HomeExamsABRSMThe New ABRSM Guitar Syllabus Out Now - What's New?

The New ABRSM Guitar Syllabus Out Now – What's New?

All new for guitarists from ABRSM

The new ABRSM Guitar syllabus is now available, along with a range of fantastic supporting books and materials.

What’s inside the syllabus?

The syllabus features new repertoire at all grades. Take a look inside and you’ll find classical favourites alongside new arrangements and specially-commissioned pieces. There are duets – now an option in Grade 1 to 5 exams – and some wonderful traditional tunes from around the world. We’ve also kept some of the pieces from the existing syllabuses to provide continuity. The aim, as ever, is to ensure exam candidates can find music they will love to learn and play.

New books for Grades 1 to 5

Particularly exciting for us, is the publication of our first ever books of Guitar Exam Pieces, available for Grades 1 to 5. Each book contains a selection of pieces to choose from for your exam with guidance notes to help with practice and performance. You can buy the books with or without a CD of inspiring recordings, which are also available as individual audio downloads from the ABRSM online shop.

A helping hand for beginners

We’re also really keen to support players at the very beginning of their musical journey. So we’ve completely refreshed our Guitar Prep Test, and the accompanying book of pieces, to make this assessment the perfect stepping-stone to Grade 1. At the same time, we’re delighted to announce the publication of Guitar Star our new repertoire book packed with engaging pieces from beginner to Prep Test and beyond. Complete with a play-along CD, fun activities and beautiful colour illustrations, Guitar Star is a great resource for young players and their teachers.

The value of team work

Producing an ABRSM syllabus and all the supporting resources is very much a team effort.  Our Learning & Qualifications team always work hand-in-hand with our Publishing team to produce the very best materials for teachers and learners. But we also rely on the expertise of a range of external consultants.

Working with Gary Ryan

Leading guitarist, teacher and composer Gary Ryan, was part of a team of consultants who helped us to select the syllabus pieces. Gary also advised us on the new Prep Test and composed or arranged all the pieces in our new Guitar Star book. We asked him to tell us something about how he approached this task.
“The structure of the Guitar Star book was an important factor as the pieces gradually introduce new elements and progressively get a little more complex technically and musically. I wanted to explore lots of different musical styles and to make the pieces fun. I also remember being asked at one point to channel my inner nine-year-old! I had a very clear idea of the style I wanted for each piece.”
And does Gary have any tips for teachers working with young guitarists?
“In my experience every student requires a different approach. I think it’s important to make lessons fun and to develop imagination and an awareness of theory alongside technique. Hopefully the duet parts and backing tracks in Guitar Star help to make simple melodies a more rewarding musical experience for the students. In turn, the pieces are devised so that teachers can focus on introducing specific notes, rhythms and elements of notation, such as dynamics.”
Finally, returning to the new Guitar syllabus, we asked Gary to choose some stand-out favourites.
“It’s hard to choose and hopefully all the pieces have something interesting to offer. Bridget Mermikides’ arrangement of Down to the River to Pray at Grade 4 is very beautiful and I have always loved Sérgio Assad’s Valseana from Aquarelle at Grade 8. I think it’s also great to have the option to play a duet alongside solo pieces at Grades 1 to 5.”
Purchase the new books at musicroom.com/abrsm

Discover the new ABRSM Guitar syllabus and books for guitarists at www.abrsm.org/guitar.

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