Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music
- David Allinson
British institution which conducts examinations in practical and theoretical musical subjects; it is also a significant publisher of music and related pedagogical materials. The Associated Board is a London-based charitable company, established in 1889 by the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal College of Music, later joined by the other two ‘royal’ conservatories, the Royal Northern College of Music (Manchester) and the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (Glasgow). A.C. Mackenzie, the then Principal of the Royal Academy, provided a colourful account of the circumstances surrounding the foundation of the Associated Board in A Musician’s Narrative (London, 1927). Its central activity is the provision of a scheme of graded practical examinations for instrumentalists and singers: candidates at each of the eight ascending levels of difficulty must perform set pieces, play scales and arpeggios and pass sight-reading and aural tests. The examinations are held at local centres in Britain and in about 85 other countries, with a high proportion of overseas candidates living in the countries of the Commonwealth, especially New Zealand, South Africa, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore. During the late 1990s about 570,000 candidates were examined annually, 350,000 of these in Britain. The assessments are administered by a pool of about 530 touring examiners, almost all of whom are based in Britain. They are subject to regular compulsory training and elaborate moderation procedures....