Musical Theatre Singing Technical Skills Demonstration: Free Choice Pieces
If singing is chosen for the Technical Skills Demonstration component of a PAA Musical Theatre exam, the following benchmarked repertoire is suitable for use:
- Any song listed in the ‘Musical Theatre Singing Technical Demonstration – Example Song Extracts and Repertoire’, at the relevant grade. This guidance is available as a pdf download from this page, and the information can also be found in the Musical Theatre syllabus on pages 60-73.
- Current (2021) Rockschool Vocals Grade Book repertoire, found here at the relevant grade
- Rockschool Male / Female Vocals Grade Book repertoire (2014 syllabus) at the relevant grade
- Rockschool Vocals Wider Repertoire, found here at the relevant grade.
Male / Female vocals grade book repertoire (2014 syllabus) is interchangeable at the same grade.
Vocals grade book repertoire may be transposed to suit vocal range. For the 2021 syllabus, transposable MusicXML files are provided for this purpose. For the 2014 syllabus, backing tracks in the transposed key are required and to be sourced by the teacher or candidate. Please go to the RSL online shop for Rockschool Vocals repertoire...
Alternatively, teachers / candidates may select a Free Choice Piece. This is a song which is not listed in the above. Free Choice Pieces should be selected carefully to ensure that they provide suitable opportunities for candidates to demonstrate the relevant assessment criteria. If a chosen free choice piece does not meet these requirements this may impact the level of achievement possible within the examination.
RSL have provided a Repertoire Guidance & Example Song Extracts document to support teachers when choosing PAA Singing Technical Skills repertoire at each grade. The songs listed may be used, or referred to as an indication of an appropriate level.
In all cases, the chosen song:
- Must be age appropriate for the suggested level of the grade taken
- May be performed in any key, with a backing track, a live accompaniment or a cappella
- Should allow candidates to showcase their skills and abilities
- Must not be the same as previously heard in the Group Performance
- Must not contain long introductions or instrumentals
If a backing track is used, it must be provided by the candidate / school.
Backing tracks for RSL vocals syllabus pieces do not include the solo part on the track. Where a backing track for a Free Choice Piece includes the solo part, this will usually be interpreted as reducing the level of demand, which will be reflected in the marking (see below).
If a Free Choice Piece is judged by the examiner to reduce the level of demand / outcomes required for the grade, this will be treated as a ‘partial submission’ which will impact on the level of achievement possible within the examination and will be reflected in the marks and comments.
NB. The following cases will always be interpreted as reducing the level of demand:
- A song from the Rockschool Vocals Grade book repertoire at a lower grade than the one taken.
- A song listed in the ‘Singing Technical Demonstration – Example Song Extracts and Repertoire’, found in the syllabus on pages 60-73, at a lower grade than the one taken.
It is not a prerequisite for Free Choice Pieces used for the Singing Technical Skills Demonstration to be approved by RSL, as the examiner will make a judgement about the suitability of the piece in the exam. However, if you are unsure about the eligibility of your piece(s) you can seek approval.
Please e-mail us at email@example.com with details of the proposed piece(s) and grade. A full reply will be given no later than 4 weeks after payment of the approval fee (£10) which will be facilitated via an online link that we will e-mail to you.
Please bring a copy of the approval confirmation with you to show the examiner, or for a recorded digital exam submission please upload a copy of the approval confirmation with your video.
Where prior approval is not obtained, examiners will make a judgement about the suitability of a Non-accredited Free Choice Piece or Adapted Repertoire at the time of the exam, and if in their judgement it does not meet the requirements for the grade, this will be reflected in the marking.
For any free choice pieces sung in a language other than English, a translation of the lyrics into English must be provided.
Note that this guidance refers to the Technical Skills Demonstration component of a PAA Musical Theatre exam, and not the Group Performance. Any backing track used for the singing component of the Group Performance should not include any embedded vocals (solo or choral).