RSL Classical

Learn to Play Violin

Celebrate the rich diversity of violin composers with RSL Classical Violin. The syllabus features works by male and female composers from the global majority, covering Classical, Classical Crossover, Jazz, and Pop genres. Repertoire is accompanied by exemplar audio, backing track and a piano score, allowing for fully immersive and flexible practice and exam preparation. The syllabus also includes two pop tracks per grade with full band or piano backing tracks. Through exposure to a variety of styles and instrument-specific techniques, students will improve their musicianship and mastery of the violin.

RSL Classical Violin

Violin Mastery

The pieces at each grade expose students to an array of styles and instrument-specific techniques, contributing to improved musicianship. Technical exercises and rudiments will reinforce the fundamentals of violin playing, with sight-reading and improvisation training contributing to increased musical know-how.

RSL Classical Repertoire

Diverse Repertoire

At each grade there are eight benchmarked classical tracks and, for the first time ever in a violin syllabus, two popular music arrangements at each grade. Diverse and engaging, including greater representation of female composers and composers from the global majority, our repertoire will challenge and inspire students as they develop their violin technique.

RSL Classical Composers

Outstanding Composers & Artists

RSL Classical Violin includes repertoire from the likes of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Clara Schumann, Joseph White, Chevalier de Saint Georges, Samuel Coleridge Taylor, Ignatius Sancho, Lili Boulanger, Jean Sibelius, Florence Price, George Frideric Handel, Germaine Tailleferre, Nikki Iles, Bela Bartok, Grazyna Bacewicz, Felipe Gutierrez y Espinosa, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, John Williams, Ed Sheeran, Dua Lipa, The Weeknd Jamiroquai, Clean Bandit, Coldplay and Beyonce… to name but a few!

RSL Classical Audio

Audio Excellence

Backing tracks and exemplar performances are included for all performance pieces. Each backing track has been professionally recorded at commercial quality to give your students the feeling of doing a fully-fledged performance wherever they might be practising. Slick count-ins and fresh arrangements mean every practise session can feel like a concert performance!

RSL Classical UCAS

UCAS Points

Grades 6 to 8 are UCAS recognised aiding Higher Education applications. Candidates can gain up to 30 UCAS points for completion of these Level 3 qualifications.

RSL Classical Academic

Academically Rigorous

RSL Classical Violin has been designed with industry relevance, student engagement, and academic rigour in mind. Upon completion of an RSL Graded Music Exam, every candidate will have earned a globally recognised qualification, which has been designed to support progression routes towards higher education and the creative industries.

RSL Classical Violin x HER Ensemble

RSL Awards is proud to have collaborated with Her Ensemble, the UK’s first all female and non-binary string ensemble, and state51 to showcase some of the incredible music from the RSL Classical Violin syllabus, as part of The state51 Conservatoire Sessions series.

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How it works

Whether you’re learning the violin independently or with a music teacher, it’s easy to get started learning with RSL Classical.

01

Download the syllabus and buy your grade book

Our publications provide you with everything you need: professionally arranged and produced repertoire alongside innovative technical exercises and supporting tests.

02

Start practicing with our innovative resources

From our physical publications to our interactive e-books and Learning Platform app, our teaching and learning resources are here to support you become a better musician.

03

Sit the exam and reap your rewards

If you’re ready and want to take a Graded Music Exam, achieve your very own RSL Classical qualification after putting in the hours of dedication towards mastering your instrument.

Violin
Debut

The Debut Classical Violin exam is for candidates who have been learning a short time and have developed elementary skills, techniques, coordination and musical understanding.

There are two main types of exams available at Debut, either a Grade Exam or Performance Certificate, which can be booked as a face-to-face or live-streamed exam or submitted as a recorded digital exam.

Estimated Examination Time:

  • Grade Exam: 15 minutes (approx.)
  • Performance Certificate: 12 minutes (approx.)
RSL Classical Violin

Purchase Your Book & Exam Entry

Classical grades for the modern musician. RSL Classical Violin Debut will provide you with everything you need for your Debut exam, including a diverse range of repertoire, a truly innovative range of supporting tests and a vast array of professionally arranged and recorded backing tracks.

1

Classical Violin Debut

The essential syllabus for the aspiring violinist. RSL Classical Violin Debut will provide you wi...
Graded Music Exam Debut

Graded Music Exam: Debut

All Instruments - General guidance: Graded Music Exams Overview - How to book an exam UK / Republ...

Performance Pieces

The performance pieces in the grade book can be used for both the Grade Exam and Performance Certificate and are designed so candidates can demonstrate the required assessment criteria.

Featured Repertoire:

  • Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez – All is Found (from Frozen 2)
  • Kathy and David Blackwell – City Lights
  • Caroline Lumsden and Ben Attwood – Trick, Treat or Tango
  • Thomas Gregory – Footprints in the Snow
  • Bill Withers – Lean on Me
  • Thomas Gregory – Flapping Around
  • Beyoncé – If I Were a Boy
  • Chinese folk song – Jasmine Flower Song
  • Mihailo Trandafilovski – Plucking Squares
  • Kathy and David Blackwell – Off to Paris

Technical Exercises

There are two groups of technical exercises at this grade: scales and Technical studies. all are to be played unaccompanied. The tempo given for the scales is the recommended minimum tempo for this grade.

 

GROUP A – Scales

Candidates are to prepare all of the following. in the exam, the examiner will request a selection to be performed, stating how they are to be performed, from the requirements listed in the table. Candidates can choose to perform the scales in ‘even notes’ (quavers) or with ‘long tonic’ rhythms.

Scale: Major Scales – G, D, A major
Range: 1 Octave
Tempo: Crotchet = 50
Requirements: Separate bows

 

GROUP B – Technical Studies

Candidates are to perform their choice of one of the three technical studies given in the grade book. The examiner will ask which study the candidate has prepared.

Supporting Tests

Sight Reading or Improvisation & Interpretation

Before seeing the tests, the examiner will ask whether the candidate wishes to perform a piece of sight reading or take a test of improvisation and interpretation. once the candidate has decided, they cannot change their mind.

Sight Reading

Requirements
Candidates will be given a short piece of previously unseen music to play, unaccompanied. The piece will be 4 bars long, based on the open strings. The tempo will be = 84.

Process
Candidates will be given 90 seconds to practise, after which they will perform the test. before the practice time begins, candidates can ask if they would like to hear the tempo on a metronome at the start of, or throughout their practice time. additionally, candidates may ask to hear the tempo before the assessed part of the test begins.

Improvisation & Interpretation

Requirements
Candidates will be given a previously unseen chord progression, over which they will improvise rhythms using open strings, to complement the backing track. The chord progression will be 5 bars long, in the key of G or D major. The tempo will be = 60.

Process
Candidates will first be given 90 seconds to practise. before the practice time begins, candidates will be given the choice of a metronome click throughout the practice time or a 1-bar count in at the beginning. After practice time, the backing track will be played twice. Candidates can rehearse during the first playthrough, before performing their improvisation over the second playthrough. only the improvisation over the second playthrough will be assessed. Each playthrough will begin with a 1-bar count in. The backing track is continuous throughout, so once the first playthrough has finished, the count in to the second playthrough will start immediately.

Ear Tests

Candidates will be given a test of melodic recall.

Melodic Recall

Requirements
The examiner will play two notes. Candidates will be asked to identify whether the second note is higher or lower than the first. The notes will both be minims (half notes) at = 95.

