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Piano syllabus - support and resources

Trinity’s Piano exams provide a structured yet flexible framework for progress, which enables a learner to demonstrate their own musical personality and promotes enjoyment in music performance.

This page will be regularly updated with resources relating to all aspects of the exam: pieces, technical work and supporting tests.



Improvisation can develop creative musicianship skills that unlock a variety of musical styles and technical ability. Our tests are designed to introduce teachers and learners to improvisation gradually, creatively and with a range of supporting resources.

Below Lucinda Mackworth-Young shows how Improvisation can be incorporated in lessons at Foundation level (Grade 1 and Grade 3).


The examples are all designed around the Harmonic stimulus. In the exam, the candidate can choose a stimulus from the three options listed below - click to see examples of the test:

Our blog post on improvisation gives further advice and tips on how to get started with improvising.


Own composition

Did you know that you can play a piece that you’ve composed as part of your Trinity exam? The PDF below contains the following, for each grade:

  • a suggested musical starting point (as staff notation)
  • the required duration of the piece
  • some ideas for compositional techniques that may be included

Your own composition must be of a similar standard to the pieces listed for your grade.

The focus of the assessment will be on your performance. It will be marked in the same way as the other pieces you play.


Musical starting points and suggested techniques

Notation examples (pdf) Accompanying audio (MP3 format)

Own composition - Piano
(Initial to Grade 8)


Guidance for teachers

There are many reasons that we have included the own composition option in Trinity exams. Benefits include:

  • it brings music theory to life
  • it enables learners to express their creativity
  • it helps with developing an understanding of musical styles and composers
  • it provides flexibility and choice, making the exam personalised and tailored to the needs of the individual
  • it encourages a holistic approach to learning music: performing, composing, listening, improvising

We are in the process of developing a resource pack to provide further support around composing.


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