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Trinity Guildhall




Grade Exams for Electronic Keyboard

Trinity College Keyboard Courses

Why a Trinity College London Electronic Keyboard exam?


Trinity’s Electronic Keyboard exams have been designed to develop creative, confident, and skilled musicians through a structured learning framework, which nurtures development and evaluates a musician’s progress at every level.


  • Choice and flexibility – candidates choose three pieces for the exam from the repertoire list. They may substitute one piece for their own composition; allow them to express their individuality.
  • A range of teachers, specialist musicians and composers contributed to the syllabus, resulting in an enjoyable and diverse range of styles.
  • The varied and exciting repertoire list includes a range of pieces from popular classics to Pop and Jazz, with each piece arranged specifically for the Electronic Keyboard.
  • Optional pieces including elements of improvisation and own interpretation encouraging creativity in the candidate.
  • The content has been moderated by independent Electronic Keyboard teachers, ensuring consistent levels of difficulty across the grades.
  • Exercises are designed to develop important skills and techniques necessary for the modern Electronic Keyboard player, covering bass clef reading and finger dexterity, chord knowledge and arpeggios, and keyboard functions.
  • Internationally recognised qualifications with UCAS points available at higher grades.
  • Great value graded repertoire books, containing everything the candidate will need to prepare for the Pieces and Technical Work of their exam.

Which qualification?

The range of Electronic Keyboard qualifications from Trinity College London allows for a variety of routes through musical learning. There are no prerequisites and candidates may enter Grades, Certificates or any combination of the two. Each level is also supported by theory exams.


Grade exams

Trinity College London graded exams are made up of performances of three pieces, plus Technical Work and Supporting Tests. They are designed to provide a structured framework which nurtures development and evaluates a musician’s progress at every level.


Certificate exams

An alternative to Grade exams, performance only Certificate exams are available at Foundation and Intermediate levels. Certificate exams are structured as a mini-recital and the candidate is marked on their performance of the chosen pieces and theirprogramme planning.


How is the exam structured?

Trinity College London Electronic Keyboard exams have been specifically designed to allow students to demonstrate their individual strengths whilst testing the key skills required by Electronic Keyboard players, ensuring candidates become fluent and professional musicians.



Candidates play three pieces chosen from the syllabus. The repertoire covers a broad range of styles and genres including: Popular classics and folk songs, Latin, Pop, Jazz, film music, Indian music and new compositions. Candidates may substitute one piece for their own composition if they wish.


Technical work



Candidates can choose between Scales & Chord Knowledge and Exercises.
A small selection of scales is set for each grade, structured progressively through the grades to assist with theoretical understanding. Scale requirements cover harmonic, melodic and natural minors. The inclusion of pentatonic and blues scales in the right hand only is designed to assist with the improvisational and creative nature of the Electronic Keyboard.


Chord knowledge

Candidates play a selection of set chords and triads and their inversions for each grade. Chord knowledge is recognised as being vitally important when learning the Electronic Keyboard due to the nature of the music, where immediate recognition of chord symbols is necessary. The chord knowledge for each grade relates to the scales and the level of difficulty of chord knowledge progresses through the grades.



Candidates prepare three exercises which each focus on a particular technique. Only two exercises are heard in the exam.

At Initial – Grade 5 the exercises are 1. Bass clef reading and finger dexterity; 2. Arpeggios and chord knowledge; and 3. Using keyboard functions. From Grade 6 onwards the exercises are different at each grade.


Supporting Tests

For Initial to Grade 5 exams, candidates choose two out of four Supporting Tests for their exam: Sight Reading, Aural, Improvisation or Musical Knowledge. From Grade 6, Sight Reading becomes compulsory  and candidates can choose between Aural and Improvisation.



Aural tests require responses based on listening and depend less on memory, singing and theoretical knowledge. At most grades candidates are asked to describe various features of the test music; such as dynamics, articulation, texture and style.


Sight Reading

Sight reading is not a compulsory assessment until grade 6 and is designed to be musically instinctive. The standard of a Sight Reading test is normally that of the repertoire two grades lower than the exam being taken.


Musical Knowledge

The Musical Knowledge section of the exam is based exclusively upon the repertoire played by the candidate in the Pieces section of the exam. Musical Knowledge is managed conversationally by the examiner, seeking what the student knows, asking open questions such as ‘point out the most interesting features of this piece’.



In the exam, candidates are offered a choice of musical ‘stimuli’ on which to base their improvisation. In each case the candidate will be asked which type of stimuli they would like to prepare; this can be Melodic, Rhytmic or Chordal. For Chordal tests candidates may either opt to play the chords and/or bass line for themselves or may ask the examiner to play the chord pattern while they improvise a melodic line.


Syllabus overlap arrangements

Syllabus overlap arrangements are in place, for further information visit


Find out more

For further information about Trinity College London Exams for Electronic Keyboard, please contact



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