Process
The test will be played twice, each time preceded by a 4-beat vocal count in. After the second playthrough candidates will give their answer. Candidates should use the words ‘higher’ or ‘lower’ in their answers.

General Musicianship Questions

Candidates will be asked five questions. Four of these will be music knowledge questions, based on any one of the pieces performed in the exam, the fifth will be about knowledge of the candidate’s own instrument. Candidates can use brief demonstrations to support their verbal explanations.

Music Knowledge

There will be four music knowledge questions in relation to one of the pieces performed in the exam. Candidates will be asked which piece they would like to be asked about. if the candidate’s copy of the chosen piece contains extensive handwritten notes the examiner may either use their own version of the score as the basis for the questions or they may request that candidates select a different piece.

Candidates may be asked to identify:

  • The stave
  • The treble clef
  • The pitch of one note
  • The rhythmic value of one note from the following: Minim (half note), Crotchet (quarter note)

Instrument Knowledge

There will be one question about the candidate’s knowledge of their instrument, chosen by the examiner from the list below.

Candidates will be asked to point to one of the following:

  • Parts of the violin: neck, fingerboard, tuning pegs, bridge
  • Parts of the bow: heel, tip, stick, hair

Exam Structure

There are two types of exam available, a Grade Exam or Performance Certificate.

Grade Exam

3 Performance Pieces (two of which may be Free Choice Pieces) Candidates choose to play either Performance Pieces or Technical Exercises first These account for 60% of the exam mark
Technical Exercises (Section A, B, C and D for Level 3 qualifications) Candidates choose to play either Performance Pieces or Technical Exercises first These account for 15% of the exam mark
Sight Reading or Improvisation & Interpretation (Debut to Grade 5); Quick Study Pieces (Grade 6 to Grade 8) Candidates are given an unseen test to prepare and perform This accounts for 10% of the exam marks
2 Ear Tests Candidates respond to 2 aural tests. These account for 10% of the exam marks
5 General Musicianship Questions Candidates answer 5 questions based on one of the pieces performed These account for 5% of the exam marks

Performance Certificate

5 Performance Pieces only (three of these can be Free Choice Pieces) These account for 20% of the exam mark each.

Assessment Criteria

Performance Pieces

Attainment Band Distinction Merit Pass Below Pass Below Pass 2
Mark Range 18-20 15-17 12-14 6-11 0-5
Command of Instrument Consistently clear production of sound and even tone quality throughout Mostly clear production of sound and even tone quality overall Some clear production of sound and generally even tone quality Sound produced is unclear with uneven quality of tone produced No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Sync or Pulse Performance consistently synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance mostly synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance sometimes synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance not synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse not maintained No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Accuracy & Understanding all of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated throughout. Understanding of musical structure shown all of the time. Most of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated overall. Understanding of musical structure shown most of the time. Some of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills generally demonstrated. Understanding of musical structure shown some of the time. Written music not accurately performed or equivalent skills not demonstrated. Understanding of musical structure not evidenced. No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Style & Expression Consistently convincing projection of the music. Mostly convincing projection of the music. Some convincing projection of the music. Music not convincingly projected. No attempt and/or incomplete performance

Technical Exercises

Attainment Band Distinction Merit Pass Below Pass Below Pass 2
Mark Range 13–15 11–12 9–10 4–8 0–3
Command of Instrument Consistently clear production of sound and even tone quality throughout Mostly clear production of sound and even tone quality overall Some clear production of sound and generally even tone quality Sound produced is unclear with uneven quality of tone produced No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Sync or Pulse Performance consistently synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance mostly synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance sometimes synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance not synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse not maintained No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Accuracy & Understanding all of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated throughout. Understanding of musical structure shown all of the time. Most of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated overall. Understanding of musical structure shown most of the time. Some of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills generally demonstrated. Understanding of musical structure shown some of the time. Written music not accurately performed or equivalent skills not demonstrated. Understanding of musical structure not evidenced. No attempt and/or incomplete performance

Ear Tests

Attainment Band Distinction Merit Pass Below Pass Below Pass 2
Mark Range 9-10 7-8 6 3-5 0-2
Accuracy & Understanding All of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated throughout. Understanding of musical structure shown all of the time. Most of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated overall. Understanding of musical structure shown most of the time. Some of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills generally demonstrated. Understanding of musical structure shown some of the time. Written music not accurately performed or equivalent skills not demonstrated. Understanding of musical structure not evidenced. No attempt and/or incomplete performance

Supporting Tests

Attainment Band Distinction Merit Pass Below Pass Below Pass 2
Mark Range 9-10 7-8 6 3-5 0-2
Command of Instrument Consistently clear production of sound and even tone quality throughout Mostly clear production of sound and even tone quality overall Some clear production of sound and generally even tone quality Sound produced is unclear with uneven quality of tone produced No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Sync or Pulse Performance consistently synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance mostly synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance sometimes synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance not synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse not maintained No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Accuracy & Understanding All of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated throughout. Understanding of musical structure shown all of the time. Most of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated overall. Understanding of musical structure shown most of the time. Some of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills generally demonstrated. Understanding of musical structure shown some of the time. Written music not accurately performed or equivalent skills not demonstrated. Understanding of musical structure not evidenced. No attempt and/or incomplete performance

General Musicianship Questions

Attainment Band Distinction Merit Pass Below Pass Below Pass 2
Mark Range 5 correct responses 4 correct responses 3 correct responses 2 correct responses 0-1 correct responses

Performance Certificate

Attainment Band Distinction Merit Pass Below Pass Below Pass 2
Mark Range 18-20 15-17 12-14 6-11 0-5
Command of Instrument Consistently clear production of sound and even tone quality throughout Mostly clear production of sound and even tone quality overall Some clear production of sound and generally even tone quality Sound produced is unclear with uneven quality of tone produced No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Sync or Pulse Performance consistently synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance mostly synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance sometimes synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance not synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse not maintained No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Accuracy & Understanding All of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated throughout. Understanding of musical structure shown all of the time. Most of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated overall. Understanding of musical structure shown most of the time. Some of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills generally demonstrated. Understanding of musical structure shown some of the time. Written music not accurately performed or equivalent skills not demonstrated. Understanding of musical structure not evidenced. No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Style & Expression Consistently convincing projection of the music. Mostly convincing projection of the music. Some convincing projection of the music. Music not convincingly projected. No attempt and/or incomplete performance

Violin
Grade 1

The Grade 1 Classical Violin exam is for candidates who have mastered the key Debut level skills and have since acquired greater use of technique, rhythms, coordination and musical understanding. There is also an opportunity to build on basic improvisation.

There are two main types of exams available at Grade 1, either a Grade Exam or Performance Certificate, which can be booked as a face-to-face or live-streamed exam or submitted as a recorded digital exam.

Estimated Examination Time:

  • Grade Exam: 20 minutes (approx.)
  • Performance Certificate: 15 minutes (approx.)
RSL Classical Violin

Purchase Your Book & Exam Entry

Classical grades for the modern musician. RSL Classical Violin Grade 1 will provide you with everything you need for your Grade 1 exam, including a diverse range of repertoire, a truly innovative range of supporting tests and a vast array of professionally arranged and recorded backing tracks.

