Ukulele Grade 6

The Grade 6 Ukulele exam is for candidates who have been typically learning for three years or more and who have fully consolidated their intermediate level playing. They have mastered the key skills up to Grade 5 and since acquired a greater use of appropriate technique, more complex rhythms, coordination and musical understanding. Candidates will have developed a good sense of expression, have a strong grasp of stylistic awareness, and there is also the opportunity to improvise which is now individual, assured, accurate and expressive.

There are two types of exam available at Grade 6, either a Grade Exam or Performance Certificate.

Key Features at: Grade 6

  • Performance Pieces
  • Technical Exercises
  • Supporting Tests
  • Ensemble Backing Tracks and Solo Arrangements

Buy Your Book

The Rockschool Ukulele Grade 6 book contains everything you need to pass your Grade 6 exam in one essential book. Featuring a truly diverse range of contemporary repertoire from some of the world's most iconic artists, including Queens of the Stone Age, The Beatles & the Pirates of the Caribbean theme.

VISIT THE STORE

Ukulele Grade 3 Book

Exam Structure

There are two types of exam available, a Grade Exam or Performance Certificate.

Grade Exam

Prepared Work
Candidates are required to play three performance pieces and Technical Exercises which cover scales, arpeggios, chords and stylistic studies.

Unprepared Work
Candidates are required to complete either a Sight Reading or an Improvisation & Interpretation test, and two Ear Tests which continue to develop melodic and harmonic recall.

The Grade 6 exam lasts 32 minutes and is taken in the following order:

  • Performance Pieces*
  • Technical Exercises*
  • Quick Study Piece
  • Ear Tests
  • General Musicianship Questions

*These elements can be taken first or second at the candidate’s request

3 Performance Pieces
(two of which may be Free Choice Pieces)
Candidates choose to play either
Performance Pieces or Technical
Exercises first
These account
for 60% of the
exam mark
Technical Exercises
(Section A, B, C and D for Level 3 qualifications)
Candidates choose to play either
Performance Pieces or Technical
Exercises first
These account
for 15% of the
exam mark
Sight Reading or Improvisation & Interpretation (Debut to Grade 5); Quick Study Pieces (Grade 6 to Grade 8)Candidates are given an unseen
test to prepare and perform
This accounts
for 10% of the exam marks
2 Ear TestsCandidates respond to 2 aural tests.These account
for 10% of the
exam marks
5 General Musicianship QuestionsCandidates answer 5 questions based
on one of the pieces performed
These account
for 5% of the
exam marks

Performance Certificate

Prepared Work
Candidates are required to play five performance pieces. There is no unprepared work in the Performance Certificate.

The Grade 6 Performance Certificate lasts 27 minutes.

5 Performance Pieces only
(three of these can be Free Choice Pieces)
These account for 20% of the exam mark each.

Performance Pieces

The pieces in the grade book can be used for both the Grade Exam and Performance Certificate. At Grade 6 they are longer, typically in the region of two and a half to three minutes in duration. The expectation and length of pieces are designed so candidates can demonstrate the required assessment criteria.

Featured Repertoire

  • Eleanor Rigby – The Beatles
  • Fly Me To The Moon – Bart Howard
  • No One Knows – Queens of the Stone Age
  • Feeling Good – Nina Simone
  • A Thousand Years – Christina Perri
  • He’s a Pirate – Pirates of the Caribbean

Technical Exercises

At Grade 6 there are four groups of technical work: Scales, Arpeggios, Chords and Stylistic Studies.

All exercises need to be played in straight feel, in the keys, octaves and tempos shown. Candidates may use their book during the exam for all groups.

