Enter for your Drums exam in four quick steps

The May to July deadline is 8 April

Drums Debut

At Drums Debut you'll get to grips with the fundamentals of rock and pop drum playing, from laying down a solid backbeat to paradiddles. Then you'll be tested on a mix of short Rockschool pieces and tracks of your own choosing*.

Key Skills at Debut

What you'll learn at Debut:

  • Backbeat, ¼ hi hat, unison bass and snare work
  • Single and double strokes, paradiddles
  • Playback Skills

What You're Marked On

Your Drums Debut exam lasts 15 minutes and is split into five key sections.

Performance Pieces

At Debut:

  • Pieces last up to one minute. There is simple position work and basic rhythm reading
  • Candidates must prepare a total of three pieces for a Grade Exam and five pieces for a Performance Certificate
  • *There is an option of two Free Choice Pieces for a Grade Exam and three Free Choice Pieces for a Performance Certificate

Learn more about Free Choice Pieces...

Technical Exercises

A selection will be asked from four sections:

  • Single Strokes
  • Double Strokes
  • Paradiddles
  • Fill

Sight Reading

At Debut you will be offered a previously unseen Sight Reading test in the form of a four­-bar piece of music played on the snare drum:

Sight Reading
  • Four bars at 80bpm
  • ½ and ¼ notes in 4/4
  • 90 seconds' preparation and practice

Ear Tests

There are two ear tests at Debut: Fill playback and Recognition and Groove Recall.

Fill Playback and Recognition
  • You will hear a one-­bar fill played on the snare drum. It is played twice with a metronome and consists of 1⁄4 and 1/8th notes
  • You will be required to play it back with a metronome
  • You will be required to identify it from two written example
Groove Recall
  • You will hear a repeated two­-bar groove that is played on hi-hat, snare and bass. It is played twice
  • You will then have a short period of practice
  • You will be asked to play the groove

General Musicianship Questions

General Musician Questions are included to test your musical understanding and further instrumental knowledge. The five questions are broken down as follows:

  • Four questions on the piece, including drum voices on the stave and note values
  • One question on the parts of the drum kit


Your Debut exam lasts 15 minutes for a Grade Exam or 12 minutes for a Performance Certificate. Candidates are asked to arrive at least 15 minutes before their exam starts.

Get Started Today!

You can start working towards your Debut exam now! Simply buy or download the Drums Debut book and start preparing alongside your drums teacher.

If you don't have a drums teacher, you can quickly find the nearest teacher to you with our handy find a music teacher map.

Books for Drums Debut