1

Classical Violin Grade 1

The essential syllabus for the aspiring violinist. RSL Classical Violin Grade 1 will provide you ...
Graded Music Exam Grade 1

Graded Music Exam: Grade 1

All Instruments - General guidance: Graded Music Exams Overview - How to book an exam UK / Republ...

Performance Pieces

The performance pieces in the grade book can be used for both the Grade Exam and Performance Certificate and are designed so candidates can demonstrate the required assessment criteria.

Featured Repertoire:

  • Black Violin – Stereotypes
  • Lorne Balfe – Assassin’s Creed III Main Title
  • Kathy Blackwell and David Blackwell – Calypso Time
  • Thomas Gregory – Cool Drift
  • Adrian Ross and Franz Lehár – The Merry Widow Waltz
  • Béla Bartók – Round Dance
  • Emile Waldteufel – The Skaters’ Waltz
  • Ignatius Sancho – The Sword Knott
  • Neil Mackay – Tango
  • Rihanna feat. Calvin Harris – We Found Love

Technical Exercises

There are three groups of technical exercises at this grade: scales, arpeggios and Technical studies. all are to be played unaccompanied. The tempos given for the scales and arpeggios are the recommended minimum tempos for this grade.

 

GROUP A – Scales

Candidates are to prepare all of the following. in the exam, the examiner will request a selection to be performed, stating how they are to be performed, from the requirements listed in the table. Candidates can choose to perform the scales in ‘even notes’ (quavers) or with ‘long tonic’ rhythms.

Major Scales

Scale: G Major
Range: 2 Octaves
Tempo: Crotchet = 50
Requirements: Separate bows. Slurred, two quavers to a bow.

Scale: D, A Major
Range: 1 Octave
Tempo: Crotchet = 50
Requirements: Separate bows. Slurred, two quavers to a bow.

Minor Scales

Scale: E Natural Minor
Range: 1 Octave
Tempo: Crotchet = 50
Requirements: Separate bows. Slurred, two quavers to a bow.

 

GROUP B – Arpeggios

Candidates are to prepare all of the following. In the exam, the examiner will request a selection to be performed, stating how they are to be performed, from the requirements listed in the table. Candidates are to perform the arpeggios in even quavers.

Major Arpeggios

Arpeggio: G Major
Range: 2 Octaves
Tempo: Quaver = 100
Requirements: Separate bows. Slurred, three quavers to a bow.

Range: 1 Octaves
Tempo: Quaver = 100
Requirements: Separate bows. Slurred, three quavers to a bow.

Minor Arpeggios

Arpeggio: E Minor
Range: 1 Octaves
Tempo: Quaver = 100
Requirements: Separate bows. Slurred, three quavers to a bow.

 

GROUP C – Technical Studies

Candidates are to perform their choice of one of the three technical studies given in the grade book. The examiner will ask which study the candidate has prepared.

Supporting Tests

Sight Reading or Improvisation & Interpretation

Before seeing the tests, the examiner will ask whether the candidate wishes to perform a piece of sight reading or take a test of improvisation and interpretation. Once the candidate has decided, they cannot change their mind.

Sight Reading

Requirements
Candidates will be given a short piece of previously unseen music to play, unaccompanied. The piece will be 4 bars long, in the key of G or D major. The tempo will be = 84.

Process
Candidates will be given 90 seconds to practise, after which they will perform the test. before the practice time begins, candidates can ask if they would like to hear the tempo on a metronome at the start of, or throughout their practice time. additionally, candidates may ask to hear the tempo before the assessed part of the test begins.

Improvisation & Interpretation

Requirements
Candidates will be given a previously unseen chord progression to improvise a melodic line over, to complement the backing track. The chord progression will be 5 bars long, in the key of G or D major. The tempo will be = 70.

Process
Candidates will first be given 90 seconds to practise. before the practice time begins, candidates will be given the choice of a metronome click throughout the practice time or a 1-bar count in at the beginning. after practice time, the backing track will be played twice. Candidates can rehearse during the first playthrough, before performing their improvisation over the second playthrough. only the improvisation over the second playthrough will be assessed. Each playthrough will begin with a 1-bar count in. The backing track is continuous throughout, so once the first playthrough has finished, the count in to the second playthrough will start immediately.

Ear Tests

Candidates will be given a test of melodic recall.

Melodic Recall

Requirements
The examiner will play three notes. Candidates will be asked to identify whether the last two notes are higher or lower in sequence (i.e. whether the second note is higher or lower than the first, and whether the third note is higher or lower than the second). The notes will be in the key of D major, starting on the root note. The notes will all be minims (half notes) at = 95.

Process
The test will be played twice, each time preceded by a 4-beat vocal count in.  After the second playthrough candidates will give their answer. Candidates should use the words ‘higher’, ‘lower’, ‘up’ or ‘down’ in their answer.

General Musicianship Questions

Candidates will be asked five questions. Four of these will be music knowledge questions, based on any one of the pieces performed in the exam, the fifth will be about knowledge of the candidate’s own instrument. Candidates can use brief demonstrations to support their verbal explanations.

Music Knowledge

There will be four music knowledge questions in relation to one of the pieces performed in the exam. Candidates will be asked which piece they would like to be asked about. if the candidate’s copy of the chosen piece contains extensive handwritten notes the examiner may either use their own version of the score as the basis for the questions or they may request that candidates select a different piece.

Candidates may be asked to:

  • Identify the time signature or treble clef
  • Identify the pitch of a note
  • Identify the rhythmic value of one note from the following: semibreve (whole note), Minim (half note), Crotchet (quarter note), Quaver (eighth note)
  • Explain the difference between a major and minor chord

Instrument Knowledge

There will be one question about the candidate’s knowledge of their instrument, chosen by the examiner from the list below.

Candidates will be asked to point to one of the following:

  • Parts of the violin: Neck, Fingerboard, Body, Tuning pegs, Nut, Chin rest, Bridge, Shoulder rest, F-hole (sound hole).
  • Parts of the bow: Frog, Tension screw, Tip, Stick, Hair

Exam Structure

There are two types of exam available, a Grade Exam or Performance Certificate.

Grade Exam

3 Performance Pieces (two of which may be Free Choice Pieces) Candidates choose to play either Performance Pieces or Technical Exercises first These account for 60% of the exam mark
Technical Exercises (Section A, B, C and D for Level 3 qualifications) Candidates choose to play either Performance Pieces or Technical Exercises first These account for 15% of the exam mark
Sight Reading or Improvisation & Interpretation (Debut to Grade 5); Quick Study Pieces (Grade 6 to Grade 8) Candidates are given an unseen test to prepare and perform This accounts for 10% of the exam marks
2 Ear Tests Candidates respond to 2 aural tests. These account for 10% of the exam marks
5 General Musicianship Questions Candidates answer 5 questions based on one of the pieces performed These account for 5% of the exam marks

Performance Certificate

5 Performance Pieces only (three of these can be Free Choice Pieces) These account for 20% of the exam mark each.

Assessment Criteria

Performance Pieces

Attainment Band Distinction Merit Pass Below Pass Below Pass 2
Mark Range 18-20 15-17 12-14 6-11 0-5
Command of Instrument Consistently clear production of sound and even tone quality throughout Mostly clear production of sound and even tone quality overall Some clear production of sound and generally even tone quality Sound produced is unclear with uneven quality of tone produced No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Sync or Pulse Performance consistently synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance mostly synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance sometimes synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance not synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse not maintained No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Accuracy & Understanding all of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated throughout. Understanding of musical structure shown all of the time. Most of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated overall. Understanding of musical structure shown most of the time. Some of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills generally demonstrated. Understanding of musical structure shown some of the time. Written music not accurately performed or equivalent skills not demonstrated. Understanding of musical structure not evidenced. No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Style & Expression Consistently convincing projection of the music. Mostly convincing projection of the music. Some convincing projection of the music. Music not convincingly projected. No attempt and/or incomplete performance

