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The Rockschool Music Production Grade 1 book contains everything you need to pass your Grade 1 exam in one essential book, featuring a diverse range of production techniques, highly relevant technical DAW skills, and the fundamental music theory needed to succeed in today's industry.
The examination is divided into the following sections:
A written examination covering knowledge of:
- Music production terminology
- Sound and audio fundamentals
A listening test divided into three sections:
- Sonic fidelity
- Music theory and harmony
- Stylistic awareness
A Coursework Task, including technical skills, which candidates must complete before the exam and upload during the exam.
|Form of Assessment||All assessments are carried out by external examiners. Candidates are required to carry out a combination of practical tasks and underpinning theoretical assessment|
|Unit Format||Unit specifications contain the title, unit code, credit level, credit value, learning outcomes, assessment criteria, grade descriptor, and types of evidence required for the unit.|
|Bands of Assessment||There are four bands of assessment (distinction, merit, pass and unclassified) for the qualification as a whole.|
|Quality Assurance||Quality Assurance ensures that all assessments are carried out to the same standard by objective sampling and re-assessment of candidates’ work. A team of external examiners is appointed, trained and standardised by RSL.|
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 1 the theory content covered will include subject areas such as identifying studio hardware, physical audio formats, analogue connectivity, computer & digital technology, DAW basics, microphones, MIDI basics, basic audio technology and the fundamentals of mono & stereo sound.
At Grade 1 candidates will be expected to:
- Identify images of studio equipment to include mixing desks, microphones, DAWs, drum kits, cables
- Identify images of physical formats to include CD, vinyl, cassette tape, Mini-disc, DAT
- Identify images of analogue connections to include Jack, XLR, Phono / RCA, DIN, Speakon
- Identify images of computer peripherals to include Audio Interfaces, MIDI keyboards, computer mouse, computer keyboard, computer monitor
- Identify images of the different DAWs, including Logic, Ableton, Pro Tools, Cubase, FL Studio
- Identify images of popular microphone models, to include Shure SM58, Shure SM57, AKG D112, Neumann U87, AKG C451
- Identify images of specific DAW work-spaces, to include arrange window, mix window, sample editor, plugins, software instruments
- Identify the function of music production technology from an image, including channel faders, pan, mute, routing, headphone volume
- Briefly describe sound and acoustic terms, including mono, stereo, surround, high fidelity, units of sound level (Db)
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:
Identifying instruments in isolation and within a mix.
Music Theory & Harmony
Identifying relative pitch & basic note lengths.
Identifying specific genres.
At Grade 1 candidates will be expected to:
- Identify instruments in isolation: Electric Guitar, Electric Bass, Acoustic Drums, Piano
- Identify a specific instrument within a mix from those listed above e.g. name the instrument playing the melody
- Identify when an instrument is missing from one version of a mix
- Identify consecutive notes as either higher or lower in pitch
- Identify basic note lengths: whole notes, half notes, quarter notes and eighth notes
- Identify common western music genres from a choice of two: pop and rock
Candidates are advised to practice these techniques using the mock assessment files available from your secure area.
The Coursework Task combines:
At Grade 1 the technical skills will centre around session creation and basic inputting of notes using a software instrument.
The candidate will be presented with a situation and must choose and implement appropriate technique to resolve the scenario. At Grade 1 the scenario will require candidates to import a backing track into their DAW, record a melody, and bounce the resulting mix to a new stereo audio file.
Candidates must complete the Coursework Task before their exam and will be asked to upload the Task and the screen shots specified in the Coursework Task, during the exam. 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.
Candidates will need to answer questions regarding the Task during the exam. These will focus on:
- The skills used to complete the Task
- How candidates approached the professional nature of the Task
- How candidates interpreted the creative elements
On your exam day you must bring:
- 1 x closed headphones with a ¼ inch jack
(Candidates without their own headphones will be unable to sit the exam)
- A hard copy of the Music Production syllabus book or your proof of digital purchase
- Your Coursework Task and screen shots to upload
Your exam centre will provide 1 x computer.
