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S c o t t i s h  T r a d i t i o n a l  M u s i c  G r a d e d  E x a m s


Strathgheny has partnered with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS) in Glasgow to offer the Scottish Traditional Music Graded Exams and un-graded Performance Assessments.  These exams are similar in formatting to those offered by the UK's Associated Board of Royal Schools of Music and as such offer an assessment of a fiddler's level of proficiency in a constructive and non-competitive environment.  Offered remotely by the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow, Strathgheny functions as a satellite exam site for fiddlers in the U.S. who wish to take them. 

At Strathgheny, -if enough registrants - the 2022 exam/assessments will take place on the morning of Friday, July 15.

Links to resource pages are provided on the bottom of this page.

T H E  T W O  O P T I O N S

GRADED EXAMS up to Grade 5 feature the performance of a wide diversity of traditional and modern tunes, brief technical work, a ‘quick study’ and a series of practical and aural musicianship (PAM) tests designed specifically with the Scottish traditional musician in mind. There are no theory tests.

In UNGRADED PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENTS, there are no marks and no pass or fail: just expert independent feedback on your playing (repertoire of your choice), written by the examiner on the certificate that the candidate receives at the end of each assessment. There is no technical work, sight-reading or aural test.  It is suitable for adult learners, teachers and candidates of any age with specific needs. It’s also perfect for young learners who’d simply like a relaxed and supportive introduction to the exam experience.

(As stated on the RCS website)

H O W  T O  P R E P A R E

1.  Decide if you are interested in a graded exam or in an un-graded performance assessment. (See information to right.)

2.  If going for a graded exam: Read through the Fiddle Syllabus and determine in which level of exam you are interested.  

3.  Register and pay online with RCS through the links below by July 1.


4.  Select the tunes for performance. *

5.  If going for a graded exam:  Prepare the required scales/technical requirements.

6.  Practice!

* Tunes for the performance part of the graded exams may be selected from the Scottish Music Graded Exam collections, published by Taigh na Teud, which are designed to mirror the requirements from the Fiddle Syllabus. 

O V E R V I E W - G R A D E D  E X A M S

Working in consultation with the Conservatoire’s Scottish Music staff and specialists from across Scotland, the programme acknowledges the value of Scotland’s traditional music to its contemporary culture and identity, and seeks further to strengthen traditional music’s ties to education and lifelong learning.

The Scottish Traditional Music Graded Exams are specialist-based – meaning a fiddle candidate is assessed by a fiddle examiner.

And one does not have to read music to take the exams: our syllabuses offer the choice between reading music for assessment or playing back by ear.

As a tool for tutors and learners of all ages and abilities comparable in its grading to classical music exams, the programme provides:

  • an escalator for aspiring traditional musicians who wish to widen their scope of opportunities;

  • a basis for professional development among traditional Scottish music educators and non-specialist teachers looking to gain further experience of traditional Scottish music;

  • a firmer establishment of traditional music tuition in Scotland’s educational curricula; and

  • parity of esteem with the classical idiom.

(As stated on the RCS website)

O V E R V I E W - U N G R A D E D  
P E R F O R M A N C E   A S S E M E N T

Perform a short programme of music entirely of one's own choosing, lasting no longer than 10 minutes. 


  • Free choice of repertoire

  • No technical work, sight-reading or aural tests

  • Objective assessment without marks or pass/fail

  • Written report provided 

  •  Assessed by a fiddle specialist

  • Register for a Performance Assessment in the same way as you would a graded exam.

The Performance Assessment is perfect for:

  • Young learners who would simply like a relaxed and unmarked introduction to the exam experience;

  • Adult learners who may not wish to engage in an exams syllabus but would like a goal to work towards, or who would like to play to an examiner before considering exam entry;

  •  Teachers who may want a confidential assessment of their playing as part of their continuing professional development or who are approaching Scottish traditional music for the first time; and

  • Candidates with specific support needs of any age who may not be able to access graded exams due to sensory impairments, learning difficulties or physical disabilities.

F E E S  -  2019 - will be update for 2022 rates soon.

Fees are given in £ since the fee is paid directly to RCS.  When paying online, your credit card will convert £ to $.  Although exchange rates change daily, a ROUGH guide is: $1.80 = £1.

Grade 1:  £34

Grade 2:  £37

Grade 3:  £40

Grade 4:  £43

Grade 5:  £46

Performance Assessment:  £41

T H E  E X A M  /  A S S E S S M E N T

The examiner is a specialist in the fiddle and is eager to make the exam a welcoming and enjoyable experience. The exam takes 15- 20 minutes, depending on the grade, and within normally two weeks the applicant will receive a detailed mark sheet, an official certificate to pass on to the candidate(s), and our sincere thanks for your participation.

(As stated on the RCS website)

L I N K S   T O   R E G I S T E R  
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