Technical Exercises

Attainment Band Distinction Merit Pass Below Pass Below Pass 2
Mark Range 13–15 11–12 9–10 4–8 0–3
Command of Instrument Consistently clear production of sound and even tone quality throughout Mostly clear production of sound and even tone quality overall Some clear production of sound and generally even tone quality Sound produced is unclear with uneven quality of tone produced No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Sync or Pulse Performance consistently synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance mostly synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance sometimes synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance not synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse not maintained No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Accuracy & Understanding all of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated throughout. Understanding of musical structure shown all of the time. Most of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated overall. Understanding of musical structure shown most of the time. Some of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills generally demonstrated. Understanding of musical structure shown some of the time. Written music not accurately performed or equivalent skills not demonstrated. Understanding of musical structure not evidenced. No attempt and/or incomplete performance

Ear Tests

Attainment Band Distinction Merit Pass Below Pass Below Pass 2
Mark Range 9-10 7-8 6 3-5 0-2
Accuracy & Understanding All of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated throughout. Understanding of musical structure shown all of the time. Most of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated overall. Understanding of musical structure shown most of the time. Some of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills generally demonstrated. Understanding of musical structure shown some of the time. Written music not accurately performed or equivalent skills not demonstrated. Understanding of musical structure not evidenced. No attempt and/or incomplete performance

Supporting Tests

Attainment Band Distinction Merit Pass Below Pass Below Pass 2
Mark Range 9-10 7-8 6 3-5 0-2
Command of Instrument Consistently clear production of sound and even tone quality throughout Mostly clear production of sound and even tone quality overall Some clear production of sound and generally even tone quality Sound produced is unclear with uneven quality of tone produced No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Sync or Pulse Performance consistently synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance mostly synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance sometimes synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance not synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse not maintained No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Accuracy & Understanding All of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated throughout. Understanding of musical structure shown all of the time. Most of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated overall. Understanding of musical structure shown most of the time. Some of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills generally demonstrated. Understanding of musical structure shown some of the time. Written music not accurately performed or equivalent skills not demonstrated. Understanding of musical structure not evidenced. No attempt and/or incomplete performance

General Musicianship Questions

Attainment Band Distinction Merit Pass Below Pass Below Pass 2
Mark Range 5 correct responses 4 correct responses 3 correct responses 2 correct responses 0-1 correct responses

Performance Certificate

Attainment Band Distinction Merit Pass Below Pass Below Pass 2
Mark Range 18-20 15-17 12-14 6-11 0-5
Command of Instrument Consistently clear production of sound and even tone quality throughout Mostly clear production of sound and even tone quality overall Some clear production of sound and generally even tone quality Sound produced is unclear with uneven quality of tone produced No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Sync or Pulse Performance consistently synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance mostly synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance sometimes synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance not synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse not maintained No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Accuracy & Understanding All of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated throughout. Understanding of musical structure shown all of the time. Most of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated overall. Understanding of musical structure shown most of the time. Some of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills generally demonstrated. Understanding of musical structure shown some of the time. Written music not accurately performed or equivalent skills not demonstrated. Understanding of musical structure not evidenced. No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Style & Expression Consistently convincing projection of the music. Mostly convincing projection of the music. Some convincing projection of the music. Music not convincingly projected. No attempt and/or incomplete performance

Violin
Grade 2

The Grade 2 Classical Violin exam is for candidates who have mastered the key skills up to Grade 1 and since acquired greater use of technique, rhythms, coordination and musical understanding. There is also the continuing opportunity to develop improvisation skills.

There are two main types of exams available at Grade 2, either a Grade Exam or which can be booked as a face-to-face or live-streamed exam or submitted as a recorded digital exam.

Estimated Examination Time:

  • Grade Exam: 20 minutes (approx.)
  • Performance Certificate: 15 minutes (approx.)
RSL Classical Violin

Purchase Your Book & Exam Entry

Classical grades for the modern musician. RSL Classical Violin Grade 2 will provide you with everything you need for your Grade 2 exam, including a diverse range of repertoire, a truly innovative range of supporting tests and a vast array of professionally arranged and recorded backing tracks.

1

Classical Violin Grade 2

The essential syllabus for the aspiring violinist. RSL Classical Violin Grade 2 will provide you ...
Graded Music Exam Grade 2

Graded Music Exam: Grade 2

All Instruments - General guidance: Graded Music Exams Overview - How to book an exam UK / Repub...

Performance Pieces

The performance pieces in the grade book can be used for both the Grade Exam and Performance Certificate and are designed so candidates can demonstrate the required assessment criteria.

Featured Repertoire:

  • Imagine Dragons – Demons
  • Alan Menken and Howard Ashman – Beauty and the Beast (from Beauty and the Beast)
  • Ros Stephen – Dublin Time
  • Lady Gaga – Just Dance
  • Ignatius Sancho – Le Douze Décembre
  • Johann Sebastian Bach – Minuet in G, from The Anna Magdalena Notebook
  • Béla Bartók – Quasi Adagio, from For Children, Sz. 42, Volume 1
  • Thomas Gregory – Rumba Cucumba
  • Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky – Theme from Swan Lake
  • Thomas Wiggins – The Boy with the Axles in His Hands

Technical Exercises

There are three groups of technical exercises at this grade: Scales, Arpeggios and Technical Studies. All are to be played unaccompanied. The tempos given for the scales and arpeggios are the recommended minimum tempos for this grade.

 

GROUP A – Scales

Candidates are to prepare all of the following. In the exam, the examiner will request a selection to be performed, stating how they are to be performed, from the requirements listed in the table. Candidates can choose to perform the scales in even notes (quavers) or with long tonic rhythms.

Major Scales

Scale: A, Bb Major
Range: 2 Octaves
Tempo: Crotchet = 60
Requirements: Separate bows. Slurred, two quavers to a bow.

Scale: C, F Major
Range: 1 Octaves
Tempo: Crotchet = 60
Requirements: Separate bows. Slurred, two quavers to a bow.

Minor Scales

Scale: G, D Minor (Natural, harmonic or melodic minor – candidate’s choice)
Range: 1 Octaves
Tempo: Crotchet = 60
Requirements: Separate bows. Slurred, two quavers to a bow.

 

GROUP B – Arpeggios

Candidates are to prepare all of the following. In the exam, the examiner will request a selection to be performed, stating how they are to be performed, from the requirements listed in the table. Candidates are to perform the arpeggios in even quavers.

Major Arpeggios

Arpeggio: A, Bb Major
Range: 2 Octaves
Tempo: Quaver = 100
Requirements: Separate bows. Slurred, three quavers to a bow.

Arpeggio: C, F Major
Range: 1 Octaves
Tempo: Quaver = 100
Requirements: Separate bows. Slurred, three quavers to a bow.

Minor Arpeggios

Arpeggio: G, D Major
Range: 1 Octaves
Tempo: Quaver = 100
Requirements: Separate bows. Slurred, three quavers to a bow.

