MTB Exams

In their own words…

The Music Teachers’ Board (MTB Exams), who now have over 1,200 exam centres in 45 countries, are an Ofqual regulated awarding body offering qualifications in both practical and performance grades in 26 different instruments.

Our exams are recorded in audio or video, submitted online and marked by instrument specialist examiners. We have created an easy to use app that manages everything to do with the recording and submission of exams ensuring that candidates, teachers and families have a stress-free experience. All results are returned to students within 2 weeks with certificates, at the choice of the teacher, either delivered to the teacher or direct to students.

MTB fundamentally believe in making music assessment accessible and amongst other policies achieves this through lower costs, convenience with no need to travel and complete free choice allowing candidates to utilise any grade appropriate repertoire for their exams. Families benefit from not taking time off work to bring candidates to exam centres, teachers can enable students to both move at their own pace and follow their particular passions in music and our examiners, as instrument specialists, are able to deliver technically detailed feedback.

MTB, the Music Teachers’ Board further supports teachers and students through efficient and supportive communications at all times.  Throughout the pandemic, MTB strove to bring our schedules forward in order to create as much freely available content to support students and teachers at this difficult time and you will find that all of our supporting tests will remain accessible to all at no cost.

MTB enjoys engaging with teachers and continuing to deliver fit for purpose assessment tools.  We value the feedback of teachers, students and families.  Please do get in touch with us.

What We Offer

  • Two pre-grade assessments
  • Piano Grades 1-8
  • Performance Diplomas at Associate and Licentiate level 
  • Complete flexibility over exam dates and entries
  • Free Choice Pieces; total control of your repertoire at all levels, pre-grade through to Diploma.
  • A completely free service to assess the grade appropriateness of any repertoire
  • Instrument specialist examiners
  • Free to download technical and musicianship exercises
  • A purpose built, easy to use exam recording and submission app for phones/tablets
  • UCAS points for grades 6-8
  • Lower costs
  • Rapid responses both by email and phone from our support teams

MTB Practical Grades test proficiency with your chosen instrument and assess a broad array of technical and musical skills. These follow our syllabuses comprising a Recital section, Technical section and in most cases a Musicianship section. These exams are effectively our online equivalent to the Face to Face graded exams offered by other Boards, including the performance of pieces plus all the technical and musicianship elements you would expect to find in these.

MTB Performance Grades Our Performance Grades assess your ability to present a recital program. The exam consists of a performance of a selection of pieces, with no technical or musicianship exercises required. MTB Exams’ Performance Grades are our equivalent to the new performance- focused online exams offered by some other Boards. Our performance grades 6-8 provide the same number of UCAS points as our practical grades 6-8.

Our Recent News

So far through 2021 MTB have launched Performance Exams, new and extended syllabuses including the brand new Percussion syllabus, various exam book series notably in Keyboard and have now added our Performance Diplomas to 10 of our instrument syllabuses with the remaining Diplomas to be launched over the coming year.

MTB Exams are delighted to announce the launch of our new Performance Diplomas for candidates who are continuing their musical education beyond grade 8 and seeking to achieve their professional qualifications.

MTB Performance Diplomas are set at two levels: Associate of the Music Teachers’ Board (AMTB) and Licentiate of the Music Teachers’ Board (LMTB). Our Performance Diplomas assess candidates’ ability to present a concert-level recital program, which consists of a videoed recital with a target duration for a selection of pieces, with no technical or musicianship exercises required. With two options, comprising either set works or complete free choice, candidates can choose to assemble a concert programme using the music that represents their musical interest.

We have also developed a new exam management system, speeding up the processing time of exams and are shortly about to launch our new Exams Portal.  This will enable any MTB Exam Centre (registered teacher or school/college) to see in much greater detail the progress of currently submitted exams, track previous entries and see marks sheets all in one easy place. Schools and Colleges will have even greater control and ability to track exams through multiple teachers among other features.

By the end of 2021 we will have many more new, exciting developments.

The Piano Syllabus

The MTB Piano Syllabus can be downloaded here.

In the absence of physical publication the MTB Syllabus has not been review on Pianodao, but please note the following points:

The syllabus includes a list of suggested pieces, but MTB accept any own choice pieces that are the correct standard. They offer a free service to check any piece’s suitability, if it has not previously been set in any syllabus.

The supporting tests for MTB (including sheet music for all scales and studies) are completely FREE to download from their website, a cost-saving benefit that other boards could do well to follow.

User Feedback

User Feedback: 42 reviews
Average Rating: 4.8 stars

5 Stars: 34 readers
4 Stars: 8 readers
3 Stars: none
2 Stars: none
1 Star: none

The following selection of comments provide a balanced selection from those received.
If you have used this board in the last 18 months and wish to leave your own comment, please do so at the bottom of the page. Thank you!

