ensemble tuition and would like to join an Area Band, then there would be opportunities for them to complete a Music Medal.


For Further information please contact the music service at info@nottinghammusichub.org.uk




ABRSM and Trinity College London Grade Examinations


In addition to Music Medals, we also offer support to our continuing students to take Grade 1 and Grade 2 examinations for the above exam boards. 


Students who are taught in city schools by our core teaching team, are eligible to take these exams in the July of each academic year. The music service supports this by helping with the cost of exams and by providing workshops in the lead up to the exams.


For further information please contact the music team at info@nottinghammusichub.org.uk




Arts Award


Arts Award inspires young people to develop their arts and leadership talents: it's creative, valuable, and accessible.


Arts Award can be achieved at five levels, four accredited qualifications, and an introductory award.

(Discover, Explore, Bronze, Silver and Gold)


This is provided by Trinity College London.

For more information please go to the Arts Award website or contact janet.wallace@nottinghammusichub.org.uk


Nottingham Music Service, Registered Charity Number: 1153716, Registered Office: College Street Centre, College Street, Nottingham, NG1 5AQ
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