 

GROUP C – Technical Studies

Candidates are to perform one of the three technical studies given in the grade book. The examiner will ask which study the candidate has prepared.

Supporting Tests

Sight Reading or Improvisation & Interpretation

Before seeing the tests, the examiner will ask whether the candidate wishes to perform a piece of sight reading or take a test of improvisation and interpretation. Once the candidate has decided, they cannot change their mind.

Sight Reading

Requirements
Candidates will be given a short piece of previously unseen music to play, unaccompanied. The piece will be 4 bars long, in the key of G, D or A major, or E minor.

Process
Candidates will be given 90 seconds to practise, after which they will perform the test. Before the practice time begins, candidates can ask if they would like to hear the tempo on a metronome at the start of, or throughout their practice time. Additionally, candidates may ask to hear the tempo before the assessed part of the test begins.

Improvisation & Interpretation

Requirements
Candidates will be given a previously unseen chord progression to improvise a melodic line over, to complement the backing track. The chord progression will be 6 bars long, in the key of G major or E minor. The tempo will be crotchet = 90.

Process
Candidates will first be given 90 seconds to practise. Before the practice time begins, candidates will be given the choice of a metronome click throughout the practice time or a 1-bar count in at the beginning. After the practice time, the backing track will be played twice. Candidates can rehearse during the first playthrough, before performing their improvisation over the second playthrough. Only the improvisation over the second playthrough will be assessed. Each playthrough will begin with a 1-bar count in. The backing track is continuous throughout, so once the first playthrough has finished, the count in to the second playthrough will start immediately.

Ear Tests

Candidates will be given a test of melodic recall.

Melodic Recall

Requirements
The examiner will play a melody. Candidates will then play back the melody to a drum backing. The melody will be a 2-bar diatonic melody in the key of A major, starting on the root note, with a range of up to a fourth above. The melody will be based on minims (half notes) only. The tempo will be crotchet = 95.

Process
The test will be played twice, each time preceded by 4 clicks. Following the second playthrough candidates will be given a further 1-bar count in, after which they should play the melody back to the drum backing.

General Musicianship Questions

Candidates will be asked five questions. Four of these will be music knowledge questions, based on any one of the pieces performed in the exam, the fifth will be about knowledge of the candidate’s own instrument. Candidates can use brief demonstrations to support their verbal explanations.

Music Knowledge

There will be four music knowledge questions in relation to one of the pieces performed in the exam. Candidates will be asked which piece they would like to be asked about. If the candidate’s copy of the chosen piece contains extensive handwritten notes the examiner may either use their own version of the score as the basis for the questions or they may request that candidates select a different piece.

Candidates may be asked to:

  • Explain the meaning of the time signature
  • State two consecutive pitches up to a third apart (including any accidentals)
  • Identity one dynamic marking
  • State two rhythmic values (which will include one note value and one rest value) from the following: Semibreve (whole note), Minim (half note), Crotchet (quarter note), Quaver (eighth note), Semiquaver (sixteenth note)
  • Identify and explain the meaning of the following:
    • Any repeat marks
    • Any 1st or 2nd time endings
    • Staccato or tenuto markings
    • Slurs

Instrument Knowledge

There will be one question about the candidate’s knowledge of their instrument, chosen by the examiner from the list below.

Candidates may be asked to explain:

  • Staccato technique
  • Slur technique

Exam Structure

There are two types of exam available, a Grade Exam or Performance Certificate.

Grade Exam

3 Performance Pieces (two of which may be Free Choice Pieces) Candidates choose to play either Performance Pieces or Technical Exercises first These account for 60% of the exam mark
Technical Exercises (Section A, B, C and D for Level 3 qualifications) Candidates choose to play either Performance Pieces or Technical Exercises first These account for 15% of the exam mark
Sight Reading or Improvisation & Interpretation (Debut to Grade 5); Quick Study Pieces (Grade 6 to Grade 8) Candidates are given an unseen test to prepare and perform This accounts for 10% of the exam marks
2 Ear Tests Candidates respond to 2 aural tests. These account for 10% of the exam marks
5 General Musicianship Questions Candidates answer 5 questions based on one of the pieces performed These account for 5% of the exam marks

Performance Certificate

5 Performance Pieces only (three of these can be Free Choice Pieces) These account for 20% of the exam mark each.

Assessment Criteria

Performance Pieces

Attainment Band Distinction Merit Pass Below Pass Below Pass 2
Mark Range 18-20 15-17 12-14 6-11 0-5
Command of Instrument Consistently clear production of sound and even tone quality throughout Mostly clear production of sound and even tone quality overall Some clear production of sound and generally even tone quality Sound produced is unclear with uneven quality of tone produced No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Sync or Pulse Performance consistently synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance mostly synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance sometimes synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance not synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse not maintained No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Accuracy & Understanding all of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated throughout. Understanding of musical structure shown all of the time. Most of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated overall. Understanding of musical structure shown most of the time. Some of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills generally demonstrated. Understanding of musical structure shown some of the time. Written music not accurately performed or equivalent skills not demonstrated. Understanding of musical structure not evidenced. No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Style & Expression Consistently convincing projection of the music. Mostly convincing projection of the music. Some convincing projection of the music. Music not convincingly projected. No attempt and/or incomplete performance

Technical Exercises

Attainment Band Distinction Merit Pass Below Pass Below Pass 2
Mark Range 13–15 11–12 9–10 4–8 0–3
Command of Instrument Consistently clear production of sound and even tone quality throughout Mostly clear production of sound and even tone quality overall Some clear production of sound and generally even tone quality Sound produced is unclear with uneven quality of tone produced No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Sync or Pulse Performance consistently synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance mostly synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance sometimes synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance not synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse not maintained No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Accuracy & Understanding all of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated throughout. Understanding of musical structure shown all of the time. Most of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated overall. Understanding of musical structure shown most of the time. Some of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills generally demonstrated. Understanding of musical structure shown some of the time. Written music not accurately performed or equivalent skills not demonstrated. Understanding of musical structure not evidenced. No attempt and/or incomplete performance

Ear Tests

Attainment Band Distinction Merit Pass Below Pass Below Pass 2
Mark Range 9-10 7-8 6 3-5 0-2
Accuracy & Understanding All of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated throughout. Understanding of musical structure shown all of the time. Most of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated overall. Understanding of musical structure shown most of the time. Some of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills generally demonstrated. Understanding of musical structure shown some of the time. Written music not accurately performed or equivalent skills not demonstrated. Understanding of musical structure not evidenced. No attempt and/or incomplete performance

Supporting Tests

Attainment Band Distinction Merit Pass Below Pass Below Pass 2
Mark Range 9-10 7-8 6 3-5 0-2
Command of Instrument Consistently clear production of sound and even tone quality throughout Mostly clear production of sound and even tone quality overall Some clear production of sound and generally even tone quality Sound produced is unclear with uneven quality of tone produced No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Sync or Pulse Performance consistently synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance mostly synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance sometimes synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance not synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse not maintained No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Accuracy & Understanding All of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated throughout. Understanding of musical structure shown all of the time. Most of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated overall. Understanding of musical structure shown most of the time. Some of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills generally demonstrated. Understanding of musical structure shown some of the time. Written music not accurately performed or equivalent skills not demonstrated. Understanding of musical structure not evidenced. No attempt and/or incomplete performance