“I switched to MTB during the pandemic, and have nothing but positive feedback about this examination board. The process of enrolling is easy, and the options for submitting the exam are flexible. They have improved the one area I thought was restricting, now allowing for video submission rather than audio.

The repertoire options are also extremely flexible, and the scales and technical work cover a balanced cross-section of material. I have found, after having entered several pupils for these exams over the last 18 months, that the examiners’ feedback is always constructive and fair. Results are released quickly, often within less than a week. So all in all, I would recommend MTB 100%.”

CB, pianist/teacher, London (5 stars)

“Very helpful and great communicators. Interesting repertoire lists, but also wonderful that they don’t have to be adhered to…. any piece of the appropriate level can be performed. Very accommodating of performers with special needs.

Easy to make entries. I love the fact that from the time of entry you have a year in which to submit the recording, and this can be done at any time. The MTB app works so well. Exam marking and comments have always been really fair and detailed. Exactly the comments I would have made about each performance.”

Sue Greenham, Maidstone (5 stars)

“The board for the 21st century! I had become steadily more disenfranchised with the traditional boards. Then along came the pandemic and I had to rethink what to do about children and exams. I came across MTB by accident, and thought it could be a helpful tool. I entered my first pupil, And was astonished at the ease of the whole process, and delighted with the end results and constructive comments on the part of the examiner.

I have used MTB almost exclusively since then, and, to be honest, I can’t see me changing any time soon. My pupils are far less stressed about the whole process, they do their exams in familiar environments, on familiar instruments, and therefore much more relaxed and focused when exam time comes.”

Megan Skinner, St. Leonards (4 star)

“MTB came to my rescue when face-to-face exams were cancelled due to COVID. I found the whole process exceptionally straightforward, and for me the biggest strength is that they will accept free choice pieces. I have used their free choice approval service, and they provide clear guidance on what challenges should be in a piece to be considered at that grade.

Feedback was detailed and was written directly to the student, rather than being in language more aimed at the teacher.

My only reservations are around some of the supporting tests. Many students would be put off the aural tests because of the amount of singing that is required (although a duet is a possible alternative). I have mixed feelings about the technical exercises – on one hand they are quite clear about what aspect of technique they are assessing, but on the whole I didn’t find them particularly enjoyable for the student to play.

I also found that due to the number of supporting tests required, this was taking up a significant portion of our lesson time in the run up to the exam. I would happily enter students again, perhaps making use of the duet option instead of the listening tests.”

Louise Dubicki, Milton Keynes (4 stars)

Trinity College London
RSL Awards

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2 thoughts on “MTB Exams”

  1. MTB are a breath of fresh air. 13 of my students have taken exams with MTB recently.

    Their booking system is simple and reliable. Their support staff are responsive and helpful and, perhaps more importantly, I get the sense that the whole organisation is coordinating fairly well internally. The speed with which the mark sheets are returned is impressive: the last one was returned in less than 7 days.

    The feedback is remarkably easy to understand. In 13 feedback sheets there has only been one sentence that I didn’t fully understand — this was sadly not the case with the other exam board I previously used, whose mark sheets sometimes bordered on cryptic and where the marks given seemed only occasionally to be reflected in the commentary.

    I think their marking tends to be slightly generous but only slightly, 2-3 points or so (and maybe I’m being a bit harsh on my students!) Generally the marks have been as expected.

    From a teaching point of view I cannot tell you how much I prefer the MTB approach to repertoire selection and it remains a mystery to me that the other exam boards are so restrictive in this regard: the MTB system is simply better, and as the other exam boards realise this we’ll probably see them follow suit, as they have already done with the option for video exams. Student engagement has certainly increased since I have switched to MTB.

    The technical exercises and scales components of the exams seem well thought out (at least up to Grade 5, I haven’t yet prepared any students for advanced exams) and I particularly like the inclusion of Dohnanyi-style exercises for developing finger independence. The musicianship component is suitable, and the option of a duet or aural skills is a skilful solution to the problem of some students being reluctant to sing. I find it best to teach both options and then let the student choose.

    In the first editions of the MTB downloadable sheet music books there were some significant errors but these have since been corrected; it would be better if future editions were more carefully proofread and if MTB would provide easier access to the updated books through their store for those who have previously purchased it.

    The MTB app is well designed and reliable. I once had a stressful experience when delivering an exam with a newly updated version of the app, but MTB responded quickly and well to my feedback and the app has since been improved.

    Honestly my only concern with MTB is that as they inevitably grow in popularity, they may start to struggle to keep the standards so high. It’s one thing for a new business to shake-up the market, but its another thing to consolidate into a stable organisation, so I hope that they are thinking carefully about this.

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