The New ABRSM Syllabus – Grade 3

I’m currently in the process of producing an extensive collection of resources for the syllabus on my Online Academy. These include detailed video walk-throughs providing practice suggestions, tips on style and interpretation and other ideas for each of the main pieces (from initial to Grade 8), and a selection of alternative pieces.

Continuing my exploration of the new ABRSM syllabus, this week I am having a look at the pieces in the main book for Grade 3 (click here to view my previous post featuring Grade 2). But first here is a preview where I highlight one piece from each list (A, B, and C), as a taster of the type of content you’ll find in the Online Academy’s ABRSM resources:

The following are brief overviews of each of the main pieces (an index with links to the full videos for my ABRSM resources on the Online Academy is available here):


Beethoven: Ecossaise in E (No. 4 from Six Ecossaises, WoO 83) 

A lively dance in 2/4 time, an ecossaise is actually the French word for “Scottish”! Flexibility in the right hand is necessary to avoid tension, and flexibility in the pulse (while not indicated in the score) is essential to bring grace and elegance at the start, and then some forward movement in the forte ending.

Burgmüller: Innocence (No. 5 from 25 études faciles et progressives, Op.100) 

A study in delicacy of touch and articulation, tonal balance between the hands and control of scale patterns in the upper register, Innocence gives plenty of scope for developing an understanding of harmony. The beauty of Burgmüller’s études is that they develop musical as well as technical skills. 

Handel: Gavotte in G, HWV 491 

A model of symmetry and tightly organised musical structure, Handel’s Gavotte in G gives the player scope for developing sensitivity of touch and articulation in both hands. 


Elgar: Salut d’amour, Op.12, arr. Jones 

Elgar’s famous violin melody is transcribed for piano by Richard Jones in a setting that requires careful balance between the two hands, as well as control of tone in the left hand. Use of the pedal is essential. 

Haydn: Andante (2nd movt from Trumpet Concerto in E-, Hob. VIIe:1), arr. White 

This arrangement by Martin White of the slow movement from Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto contains few notes, giving the player the opportunity to feel the symmetry of the music and to shape the right hand phrases melodically. 

Ailbhe McDonagh: Anastasia (from It’s a Piano Thing, Book 2) 

This beautiful chromatic waltz calls for a legato cantabile touch in the right hand, and control of balance between the bass line and accompanimental chords in the left hand.  The player will need to listen for accuracy in the pedalling.


Alan Bullard: Disco Baroque

Based on the circle of fifths harmonic progression, this ingenious disco-style setting is both entertaining and educational. The player will need a keen eye – and an even keener ear – to bring out the difference each time the progression recurs. 

Grechaninov: Riding the Hobby-Horse (No. 5 from Children’s Album, Op. 98) 

This delightful piece describes a ride on a child’s hobby horse, with some written commentary from the composer. An opportunity to develop forearm staccato, the music contains both marcato and tenuto accents in a variety of different dynamics. An effective pedal texture towards the end adds colour. 

Sarah Watts: Scary Stuff (from Razzamajazz Repertoire Piano

This excellent character piece calls for an active imagination as you tell a spooky story in sound. Have this story in mind as you play, savouring the tremolo at the end of the B section (a musical scream). 


The complete collection of video walk-throughs for ABRSM Grade 3 is now available on the Online Academy. Please click here to view if you are an Online Academy subscriber or click here if you’d like to to subscribe.

You can get further updates on resources for the ABRSM syllabus by signing up for our mailing list here and subscribing to our YouTube channel for additional video previews. 

Existing resources for the Trinity and previous ABRSM syllabi can be viewed on the Online Academy here.

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