Group A: Scales

Tempo: 100bpm
Rhythms: Eighth Notes
Range: As shown in grade book

Each of the following scale types needs to be prepared from the root notes E, F, F# and G

  • Dorian Mode
  • Mixolydian Mode
  • Melodic Minor
  • Chromatic Scale

Each of the following scales needs to be prepared from the root notes shown only:

  • G major in 3rds | partial scale on strings 1 and 4
  • G natural minor in 3rds | partial scale on strings 1 and 4
  • D natural minor (campanella style)
  • D harmonic minor (campanella style)
  • C# minor pentatonic exercise | continuous exercise in four positions as shown in the grade book.

Group B: Arpeggios

Tempo: 100bpm
Rhythms: Eighth Notes
Range: As shown in grade book

Each of the following arpeggio types needs to be prepared from the root notes E, F, F# and G:

  • Minor 7b5 arpeggio
  • Diminished 7 arpeggio

Each of the following arpeggio types needs to be prepared from the root note shown only:

  • E major 7 | compound 10th arpeggio
  • E dominant 7 | compound 10th arpeggio
  • E augmented | compound 10th arpeggio
  • E minor 6 | arpeggio on four strings
  • G minor 7 | arpeggio on four strings

Group C: Chords

Each of the following chord types needs to be prepared from the root notes E, F, F# and G.

When announced by the examiner, candidates must demonstrate both positions (inversions) in the key and chord type(s) stated.

  • Minor 7b5 | in two positions
  • Diminished 7 | in two positions
  • Augmented |in two positions

The following exercise needs to be played in the key stated only, using the fingering/string combinations as shown in the grade book, to continuous click. The tempo is 100 bpm.
F major harmonised scale | ascending only

Group D : Stylistic Studies

Candidates will prepare a stylistic study from the grade book, drawn from one group of styles from the list below and perform it to the backing track. The choice of style will determine the style of the Quick Study Piece, for example, if candidates choose a rock & pop Stylistic Study then the examiner will give a rock & pop Quick Study Piece in that section of the exam.

Styles:

  • Rock and Pop
  • Soul, Jazz and Blues
  • Ukulele Specialist

Supporting Tests

Ear Tests

There are two Ear Tests in this grade. The examiner will play each test twice.

Test 1: Melodic Recall

The examiner will play a two bar melody with a bass and drum backing using the D natural minor scale. The first note of the melody will be either the root note or the fifth and the first interval will be either ascending or descending. Candidates will play the melody back on their instrument. The test will be played twice.

Each time the test is played it is preceded by four clicks. There will be a short gap for candidates to practise. Next there will be a vocal count-in and candidates will need to play the melody to the drum backing. The tempo is 90.

Test 2: Harmonic Recall

The examiner will play a tonic chord followed by a four bar chord sequence in the key of F major played to a bass and drum backing. The sequence will be a selection drawn from the following chords: I, IIm, IIIm, IV, V and VIm chords and will incorporate a dominant 7 (V7) chord. The chords may occur in any combination.

Candidates will be asked to play the chord sequence to the drum backing in the rhythm shown in the example in the grade book. This rhythm will be used in all examples of this test given in the exam. Candidates will then be asked to identify the sequence.

The test will be played twice. Each time the test is played the sequence is: count-in, tonic, count-in, chords. There will be a short gap to practise after the second playing. Candidates will hear the count-in and tonic for the third time followed by a vocal count-in, and will then need to play the chords to the drum backing. Candidates will then need to name the chord sequence, including chord types (i.e. major or minor). The tempo is 90.

General Musicianship Questions

Candidates will be asked five questions about a performance piece of their choosing. Four of these questions will be about general music knowledge and the fifth question asked will be about technical knowledge.

Music Knowledge

The examiner will ask candidates four music knowledge questions based on a piece of music they have played in the exam. Candidates will nominate the piece of music about which the questions will be asked.

