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.

Whatever your level of technical ability or stylistic preference, our Popular Music Theory Guidebooks will provide you with all of the information necessary to progress seamlessly through the Rockschool’s graded theory exams.


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.

Music Theory Books and Syllabus

Full Syllabus



Theory Syllabus (502KB, .pdf)

Find a centre

We have Music Theory centres all across the UK and in 38 other countries around the globe. Find your nearest UK centre.

Find a teacher

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

Find a teacher

Dates & Fees

Next exam date:

21 December 18 -

Next Closing Date

12 November 18

View All Exam Dates

Exam Fee

£23.00 - £46.00

View All Exam Fees

Enter for your Popular Music Theory exam in six quick steps