Grade Examinations

Grade Examinations

Learn how Yamaha tests students, teachers and professionals in a broad range of musical skills. Available to the general public, Grade Examinations have been taken by over 400,000 musicians since 1980.

The Yamaha Grade Examination System was established in 1967 to improve and standardize music instruction by requiring teachers to achieve certain levels of musical knowledge, proficiency and teaching skills.

Since its debut, this innovative method of evaluating musical ability has inspired excellence in students and teachers in 27 countries. And since 1980 over 400,000 candidates, ranging from beginner to professional, have taken the Yamaha Grade Examination at authorized locations around the world.

Yamaha Grade Examination System Structure

Yamaha Grade Examination student grades begin at Grade 13 and progress through Grade 6. Grades 5-3 are teacher level examinations, and Grades 2 and 1 are available to anyone interested in taking a professional performance examination.


The Yamaha Grade Examination System is open to all music students, teachers and professionals. A candidate need not be enrolled or employed at Yamaha Music School to take the examination.


Courses offered at Yamaha Music Schools provide excellent preparation for the Yamaha Student Grade Examination.

Preparatory materials include: repertoire collections, workbooks for improvisation and sight playing, collections of past exams. These materials may be ordered through your local Yamaha Music School.

Examination Content

Piano Performance Examination

  • Repertoire
  • Improvisation
  • Sightplaying
  • Hearing (Grades 13-6 only)
  • Performance of candidate’s own composition (Piano Grade 3 only)

Fundamentals of Music Examination (Grades 5-3 only)

  • Melody singing
  • Melody singing with Accompaniment
  • Accompaniment
  • Transposition
  • Music Theory (Grade 5 only)
  • Four-Part Harmony (Grade 4 only)
  • Song Arrangement into Mixed Chorus (Grade 3 only)
  • Chord Progression
  • Aural Test

Grades 13-6 and the Yamaha textbooks are closely related. The details are found in the each syllabus.

Student Grade

The Grade Examination System broadly targets two groups: students and teachers. Student Grades are used as an objective assessment of the progress being made in learning music, while the teacher Grades certify the performance ability as well as overall musical knowledge needed to provide music instruction.

The Yamaha Grade Examination System offers Performance Grades for Piano and Fundamentals Grade.

They are classified into 3 categories: Student Grades (13 - 6), Teacher Grades (5 - 3) and Performer Grades (2, 1)

We also provide Fundamental Skills Survey for Junior Music Course students.

The system is designed to examine performance abilities and general music knowledge, both of which are necessary for enjoying music, teaching music fundamentals and playing professionally.

More than 10 million people have taken these proficiency examinations over the past 50 years, and this system is widely accepted as the standard for assessing musical abilities.

The Yamaha Grade Examination System is also used in more than 30 countries/regions at present.