Spotlight your singing skills

Vibrant, energetic and contemporary exams for aspiring musical theatre singers
Suitable for all ages and abilities.

Whether you plan to use your exam as a springboard for an audition, as preparation for the industry or just because you love musicals, we want to help you build all the skills you need to be a rounded and successful performer.

Why take an ABRSM exam?

Our syllabuses have been developed carefully to suit the different needs and progressive goals of musical theatre singers. The exams connect progress, achievement and motivation, so you can take to the stage with confidence.


Enjoy singing a wide range of songs from different styles and dramatic contexts, selected by industry experts.

From Gershwin to Sondheim, Broadway to Disney, our syllabuses are regularly refreshed so we can include the latest showstopping songs that span the world of musical theatre across stage and screen.


Have a goal to practise towards and receive constructive feedback from highly qualified examiners.

Receive an internationally recognised qualification, and develop skills that sit at the heart of every musical performance.

Our Singing for Musical Theatre exams are a singing assessment, available in two formats:

  • Performance Grades - Grades 1–8 - Pre-recorded exams suitable for singers who want to focus on building skills for a sustained performance
  • Practical Grades – Grades 1–8 - Live exams suitable for singers who want to build a variety of industry skills

The Singing for Musical Theatre syllabus provides a great opportunity for young singers to perform, learn, experiment, practise and most importantly have fun. The 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.

“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.” ABRSM Chief Examiner, John Holmes.

Performance Grades

Take centre stage!

Remotely-assessed exams that are all about performance
Available at Grades 1 to 8.

This exam offers an exciting opportunity for you to explore a variety of songs through a sustained performance.

Build your exam programme from our catalogue of over 950 songs! Select songs that showcase your musical strengths and personality.

A Performance Grade consists of four accompanied songs in one continuous performance – three from the syllabus lists and one of your own choice.

  • Songs are marked individually - looking at the control of pitch, time, tone, shape and performance within each.
  • An additional mark will be given for your overall performance – assessing communication, interpretation and storytelling skills.

Assessed entirely from recordings, Performance Grades can take place at home, at school or in a community setting.

Record your performance at any time, in a place of your choice, and submit it for assessment when you are ready.

Find more information about Performance Grades in our syllabus and qualification specifications.

Practical Grades

Build industry skills

Live exams that that help you flourish as an all-round performer.
Available at Grades 1–8.

Sing the songs you love, while developing musical skills that will help you flourish in rehearsal, audition and performance situations.

  • Accompanied songs: 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.
  • Unaccompanied song: You will need to choose a 1–2 minute (Grades 1–5), or 1–3 minute (Grades 6–8) section of a marked song from the song lists in the syllabus. Singing unaccompanied (a cappella) is a great way to train your musical 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!

Being able to sight-read unfamiliar music is a skill that every singer needs. 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.

  • Sight-singing: The examiner will give you a short piece of music that you haven’t seen before - 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. 

Aural helps 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.

  • Aural tests: The examiner will deliver a series of tests from the piano designed to develop your musical ear. You will be asked to respond by singing, clapping and answering questions about the music you hear.

ARSM (Associate of the Royal Schools of Music)

Prepare for success

A performance-focused diploma for learners beyond Grade 8 level.

Working towards an ARSM provides motivation, structure and feedback, and successful candidates can use the letters ARSM after their name.

Explore the diverse repertoire lists from 1 March 2023. Candidates may enter for exams from 1 September 2023.

ARSM is open to learners of any age. To enter for the exam, you must have passed Grade 8 in Singing or Singing for Musical Theatre, or equivalent. Please refer to the ARSM qualification specification for more information on which pre-requisites we accept.

In the ARSM exam, you need to perform a 30-minute, balanced and varied programme of music:

  • At least 20 minutes of music from the ARSM repertoire list
  • Up to 10 minutes of own-choice music of Grade 8 standard or above

There are no written or spoken elements and no supporting tests.

Full details are available in the ARSM qualification specification, which candidates and teachers should read before starting any exam preparation.

Repertoire and apps to support learning

Discover our show-stopping repertoire books at Grades 1–5, along with digital apps to support practice.

Aural Tests, Grades 6–8, from 2022

This book, for teachers and learners alike, contains practice examples of the tests and is ideal for use when preparing for a Singing for Musical Theatre Practical exam.

Find out more

Songbooks for Grade 1-5

Featuring songs from Grade 1 - 5 of the Singing for Musical Theatre syllabus.

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Sight singing book for Grades 1-3

Practice material for candidates preparing for our Singing for Musical Theatre exams at Grades 1-3.

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Aural Trainer

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

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SfMT Practice Partner

Our new SfMT Practice Partner app gives you all of the features found in the Practice Partner series! All 60 piano accompaniments from The ABRSM Singing for Musical Theatre Songbooks for Grades 1 to 5 are available as in-app purchases.

Find out more

Sight-Singing, Grades 6–8, from 2022

This book contains valuable practice material for candidates preparing for ABRSM’s Singing for Musical Theatre Practical exams at Grades 6–8.

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Aural Tests for Grades 4 & 5

This book contains practice examples of the Aural tests and is ideal for use when preparing for a Singing for Musical Theatre Practical exam.

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

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Discover the repertoire

Contact us

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

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