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Appreciation of, and engagement in, the performing arts together make an essential contribution to the wellbeing and happiness of individuals and of society more widely. This has never been more important than it is in the current context.

Awarding organisations offering Graded Examinations promote progression and achievement in Dance, Drama, Music and Musical Theatre by delivering world class assessments, and by supporting the work of private teachers.

These organisations operate in 100+ countries globally and have an approximate combined:

  • turnover of more than £175M each year, of which £120M is directly related to examinations activity in the performing arts. The proportion of income generated in the UK compared to overseas is in the order of 55% to 45% respectively.
  • annual examination entries in the UK of 1.1M* and 0.75M overseas. Out of a total 1.85M, 925,000 entries are in music, 725,000 in dance, and 200,000 in drama.
  • engagement with 80,000 teachers in the UK and 100,000 overseas.
  • UK staff of over 1,000 along with 2,500 examiners.

They represent the interests of a large number of practitioners both at home and overseas, and together have concerns about the support needed to restart the sector in the Covid-19 conditions.

The booklet, which is available here, addresses graded exams and practical lessons in music, dance and drama in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic highlighting the challenges and needs, both professional and financial, of private teachers working across the performing arts. In particular, specific, medically informed, direction is required on the ways in which private and independent studios and venues hosting dance, drama, music and musical theatre lessons can open again safely and successfully.


Practical Lessons Front Cover

Preparation for graded examinations develops high standards of performance, perception, creativity, knowledge and understanding. The examinations provide a scheme of clear incremental standards by which students, teachers and parents/guardians can measure progress in acquiring genuine command of the skills required in each discipline, whether for educational or social purposes. The range of specialisms awarded encompasses an extensive list of musical instruments and styles, dance genres, drama disciplines and musical theatre, catering for, and drawing in, a diverse group of learners.

In support of the sector, CDMT also publishes Graded Exams: The Definitive Guide which can be accessed here as an e-book.

* The figures above include regulated and nonregulated provision. Ofqual-regulated graded examination certifications in 2019 stood at 0.5M in England.