The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) is launching a new violin syllabus from July, as well as revised scale and sightreading tests for all bowed stringed instruments. The changes will come into play for exams from January 2012.

The new violin syllabus features jazz tunes by Irving Berlin and Stéphane Grappelli, klezmer melodies, and works by composers including Bach, Brahms, Tchaikovsky and Sibelius. Over 70 per cent of the pieces are new to the syllabus.

New sightreading tests will be used at all grades of exam, and changes to scale requirements include suggested minimum speeds and the choice of rhythmic pattern (even notes or long tonic) when playing scales.