Drums Grade 4
Drums Grade 4 improves the expressiveness of your playing, via ghost snare technique, rim shots
and riding the toms. You'll also improve your improvisation skills, and then bring it all together over a
series of five exam pieces, again combining Rockschool's, and your, compositions*.
Key Skills at Grade 4
What you'll learn at Grade 4:
- Solo and Improvisation passages, Ghost snare, rim shot, riding on the toms
- Single and double strokes, paradiddles, Flams and ruffs, hands and feet patterns
- Playback and performance skills
What You're Marked On
Your Drums Grade 4 exam lasts 25 minutes and is split into five key sections.
At Grade 4:
- Pieces last up to two minutes 15 seconds. Soloing and improvisation is further explored and stylistic sense of groove is further developed
- Candidates must prepare a total of three pieces for a Grade Exam and five pieces for a Performance Certificate
- Pieces are two pages long
- *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...
A selection will be asked from five sections:
- Single and Double strokes
- Flams and ruffs
- Hands and feet patterns
Sight Reading or Improvisation
At Grade 4 you will be offered either Sight Reading or Improvisation.
- Eight bars at 80-120bpm played on the snare drum
- Two bars of improvisation/development within the piece
- On the full kit
- 90 seconds' preparation and practice
- Eight bars at 80-100bpm
- Two-bar groove notated. Groove developed and a twobar solo
- 30 seconds' preparation time
- One practise play-through, with backing
There are two ear tests at Grade 4: 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
- You will be required to play it back with a metronome
- You will be required to identify it from two written examples
- You will hear a repeated two-bar groove. It is played twice
- You will then have a short period of practice
- You will be asked to play the groove
- You will then be required to identify the style of a list of three styles given by the examiner
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, note values, time signature, repeats and 2nd time bars, stylistic choices for the piece and rests
- One question on the parts of the drum kit, the parts of the sticks, two makes of drums and cymbals and stylistic techniques for pieces
Drums GMQ Sample (137KB, .pdf)
Your Grade 4 exam lasts 25 minutes for a Grade Exam or 20 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 Drums Grade 4 exam now! Simply buy or download the
Drums Grade 4 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.