General Information

As a leading International music school, the St Cecilia School of Music has developed an innovative and 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, Asia and Italy. St. Cecilia is currently planning to open more centres throughout the world.

The examinations were first developed forty years ago by teachers at the St Cecilia School of Music to encourage and assess their large numbers of beginner students. The aim was to provide people of all ages with an examination experience that would complement their overall musical development. These Beginner Grade examinations proved so successful that the system was expanded to include the higher Junior and Preliminary grades.

The St Cecilia examination system is designed and is administered by professional teachers as well as experienced business leaders. 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 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 record of being user-friendly for teachers and stimulating for students.

Assessment Procedures

An important feature of the St Cecilia Beginner, Junior and Preliminary grades is the examination report form. This mode of assessment has been designed to cover all key aspects of the student's technical and musical development. 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 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. A separate series of graded musicianship examinations, which can be taken concurrently with a practical examination, are currently being designed to provide a very thorough course of study in these areas. Concert Certificate examinations are available at all grade levels. 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. Each examiner must be a practicing teacher and have proven teaching, performing and communication skills. It is a pre-requisite that examiners themselves use the SCSM system for their own students.

Examination Accreditation

St. Cecilia grade and concert certificate Music and Speech Examinations may be registered on various Australian State and Territory school education certificates. These include WACE, TCE, QCE, SACE and NTCE.

St. Cecilia teaching diplomas will assist teachers with their membership application to State Music Teachers' Associations throughout Australia. Overseas  teachers are also welcome to apply.

St. Cecilia is able to provide advice to overseas students wishing to study music in Australia.

Reciprocal arrangements exist with other music examining boards throughout the world. Contact St. Cecilia for further details.