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. This applies to Piano, Keyboard, Vocals, and Acoustic Guitar whilst Covid-19 restrictions remain in place.

Candidates will also be able to check the suitability of any wider repertoire in other genres through the established Free Choice Piece checking process.

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 download your free Rockschool sample packs!

RSL Awards Free Choice Pieces expansion to include classical pieces form other music exam boards


For all graded examinations and video graded certificates, candidates may choose to perform a maximum of two free choice pieces.

For all performance certificates (except Premiere), 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.

Other than during the current Covid-19 restrictions, free choice pieces must be in a modern popular genre such as Pop, Rock, Metal, Jazz, Country, Blues, Soul or Reggae.

The following will be accepted as suitable free choice pieces without prior checks:

The following will be accepted as suitable free choice pieces if prior approval from RSL has been obtained (see below). Otherwise the examiner will make a judgement about the suitability of the piece in the exam:

Please note that where an RSL Grade book piece is performed with no backing track where one is normally required (see ‘Backing Tracks’ below), this would not be pre-approved as a free choice piece, and therefore the technical outcomes / resulting marks will be affected in this case.

The following are Rockschool benchmarked repertoire and therefore permitted without prior approval and do not count as free choice pieces:

Backing Tracks:

Level of Demand:
Free choice pieces must demonstrate a comparable level of technical and musical demand to the pieces in the grade books, which can be referred to as an indication of appropriate level. Pieces should therefore be selected carefully to ensure that they provide suitable opportunity for candidates to demonstrate the necessary technical and musical competence for the grade. If a free choice piece does not meet these requirements this will impact on the level of achievement possible within the examination and will be reflected in the marks and comments.

Prior Approval
It is not a prerequisite to have free choice pieces approved by RSL HQ, but please feel free to e-mail us if you are unsure about the eligibility of your piece at A full reply will be given no later than 6 weeks after submission.

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 assess the material demonstrated until that point.

Sheet Music:
Free choice pieces 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.

If sheet music is not provided for a free choice piece this will be deemed a ‘partial submission’ and may be reflected in the marking and comments.

Inadmissible Pieces:
If more free choice pieces are presented than allowed (ie. a third free choice piece in a graded exam or video graded certificate, or a fourth / fifth free choice piece in a performance certificate), the additional pieces will be judged as inadmissible and will receive a mark of zero.

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
RSL Classical Piano Free Choice Guidance RSL Classical Piano 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