I live and work in the UK as an engineer. In the past, aroudn 10 years ago, I got a diploma in piano with 10/10 cum laude in an Italian Conservatory. After a hiatus of several years, I started playing the piano again recently, and I would like to move my career again in that direction (maybe teaching, etc).

I think I would have a better shot in a music career here in the UK (or in Europe) if I have an UK title such as LRSM, without having to explain everytime how does it work in italy. My technique is at a good level. I think that in around 8 months I could be ready for the LRSM in the UK. However, I cannot take the LRSM if I don't have the DipARSM, and I cannot do that if I don't have the Grade 8.

I would be happy to take DipARSM, but the Grade from 1 to 8 are way too easy for me, and would simply be a waste of time and money for me to do it. So the question: is it possible to skip them in order to take LRSM? Alternatively, is it possible to do directly one exam for Grade 8 in order to get the Grade 8 qualification?

Any idea? Thank you!

  • Having diplomas in UK is not necessarily a prerequisite, unless you are working in some institutions. Privately, more people are not going to ask. And, in any case, having diplomas doesn't particularly make you a good, or sought after teacher.
    – Tim
    Jan 5, 2019 at 19:57

2 Answers 2


It's worth having a read of the syllabus on the ABRSM web site. There are alternative qualifications they accept, and they may accept appropriate and documented experience.

Alternatively, do grade 8 theory, then grade 8 in any instruments you want. Then apply for the diploma. You don't have to do all the exams up to grade 8, but you will need grade 5 or above in theory to do the performance exams.

  • So I can do Grade 5 theory, Grade 8 exam, and then start with DipABRSM and so on?
    – Vaaal
    Jan 5, 2019 at 23:56
  • That seems to be what the requirements say. No specific grade requirement in music theory. But if you want to teach, you might be better going for grade 8 theory.
    – Simon B
    Jan 6, 2019 at 19:54

When I was 'doing grades' some 50 years ago, There was no requirement to complete all of them in order. The higher grades had Grade V theory as a prerequisite, apart from that, you could jump straight in at Grade VIII. I don't think it's changed since then.

  • Different institutions have different requirements about the theory exam. Jan 5, 2019 at 19:39
  • 1
    On piano, I believe all boards require gradeV theory to continue beyond with practical. For the OP ABRSM would do the trick, within several months, for theory V and grade VIII practical.
    – Tim
    Jan 5, 2019 at 19:53

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