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Win One of One Hundred Free Rockschool 2015 Piano Books

September 1st, 2015 by

Win One of One Hundred Free Rockschool 2015 Piano Books


To celebrate the launch of Rockschool 2015 Piano (September 7th) we’re giving away 100 FREE books from the syllabus to the first 100 people who enter!

The competition will go live at 11:00am Monday September 7th. To enter, simply follow the instructions on the competition page(note: this competition is no longer active) when it goes live on Monday.

Remember, we’re only giving away 100 so don’t miss out! Once they’re gone, they’re gone!

Pre-order Rockschool 2015 Piano

Rockschool 2015 Piano is available to pre-order on now!

Exam Dates

Piano exams begin in October with entry closing on Thursday October 1stEnter for your piano exam in six quick steps today!

Rockschool 2015 Piano – Out September 7th

August 25th, 2015 by

Rockschool 2015 Piano – Out September 7thPlus

At Rockschool, we believe all pianists should have access to a practical, industry relevant and engaging contemporary piano syllabus. Rockschool 2015 Piano is the essential syllabus for all aspiring contemporary pianists.

As with all Rockschool syllabi, the 2015 Piano syllabus has been created with practicality and industry standard conventions in mind. The new syllabus ensures that contemporary pianists can develop as accompanists, soloists, sight-readers and improvisers, whilst having the opportunity to practise and perform to professional backing tracks.

Featured Artists

  • Ray Charles
  • Jamie Cullum
  • Beyonce
  • Rihanna
  • Adele
  • Coldplay
  • The Beatles
  • Ellie Goulding
  • Diana Krall
  • Elton John
  • Ed Sheeran
  • David Bowie


  • Sight-reading tests
  • Improvisation and interpretation tests
  • Stylistic studies at Grades 6, 7 and 8
  • Technical Exercises: scales, arpeggios, chord voicings and vocabulary
  • Ear tests: melodies, chord voicings and progressions
  • General musicianship questions

Exam Dates

Exams Begin in October with entry closing on Thursday October 1st.

RSL – The Evolution of Rockschool Ltd

August 3rd, 2015 by

RSL – The Evolution of Rockschool Ltd

Today we announce the next stage in the development of Rockschool Ltd by launching

Rockschool has, and will continue to be the No.1 choice for rock and pop musicians and educators worldwide. We brought you the first ever guitar, bass and drums grades for rock and pop musicians in 1991, followed by vocals and piano. We already offer an expansive range of contemporary qualifications, including vocational and performance arts suites, tailored to emerging musicians, practitioners and performing artists. To deliver and develop even more diverse qualifications and products like these, we want a name that reflects what we do and our qualifications portfolio.

So, we are pleased to announce

For those of you who aren’t already aware, RSL is simply the acronym for Rockschool Ltd. With the new branding we hope to meet your needs and expectations as our customers and representatives. This new positioning will not only house our existing Graded Music Exams but also better support our Performance Arts, Vocational and future qualifications that don’t sit neatly under the Rockschool banner. .

First and foremost we want you to feel comfortable with the changeover so we’ve outlined the changes and what to expect below.

What’s happening with Rockschool?


We love supporting rock and pop musicians, and we’ll continue to do so!

All of the great Rockschool products and services you’ve come to know and love are staying put! Rockschool Grade Books and materials will remain exactly the same. In fact we’ll have a fancy new digital shop available soon where you can buy and download digital versions of the Rockschool books directly to all your devices.

You’ll be able to log on to the Rockschool site in exactly the same way as you did before. Simply click on the ‘Sign In’button in the top right-hand corner of this page.

To enter online for a Rockschool Graded Music Exam you can do so via the usual online entry portal via the old rockschool website. This will remain in place until we move it across to RSL Awards, shortly.

You can easily find all the information you need to know on Rockschool Graded Music Exams under the music tab. Each instrument page has been branded as such so you still feel at home.

Social Media

Our social media channels have also been given a face-lift and will now operate under ‘RSL Awards’, you can expect the same great content including input from Performance Arts and the Vocational teams.

Our new social media handles:

Contact from us

All written and digital communications will now come from ‘RSL’. You’ll notice all email communication from us will come from and include a new RSL email signature that reflects the new brand. Don’t worry; you’ll still be given the same great service by the same great staff.

Rockschool Certificates

Your Rockschool certificate will remain Rockschool branded, apart from the inclusion of an RSL strip at the bottom of the page.

What else can I expect?

We’ve got a range of different features and services we’ll be rolling out on the new site soon; here are just a few of them

  • New shop section offering digital downloads – here you’ll be able to purchase and download digital versions of every Rockschool title on multiple devices quickly and easily.
  • New account section – login and download Rockschool books and audio and see how your exam application is progressing.
  • Improved teacher registry – you’ll be able to search via different instruments and locations whilst teachers will get more functionality, services and discounts.
  • RSL blog – we’ll be curating a brand new blog that touches on everything from hints and tips for candidates to developments in the music education industry.
  • ‘Wall of Fame’ gallery – this will be the place to share, and show-off your achievements in an easily accessible way. Candidates, teachers and parents will be able to upload pictures of themselves or students with their certificates.

