There are only a few music schools associated with the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music ABRSM in Kolkata, and Northern School of Music proudly claims to be one of them. Situated near Dumdum Railway Station, NSM is the only music school in North Kolkata to be associated with the ABRSM, training the students for more than 15 years for the graded music examinations from the International Examination Board.
The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) is an international examination board located at London, England. It is founded in the year 1889 and provides certification facility in music. Candidates from all over the world get internationally certified from this board.
The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, The Royal Academy of Music, The Royal Northern College of Music and The Royal College of Music together form the “Royal Schools of Music” which ABRSM has in its title.
The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music operates in more than 93 countries with over 6.5 lakh candidates appearing for the ABRSM exam each year.
The syllabus at ABRSM is well structured and progresses from beginner to advanced from Grade 1 to 8. Candidates may sit for any grade without having given any grades prior to that one. For example, the student may sit for Grade 3 without having given Grade 1. But there is a requirement to pass Grade 5 before appearing for Grade 6 to 8 examinations.
The entire examination is of 150 marks in which 100 is the pass mark, 120 is the mark to pass with merit and 130 is the mark to pass with distinction.
The 150 marks mentioned above are distributed as follows:
Music Pieces: The student must perform three pieces from the current syllabus of the instrument and grade, one from each of Group A, B and C. Group A comprises of Baroque and early Classical Music, Group B comprises of late Classical and Romantic Music and Group C consists of 20th Century Contemporary Music. This enables the student to learn and know every type of music styles and periods. Each piece is out of 30 and 20 is the pass mark.
Scales: This section comprises of Major and Minor Scales, Arpeggios, Dominant and Diminished 7ths, broken chords, etc depending on the current grade of the student. This section is out of 21 where 14 is the pass mark.
Sight Reading: In this section, the candidate must play an unseen notation given to him/her by the examiner. The student will be given 30 seconds of time in which he/she must study the piece and then play it to the best of his/her ability. This section is out of 21 and 14 is the pass mark.
Aural: In this section, the examiner plays a number of tunes to which the candidate must demonstrate his/her capabilities in listening and analysing music, for example, clapping or singing the melody. This section is marked out of 18 and 12 is the pass mark.
Keyboard, Violin, Guitar, Piano, Synthesizer, Drums, Western Vocal (Singing) and Theory of Music Certification / Examination is conducted by ABRSM.