Our grading system is divided into three major divisions, “Elementary,” “Intermediate,” and “Advanced,” with seven Grade subdivisions, numbered 1 through 7 (1 is easiest, 7 hardest.) The first six subdivisions are similar to those of the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA.) We have added a 7th level for highly virtuostic works, works which are clearly a step higher than NYSSMA’s top level, Grade 6. Each of the seven Grades belongs to one of the major divisions, as such:
The following criteria serve as guidelines when assigning grade levels to new and existing works in our catalog database. As “guidelines,” they are sometimes overridden due to circumstances beyond the scope of what is listed here. These guidelines are used for all pitched instruments, and as such, it should be recognized that some instruments will be at an advantage and others at a disadvantage in some of the key technical areas (piano has no real range or tessitura issues for instance.) However, we feel we have included enough musical criteria to keep the system balanced across the entire orchestra.
Please note: Many items in our catalog do not have a numeric Grade. In these cases, the music is graded "Elementary," Intermediate" or "Advanced" without a corresponding number. This is done often with ensemble pieces, where individual parts might be at distinctly different numeric Grade levels. The label therefore describes the Grade of the piece "in general."