In Grade 6 the examiner can draw on the following subject areas for these questions:

  • The names of pitches
  • Any expressive musical marking found in the piece such as palm muting, accents, staccato, legato, vibrato
  • Any dynamic marking found in the piece
  • One type of scale that can be used appropriately in the solo section of the piece you have played and its relation to the underlying harmony of the piece (if relevant)

or:

  • How you developed a section of the piece (if relevant)

or:

  • A stylistic feature of the piece characteristic of its genre

Technical Knowledge

The examiner will also ask candidates one question regarding a technical consideration of your piece, in relation to:

Picking hand: Strumming or picking technique for a short phrase (up to one bar) – demonstration is acceptable
Fretting hand: Fretting position and fingering used to play a short phrase (up to one bar) – demonstration is acceptable

The examiner will choose the section of music and will ask candidates to give a brief explanation as to why the technique was appropriate for the chosen section.

Assessment Criteria

Performance Pieces

Attainment BandDistinctionMeritPassBelow PassBelow Pass 2
Mark Range18–2015–1712–146–110–5
Command of InstrumentConsistently clear production of sound and even tone quality throughoutMostly clear production of sound and even tone quality overallSome clear production of sound and generally even tone qualitySound produced is unclear with uneven quality of tone producedNo attempt and/or incomplete performance
Sync or PulsePerformance consistently synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintainedPerformance mostly synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintainedPerformance sometimes synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintainedPerformance not synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse not maintainedNo attempt and/or incomplete performance
Accuracy & Understandingall of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated throughout.

Understanding of musical structure shown all of the time.
Most of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated overall.

Understanding of musical structure shown most of the time.
Some of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills generally demonstrated.

Understanding of musical structure shown some of the time.
Written music not accurately performed or equivalent skills not demonstrated.

Understanding of musical structure not evidenced.
No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Style & ExpressionConsistently convincing projection of the music.Mostly convincing projection of the music.Some convincing projection of the music.Music not convincingly projected.No attempt and/or incomplete performance

Technical Exercises 

Attainment BandDistinction MeritPassBelow PassBelow Pass 2
Mark Range13–1511–129–104–80–3
Command of InstrumentConsistently clear production of sound and even tone quality throughoutMostly clear production of sound and even tone quality overallSome clear production of sound and generally even tone qualitySound produced is unclear with uneven quality of tone producedNo attempt and/or incomplete performance
Sync or PulsePerformance consistently synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintainedPerformance mostly synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintainedPerformance sometimes synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintainedPerformance not synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse not maintainedNo attempt and/or incomplete performance
Accuracy & Understandingall of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated throughout.

Understanding of musical structure shown all of the time.
Most of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated overall.

Understanding of musical structure shown most of the time.
Some of the written music accurately performed or equivalent
skills generally demonstrated.

Understanding of musical structure shown some of the time.
Written music not accurately performed or equivalent skills not demonstrated.

Understanding of musical structure not evidenced.
No attempt and/or incomplete performance

Ear Tests 

Attainment BandDistinction MeritPassBelow PassBelow Pass 2
Mark Range9–107–863–50–2
Accuracy & UnderstandingAll of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated throughout.

Understanding of musical structure shown all of the time.
Most of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated overall.

Understanding of musical structure shown most of the time.
Some of the written music accurately performed or equivalent
skills generally demonstrated.

Understanding of musical structure shown some of the time.
Written music not accurately performed or equivalent skills not demonstrated.

Understanding of musical structure not evidenced.
No attempt and/or incomplete performance

Supporting Tests

Attainment BandDistinction MeritPassBelow PassBelow Pass 2
Mark Range9–107–863–50–2
Command of InstrumentConsistently clear production of sound and even tone quality throughoutMostly clear production of sound and even tone quality overallSome clear production of sound and generally even tone qualitySound produced is unclear with uneven quality of tone producedNo attempt and/or incomplete performance
Sync or PulsePerformance consistently synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintainedPerformance mostly synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintainedPerformance sometimes synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintainedPerformance not synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse not maintainedNo attempt and/or incomplete performance
Accuracy & UnderstandingAll of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated throughout.

Understanding of musical structure shown all of the time.
Most of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated overall.

Understanding of musical structure shown most of the time.
Some of the written music accurately performed or equivalent
skills generally demonstrated.

