COVID-19 and Digital Music Exams

In line with the government’s policy to return to pre-pandemic arrangements for exams and assessments, the use of adaptations is no longer permitted to assist in mitigating the impact of the pandemic.

COVID-19 Special Arrangements for Music exams have now been withdrawn. The following changes have now been made to support the exam experience for all candidates:

COVID-19 measure

For all DGD candidates from 23 May 2023

Performance with backing tracks / pre-recorded accompaniment

Permanent offer at all digital grades.

Permanent offer for ATCL and LTCL digital diplomas.

Please refer to this page for information on using recorded accompaniments in Digital Grade music exams.

Piano – use of digital piano or electronic keyboard

See Piano requirements document for full details of instrument specifications. In summary:

Initial–Grade 3: acoustic piano, digital piano or electronic keyboard permitted.

Grades 4-8: acoustic piano or digital piano permitted

ATCL and LTCL diplomas: acoustic piano only (upright or grand)

FTCL diplomas: only offered as F2F exams

Drum Kit and R&P Drums – use of electronic kits (EDK) to Grade 8

Permitted to Grade 5 (Classical & Jazz Drum Kit)
Permitted to Grade 6 (Rock & Pop Drums)

Electronic kits should be capable of producing all the timbral and dynamic variety specified in the notation, as well as any particular effects that individual pieces may call for (see syllabus).

Permission will be given for use of electronic drum kit adaptations in exceptional circumstances only.

Drum Kit 2020-2023 EDK Adaptations
Rock & Pop Drums EDK Adaptations

R&P Vocals – performance without microphone

Permanent offer for all digital grades.


Face masks

Candidates (for all syllabuses except Brass, Singing, Woodwind, Jazz Woodwind and Rock & Pop Vocals) may wear a face mask covering their nose and mouth should they wish, to reduce the spread of respiratory illness in line with government guidelines. Examiners still need to be able to assess focus and personal investment for the Overall Performance section of the exam even if the candidate is wearing a mask.

The important consideration is that the examiners can see the eyes and much of the face, so that they can assess whether or not the candidate is distracted and that they are maintaining focus. This is still possible if the nose and mouth are covered.

Pre-exam adjustments

In the case of exceptional circumstances, it may be possible to make minor amendments to the exam delivery, and customers should speak with their Trinity representative at least 2 weeks in advance of the exam. Examples of minor amendments might include:

  • Strings/Woodwind/Brass: use of alternative instrument for duet part (similar in range/pitch and/or from the same instrument family)
  • Percussion: use of alternative, but similar instrument (eg xylophone instead of marimba)
  • Singing: Listed edition of song not available to buy in particular territory, use of an alternative edition which contains small differences


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