We’d love to get your feedback

If you’ve got any questions or feedback on the changeover and how it affects you, please give the office a call on 0345 460 4747 or email us – we’re here to help!

Vocals Companion Guide Out 1st June

May 20th, 2015 by

Vocals Companion Guide Out 1st June

Vocals Companion Guide is available online and at your nearest stockist 1st June!

Our new Vocals Companion Guide is the essential practice and teaching accompaniment for the Rockschool 2014-2017 Vocals Syllabus. With over 200 “unseen” tests for both male and female singers and over 3 hours of audio (Grade 1-8), vocalists can use this guide to maximise their exam performance.


  • Quick Study Pieces in multiple genres
  • Ear Tests including Melodic Recall, Rhythmic Recall and Harmony Vocal examples
  • Improvisation and Interpretation Pieces
  • Sight Reading Pieces
  • General Musicianship Questions


  • Professional backing tracks
    Specifically for QSPs and Improvisation and Interpretation
  • Downloadable audio
    Stylistically accurate examples of vocal performances across Rock and Indie, Pop and Musical Theatre, Soul and R’n’B, Jazz and Blues
  • Harmony vocal backing tracks
    Featuring multiple two-part and three-part examples

Exam Information for Period B 2015

May 8th, 2015 by

Exam Information for Period B 2015


General Information

Ear Tests: For Grade 6 to 8 (vocals) no keys are given in advance, but candidates will be told the key before the test starts. Please refer to the syllabus guide for further clarification of this. It is recommended that the candidate tells the examiner how they have prepared the exercise to avoid any confusion.


  • Rockschool gives you the opportunity to use acoustic guitar as well as electric guitar for Debut – Grade 2. Please note that you can’t use acoustic guitar from Grade 3 upwards due to the technical demands of the pieces.
  • To clarify: It is acceptable to use an acoustic guitar for Debut, Grade 1, and Grade 2, but not for Grade 3 upwards.
  • We are bringing out an acoustic guitar syllabus before the end of the year. Do keep checking our website and social media feeds for updates on the new syllabus release date.
  • Please note that it is your responsibility as the Guitar/ Bass player to ensure you have a working lead. It may be worth bringing a spare lead just in case


  • Rockschool gives you the opportunity to use an electronic kit as well as an acoustic kit for Debut – Grade 5. Please note that you can’t use an electronic kit from Grade 6 upwards due to the technical demands of the pieces.
  • To clarify: It is acceptable to use an electronic kit for Debut, Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3, Grade 4, and Grade 5, but for Grades 6-8 an electronic kit is NOT acceptable
  • For all drum exams in Rockschool centres the expectation is that the exam will be done on an acoustic kit (i.e. not electronic), regardless of the level, unless previously agreed with Rockschool HQ.
  • All Rockschool drum kits will be set up in the exam room for Right- Handed purposes. If you require the drum kit to be set up for Left-Handed use then please mention this when you enter for the exam online.
  • Please liaise with your chosen exam centre directly if you have any queries regarding equipment.


  • Period B 2015 is the last session that you will be able to use the old syllabus. There will be a cross-over period where either syllabus can be used which is between May and July.
  • From Period C 2015 you will ONLY be able to use the new vocal syllabus, and therefore the required criteria such as improvisation elements will be compulsory. Please refer to the Vocal Syllabus Guide if you are unsure about the new syllabus requirements vocal requirements.
  • Microphones: a reminder that all candidates are required to bring their own microphone to the exam from Grade 4 upwards. Rockschool centres are not responsible for providing a microphone for the purpose of an exam- please check with your designated centre directly if you have any queries regarding equipment.


  • We are planning to release a new contemporary piano syllabus for period C 2015. the existing syllabus will have a cross-over period of a year.
  • Check the website and social media feeds for updates.


  • Please note that all Theory exam dates are set- we do not offer bespoke or private days for Theory exams at present.
  • Our first Theory session is on Saturday 18th July 2015.


Our Teacher Training Day Success Story

March 27th, 2015 by

Our Teacher Training Day Success Story



Here at Rockschool we look to equip all our teachers with the highest level of training and support, our latest set of training days set out to do exactly that…

Taking place on 7th, 14th and 21st March 2015 our expert examiners; Eva Brandt (vocals), Stuart Slater (drums) and Brian Ashworth (guitar), covered everything from specifying what examiners look for, to advice on how to prepare students for their exams. All attendees were able to benefit from hands-on advice and had the opportunity to ask their trainers direct questions regarding their discipline.

