Latest exam updates

Exams in Singing for Musical Theatre are now available for Practical Grades 1–5 and Performance Grades 1–8.

Out now:

  • Singing for Musical Theatre Performance Grades 1–8 syllabus, for use in exams from January 2021
  • Singing for Musical Theatre Practical Grades 1–5 syllabus, including supporting test requirements, for use in exams from January 2021
  • More songs added to the Grades 1–5 song lists
  • New Singing for Musical Theatre Songbooks, Sample Aural Tests and Sight-Singing at Grades 4 & 5

Why take an exam in Singing for Musical Theatre?

Musical theatre is a vibrant and energetic contemporary art form, popular with increasing numbers of performers, young and old. Singers specialising in this dynamic genre now have the opportunity to gain an internationally recognised qualification with ABRSM. Our exams connect progress, achievement and motivation – so you can take to the stage with confidence.

The new Singing for Musical Theatre syllabus provides a great opportunity for young singers to perform, learn, experiment, practise and most importantly have fun. The Singing for Musical Theatre syllabus provides many challenges with style, expression, acting through song, varying vocal qualities and techniques. The lists offer a variety of choices and encourage the discovery of new repertoire.Rachel Lyske, Brit School teacher and ABRSM consultant.

With our new Singing for Musical Theatre exams you perform the songs you love, while developing musical skills that will help you flourish in rehearsal, audition and performance situations. Along the way you’ll also gain valuable interrelated skills – not just for music making but for life.

ABRSM Chief Examiner, John Holmes says:

“As with the development of all our syllabuses, we have taken great care to create a clear, well-structured progressive pathway through the assessment of this popular genre. Singing for Musical Theatre exams are new to ABRSM’s exam offer, and new in terms of what’s available out there, but familiar in terms of what we do best - providing reliable milestones of musical achievement, marked according to solid, well-established principles.”

Our exams

Whether you plan to use your exam as a springboard for an audition, as preparation for the industry or just because you love singing songs from musicals, we want to help you build all the skills you need to be a rounded and successful performer. We’ve designed different exams to support you to be your very best.

Our exam material has been carefully selected by industry experts and is designed to reflect the different dramatic contexts and genres within musical theatre. To make sure the songs you perform in the exam room come from the latest musicals, the syllabus is available online as a pdf only, which we regularly refresh and update as new songs are released

You now have two routes to choose when you decide to do a Singing for Musical Theatre exam: Practical Grades and Performance Grades.

Practical Grades

Our Practical Grade exams for Singing for Musical Theatre are available at Grades 1 to 5. Each Practical Grade consists of three Accompanied songs, one Unaccompanied song, Sight-singing and Aural tests.

You can click on individual exam elements below for further detail.

You will choose one Accompanied song from each list – A, B and C. This is an opportunity to show the range of characters you can express, acting through song. Having live accompaniment from the piano in the exam mirrors usual practice for concerts and auditions, and interacting with the pianist is another important musical skill you build here.

Singing unaccompanied (a cappella) is a great way to train your ear, and really helps with singing in tune and building your confidence. It’s also great preparation for auditions and your chance to shine solo! You will need to choose a 1-2 minute section of a marked song from the song lists.

Being able to sight-read unfamiliar music is one of those skills that every singer should have. It helps you to join in more easily, learn things more quickly and access all kinds of music for yourself. It could help you to step into a new role at short notice, access session work and much more.

In the exam, the examiner will give you a short piece of music that you haven’t seen before. They are written in attractive, accessible Musical Theatre styles with optional words in English. Each short piece starts with a piano introduction, you will have half a minute to try it out, before you sing it with the examiner playing the accompaniment. The piano part either doubles (Grades 1–2) or supports (Grade 3–5) the melody line, so you can use your musical instinct to find the tune, as well as reading it.

Aural training develops your strong musical ‘ear’, helping you to feel a pulse, keep in time and understand harmonies and melody lines. These are important skills when you have to pick up tunes quickly with limited rehearsal time. Musical theatre singers are often very strong in this area and our tests give you the chance to demonstrate that.

At Grades 1–3 the aural test syllabus is the same as for other ABRSM Practical Grade subjects.

For Grades 4 & 5 we have developed new aural tests specifically for Singing for Musical Theatre Practical Grades. These are closely modelled on our standard aural tests to ensure parity, with some differences to reflect the realities of how Musical Theatre singers learn best.

The examiner will deliver the tests from the piano and you will be asked to respond by singing, clapping and answering questions about the music you hear.

Practical Grade syllabus

Click on the button below to download the complete Singing for Musical Theatre Practical Grades 1–5 Syllabus from 2021.

Performance Grades

Performance Grades are our new remotely-assessed exams with a focus on performance. They provide recognition for the communication, interpretation and storytelling skills that sit at the heart of every successful musical performance.

Performance Grade exams for Singing for Musical Theatre are now available at Grades 1 to 8. Each Performance Grade consists of four accompanied songs in one continuous performance – three from the syllabus lists and one of your own choice – and a mark for performance as a whole. Full programming requirements, including timings, are given in the syllabus.

You can click on individual exam elements below for further detail.

You will choose four accompanied songs, one from each list – A, B and C – and one of your own choice. This is an opportunity to show the range of characters you can express and your ability to create a programme of music.

A mark is given for your performance as a whole, crediting your ability to put together a coherent and convincing performance event, so your choice of repertoire, the way the songs are contrasted, the order they are presented, and the different moods and characters they inhabit are all important.

The Singing for Musical Theatre Performance Grades specification is made up of the two documents available at these links below.

To find out everything you need on preparing for, booking and taking Performance Grade exams, be sure to visit our Performance Grades page for key information, guidance and documents.

Supporting products

We have released a range of publications for Singing for Musical Theatre Grades at 1–5. You can purchase them from our online shop.



Aural Trainer

Aural Trainer features interactive challenges to develop aural skills and make aural practice more engaging.


A practice tool that allows you to vary the speed of audio without altering the pitch.

Contact us

If you have any questions about ABRSM’s Singing for Musical Theatre exams, please get in touch.

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