For all types of Rockschool Graded Music Exams (Debut to Grade 8) you can select any piece of music to play in your exam - even your own compositions! We call these ‘Free Choice Pieces.'

Play your favourite tunes in your exam

Free Choice Pieces can be used in all Rockschool Grade Examinations and Performance Certificates Grades Debut to Grade 8. There are no Free Choice Pieces for Premiere exams.

Free Choice Piece Criteria

If you would like to perform one or more free choice pieces then please follow the criteria for each level and type of exam. Clicking on an instrument's level below will display the respective free choice piece content.

Free Choice Pieces for Guitar can be taken directly from our Guitar Hot Rock series, from the old 2006-2012 syllabus or be pieces of your own choice that fit the criteria. See below for a breakdown of Free Choice Piece selection. There is no requirement to have these pieces pre-approved by Rockschool but you may contact the office if you are unsure about the eligibility of your piece.

Select a grade to view the free choice piece criteria specific to each Guitar grade:

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; Reggae and Acoustic Specialists. Own compositions are also acceptable.

Pieces should be selected carefully to ensure that the pieces provide suitable opportunity for candidates to demonstrate the necessary technical skills and musical competence detailed in the relevant assessment criteria. (Please see Syllabus Guide). Candidates are reminded that if a chosen Free Choice Piece does not meet these requirements this may impact on the level of achievement possible within the examination.

All pieces must be performed to a backing track (without the examined part on the track) except in case where pieces have been selected from previous Rockschool syllabi and do not have backing track.

Free Choice Pieces (FCP) must meet the timing requirements below for each grade:

Level Minimum Time Limit for FCP Maximum Time Limit for FCP
Debut 45 Seconds 3 minutes
Grade 1 1 minute 3 minutes
Grade 2 1 minute 3 minutes
Grade 3 1 minute 30 seconds 4 minutes
Grade 4 2 minutes 4 minutes
Grade 5 2 minutes 4 minutes
Grade 6 2 minutes 30 seconds 5 minutes
Grade 7 2 minutes 30 seconds 5 minutes
Grade 8 3 minutes 5 minutes

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 over runs, the examiner can halt the performance and grade material demonstrated until that point only. Candidate reports in this instance will be automatically referred to the Head of Assessment at RSL 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.

If there is any doubt about the appropriateness of the chosen piece, please contact freechoicepieces@rslawards.com.

Free Choice Pieces for Bass can be taken directly from our old 2006-2012 syllabus or be pieces of your own choice that fit the criteria. See below for a breakdown of Free Choice Piece selection. There is no requirement to have these pieces pre-approved by Rockschool but you may contact the office if you are unsure about the eligibility of your piece.

Select a grade to view the free choice piece criteria specific to each Bass grade:

Free Choice Pieces for Drums can be taken directly from our Drums Hot Rock series, from the old 2006-2012 syllabus or be pieces of your own choice that fit the criteria. See below for a breakdown of Free Choice Piece selection. There is no requirement to have these pieces pre-approved by Rockschool but you may contact the office if you are unsure about the eligibility of your piece.

Select a grade to view the free choice piece criteria specific to each Drums grade:

In vocals exams Free Choice Pieces can be selected from our list of Wider Repertoire - a full list of suggested pieces which can be found on our website.

Alternatively, Candidates can choose or compose any song in any genre outside of the grade book and wider repertoire. These songs should 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.

All pieces must be performed to a backing track. Free Choice Piece’s must be available in fully notated sheet music and Candidates need to bring a copy of the sheet music for the examiner to refer to during the examination.

If there is any doubt about the appropriateness of the chosen piece, please contact freechoicepieces@rslawards.com.

Select a grade to view the free choice piece criteria specific to each Vocals grade:

Free Choice Pieces Criteria for new 2015 Piano

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; Reggae, Film & Musical Theatre. Own compositions are also acceptable.

Pieces should be selected carefully to ensure that the pieces provide suitable opportunity for candidates to demonstrate the necessary technical skills and musical competence detailed in the relevant assessment criteria. (Please see Syllabus Guide). Candidates are reminded that if a chosen Free Choice Piece does not meet these requirements this may impact on the level of achievement possible within the examination.

All pieces must be performed to a backing track (without the examined part on the track) except in case where pieces have been selected from previous Rockschool syllabi and do not have backing track.

Free Choice Pieces (FCP) must meet the timing requirements below for each grade:

Level Minimum Time Limit for FCP Maximum Time Limit for FCP
Debut 45 Seconds 3 minutes
Grade 1 1 minute 3 minutes
Grade 2 1 minute 3 minutes
Grade 3 1 minute 30 seconds 4 minutes
Grade 4 2 minutes 4 minutes
Grade 5 2 minutes 4 minutes
Grade 6 2 minutes 30 seconds 5 minutes
Grade 7 2 minutes 30 seconds 5 minutes
Grade 8 3 minutes 5 minutes

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 over runs, the examiner can halt the performance and grade material demonstrated until that point only. Candidate reports in this instance will be automatically referred to the Head of Assessment at RSL 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.

If there is any doubt about the appropriateness of the chosen piece, please contact freechoicepieces@rslawards.com.

Free Choice Pieces Criteria for 2001 - 2015 Piano Syllabus

Free Choice Pieces for piano must fit the criteria below and can be of your own choice. There is no requirement to have these pieces pre-approved by Rockschool but you may contact the office if you are unsure about the eligibility of your piece.

Select a grade to view the free choice piece criteria specific to each Piano grade:

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 pieces 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; or Reggae. Own compositions are also acceptable.

Pieces should be selected carefully to ensure that the pieces provide suitable opportunity for candidates to demonstrate the necessary technical skills and musical competence detailed in the relevant assessment criteria. (Please see the Ukulele Syllabus Specification). Candidates are reminded that if a chosen Free Choice Piece does not meet these requirements this may impact on the level of achievement possible within the examination.

All pieces must be performed to a backing track (without the examined part on the track) except in cases where pieces have been selected from previous Rockschool syllabi and do not have a backing track.

Ukulele Free Choice Pieces (FCP) must meet the timing requirements below for each grade:

Level Minimum Time Limit for FCP Maximum Time Limit for FCP
Debut 45 Seconds 3 minutes
Grade 1 1 minute 3 minutes
Grade 2 1 minute 3 minutes
Grade 3 1 minute 30 seconds 4 minutes

Submit a Free Choice Piece

There is no requirement to have these pieces pre-approved by Rockschool but you may contact the office if you are unsure about the eligibility of your piece. Please email freechoicepieces@rslawards.com

Wider Repertoire Books

Popular repertoire books are available for Guitar and Drums in our popular Hot Rock Series.