As 2022 draws to an end, it’s time to take stock on what has been another action-packed year! There are some big stories that have grabbed the headlines, but there are some other stories in the music industry that you may not know, like Cuban-born Angela Alvarez, winning Best New Artist at the Latin Grammys at age 95!

Well, we’ve got plenty of news of our own here at RSL so without further ado, let’s take a look at RSL in 2022.

The Headlines:

RSL Classical Guitar

In 2022, we launched our third RSL Classical graded qualification suite, RSL Classical Guitar, and the response has been phenomenal. These new grades were designed to bring Classical guitar grades into the 21st century and key principles such as championing composers from around the world and having a true representation of gender throughout the syllabi is what makes RSL Classical Guitar so unique.

Covering composers across classical, contemporary classical, jazz and pop, the syllabus provides an engaging stimulus for learning guitar from beginner to advanced level. All repertoire is accompanied with exemplar audio (including backing tracks where applicable) providing a fully immersive and flexible approach to practise, lessons and the guitar exams.


RSL’s Eco-friendly Commitment to the Environment

We all know that what we do now affects our future and the climate crisis is no different. That’s why this year we spearheaded our commitment to positive change by showcasing e-certificates as an environmentally friendlier option to the traditional paper certificates. E-certificates create a more user-friendly experience for teachers, students and parents whilst also being quick and easy to access.

But in true RSL fashion, we didn’t just stop there. This year we also continued our commitment to provide accessible digital exams for RSL Graded Exams. Now with any Rockschool or RSL Classical Graded Exam you have the option of live streaming your exam directly with your examiner or recording it in advance and sending it to us to be assessed.

Not only are RSL Digital Exams great at reducing our overall carbon footprint, it also allows students to sit their exam at their convenience and is a fantastic option for those with accessibility challenges.

Tim Bennett-Hart Announced as our New CEO

Tim Bennett-Hart, CEO RSL Awards

We’ve seen a lot of changes since the pandemic and in May of this year we had a fantastic change to our business. Our then Director of Academic, Tim Bennett-Hart was appointed Chief Executive Officer succeeding predecessor Suzanne Harlow.

During the first phase of post-covid recovery, Harlow led the team delivering strong financial results. Now as CEO, Bennett-Hart continues this trajectory of success with the launch of two new qualifications, RSL Classical Guitar, Rockschool Harmonica and PAA Public Speaking, in just over 6 months.

When asked about his new appointment, Mr Tim Bennett-Hart remarked:
“I feel very privileged to take on this role at such an exciting time. The needs of students, teachers, regulators, and other stakeholders are changing rapidly and I look forward to working with a great team and continuing to advance our innovation, building on our strong track record, delivering further growth and guiding the future of RSL Award. I would like to thank my predecessor, Suzanne Harlow for helping to create such a vibrant and interesting place to work.”

2023 looks set to be an exciting year with Tim leading the team.


EDI Initiatives

RSL is committed to equality, diversity and inclusivity throughout the organisation and therefore at the beginning of 2022 we collaborated with Her Ensemble, the UK's first all-female and non-binary string ensemble to highlight their incredible talent and showcase some of the amazing music from the RSL Classical Violin Syllabus. If you haven’t had a look already, watch Her Ensemble in action below.

Our collaboration with Black Lives in Music

Further on in the year we also joined the Black Lives In Music (BLiM) charter, headed by Roger Wilson, whose mission is to implement structural change within the music industry to widen opportunities for musicians of colour. In this charter we join BLiM in striving to acknowledge ‘...the heritage and creative contributions to all genres of music by people of colour in all forms of music creation, music education, instrumental music learning.’

BLiM’s commitment to change echos our ethos on equality, diversity and inclusivity and we’re looking forward to what we will achieve in the future together.

From left: Jane Proffitt, Director of People & Culture RSL Awards; Roger Wilson, Director of Operations BLiM; Tim Bennett-Hart, CEO RSL Awards...

Virtual Music Festival 2022

In August it was time for the third RSL Virtual Music Festival and you did not disappoint. We saw entries from around the world as Drummers, Pianists, Vocalists, Bassists and Guitarists all took to the virtual stage to show their talent.

If you haven’t seen the performances yet, no problem. Watch this RSL Virtual Music Festival playlist here!

Wellbeing Matters At RSL

This year we took a special look at our physical and mental wellbeing. Performance anxiety is just one thing that can cripple even the most talented of performers so this year we created resources on how to manage performance anxiety and how to improve your overall wellbeing.

Watch advice from our CEO Tim Bennett-Hart and the Head of Further Education at BIMM, Michael Bowes as they give tips for up-and-coming performers.

RSL’s Level 3 Holistic Wellbeing and Level 4 Holistic Wellbeing Coaching Qualifications

We also launched our very first Vocational Qualifications in Holistic wellbeing. RSL’s Level 3 Holistic Wellbeing and Level 4 Holistic Wellbeing Coaching qualifications have been created in partnership with pioneers in personal development, with the goal of equipping practitioners with the skills, knowledge and coaching competencies needed to understand and foster positive wellbeing in the Creative Industries.

Too often it has been documented that high rates of mental health and wellbeing issues can be found unaddressed amongst those in the Creative Industries and therefore these qualifications are aimed at candidates looking to progress to a higher level of education or entry into specialist employment, or to support their other areas of study or employment.


Certificates This Year

Our greatest achievement is always how we are impacting the next generation of creatives, and therefore we’re proud to announce that we’ve awarded over 80,000 certificates this year.

This is a true testament to the dedication and persistence of candidates, teachers and parents throughout the year and we’re thrilled to see so many of you move to the next level in your learning journey. So once again congratulations to everyone who achieved their qualifications this year and long may you continue to excel.