General Musicianship Questions

Attainment Band Distinction Merit Pass Below Pass Below Pass 2
Mark Range 5 correct responses 4 correct responses 3 correct responses 2 correct responses 0-1 correct responses

Performance Certificate

Attainment Band Distinction Merit Pass Below Pass Below Pass 2
Mark Range 18-20 15-17 12-14 6-11 0-5
Command of Instrument Consistently clear production of sound and even tone quality throughout Mostly clear production of sound and even tone quality overall Some clear production of sound and generally even tone quality Sound produced is unclear with uneven quality of tone produced No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Sync or Pulse Performance consistently synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance mostly synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance sometimes synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance not synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse not maintained No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Accuracy & Understanding All of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated throughout. Understanding of musical structure shown all of the time. Most of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated overall. Understanding of musical structure shown most of the time. Some of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills generally demonstrated. Understanding of musical structure shown some of the time. Written music not accurately performed or equivalent skills not demonstrated. Understanding of musical structure not evidenced. No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Style & Expression Consistently convincing projection of the music. Mostly convincing projection of the music. Some convincing projection of the music. Music not convincingly projected. No attempt and/or incomplete performance

Violin
Grade 3

The Grade 3 Classical Violin exam is for candidates who are ready to consolidate their final stage as beginner player. They have mastered the key skills up to Grade 2 and have since acquired greater use of technique, rhythms, coordination and musical understanding. Candidates have started to develop the beginnings of stylistic awareness and there is also the opportunity to improvise, with improvisation growing in confidence and articulation.

There are two main types of exams available at Grade 3, either a Grade Exam or Performance Certificate, which can be booked as a face-to-face or live-streamed exam or submitted as a recorded digital exam.

Estimated Examination Time:

  • Grade Exam: 25 minutes (approx.)
  • Performance Certificate: 18 minutes (approx.)
RSL Classical Violin

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Classical grades for the modern musician. RSL Classical Violin Grade 3 will provide you with everything you need for your Grade 3 exam, including a diverse range of repertoire, a truly innovative range of supporting tests and a vast array of professionally arranged and recorded backing tracks.

1

Classical Violin Grade 3

The essential syllabus for the aspiring violinist. RSL Classical Violin Grade 3 will provide you ...
Graded Music Exam Grade 3

Graded Music Exam: Grade 3

All Instruments - General guidance: Graded Music Exams Overview - How to book an exam UK / Republ...

Performance Pieces

The performance pieces in the grade book can be used for both the Grade Exam and Performance Certificate and are designed so candidates can demonstrate the required assessment criteria.

Featured Repertoire:

  • Scott Joplin – The Entertainer
  • Léo Delibes – Flower Duet from Lakmé
  • John Williams – Theme from Jurassic Park
  • Franz Schubert – Ave Maria
  • Will Marion Cook – Mandy Lou
  • Ros Stephen – Tango in San Telmo
  • Felipe Gutiérrez – La Despedida
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Minuet in G, No. 2 from 12 Duos, K 496a/K 487
  • Jessie J – Domino
  • Coldplay – Paradise

Technical Exercises

There are three groups of technical exercises at this grade: Scales, Arpeggios and Technical Studies. All are to be played unaccompanied. The tempos given for the scales and arpeggios are the recommended minimum tempos for this grade.

 

GROUP A – Scales

Candidates are to prepare all of the following. In the exam, the examiner will request a selection to be performed, stating how they are to be performed, from the requirements listed in the table. Candidates can choose to perform the scales in even notes (quavers) or with long tonic rhythms unless specified otherwise.

Major Scales

Scale: C, D Major
Range: 2 Octaves
Tempo: Crotchet = 65
Requirements: Separate bows. Slurred, two quavers to a bow. Slurred, four quavers to a bow.

Scale: Ab, Eb, E Major
Range: 1 Octaves
Tempo: Crotchet = 65
Requirements: Separate bows. Slurred, two quavers to a bow. Slurred, four quavers to a bow.

Minor Scales

Scale: G, A Minor (Natural, harmonic or melodic minor – Candidate’s choice)
Range: 2 Octaves
Tempo: Crotchet = 65
Requirements: Separate bows. Slurred, two quavers to a bow. Slurred, four quavers to a bow.

Chromatic Scales

Scale: Starting on D
Range: 1 Octave
Tempo: Crotchet = 65
Requirements: Slurred, four quavers to a bow, even notes.

 

GROUP B – Arpeggios

Candidates are to prepare all of the following. In the exam, the examiner will request a selection to be performed, stating how they are to be performed, from the requirements listed in the table. Candidates are to perform the arpeggios in even quavers.

Major Arpeggios

Arpeggio: D, C Major
Range: 2 Octaves
Tempo: Quaver = 100
Requirements: Separate bows. Slurred, three quavers to a bow.

Arpeggio: Ab, Eb E Major
Range: 1 Octaves
Tempo: Quaver = 100
Requirements: Separate bows. Slurred, three quavers to a bow.

Minor Arpeggios

Arpeggio: A, G Minor
Range: 2 Octaves
Tempo: Quaver = 100
Requirements: Separate bows. Slurred, three quavers to a bow.

 

GROUP C – Technical Studies

Candidates are to perform one of the three technical studies given in the grade book. The examiner will ask which study the candidate has prepared.

Supporting Tests

Sight Reading or Improvisation & Interpretation

Before seeing the tests, the examiner will ask whether the candidate wishes to perform a piece of sight reading or take a test of improvisation and interpretation. Once the candidate has decided, they cannot change their mind.

Sight Reading

Requirements
Before seeing the tests, the examiner will ask whether the candidate wishes to perform a piece of sight reading or take a test of improvisation and interpretation. Once the. candidate has decided, they cannot change their mind.

Process
Candidates will be given 90 seconds to practise, after which they will perform the test. Before the practice time begins, candidates can ask if they would like to hear the tempo on a metronome at the start of, or throughout their practice time. Additionally, candidates may ask to hear the tempo before the assessed part of the test begins.

Improvisation & Interpretation

Requirements
Candidates will be given a previously unseen chord progression to improvise a melodic line over, to complement the backing track. The chord progression will be 8 bars long, in the key of C major or A minor. The tempo will be crotchet = 95.

Process
Candidates will first be given 90 seconds to practise. Before the practice time begins, candidates will be given the choice of a metronome click throughout the practice time or a 1-bar count in at the beginning. After the practice time, the backing track will be played twice. Candidates can rehearse during the first playthrough, before performing their improvisation over the second playthrough. Only the improvisation over the second playthrough will be assessed. Each playthrough will begin with a 1-bar count in. The backing track is continuous throughout, so once the first playthrough has finished, the count in to the second playthrough will start immediately.

Ear Tests

Candidates will be given a test of melodic recall.

Melodic Recall

Requirements
The examiner will play a melody. Candidates will then play back the melody to a drum backing. The melody will be a 2-bar diatonic melody in the key of C major, starting on the root note, with a range of up to a fifth above. The melody may contain minims and crotchets (half notes and quarter notes). The tempo will be crotchet = 95.

Process
The test will be played twice, each time preceded by 4 clicks. Following the second playthrough candidates will be given a further 1-bar count in, after which they should play the melody back to the drum backing.

