I can't find an answer to my two questions re ABRSM Grade 1 piano exam. I really hope someone more experience can help me here.

  1. Do I have to learn all forms of the minor scales required for the exam (A-minor and D-minor), or can I choose only one form which suits me best e.g. harmonic minor?

  2. Is it going to be a mistake if I decide to repeat a part after the repetition sign? In the syllabus they advise to ignore the repeat signs although I already learnt them with the repetition. Is this going to be a mistake?

  • 3
    You really need to explain which exam board you are using, as the answers might differ. With the ABRSM board, the answer to your first question is that you can learn EITHER natural or harmonic or melodic minor scales, and it is the candidates choice.
    – Old John
    Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 22:25
  • 4
    It's essential that you say which board and which country the exams are for. If as Old John says, it's ABRSM, then generally repeats are not played. The natural minor has been discovered by them, and is permissible for the lower grades.
    – Tim
    Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 22:26
  • Thank you for the swift reply. I'm going for the ABRSM board. Now I know I shouldn't play repeats although in the Calypso Joe and the Rocking Horse I learnt with repetition... Do I have to change it or can I play the longer version as it seems to be more comfortable for me? Once again thank you for your help!
    – fasolla
    Commented Mar 17, 2015 at 10:31
  • For your second question, see: ABRSM Exams: Repeating of bars Commented Aug 15, 2022 at 12:46

1 Answer 1


For ABRSM, the syllabus lays out these rules quite clearly.

  1. Minor scales in the lower grades may be played harmonic or melodic or natural minor by the candidate's choice (do check carefully as you take higher grades when this changes!)
  2. Pieces are normally played without repeats. The syllabus will say if a given piece on it should be played with repeats, so check the pieces you're playing, but if it says nothing you should leave out the repeats.

The syllabus for any instrument is available from abrsm.org for free.

Good luck!

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