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The next deadline is 8 November

Music Production Grade 3

The Grade 3 Music Production exam is for candidates who have good understanding of the core components of modern music production.

Key Features at Grade 3

What you'll learn at Grade 3:

  • 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 3 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 3 the theory content covered will include subject areas such as interpreting the functions of studio hardware, digital protocols, analogue connectivity, computer memory and storage, microphones, using loops, the MIDI protocol, dynamic processing and frequency.

At Grade 3, candidates will be expected to:

  • Interpret functions of a mixing desk, such as gain, EQ, auxiliaries, faders, pan
  • Interpret and identify digital transfer protocols, including their relative data transfer rates, including USB, Thunderbolt, MADI, SPDIF, ADAT
  • Interpet analogue connections and their purpose, such as XLR, ¼” Jack, Mini Jack, Phono/RCA, DSub
  • Interpet the purpose and advantages of computer systems, such as RAM, Hard Disks, Solid State Drives, including choosing the appropriate option in relation to data transfer rates
  • Interpret appropriate use for DW functions, such as templates, markers, bounce, piano roll / MIDI editors, quantise
  • Briefly explain what a microphone is for and how it works
  • Briefly explain the creation, use and advantages of audio loops
  • Understand MIDI, including what the acronym stands for, what it is, how it works from a user perspective
  • Interpret and briefly explain audio technology, such as compression, limiting, gating, expanding
  • Understand frequency, including its units of measurement, the difference between Hz and kHz, human hearing range
  • Understand the responsibilities of music industry roles, such as producer, sound engineer, promoter, artist manager
  • Explain effective time management, such as session planning

Section 2 - Listening test

The listening test will present candidates with questions relating to sonic fidelity, and one relating to music theory and harmony. Audio files will be presented to the candidates and questions will relate specifically to the relevant audio file.

At Grade 3 the sonic fidelity test will focus on distinguishing mono and stereo recordings, and the music theory & harmony component will focus on identifying major and minor chords.

At Grade 3, candidates will be expected to:

  • Identify the difference between Mono and Stereo recordings
  • Identify the difference between Mono and Stereo mixes

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:

  • 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 3 the task will centre around creating audio loops from provided material
  • Professional Scenario: The candidate will be presented with a situation, and must choose and implement appropriate technique to resolve the scenario. At grade 3 the scenario will require candidates to programme a simple backing track using a set chord structure. Therefore candidates must be confident in creating chords in the key of C Major and G Major

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 immediately result in a unclassified mark.


The exam lasts 90 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 3

  • Music Production Grade 3 Book Cover Music Production Grade 3

    The Music Production Grade 3 book contains everything you need to sit your Grade 3 exam.

  • Piano Grade 3 Book Cover Piano Grade 3

    The Rockschool Grade 3 Piano book is the ideal preparation for your Grade 3 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 3 Book Cover Workbook Grade 3

    The Rockschool Grade 3 Theory Workbook is the ideal preparation for your Grade 3 theory exam.