Enter for your Vocals exam in four quick steps

The February to March deadline is 14 December

Vocals Grade 1

Take Vocals Grade 1 and begin learning the fundamental techniques every contemporary vocalist needs to deliver a professional performance. You'll be tested on a series of performances, mixing Rockschool tunes and your own choice of compositions.

Key Skills at Grade 1

What you'll learn at Grade 1:

  • Dynamics, lyrics, rhythms and short phrases
  • The major scale and arpeggio
  • Small major intervals and spoken rhythms

What You're Marked On

Your Vocals Grade 1 exam lasts 25 minutes and is split into five key sections.
Refer to the Vocals Syllabus for in­-depth information and guidance on Vocals Grade 1

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 1 there are four groups of Technical Exercises. The examiner will ask for a selection from each group.

  • Scales
  • Arpeggios
  • Intervals
  • Technical Studies

Sight Reading/Improvisation and Interpretation

At Grade 1 a choice between Sight Reading OR Improvisation and Interpretation will be offered. A previously unseen test will be used in the exam and an example of this can be found in the Vocals Grade 1 Female book or Vocals Grade 1 Male book.

Sight Reading

Key:

  • Female: C major
  • Male: C major
  • Tempo: 70bpm
  • Range: Up to a Major 3rd

At Grade 1 the Sight Reading test consists of whole notes (semi-breves), half notes (minims) and quarter notes (crotchets) in 4/4. The test is four bars long and starts with the root note.

Improvisation and Interpretation

Key:

  • Female: C major
  • Male: C major
  • Tempo: 70-80bpm

Ear Tests

There are two Ear Tests at Grade 1; Melodic Recall and Rhythmic Recall.

Melodic Recall
  • Tempo: 85bpm

The examiner will play three notes in sequence. The candidate needs to identify whether the second note is higher or lower in pitch than the first note and whether the third note is higher or lower than the second.

Rhythmic Recall
Part 1: Rhythmic Recall
  • Tempo: 90bpm

The examiner will play a two-bar rhythm played on a single note to a drum backing track. The test will be heard twice, each time with a four-beat count-in.

Part 2: Identification
  • Tempo: 90bpm

The candidate will then be asked to identify the rhythm heard in part 1 from two printed examples shown by the examiner.

General Musicianship Questions

General Musician Questions are included to test further musical understanding and voice knowledge. At Grade 1 you will be asked five questions, four on general music knowledge, and the fifth will be about voice.

  • Four general music knowledge questions on the piece including; the treble clef, time signatures, and note values and rests
  • One question based on voice including; the diaphragm, larynx, head voice and chest voice and warming up

You can find an expansive list of general musicianship questions in the Vocals Companion Guide.

Vocals GMQ Sample (90KB, .pdf)

Timing

Your Grade 1 exam lasts 25 minutes for a Grade Exam or 25 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 1 exam now! Simply buy or download the Vocals Grade 1 Female book or Vocals Grade 1 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 1

  • Vocals Grade 1 Book Cover Vocals Grade 1

    TThe Female Vocals Grade 1 book contains everything you need to pass your first Vocals Grade exam.

  • Vocals Grade 1 Book Cover Vocals Grade 1

    TThe Male Vocals Grade 1 book contains everything you need to pass your first Vocals Grade exam.

  • Vocals Companion Guide Book Cover Vocals Companion Guide

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

  • Workbook Grade 1 Book Cover Workbook Grade 1

    The Rockschool Grade 1 Theory Workbook is the ideal preparation for your Grade 1 theory exam.