General Musicianship Questions

Candidates will be asked five questions. Four of these will be music knowledge questions, based on any one of the pieces performed in the exam, the fifth will be about knowledge of the candidate’s own instrument. Candidates can use brief demonstrations to support their verbal explanations.

Music Knowledge

There will be four music knowledge questions in relation to one of the pieces performed in the exam. Candidates will be asked which piece they would like to be asked about. If the candidate’s copy of the chosen piece contains extensive handwritten notes the examiner may either use their own version of the score as the basis for the questions or they may request that candidates select a different piece.

Candidates may be asked to:

  • Explain the location and meaning of the key signature
  • State two consecutive pitches up to a fourth apart (including any accidentals)
  • Identity and explain two dynamic marking
  • State one note value and one rest value from the following: Crotchet (quarter note), Quaver (eighth note), Semiquaver (sixteenth note), Quaver triplet (eight note triplet)
  • Identify and explain two of the following:
    • Any dynamic marking found (p, mf etc)
    • Any articulation marking (slurs, staccato, legato, tenuto etc)
    • Any navigational markings (repeat bars, first/second time endings etc)
    • Any ornaments (grace notes, turns etc)

Instrument Knowledge

There will be one question about the candidate’s knowledge of their instrument, chosen by the examiner from the list below.

Candidates may be asked to explain:

  • A double stop technique
  • The meaning of detached bowing

Exam Structure

There are two types of exam available, a Grade Exam or Performance Certificate.

Grade Exam

3 Performance Pieces (two of which may be Free Choice Pieces) Candidates choose to play either Performance Pieces or Technical Exercises first These account for 60% of the exam mark
Technical Exercises (Section A, B, C and D for Level 3 qualifications) Candidates choose to play either Performance Pieces or Technical Exercises first These account for 15% of the exam mark
Sight Reading or Improvisation & Interpretation (Debut to Grade 5); Quick Study Pieces (Grade 6 to Grade 8) Candidates are given an unseen test to prepare and perform This accounts for 10% of the exam marks
2 Ear Tests Candidates respond to 2 aural tests. These account for 10% of the exam marks
5 General Musicianship Questions Candidates answer 5 questions based on one of the pieces performed These account for 5% of the exam marks

Performance Certificate

5 Performance Pieces only (three of these can be Free Choice Pieces) These account for 20% of the exam mark each.

Assessment Criteria

Performance Pieces

Attainment Band Distinction Merit Pass Below Pass Below Pass 2
Mark Range 18-20 15-17 12-14 6-11 0-5
Command of Instrument Consistently clear production of sound and even tone quality throughout Mostly clear production of sound and even tone quality overall Some clear production of sound and generally even tone quality Sound produced is unclear with uneven quality of tone produced No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Sync or Pulse Performance consistently synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance mostly synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance sometimes synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance not synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse not maintained No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Accuracy & Understanding all of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated throughout. Understanding of musical structure shown all of the time. Most of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated overall. Understanding of musical structure shown most of the time. Some of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills generally demonstrated. Understanding of musical structure shown some of the time. Written music not accurately performed or equivalent skills not demonstrated. Understanding of musical structure not evidenced. No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Style & Expression Consistently convincing projection of the music. Mostly convincing projection of the music. Some convincing projection of the music. Music not convincingly projected. No attempt and/or incomplete performance

Technical Exercises

Attainment Band Distinction Merit Pass Below Pass Below Pass 2
Mark Range 13–15 11–12 9–10 4–8 0–3
Command of Instrument Consistently clear production of sound and even tone quality throughout Mostly clear production of sound and even tone quality overall Some clear production of sound and generally even tone quality Sound produced is unclear with uneven quality of tone produced No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Sync or Pulse Performance consistently synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance mostly synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance sometimes synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance not synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse not maintained No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Accuracy & Understanding all of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated throughout. Understanding of musical structure shown all of the time. Most of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated overall. Understanding of musical structure shown most of the time. Some of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills generally demonstrated. Understanding of musical structure shown some of the time. Written music not accurately performed or equivalent skills not demonstrated. Understanding of musical structure not evidenced. No attempt and/or incomplete performance

Ear Tests

Attainment Band Distinction Merit Pass Below Pass Below Pass 2
Mark Range 9-10 7-8 6 3-5 0-2
Accuracy & Understanding All of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated throughout. Understanding of musical structure shown all of the time. Most of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated overall. Understanding of musical structure shown most of the time. Some of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills generally demonstrated. Understanding of musical structure shown some of the time. Written music not accurately performed or equivalent skills not demonstrated. Understanding of musical structure not evidenced. No attempt and/or incomplete performance

Supporting Tests

Attainment Band Distinction Merit Pass Below Pass Below Pass 2
Mark Range 9-10 7-8 6 3-5 0-2
Command of Instrument Consistently clear production of sound and even tone quality throughout Mostly clear production of sound and even tone quality overall Some clear production of sound and generally even tone quality Sound produced is unclear with uneven quality of tone produced No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Sync or Pulse Performance consistently synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance mostly synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance sometimes synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance not synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse not maintained No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Accuracy & Understanding All of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated throughout. Understanding of musical structure shown all of the time. Most of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated overall. Understanding of musical structure shown most of the time. Some of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills generally demonstrated. Understanding of musical structure shown some of the time. Written music not accurately performed or equivalent skills not demonstrated. Understanding of musical structure not evidenced. No attempt and/or incomplete performance

General Musicianship Questions

Attainment Band Distinction Merit Pass Below Pass Below Pass 2
Mark Range 5 correct responses 4 correct responses 3 correct responses 2 correct responses 0-1 correct responses

Performance Certificate

Attainment Band Distinction Merit Pass Below Pass Below Pass 2
Mark Range 18-20 15-17 12-14 6-11 0-5
Command of Instrument Consistently clear production of sound and even tone quality throughout Mostly clear production of sound and even tone quality overall Some clear production of sound and generally even tone quality Sound produced is unclear with uneven quality of tone produced No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Sync or Pulse Performance consistently synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance mostly synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance sometimes synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance not synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse not maintained No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Accuracy & Understanding All of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated throughout. Understanding of musical structure shown all of the time. Most of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated overall. Understanding of musical structure shown most of the time. Some of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills generally demonstrated. Understanding of musical structure shown some of the time. Written music not accurately performed or equivalent skills not demonstrated. Understanding of musical structure not evidenced. No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Style & Expression Consistently convincing projection of the music. Mostly convincing projection of the music. Some convincing projection of the music. Music not convincingly projected. No attempt and/or incomplete performance

Violin
Grade 4

The Grade 4 Classical Violin exam is for candidates who are ready for intermediate level playing. They have mastered the key skills up to Grade 3 and have since acquired greater use of technique, more complex rhythms, coordination and musical understanding. Candidates will be developing a sense of expression and continuing to broaden their stylistic awareness, and there is also the opportunity to improvise, which will be growing in assurance and articulation.

There are two main types of exams available at Grade 4, either a Grade Exam or Performance Certificate, which can be booked as a face-to-face or live-streamed exam or submitted as a recorded digital exam.

Estimated Examination Time:

  • Grade Exam: 25 minutes (approx.)
  • Performance Certificate: 22 minutes (approx.)
RSL Classical Violin

Purchase Your Book & Exam Entry

Classical grades for the modern musician. RSL Classical Violin Grade 4 will provide you with everything you need for your Grade 4 exam, including a diverse range of repertoire, a truly innovative range of supporting tests and a vast array of professionally arranged and recorded backing tracks.

