‘Spotlight’ on NME’s Examiners

Who are Nationwide Music Examinations’ Examiners?

Our Examiners are Professionals!

Put simply all NME’s Examiners, during their professional careers, have direct experience of teaching and, crucially, they have fulfilled a variety of roles within the music industry.

This could be as a semi-professional musician or conductor; singer songwriter or songwriter; perhaps demonstrator for one of the country’s leading instrument manufacturers; musical director; music retail; church organist; principal player in orchestral groups; performing as a member of a band; in a couple of instances, NME’s Examiners have also written and directed musical theatre.

With all their skills, early training and extensive knowledge combined with genuine ‘real life’ application of music-making and education… each one, arguably, is an expert practitioner.

Introducing our Chief Examiner:

Duncan McArthur B Ed (Music)

Duncan studied Education and Music at St. Luke’s College, University of Exeter. He brings vast understanding and a wealth of expertise with more than 35 years’ service as a music teacher, both in Secondary and Primary Education in Cheshire County Council and Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council schools; including as music coordinator and Head of Performing Arts.

However, Duncan’s experience does not stop there!

As a musical director, he and his choir have won a national BBC Choral competition and were finalists four times!

His personal songwriting talents have also brought a great many successes… a hymn Duncan composed, entitled ‘Amid the Storm’, won a competition and was broadcast on the BBC’s ever-popular programme ‘Songs of Praise’.

Duncan is a talented pianist and organist and he also enjoys strumming the guitar.

In 2013, Duncan was interviewed by BBC Radio 3’s Breakfast Show presenter Clemency Burton-Hill, in a debate on ‘Why isn’t classical music taught in schools?’.

Duncan has been associated with Nationwide Music Examinations since the 1990’s and contributes to the development of our syllabi and the setting and maintaining of our standards.

How do we ensure our Examiners’ assessment of candidates’ performance is fair and consistent?


Nationwide Music Examinations conducts a rigorous training programme for Examiners. Examiners are required to attend a scheduled training session, with the prime purpose to familiarise Examiners with the Examiners Handbook, syllabus content, its requirements and very importantly how marks should be awarded and apportioned in accordance with our marking standards to maintain consistency. Further training is provided as and if appropriate.

Here’s some photos taken at a recent Examiners training session

Nationwide Music Exams - Examiners

Listening to an example of a 'distinction' standard….always a pleasure

Nationwide Music Exams - Examiners

An overview of the days training session


It's all in the detail!

Examiners are required to adhere to and follow the company’s Safe Guarding Code of Practice.

Moderation of Marks Awarded

We monitor Examiners’ marking on an on-going basis; this is in accordance with Nationwide Music Examinations’ Moderation of Marks Awarded Policy.

We undertake random checks to ensure marks awarded are consistent and fair in accordance with our standards.