General Information

As a leading International music school, the St Cecilia School of Music (SCSM Intl.) has developed a progressive examination and assessment system. This “state-of-the-art” system has been widely accepted and now operates in every major centre throughout Australia, New Zealand as well as in parts of Asia and Italy. Teachers are regularly invited to contribute to the content of the syllabus and are encouraged to submit ideas and suggestions that will allow for continued growth, improvement and efficiency. The refinement of the system has continued over the years with syllabuses extended to offer a complete suite of graded examinations, concert and recital certificates and diplomas.

Students who successfully complete the St. Cecilia examinations will have shown evidence of thorough technical preparation and quality musicianship. Without compromising standards, our system has a reputation of being user-friendly for teachers as well as encouraging and stimulating for students.

Assessment Procedures

An important feature of the St Cecilia Beginner, Junior and Preliminary grades is the examination report form. This unique mode of assessment has been designed to cover all key aspects of the student’s technical and musical development at the important elementary level of learning. It allows the examiner to comment on areas such as posture, tone, rhythmic fluency, intonation, evenness, dynamics and interpretation. Students at these levels are required to perform three items, demonstrate a basic technical awareness through scales, chords and exercises or musicianship, and respond to simple ear tests and general knowledge questions relating to the pieces they are playing.

From Grades one to eight, students are assessed principally on their musical performance. Four items must be chosen from an extensive list of works drawn from current international publications. For some subjects an “Own Choice” section is available. Ear tests are not required for the St. Cecilia grade one to eight examinations and Sight-reading is not examined at any level. Instead, a separate series of graded musicianship examinations, which can be taken concurrently with a practical examination, have been designed to provide a very thorough course of study in these areas. Concert Certificate examinations are available at all grade levels. For these examinations, students need only perform four works chosen from any of the items within the grade syllabus. Performance skills, which include stagecraft and etiquette, dress and a written programme, form a major part of the assessment. An audience may be present.

St. Cecilia Examiners

All St. Cecilia examiners hold appropriate music and education qualifications and are appointed to the examining panel after fulfilling strict criteria. All examiners are experienced teachers who have proven outstanding communication skills. It is a pre-requisite that examiners themselves use the SCSM system for their own students and also hold St. Cecilia diploma qualifications.

Examination Accreditation

St. Cecilia proudly stands on its own merits and responds to industry-based self-accreditation. Thousands of students have benefitted worldwide from our grade, concert certificate and diploma examinations.

St. Cecilia Grade, Concert Certificate Music and Performing Arts Examinations may be registered on various Australian State education certificates. Musicians who are keen to further their studies at the various tertiary schools, colleges, universities and conservatoires are advised to contact the individual organisations concerned to ascertain entrance requirements and audition procedures.

St. Cecilia teaching diplomas may assist teachers with their membership application to various professional organisations throughout the world. St. Cecilia aims to provide appropriate advice and assistance to musicians who hold St. Cecilia qualifications.

Examination Cancellation/Transfer

Candidates who choose to cancel their examination may do so at any time. Fees and associated costs will not be refunded or credited. Students who fail to attend at their appointed day and time may re-enter for the next available session with full payment of fees. Candidates may choose to transfer their examination to the next available session and centre by returning their appointment form with a new entry form and half-fee payment for the same grade. Transfers may also be made on-line. Transfers must be completed before the scheduled examination – retrospective transfers will not be accepted. Transfers may only be made within the same calendar year i.e. 1st January – 31st December. December examinations cannot be transferred.

Postponement Due to Sickness

Candidates unable to present for an examination due to accident or sickness may request a postponement of their examination upon presentation of a legal medical certificate which clearly states the candidate’s inability to perform. This certificate must be dated within seven days of the examination. St. Cecilia Examinations will provide a Re-entry Permit which is valid for 6-months and allows for a 50% reduction of fees for the same grade, instrument and centre originally entered. Re-entry must be made using an official entry form and closing dates must be observed. St. Cecilia retains the right to not issue certificates if insufficient information is provided.