Covid-19: Free Choice Pieces Exam Board and Genre Extension

In response to the current Covid-19 restrictions, and to allow as many candidates as possible to achieve their qualifications, music in genres other than popular music which is set for exams of other recognised boards will be automatically accepted as free choice pieces for the equivalent grade.

Candidates will also be able to check the suitability of any wider repertoire in other genres through the established Free Choice Piece checking process. This will be accepted for Piano, Keyboard, Vocals, and Acoustic Guitar whilst Covid-19 restrictions remain in place.

Popular music, jazz and film music from other recognised boards remains suitable as Free Choice Pieces for any instrument and will be automatically accepted at the equivalent grade.

TEACHERS! Hit the button below to find out more about RSL Awards’ Free Choice Pieces extension and to request your free digital Grade Book to help your students prepare!

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For all Graded Music examinations, in addition to a minimum of one performance piece from the RSL grade book, candidates may choose to perform a maximum of two Free Choice Pieces.

For all Performance Certificate examinations, in addition to a minimum of two performance piece from the RSL grade book, candidates may choose to perform a maximum of three Free Choice Pieces.

Free Choice Pieces must demonstrate a comparable level of technical and musical demand to the pieces given in the set selections in the grade books which can be referred to as an indication of appropriate level.

Free choice pieces must be in a modern popular genre such as Pop, Rock, Metal, Jazz, Country, Blues, Soul and Reggae, for example. Own compositions are also acceptable.

Pieces should be selected carefully to ensure that they provide suitable opportunity for candidates to demonstrate the necessary technical and musical competence detailed in the appropriate assessment criteria. Candidates are reminded that if a chosen Free Choice Peice does not meet these requirements this may impact on the level of achievement possible within the examination.

For Ukulele 2020, and the 2019 editions of our Acoustic, Piano & Keys syllabuses: Free Choice Pieces can be performed to a backing track (without the examined part on the track), or as a solo piece (without backing track).

For all other graded music syllabuses: All pieces must be performed to a backing track (without the examined part on the track), except in cases where the piece has been selected from a previous Rockschool syllabus, which do not have backing tracks provided.

Download the Free Choice Piece Guidance for Acoustic Guitar, Bass, Electric Guitar, Drums, Piano and Ukulele

Instrument Download
Acoustic Guitar Free Choice Guidance Rockschool Acoustic (2019) Guitar Free Choice Pieces

Rockschool Acoustic (2015) Guitar Free Choice Pieces
Bass Free Choice Guidance Rockschool Bass Free Choice Pieces
Drums Free Choice Guidance Rockschool Drums Free Choice Pieces
Electric Guitar Free Choice Piece Guidance Rockschool Electric Guitar Free Choice Pieces
Piano & Keys (2019 Edition) Free Choice Piece Guidance Rockschool Piano & Keys (2019) Free Choice Pieces
Piano (2015 Edition) Free Choice Guidance Rockschool Piano (2015) Free Choice Pieces
Ukulele (2020 Edition) Free Choice Guidance Rockschool Ukulele (2020) Free Choice Pieces
Ukulele (2017 Edition) Free Choice Guidance Rockschool Ukulele (2017) Free Choice Pieces
Vocals Free Choice Guidance Rockschool Vocals Free Choice Pieces

For information on Free Choice Piece durations, please download the relevant document for your chosen syllabus from the links above.

Candidates are reminded that RSL examination regulations state that pieces must be performed to the exact requirements as detailed in the relevant syllabus guide. If a performance piece overruns, the examiner may halt the performance and only grade the material demonstrated until that point. Candidate reports in this instance will be automatically referred to the Examiner Panel Manager at RSL HQ and may be returned to the candidate with accompanying notes.

Free Choice Piece’s must be available in fully notated sheet music. Candidates need to bring a copy of the sheet music for the examiner to refer to during the examination. It is acceptable for candidates to refer to their own duplicate copy during the performance. Candidates are reminded that both copies need to fully reflect the interpretation and intended performance of the piece. Examiners will retain all photocopied materials from the exam session.

It is not a prerequisite to have these pieces approved by RSL HQ, but please feel free to e-mail us if you are unsure about the eligibility of your piece at freechoicepieces@rslawards.com.