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Gain music qualifications


The Music Service offers a range of external and internal qualifications including our own Hub Awards. There are costs associated with all the examinations and awards we enter students for.

These include the cost of the examination or award itself but you will also need to factor in other expenses such as purchasing specific music and in some cases the cost of an accompanist. The following provides some information about the accreditation we currently offer.

Music Medals

Music Medals are a cost-effective examination for certain instruments for beginner to intermediate standard and are offered by the ABRSM. They are undertaken as part of weekly lessons rather than at an external examination centre.

Video recordings are made and marked by the tutor before being sent to the examination board for moderation. Students are able to make their recording any time from the date of entry and usually once they are fully prepared and have reached the standards required in each of the tests.

The music for the medals is drawn from the range of tutor books we use with our pupils thus avoiding additional expense just to pass the examination. Successful candidates are awarded a certificate and coloured pin badge.

Music Medals are available for the following instruments:



Double Bass





Tenor Horn










Baritone Horn

French Horn


Timing of an entry is usually agreed upon in conjunction with your child's instrumental teacher with payment being made before recording your entry. They will provide you with an application form which will include the most up-to-date costs associated with these awards and the video permissions we require to submit their entry.

Hub Awards - graded performance tests

The Music Service now offers its own set of graded awards for instrumental and vocal students called the Hub Awards. These form part of an extensive support programme we have created to our support young musicians make progress and celebrate their success and achievements. There are 5 graded examinations: Yellow, Orange, Purple, Green, and Blue.

The format and style are very similar to ABRSM Music Medals, with the students making a recording during their lesson of all the pieces and tests that is then marked and moderated by other music service tutors. Entry for each examination is currently £7 and successful candidates all receive a coloured pin badge and certificate.

External instrumental and vocal examinations

We offer external ABRSM instrumental and vocal examination sessions in May/June of each year at St Helens Town Hall. These are a great way of celebrating your achievements thus far, as a motivational tool and as a means to support musical study in school as part of GCSE, BTEC or A-Level courses.

Examinations usually take place on a weekend in May or June. Students can book their examination through the service where they can also arrange to be accompanied by one of the service's keyboard tutors, should they require one. Examinations at other times of the year would need to be booked privately for other regional centres in Liverpool, Warrington or Wigan.

Students will need to purchase music and pay for the examination itself (and an accompanist). Your child's instrumental teacher will provide you with you with an application form, which will include the most up-to-date costs and submission dates associated with these examinations.

Music Theory examinations

Music Theory is an important supportive course of study and qualification. It is a required qualification for anyone wishing to take an Associated Board (ABRSM) Grade 6 or above Practical Examination. Classes take place at the Music Centre in St Helens Town Hall every Tuesday or Wednesday during term time.

Sessions are free, but students are required to buy workbooks and pay for the examination entry. Examinations take place on Saturdays at the board's regional centres but since the outbreak of the pandemic ABRSM have introduced an online version of the examination.


The Music Service provides a successful out-of-school GCSE programme (by EDEXCEL) open to any student attending a St Helens school that does not already offer this option at Key Stage 4.

This can include students whose school offers an alternative qualification such as a BTEC or RSL, but where their aspiration and ability would benefit from the additional challenge a GCSE would afford them.

The programme is free to join although you may be expected to pay for your own examination entry.

Entry requirements to the course include:

  • A commitment to attend all weekly GCSE Music Sessions, Thursdays 4:00pm - 6:00pm, St Helens Town Hall, Victoria Square, St Helens.
  • To be have weekly instrumental/vocal lessons with an expectation of being about Grade 4 standard in the year they sit the examination (these do not need to be with a Music Service tutor).
  • Attend a weekly ensemble or choir provided by the Music Service and take part in a variety of supportive and enrichment activities and performances.
  • To attend the Hub Award Musician programme.
  • To attend a weekly theory session at St Helens Music Service or to be working through their theory grades with their own instrument tutor.