Popular Music Theory

The Benchmark for Accomplished Musicians

Rockschool Popular Music Theory is the essential guide for contemporary musicians, composers and educators.

Performance is a huge part of being a musician, but we believe it is a firm grasp of musical language that opens up the door to achieving your full potential. Our goal is to aid the development of articulate, accomplished musicians, and the Popular Music Theory resources have been specifically designed with this in mind.

Rockschool's Theory Guidebooks are the ideal introduction to music theory for musicians, composers, students and teachers, designed for use with Rockschool's theory exams, as study and teaching aids, or as standalone guides. Rockschool's Popular Music Theory Syllabus is fully accredited and offers UCAS points at Grades 6, 7 and 8.


Why Rockschool Popular Music Theory?

Full-Colour Guidebooks

Rockschool Popular Music Theory consists of two Guidebooks packed with helpful information to guide you through music theory.

Read chord charts and notation

You'll develop your music theory from Debut–Grade 8 using some of the best-known genres in pop and rock, whilst taking notes from some of the world's biggest artists and composers.

Analyse Score

Rockschool Popular Music Theory will give you the confidence and articulation to direct and work with bands, performers, studio engineers and composers.

UCAS Points

For Grades 6, 7 and 8, you can supersize your university application, with up to 10 UCAS points awarded to musicians wanting to progress to university.

Understand Complex Rhythm Notation and time Signatures

Discover more about rock and pop's more uncommon instruments, how they're notated and how to arrange your own brass and string sections.

Workbooks for Every Grade

Sample papers are supplied at each grade in your Workbook, so you can test what you've learnt in our Guidebooks and ensure your theory knowledge is up to scratch.

Ready For An Exam?

Supporting Guidance

How to Enter for an Exam?

Ready to enter for your Graded Music Exam? Please see our walkthrough video of how to enter candidates for their exams in the UK...

Digital Music Theory Guidance

During your music theory exam, you will be expected to complete some tasks which involve writing notation. These are completed using software called ‘Flat’, which is embedded into the online exam system. Please download the guidance below for instructions on how to access the software and some sample tasks to help you practise prior to your exam day.

Notation Guidance for Digital Rockschool Popular Music Theory Exams

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Music Theory Books and Syllabus

Full Syllabus



Music Theory Syllabus

Find a centre

Sit the Music Theory exam from the comfort of your own home. The exam is conducted online – all you need is a computer and internet connection.

Music Theory & Music Production Candidate Guidance – Online Exams

Delivery Centre - Become a delivery centre and teach the Music Theory syllabus here.

Find a teacher

Looking for a teacher in your region? We can help! Find a teacher near you via our extensive online database.

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Dates & Fees

Exam Scheduling

Exam dates are scheduled on an individual basis. Your exam date will be arranged once entry has been made -

Exam Fee

Hit the button below to see prices for all our graded exam formats at each Grade.

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Enter for your Popular Music Theory exam in six quick steps