Understanding of musical structure shown some of the time.
Written music not accurately performed or equivalent skills not demonstrated.

Understanding of musical structure not evidenced.
No attempt and/or incomplete performance

General Musicianship Questions

Attainment BandDistinction MeritPassBelow PassBelow Pass 2
Mark Range5 correct responses4 correct responses3 correct responses2 correct responses0–1 correct responses

Performance Certificate

Attainment BandDistinctionMeritPassBelow PassBelow Pass 2
Mark Range18–2015–1712–146–110–5
Command of InstrumentConsistently clear production of sound and even tone quality throughoutMostly clear production of sound and even tone quality overallSome clear production of sound and generally even tone qualitySound produced is unclear with uneven quality of tone producedNo attempt and/or incomplete performance
Sync or PulsePerformance consistently synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintainedPerformance mostly synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintainedPerformance sometimes synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintainedPerformance not synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse not maintainedNo attempt and/or incomplete performance
Accuracy & UnderstandingAll of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated throughout.

Understanding of musical structure shown all of the time.
Most of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated overall.

Understanding of musical structure shown most of the time.
Some of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills generally demonstrated.

Understanding of musical structure shown some of the time.
Written music not accurately performed or equivalent skills not demonstrated.

Understanding of musical structure not evidenced.
No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Style & ExpressionConsistently convincing projection of the music.Mostly convincing projection of the music.Some convincing projection of the music.Music not convincingly projected.No attempt and/or incomplete performance

Additional Information

Free Choice Pieces

For all examinations, candidates are able to play a number of free choice pieces:

  • Grade Examinations: Two free choice pieces (a minimum of one piece must be from the Ukulele grade book)
  • Performance Certificates: Three free choice pieces (a minimum of two pieces must be from the Ukulele grade book)
  • Free choice pieces must demonstrate a comparable level of technical and musical demand to the pieces given in the set selections in
    the grade books which can be referred to as an indication of appropriate level.
  • Free choice pieces must be in a modern popular genre such as Pop; Rock; Jazz; Country; Blues; Soul; Reggae, Film and Musical Theatre.
  • Own compositions are also acceptable. Pieces should be selected carefully to ensure that they provide suitable opportunity for candidates to demonstrate the relevant assessment criteria.

Candidates are reminded that if a chosen Free Choice Piece does not
meet these requirements this may impact on the level of achievement possible within the examination.

Free Choice Pieces can be performed to a backing track (without the examined part on the track), or as a solo piece (without backing track).

Candidates are reminded that RSL examination regulations state that pieces must be performed to the exact requirements as detailed in the relevant syllabus guide. If a performance piece over runs, the examiner can halt the performance and grade material demonstrated until that point only. Candidate mark sheets in this instance will automatically be referred to the Head of Assessment at RSL and may be returned to the candidate with accompanying notes.

Free Choice Pieces must be available in fully notated sheet music. Candidates need to bring a copy of the sheet music for the examiner to refer to during the examination. It is acceptable for candidates to refer to their own duplicate copy during the performance. Candidates are reminded that both copies need to fully reflect the interpretation and intended performance of the piece. Examiners will retain all photocopied materials from the exam session.

If there is any doubt about the appropriateness of the chosen piece, please contact freechoicepieces@rslawards.com.

Instrument Specifications 

Candidates are reminded that it is their responsibility to select and provide an appropriate musical instrument for each syllabus to allow demonstration of the relevant stylistic and technical skills within their performance.

At all levels of examination, if any outcomes or assessed criteria cannot be demonstrated or are demonstrated less securely as a result of the equipment, this may be reflected in the marks awarded.

Download The Ukulele Syllabus

Download the Ukulele Syllabus

Ukulele Syllabus (2020 Edition)

Ukulele Syllabus (2017 Edition)

Find a centre

We have exam 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 period:

-

Next Closing Date

View All Exam Dates