Cara Awards

View Cara Awards Syllabi

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Cara Awards are designed for schools and communities engaged in group music-making and drama work. This innovative programme supports beginners and their teachers in the group learning/teaching area.

The RIAM Cara Awards offer:

  • An affordable evaluation programme for beginners learning in a group setting
  • An engaging music syllabus for a wide variety of instruments.
  • Diverse, attractive and inclusive repertoire choices across pop, classical, traditional and folk genres.
  • A fun Stage School Performance Programme for groups and individuals featuring dance, singing and acting elements.

Cara Awards host a diverse and inclusive repertoire list from a range of tutor books for each instrument, with the benefit of choosing to use the CD accompaniment (where applicable).The Cara Awards are less intensive than our graded exam system to help beginner musicians, young or old, take their first steps.

Structure of Exams

There are three levels, or Céimeanna. Each Céim has four sections, reflecting the four main areas of musical development:

  • Group piece (35 marks)
  • Solo piece (35 marks)
  • Technical (10 marks)
  • Musicianship tests (10 marks)

Available instruments/subjects 

Cara awards are available in flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, singing, accordion and Irish traditional instruments. 

You can perform as part of a large ensemble, or a small group (up to four people).