Suitable for early learners and with a focus on performance assessments, including keyboards. At this level, the School wants to encourage young musicians to perform in public to a good standard and to enjoy and share in practical music making.

The development of confidence at this level is seen as a very important factor.

Candidates will suggest and prepare suitable pieces which they submit for agreement by the School prior to submitting their application. It is the candidate's reponsibility to ensure all proposed works meet the agreed national standard for the assessment for which they wish to enter.

By working to set standards on the assessment grid, they will be able to improve their own standards during the preparation period prior to an assessment.

The grid also allows teachers to be aware of exactly what is going to be assessed as they are presented at the post-assessment level, one for each piece, thus enabling a clear view of achievement and where more work may be necessary.

The post-assessment report includes observations and comments which arose from the natural progression of the assessment. A computer-generated mark scheme allows for easy identification of the levels achieved, and this is further enhanced by a spreadsheet statistical analysis identifying strengths and weaknesses across all the pieces played.

The second level of certificate assessment focuses on Grades five to six and is a natural progression from the earlier Grades two to three certificate. The same structure for the assessment applies in that candidates select and present their own choice of music, which, once agreed by the school, becomes the focus of the performance.

The same assessment grid as for the lower grade is employed, but the marking scheme differentiates the outcome to facilitate the higher level assessment.

Please note it is not necessary to register as a subscribing member of the School in order to enter for any certificate assessment.

Candidates are advised to download a Performance Assessment Grid before starting any preparation so they can understand exactly what is going to be expected of them and how it will be marked.

Candidates under the age of 21 who are students in full-time education, or from a disadvantaged background, are encouraged to apply to the Thomas Memorial Fund for a non-repayable bursary, which may be the full or partial cost of an NMSM assessment.

Applications for funding should be submitted at the same time as an application to enter for an assessment or examination.

NMSM Certificate Levels

Assessment Level Certificates
Duration 10 mins
Playing time +/-2 mins
Works 3-5 contrasted pieces
Viva Yes, 5 mins
Perform from memory Candidate's choice
Improvisation This option is not offered
Public recital No
Address audience N/A
Programme notes No
Written element & aural tests None
Assessment Level INMSM (Grades 5/6)
Duration 20 mins
Playing time +/-2 mins
Works 3-7 contrasted pieces
Viva Yes, 10 mins
Perform from memory Candidate's choice
Improvisation This option is not offered
Public recital Candidate's choice
Address audience Candidate's choice
Programme notes Candidate's choice
Written element & aural tests None