1

Classical Violin Grade 4

The essential syllabus for the aspiring violinist. RSL Classical Violin Grade 4 will provide you ...
Graded Music Exam Grade 4

Graded Music Exam: Grade 4

All Instruments - General guidance: Graded Music Exams Overview - How to book an exam UK / Republ...

Performance Pieces

The performance pieces in the grade book can be used for both the Grade Exam and Performance Certificate and are designed so candidates can demonstrate the required assessment criteria.

Featured Repertoire:

    • Antonio Vivaldi – Prelude and Gavotte, from Sonata No. 2 in A Major, Op. 5, RV 30
    • Florence Price – The Deserted Garden
    • Edvard Grieg – Solveig’s Song
    • Amy Marcy Beach – La Captive
    • Rebecca Clarke – Chinese Puzzle
    • Nikki Iles – Harvest Calypso
    • Stephen Montague – A Dragon Flies
    • Naoko Ikeda – Moonlight Rose
    • The Weeknd – Blinding Lights
    • Taylor Swift – Willow

Technical Exercises

There are three groups of technical exercises at this grade: Scales, Arpeggios and Technical Studies. All are to be played unaccompanied. The tempos given for the scales and arpeggios are the recommended minimum tempos for this grade.

 

GROUP A – Scales

Candidates are to prepare all of the following. In the exam, In the exam, the examiner will request a selection to be performed, stating how they are to be performed, from the requirements listed in the table. Candidates can choose to perform the scales in even notes (quavers) or with long tonic rhythms unless specified otherwise.

Major Scales

Scale: Ab, B, E Major
Range: 2 Octaves
Tempo: Crotchet = 70
Requirements: Separate bows. Slurred, two quavers to a bow. Slurred, four quavers to a bow.

Minor Scales

Scale: B, C, E Minor (Natural, harmonic or melodic minor – Candidate’s choice)
Range: 2 Octaves
Tempo: Crotchet = 70
Requirements: Separate bows. Slurred, two quavers to a bow. Slurred, four quavers to a bow.

Chromatic Scales

Scale: Starting on A, E
Range: 1 Octave
Tempo: Crotchet = 70
Requirements: Slurred, four quavers to a bow, even notes.

 

GROUP B – Arpeggios

Candidates are to prepare all of the following. In the exam, the examiner will request a selection to be performed, stating how they are to be performed, from the requirements listed in the table. Candidates are to perform the arpeggios in even quavers.

Major Arpeggios

Arpeggio: Ab, B, E Major
Range: 2 Octaves
Tempo: Quaver = 120
Requirements: Separate bows. Slurred, three quavers to a bow.

Minor Arpeggios

Arpeggio: B, C, E Minor
Range: 2 Octaves
Tempo: Quaver = 120
Requirements: Separate bows. Slurred, three quavers to a bow.

Dominant 7 Arpeggios

Arpeggio: G, A dominant 7
Range: 1 Octaves
Tempo: Quaver = 120
Requirements: Separate bows. Slurred, two quavers to a bow.

 

GROUP C – Technical Studies

Candidates are to perform one of the three technical studies given in the grade book. The examiner will ask which study the candidate has prepared.

Supporting Tests

Sight Reading or Improvisation & Interpretation

Before seeing the tests, the examiner will ask whether the candidate wishes to perform a piece of sight reading or take a test of improvisation and interpretation. Once the candidate has decided, they cannot change their mind.

Sight Reading

Requirements
Candidates will be given a short piece of previously unseen music to play, unaccompanied. The piece will be between 8 and 10 bars long, in the key of A, E or Eb major, or E minor.

Process
Candidates will be given 90 seconds to practise, after which they will perform the test. Before the practice time begins, candidates can ask if they would like to hear the tempo on a metronome at the start of, or throughout their practice time. Additionally, candidates may ask to hear the tempo before the assessed part of the test begins.

Improvisation & Interpretation

Requirements
Candidates will be given a previously unseen chord progression to improvise a melodic line over, to complement the backing track. The chord progression will be 12 bars long, in the key of C major or A minor. Progressions in C major may contain the non-diatonic chords C7, F7, D7 and Fm; progressions in A minor may feature an E7 chord. All progressions may contain occasional slash chords and inversions. The tempo will be crotchet = 90.

Process
Candidates will first be given 90 seconds to practise. Before the practice time begins, candidates will be given the choice of a metronome click throughout the practice time or a 1-bar count in at the beginning. After the practice time, the backing track will be played twice. Candidates can rehearse during the first playthrough, before performing their improvisation over the second playthrough. Only the improvisation over the second playthrough will be assessed. Each playthrough will begin with a 1-bar count in. The backing track is continuous throughout, so once the first playthrough has finished, the count in to the second playthrough will start immediately.

Ear Tests

Candidates will be given a test of melodic recall.

Melodic Recall

Requirements
The examiner will play a melody. Candidates will then play back the melody to a drum backing. The melody will be a 2-bar diatonic melody in the key of B major, starting on the root note, with a range of up to a sixth above. The melody may contain minims, crotchets and quavers (half notes, quarter notes and eighth notes). The tempo will be crotchet = 95.

Process
The test will be played twice, each time preceded by 4 clicks. Following the second playthrough candidates will be given a further 1-bar count in, after which they should play the melody back to the drum backing.

General Musicianship Questions

Candidates will be asked five questions. Four of these will be music knowledge questions, based on any one of the pieces performed in the exam, the fifth will be about knowledge of the candidate’s own instrument. Candidates can use brief demonstrations to support their verbal explanations.

Music Knowledge

There will be four music knowledge questions in relation to one of the pieces performed in the exam. Candidates will be asked which piece they would like to be asked about. If the candidate’s copy of the chosen piece contains extensive handwritten notes the examiner may either use their own version of the score as the basis for the questions or they may request that candidates select a different piece.

Candidates may be asked to:

  • Explain the meaning of the key signature and state the pitches of its accidentals
  • State two consecutive pitches up to a fifth apart (including any accidentals and ledger lines)
  • State up to three rhythmic values (which will include at least one note value and one rest value)
  • Explain the meaning of the tempo marking
  • Identify and explain two of the following:
    • Any dynamic marking found (p, mf etc)
    • Any articulation marking (slurs, staccato, legato, tenuto etc)
    • Any navigational markings (repeat bars, first/second time endings etc)
    • Any ornaments (grace notes, turns etc)

Instrument Knowledge

There will be one question about the candidate’s knowledge of their instrument, chosen by the examiner from the list below.

Candidates may be asked to explain:

  • How to execute vibrato technique

Exam Structure

There are two types of exam available, a Grade Exam or Performance Certificate.

Grade Exam

3 Performance Pieces (two of which may be Free Choice Pieces) Candidates choose to play either Performance Pieces or Technical Exercises first These account for 60% of the exam mark
Technical Exercises (Section A, B, C and D for Level 3 qualifications) Candidates choose to play either Performance Pieces or Technical Exercises first These account for 15% of the exam mark
Sight Reading or Improvisation & Interpretation (Debut to Grade 5); Quick Study Pieces (Grade 6 to Grade 8) Candidates are given an unseen test to prepare and perform This accounts for 10% of the exam marks
2 Ear Tests Candidates respond to 2 aural tests. These account for 10% of the exam marks
5 General Musicianship Questions