The RIAM Cara Awards are a new initiative from the Royal Irish Academy of Music, which were developed by senior examiner, Hilda Milner. They are an evaluation programme aimed at instrumental and vocal beginners, especially those learning in group settings. The main aim of the awards is to help beginners set goals and to work towards a short exam, that they can sit with others. The programme is less intensive than the RIAM graded exam system and it is based around both individual and group playing. One of the key elements that was considered in the preparation of the syllabus was the idea of breaking down genre barriers and, as a result, the repertoire lists endeavour to be as diverse and inclusive as possible.
The RIAM Cara Awards exam is made up of four components – a Group Piece (35 Marks), a Solo Piece (45 marks), a Technical Exercise (10 marks) and Musicianship Tests (10 Marks). For more information on repertoire and each individual aspect of the exam, you can download the syllabus here. To give you a better idea of how the format of the exam will work, here is a mock exam with senior examiners Hilda Milner and Lorna Horan.