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Free Choice Pieces – Guidance For Teachers

There are lists of repertoire selected by the Board (MTB Exams) for each instrument at each grade for both the ‘pieces’ (for the recital section) and for ‘studies’ (for the technical section – where relevant) which meet the expectations we have at each grade. These can be viewed on the MTB Exams Syllabus page.

However, the Board allow the use of free choice pieces for some or all of these options. It is important however, that the repertoire selected for ‘Free Choice’ pieces/studies is of an appropriate standard/difficulty to enable candidates to demonstrate the level of skills expected for the particular grade being taken.

Teachers opting to take advantage of this ‘Free Choice’ route can gauge the standard of repertoire by various means:

  • Check the pieces/studies against the criteria outlined in the document ‘MTB Exams Levels & Expectations for Free Choice Pieces’ 
  • Compare with existing MTB graded repertoire lists
  • Look at the technical exercises for each grade at MTB
  • Look at repertoire which has been reviewed by another organisation as being suitable for a particular grade.

Pieces that do not appear on the MTB Exams syllabus but are set by other Ofqual regulated boards for the same grade meet our standards & criteria and can be entered as free choice pieces.*

Free Choice Approval Service: If you are unsure whether your free choice pieces or studies meet our criteria, we recommend that you use our Approval Service. This service requires you to provide an image of the music along with the following information: instrument, grade, title, composer and the book in which it is published, if applicable, along with a short description of why you believe it meets the required standard. We are currently offering this service for free.

Submitting pieces that do not meet our criteria may affect your result. We therefore recommend that teachers/candidates who are unsure if their piece meets the above criteria use this Approval Service before learning the repertoire.

Please note that once pieces have been approved, they will be added to our internal approved pieces list and do not need to be approved for future exam submissions.

Jazz Improvisation: Candidates wishing to submit pieces containing Jazz improvisation may do so as part of the free choice recital section of an MTB exam. Exams containing 2 or more pieces with Jazz improvisation will be marked by a Jazz specialist who will normally specialise in that section of instruments (i.e. Wind, Brass etc).

*Please note that we do not offer qualifications on behalf of any other awarding body.

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