Here’s what the teachers had to say…

Highly recommended. I also am interested in training as an examiner after this session.
– Nikki Wallis (Vocals Teacher)

Please go. [They] will answer all of the questions you have regarding Rockschool exams.
– Andrew Franklin (Drums Teacher)

Understanding what happens in an exam.
was Michael Rhodes (Guitar Teacher) highlight of his training day

A big thank you to all the teachers that attended. We’re now looking to expand our training days nationwide, so if you’d like to attend any of our forthcoming days or any other Rockschool events, make sure you add our news section to your bookmarks.

Rockschool Popular Music Theory Out Now

March 10th, 2015 by

Rockschool Popular Music Theory – Out Now!



Rockschool Popular Music Theory is available to buy online and from your nearest stockist now!

Rockschool Popular Music Theory is the essential guide for contemporary musicians, composers and educators. Whatever your instrument or musical background, our theory syllabus will arm you with the practical knowledge to become a more confident, expressive and articulate musician.

The Syllabus Consists of 11 Books

Graded Workbooks (Debut – Grade 8) – each grade includes a sample paper

Guidebooks – these are split into two levels; Debut – Grade 5 and Grades 6 – 8


  • Practical, relevant and engaging
    Created specifically for the rock and pop musician
  • Full-colour guidebooks
    Choc full of beautiful imagery and diagrams to keep you on track
  • Academically rigorous
    We’ve covered everything from the building blocks of music to specialist gear and advanced chord progressions
  • Band analysis
    Understand the role that each musician plays in a band performance
  • Time signatures
    Master popular music’s more unusual time signatures
  • Varying the tone
    How to get great sounds from the most popular instruments
  • Extended chords
    Expand your chord vocabulary
  • Improvisation guidance
    Develop your creativity and get the most out of playing with other musicians
  • Transposition
    Learn how to transpose music quickly and easily, in a variety of situations
  • Become a more skilled, confident, articulate musician

Syllabus Information

Everything you need to know about Rockschool Popular Music Theory can be found in the syllabus guide:

 Popular Music Theory Syllabus (2MB, .pdf)

The free application Adobe Reader is required to view this document.

Exam Dates

Rockschool Popular Music Theory exam dates are shown in the table below. Your next exam date is 18th July 2015 and you can enter online now. Learn more about theory exam dates and fees.

Exam DateDeadline Date for Entry
18th July 201519th June 2015
31st October 201530th Sepember 2015
5th March 20163rd February 2016
7th May 20166th April 2016

Rockschool Popular Music Theory is available to buy in-store from your 
nearest Rockschool stockist and online through Books

What’s Covered in the Theory Exams?

Detailed information on Rockschool’s Popular Music Theory Exams can be found in the syllabus guide. Graded Popular Music Theory Exams are available from Debut – Grade 8 and consist of the following elements;

  • Music Notation (20%)
    all questions in this section relate to music notation
  • Popular Music Harmony (25%)
    all questions in this section relate to music harmony
  • Band Knowledge (25%)
    this section is in two parts, with each part covering a range of instruments;

    • Part 1: Identification
    • Part 2: Notation and Techniques
  • Band Analysis (30%)
    in this section the questions will include the identification of music notation, harmony, and the stylistic characteristics of Guitar, Bass, Drums, Keys, and Vocals in a multi-instrumental context.

Information on areas covered at each grade can also be found in the qualification section.

Related Links

Learn to Play Day 2015 – Jason Bowld PMT Session

March 4th, 2015 by

Learn To Play Day 2015 – Jason Bowld PMT Session

For Learn To Play Day 2015 Rockschool are teaming up with PMT Birmingham and metal legend Jason Bowld to offer a one-off taster session for beginner drummers.

Jason will be holding an hour-long taster session from 11:00am onwards as well as offering free one-to-one lessons throughout the day. The event is an ideal opportunity for all beginners and first timers to get invaluable hints and tips from one of the biggest drummers in rock and metal. PMT will also be giving free lessons on all instruments, so whether you have always wanted to play or you used to play, this is the day for you!


Jason’s session will cover the following techniques, hints and tips:

  • Getting started on the drums
  • How to hold the sticks
  • Sticking patterns and techniques
  • Common problems and how to overcome them
  • Rockschool grades and performance pieces
  • Stylistic techniques, fills and grooves

If you miss Jason’s set don’t worry – he’ll be giving free drum lessons from 9:00am-5:00pm in-store. There will also be huge discounts on all Rockschool titles, so make sure you get down to the store early!

Check out Jason in action below.



Jason’s set will be taking place at Professional Music Technology in Birmingham.

PMT Birmingham

136 Lawley Middleway

Birmingham B4 7XX

 0121 359 5056


Learn to Play Day offers anyone the opportunity to have a free lesson on a musical instrument in one of the many participating venues up and down the UK. Whether you have always wanted to play or you used to play, this is the day for you!

Participating Venues

If you can’t make it down to Jason’s set don’t fear, there are hundreds of stores offering an array of lessons and discounts on the day. Find your nearest participating venue.


Jason Bowld has played with some of the biggest names in rock and metal, including Axewound, Pitchshifter and Bullet For My Valentine and will be giving various hints and tips in his live session at 11:00am.

Related Links