Piano examinations and assessments

From their first day at Primo Pianol, all students work toward assessment badges and  ABRSM piano examinations.


What is a Primo Piano Assessment?Students work towards ABRSM piano examinations

A Primo Piano Assessment is similar to an examination. However it is much less intimidating as  it takes place during class time and is led by the teacher.  The assessment includes:


  • group playing (ensemble)
  • solo playing
  • sight reading skills


After successfully completing each level, students  are presented with a certificate of achievement and an extremely smart pin badge –  a highly-valued  prize!


why do we conduct regular assessments?

  • to motivate the students
  • to acknowledge the achievement of the students – and the support of their parents!
  •  to have a formalised system which allows us to track the progress of students, make informed decisions about re-organising groups and to prepare students for more formal examinations
  • to give parents regular written feedback on their child’s progress


How does the Primo Piano Assessment system work?

  • levels go from A to G (the letters of the musical alphabet)
  • assessments take place approximately every twenty sessions
  • Mini Maestros are assessed at every level A through to G
  • Music Maestros (who are older) are assessed at B,D,F and G
  • students are awarded a smart Pin Badge which can be displayed on their music bag and a certificate upon completion of each level
  • parents receive a report of their child’s progress with some helpful suggestions for future progress.

Can a child ‘fail’ a Primo Piano Assessment?


Primo Piano students work towards assessment badges and ABRSM piano examinationsNo. It is extremely negative to fail students who have only just embarked on their playing careers. However levels (and pin badges!) will not be awarded if they are falling below the required standard or have not sufficiently prepared their assessment pieces. They will have the opportunity to have these sections re-assessed as soon as possible (usually the following week) and their badge awarded.


Is there any charge for Primo Piano Assessments?


A charge of £10 is made for each assessment to cover the cost of report writing and the pin badges which are specially made for Primo Piano.


How do Primo Piano Assessments integrate into ABRSM piano examinations?


 After the  level D assessment children start to work towards external examinations. Students will already have learnt all of the scales and have sight reading skills appropriate to a grade one musician. The next step is to learn the three pieces and sit their grade one ABRSM piano examination. The Associated Board is one of the oldest and most respected examination bodies in the world. Many parents will recall taking music exams with them as children. However, these examinations have moved on since the days of sitting in a village hall waiting to be summoned by a stern looking examiner!


The examination pieces now offer a huge variety of styles relevant to the modern student.

About to take an ABRSM piano exams
Scarlett warming up before her Grade One exam.

The Primo Piano assessment system is designed to fully integrate into the ABRSM piano examination system and after taking Grade One (an external exam) there are further ‘in-house’ assessments which focus on some other important musical skills which are not covered within the ABRSM piano examinations. For example, learning how to play and improvise in blues and jazz styles (think Jools Holland!)  and how to play from lead sheets (chords and melody rather than full music). All students will find that after working their way through to level G (this comes before the Associated Board grade four examination), that as well as having good playing skills they will also have the sight reading and general musicianship skills necessary to do well in the exams and more importantly to become a competent and  ‘well-rounded’ musician with an understanding and basic grasp of many different styles of playing in the same way that GCSEs give a student a good all-round portfolio of learning from which to then specialise.