Enter for your Music Production exam in four quick steps

The next deadline is 8 November

Music Production Grade 5

The Grade 5 Music Production exam is for candidates who have practical experience of modern music production.

Key Features at Grade 5

What you'll learn at Grade 5:

  • Music Production Theory
  • Listening Skills
  • Practical Skills

How the exam is assessed

Candidates are required to complete a written exam, a listening test and two practical tasks.These are designed to explore theoretical knowledge of the subject and practical skills using a Digital Audio Workstation. The Grade 5 exam is divided into 3 sections:

Section 1 - Theoretical written exam

This will assess the candidate's knowledge and understanding of the following two sections:

  • Music Production Terminology
  • Sound & Audio Fundamentals

At Grade 5, candidates will be expected to:

  • Outline functions of studio equipment, such as routing, buses, auxiliaries, inserts, patchbays
  • Outline the Compact disc format and its associated standards, such as bit depth, sample rate, history, data and audio capacities
  • Outline studio connectivity in the studio, including the function of the patchbay, normalisation, open / closed connections and hard wiring
  • Outline computer networking technology, such as LAN, WAN, Ethernet, network standards, Wifi standards
  • Outline routing techniques within a Digital Audio Workstation
  • Outline multimicrophone techniques, such as recording kick drums, snares, tom toms, hi-hats, overheads and ambience
  • Outline multitrack recording, its advantages, disadvantages, history and limitations
  • Outline MIDI technologies, such as controller keyboards, MIDI pickups, electronic drum triggers
  • Outline Analogue to digital conversion theory, such as Pulse Code Modulation, bit depths, sample rates, aliasing, jitter
  • Outline acoustic concepts, such as constructive interference, standing waves

Section 2 - Listening test

The listening test will present candidates with questions relating to sonic fidelity, music theory and harmony and stylistic awareness. Audio files will be presented to the candidates and questions will relate specifically to the relevant audio file. This will assess the candidate's ability to hear and interpret:

  • Sonic Fidelity - Identifying resonant frequencies
  • Music Theory & Harmony - Identifying seventh chords and swung rhythms
  • Stylistic Awareness - Identifying specific genres

At Grade 5, candidates will be expected to:

  • Identify the frequency range that has been boosted in a provided recording
  • Identify the frequency range that has been boosted in a provided mix
  • Identify the frequency range of a sine wave
  • Identify Maj7, Dom7 and Min7 chords
  • Identify swung rhythms in 4/4
  • Identify common western music genres from a choice of two: Jazz and Hip-Hop

Candidates are advised to practice these techniques using the mock assessment files available from your secure area.

Section 3 - Practical assessment

The Practical Assessment is divided into two sections as detailed below:

  • Technical Skills: The candidate will be asked to complete a series of specified tasks, which must be completed using a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). At Grade 5 the task will centre around session management and organisation, such as creating, naming and colour coding tracks, creating markers, session file management
  • Professional Scenario: The candidate will be presented with a situation, and must choose and implement appropriate technique to resolve the scenario. At Grade 5 the scenario will require candidates to add musical layers to material using software instruments. Candidates are encouraged to practice listening to and duplicating melodies.

The completed session files must be appropriately named, saved and shared with your examiner as instructed, including all associated audio files. It is vital that candidates are able to accurately save their work as failure to do so will result in an unclassified mark.


The exam lasts 120 minutes.

Equipment information

On your exam day, you must bring:

  • 1 x closed headphones with a ¼ inch jack *
  • A hard copy of your Music Production syllabus book or your proof of digital purchase

Info: * Candidates without their own headphones will be unable to sit the exam.

Your exam centre will provide:

  • 1 x computer; running either of the latest two versions of Cubase, Pro Tools, Logic, Ableton Live or GarageBand
  • 1 x midi controller keyboard – minimum 4 octaves, including a sustain pedal and pitch wheel

Info: GarageBand, Cubase Elements and Cubase LE are only suitable for grades 1 to 5.

Books for Music Production Grade 5

  • Music Production Grade 5 Book Cover Music Production Grade 5

    The Music Production Grade 5 book contains everything you need to sit your Grade 5 exam.

  • Piano Grade 5 Book Cover Piano Grade 5

    The Rockschool Grade 5 Piano book is the ideal preparation for your Grade 5 exam.

  • Guidebook Debut - Grade 5 Book Cover Guidebook Debut - Grade 5

    Rockschool's Guidebooks are the ideal introduction to music theory for musicians, composers, students and teachers.

  • Workbook Grade 5 Book Cover Workbook Grade 5

    The Rockschool Grade 5 Theory Workbook is the ideal preparation for your Grade 5 theory exam.