Candidates can take the exam on the computer provided at the examination centre or on their own laptop within the invigilated environment
|Learning Outcome |
|1. Understand the Key Terminology used in modern music production||1.1 Demonstrate a knowledge of Grade 1 terminology related to: a. Music production equipment
b. Industry standard formats & protocols
c. Industry standard connectivity d. Digital technology
e. Digital Audio Workstations
|2. Understand the fundamentals of sound and audio in relation to modern music production||2.1 Demonstrate an understanding of Grade 1 fundamentals related to:
a. Microphone technology and technique
b. Audio recording, editing and processing
c. MIDI & audio programming
d. Audio Technology
|3. Demonstrate effective listening skills relevant to modern music production||3.1 Demonstrate Grade 1 level aural skills in the areas of:
a. Sonic fidelity
b. Music theory
c. Stylistic awareness
|4. Demonstrate effective music production technique||4.1 Demonstrate skills appropriate to Grade 1 in the areas of:
a. File management
b. Digital Audio Workstation programming
c. Audio mixing
4.2 Demonstrate skills and understanding appropriate to Grade 1 in the areas of:
a. Interpretation of briefs b. Music creation or editing
c. File sharing
Please note: candidates are required to achieve a minimum overall mark of 60% in order to achieve a pass. Regardless of the overall mark, candidates must also achieve a minimum of 40% in every part (part A, B & C), therefore demonstrating a knowledge and understanding of every learning outcome.
Part A: Terminology and Fundamentals
|Grade Descriptor||Demonstrated an understanding of the key terminology used in modern music production and the fundamentals of sound and audio less than 60% of the time||Demonstrated an understanding of the key terminology used in modern music production and the fundamentals of sound and audio between 60% and 74% of the time||Demonstrated an understanding of the key terminology used in modern music production and the fundamentals of sound and audio between 75% and 84% of the time.||Demonstrated an understanding of the key terminology used in modern music production and the fundamentals of sound and audio more than 84% of the time.|
Part B: Listening Skills
|Grade Descriptor||Demonstrated effective listening skills relevant to modern music production less than 60% of the time.||Demonstrated effective listening skills relevant to modern music production between 60% and 74% of the time||Demonstrated effective listening skills relevant to modern music production between 75% and 84% of the time.||Demonstrated effective listening skills relevant to modern music production more than 84% of the time.|
Part C: Coursework Task
|Grade Descriptor||Demonstrated effective music production technique in less than 60% of the Coursework Task.||Demonstrated effective music production technique in between 60% and 74% of the Coursework Task.||Demonstrated effective music production technique in between 75% and 84% of the Coursework Task.||Demonstrated effective music production technique in more than 84% of the Coursework Task.|
Aims and Broad Objectives
The aim of the musical production qualifications is to provide a flexible, progressive mastery approach to the knowledge, skills and understanding required for music production.
RSL’s graded qualifications motivate and encourage candidates of all ages and levels through a system of progressive mastery, enabling candidates to develop and enhance skills, knowledge and understanding in a safe and consistent way. The qualifications are beneficial for candidates wishing to progress at their own pace through smaller steps of achievement.
These qualifications are suitable for candidates in the Under 16, 16+, 16–18, 19+ age groups.
Graded qualifications provide a flexible progression route for candidates. They are a positive means of determining progress and enable candidates to learn the necessary techniques to gain entry to FE and HE courses. Graded qualifications operate according to a well established methodology of ‘progressive mastery’. They allow candidates to be tested in discrete stages in the development of a wide range of skills. They tend to be more rigorous than other types of exams and for that reason industry is confident that achievement at the highest level gained by candidates of graded qualifications will have the skills necessary to work in other areas of the business.
A graded qualification consists of a range of both practical and knowledge based tasks which are based on detailed requirements outlined in the relevant syllabus. Therefore, requirements for each grade will be set out in detail in the Unit Specifications, and the learning outcomes and assessment criteria for each unit will require knowledge, skills and understanding of these syllabus requirements to be demonstrated at the grade entered.
There are no entry requirements for these qualifications. However, candidates should be aware that the content at the higher grades will require a level of knowledge and understanding covered in previous qualifications.
Expectations of Knowledge, Skills and Understanding
The graded examination system is one based on the principle of ‘progressive mastery’: each step in the exam chain demonstrates learning, progression and skills in incremental steps. Successful learning is characterised by a mastery of the fundamentals of the skills demanded in each grade.
Learners will be able to complete a set of practical tasks and be tested on their underpinning knowledge (the complexity and variety of tasks are determined by which qualification is being attempted), which allows them to demonstrate Music Production knowledge, skills and understanding relevant to the grade. These technical skills set a firm platform for further technical and creative development by the learner.
Access and Registration
The qualifications will:
- be available to everyone who is capable of reaching the required standards
- be free from any barriers that restrict access and progression
- offer equal opportunities for all wishing to access
At the point of application, RSL will ensure that all candidates are fully informed about the requirements and demands of the qualification.
Candidates may enter online for any of the qualifications at various points in the calendar year in territories throughout the world.
Music Production Coursework Edition Syllabus Specification
Get a copy of the Syllabus Specification: