How Own Choice Works

The bonus of NME’s ‘Own Choice’
A great feature of Nationwide Music Examinations is the opportunity to pick a piece (or pieces) which you or your student would really like to play… but remember you will need to check its suitability…  to assist you, here’s a quick guide with lots of helpful hints about how our special ‘Own Choice’ option works.

How do I check if my ‘Own Choice’ piece is acceptable?


A: There are only a couple of things you need to do:

  1. Check whether your preferred piece features the Playing Skills required for your particular Syllabus/ Grade and, if so, do these appear in the correct number and is your chosen piece the right length?
  2. Then just confirm with us it’s ok!

Where can I find the details for relevant Playing Skills?


A:  These are clearly itemised within each Syllabus alongside the Grade (e.g., ‘Electric Guitar, Grade 2’) so take a look at the Syllabus dropdown menu; you will find full listings also appear under ‘Own Choice’ Remit.

How many Playing Skills should my ‘Own Choice’ piece contain?


A:   This varies dependent on the Syllabus/ Grade concerned; full details of the recommended number are contained in the Info Zones area of our website under  Own ChoiceRemit.

How can I be sure the piece I have picked is the right length?


A:   Look out for the recommended number of bars referred to under ‘Own Choice’ Remit. We do recognise that your piece may not fall exactly within our ‘range’ (i.e., 16-32 bars in the case of Ukulele, Grade 1) but so long as it’s not widely outside, then that’s ok.

What kind of pieces can I opt for?


A:   ANY STYLE YOU LIKE! It could be the latest pop sensation or a well-loved classic. We recommend when selecting your repertoire you aim for pieces of differing styles and tempo. You are also free to use pieces from any other examination board. However we do insist that any selection made is published music.

Can I use my own altered manuscripts or own compositions?


 A: Yes, just bear in mind though if any part of the original manuscript is altered the alterations must be clearly and accurately written (and check ‘Own Choice’ Remit to ensure you’re still covering the required Playing Skills).  

Do I have to have my piece selection checked by NME before my exam date? If so how?


A:  Yes but we’re here to help!  We recommend that you seek approval for any ‘Own Choice’ piece(s) you select before commencement of study. This includes ‘altered’ manuscript and/or own composition. Please contact us with details about your piece(s) using form OCA1. We ask you to tell us your Syllabus/Grade and also the ISBN number, book title (if applicable), name of your favoured piece, bar length and the playing skills you’ve identified. We will take a look and let you know whether it’s suitable or not. Obviously we will need your preferred contact details to relay our decision – this can be the teacher or music-maker, whichever is best for you. There is no fee for this service currently however from September 2014 a small fee will be charged of £3 per piece for ‘Own Choice’ approval. The easiest way is probably to email us attaching form OCA1 to E: [email protected]

OR you can write to us addressing your letter and enclosing form OCA1 to:

Creative Director,
Examination Office,
76 Church Road,

What else do I need to bear in mind?


A:  You will need to provide the Examiner with a copy of any ‘Own Choice’ piece(s) you intend to play or sing with a particular request for guitarists to provide copy in standard notation.  ‘Altered’ manuscript or own composition should also be supplied to the examiner. Candidates must use original published copy to perform their examination pieces (unless performing own composition).  Any photocopied pieces given to the examiner to assist his role must be destroyed at the end of the exam. (Please see Exam Protocol for further information).  Please note you will also need to take a copy of our piece approval email or letter to your exam session, just hand this to the examiner at the beginning of your exam.


Click here for ‘Own Choice’ Remit

N.B. Playing Skills are appropriately called Vocal Skills throughout NME’s Singing Syllabus