Grade 1 Challenge


Aldeburgh Music and the Britten–Pears Foundation invite you to start learning the piano and take the Grade 1 Challenge. If you’ve always wanted to take up this challenge, but have never got round to it then now is the perfect opportunity to do so!

Once you’ve signed up to the Challenge, you can book practice rooms at Snape Maltings and the Red House in Aldeburgh. We’re also publishing a series of videos that will challenge, inform and help you prepare. If you want to challenge yourself further we’re even giving you the opportunity to play your Grade 1 piece during the Aldeburgh Festival. See below for more details.

How to take part

  • Sign up (using the form in the sidebar) to make sure you get up to date information from us.
  • Find a piano and a teacher.
  • Choose your syllabus and buy your music – ABRSM or Trinity College London.
  • Practice!
  • There’s a chance to be brave and perform at the Aldeburgh Festival on June 26th (see below).
  • When you feel ready, you can register for your exam. You can even take your exam at Snape Maltings in October, but there are examination centres all over the country.

If you have questions, we are here to help. Email us at

Use the hashtag #grade1challenge to let us know how you’re getting on. We’ll post advice, news and instructional videos to this as well.

Weekly video tutorials

1. The C Major Scale

2. Moving up to G Major

3. ‘Thumb under’ technique

See all the videos we’ve published so far on Youtube.

Perform at Aldeburgh Festival 2016


Sign up to play at Aldeburgh Festival 2016

On the final day of the Aldeburgh Festival, on Sunday 26 June at 6pm, a relay of professional pianists will hand over to you to play out the Festival with your Grade 1 piece! To sign up, email by Monday 16 May, telling us which piece you intend to play and which syllabus you are using (ABRSM or Trinity College London). Places are offered on a first come, first served basis, so please get in touch quickly to avoid disappointment. We hope it will be an exciting and rewarding experience. Of course we encourage you to bring family and friends to support you – this is a free event and no tickets are required…

See our ticketing website for details of the Grade 1 concert.

We’re delighted to be working with both ABRSM and Trinity College London on this initiative.