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The February to March deadline is 14 December

Vocals Grade 8

Pass Vocals Grade 8, and you're ready to sing on any stage or in any session in the popular music world. First, though, you'll need to prove you're ready by demonstrating sophisticated phrasing, extended range, comprehensive theory knowledge and put in perfect performances at exam time.

Key Skills at Grade 8

What you'll learn at Grade 8:

  • Three­part backing vocals, stylistic use of techniques and improvisation/development, register flips, long melismas, sustained vibrato, slides to scream, extended range and intervals
  • The Chromatic Scale and diminished 7th arpeggio
  • Large intervals in major/minor sequences, advanced phrasing and articulation and microphone technique

What You're Marked On

Your Vocals Grade 8 exam lasts 40 minutes and is split into five key sections. Refer to the Vocals Syllabus for in­-depth information and guidance on Vocals Grade 8.

Performance Pieces

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.

Info: As of October 2016, the 'Improvisation Requirements' for 'Performance Pieces', as published in older editions of the 2014 Vocal syllabus, are no longer a mandatory requirement for Rockschool Vocal candidates. While we encourage individual musical interpretation and candidates are free to improvise, the previous 'Improvisation Requirements' are no longer mandatory. Download our 2016 Vocals Syllabus Specification (2.2MB, .pdf) for more details.

Learn more about Free Choice Pieces...

Technical Exercises

At Grade 8 there are five groups of Technical Exercises. The examiner will ask for a selection from each group.

  • Scales
  • Arpeggios
  • Intervals
  • Melodic Study
  • Stylistic Study

Quick Study Piece

At Grade 8 candidates will be asked to prepare and perform a short Quick Study Piece (QSP). This will consist of four-­bars of melody and eight-­bars of improvisation.

The QSP style will be from one of the following four groups. These match the groups of the Stylistics Studies in the Technical Exercises section.

  • Pop and Musical Theatre
  • Soul and R'n'B
  • Jazz and Blues
  • Rock and Indie

The style of the QSP given to the candidate will be from the same group as the candidate's choice of Stylistic Study. The examiner will decide the specific style from the group chosen.

Ear Tests

There are two Ear Tests at Grade 8; Melodic Recall and Harmony Vocals.

Melodic Recall
  • Female: B major or D natural minor scale
  • Male: D major or E natural minor scale
  • Tempo: 90bpm

The examiner will play a two­-bar melody played to a drum backing. It will use up to the first six notes of one of the above scales (the examiner will decide which) and the first note will be the root note or the fifth.

Harmony Vocals
  • Female: A major or B minor
  • Male: D major or E minor
  • Tempo: 90-130bpm

The examiner will play a four-­bar melody in one of the above keys (the examiner will decide which) based on any diatonic chords.

General Musicianship Questions

General Musician Questions are included to test further musical understanding and voice knowledge. At Grade 8 five questions will be asked, three of these questions will be on general music knowledge of the piece, one will be on improvisation and one will be on the candidate's understanding of the voice or microphone.

  • Three general music knowledge questions on the piece including; any notation and intervals used.
  • One improvisation question on the piece including; melody, rhythm, phrasing, dynamics and expression
  • One question about the voice or microphone including; ‘melisma', emotional intensity, vocal intensity/power, ‘mix' voice and dynamic and condenser microphones


Your Grade 8 exam lasts 36 minutes for a Grade Exam or 30 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 Vocals Grade 8 exam now! Simply buy or download the Vocals Grade 8 Female book or Vocals Grade 8 Male book, and start preparing alongside your singing teacher.

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

Books for Vocals Grade 8

  • Vocals Grade 8 Book Cover Vocals Grade 8

    The Female Vocals Grade 8 book contains everything you need to pass your first Vocals Grade exam.

  • Vocals Grade 8 Book Cover Vocals Grade 8

    The Male Vocals Grade 8 book contains everything you need to pass your Vocals Grade exam.

  • Vocals Companion Guide Book Cover Vocals Companion Guide

    The Vocals Companion Guide book features over 200 "unseen" test examples.

  • Workbook Grade 8 Book Cover Workbook Grade 8

    The Rockschool Grade 8 Theory Workbook is the ideal preparation for your Grade 8 theory exam.