Instrumental Examinations

The ESNCM adopts an 8 grade system of examinations for individual instrument performance. A pre-grade 1 preparatory level also exists and is often used for younger beginners.There are two examination periods: in December and May. A regular student may choose to sit for an instrumental exam in either period, after the consent of his/her teacher. The period in which a student must pass each level should not exceed two academic years. Exam requirements are as follows:


Technical exam

The technical exam takes place approximately 1 month before the repertoire exam, and is examined by the instrumental teacher of the students and either the academic supervisor or another teacher. Students of levels 1-8 in Western music (except voice) will be tested on scales and arpeggios or technical exercises for the level, and Students of levels 1-8 in all instruments will be tested on sight-reading for the level. The technical exam is conducted on a pass/fail basis. Students must pass the technical exam for a level before being awarded the instrumental certificate for that level and before proceeding to the next level repertoire exam.
Repertoire exam

Students of all levels in Western music should play four pieces from an agreed list.

Students of all levels in Oriental music should prepare six pieces from an agreed list, of which the panel will choose four to hear in the examination. From level 6 onward students of Oriental music should also play a Taqsim improvisation.

In the repertoire exam the student will receive a mark out of 100. The pass mark is 65.


Theoretical courses
There are final examinations in theoretical courses including musicianship, history and maqam. Part of the final grade is taken from the final examination and part from interim assessments throughout the year, consisting of tests during class time. The student will receive a mark out of 100. The pass mark is 65.


Group playing and choirs
The student is awarded a pass or fail in these courses. This is judged by the teacher of the course, and based on the attendance of the student and the level of his/her participation, technical abilities and progress. 


General Examination Rules

  1. A student who does not attend five or more sessions in theoretical studies and group instrumental playing, will be considered as having failed these subjects.
  2. A student has the right to request re-examination in a failed subject, or may repeat the module, but must pass on the second attempt in order to continue studying on the regular program.
  3. If a student wishes to withdraw from an instrumental examination, he may do so at least one week before the examination date, and will be considered in the interim as having withdrawn from the exam. However, if he withdraws less than one week before the exam or fails to turn up without explanation, he will be considered to have failed the level, and must therefore pass on the second attempt in order to remain on the regular program, unless there are compelling extenuating circumstances. 
  4. The examination of the sixth instrumental level may not be taken if the student has not yet been awarded the Elementary Certificate.
  5. A student may not skip examination levels, but may sit for examinations in any or all examination periods (December, May, and July), after taking the approval of the subject teacher and the academic supervisor. Any exceptions to this rule must be approved by the Academic Board.
  6. A student's first instrumental examination may be in any level from Preparatory to level 4, with the approval of the teacher of the subject and the academic supervisor.
  7. A new student with previous musical knowledge may sit for a placement examination in theory at the beginning of the academic year, and in the event of passing, the student will be classified in the following level. The Conservatory will arrange such examinations in the beginning of September of every year.
  8. There will be no make-up examinations in theoretical subjects without the prior agreement to the absence of the subject teacher and the academic supervisor.