Alto Saxophone
Grade 2

The Grade 2 Alto Sax exam is for candidates who have been typically learning for one year to eighteen months. They have mastered the key basic skills up to Grade 1 and since acquired greater use of technique, rhythms, co-ordination and musical understanding. There is also the continuing opportunity to develop improvisation skills.
There are two types of exam available at Grade 2, either a Grade Exam or Performance Certificate.

Estimated Examination Time:

  • Grade Exam: 20 minutes (approx.)
  • Performance Certificate: 20 minutes (approx.)
RS-Instruments-Saxophone

Purchase Your Book & Exam Entry

The Alto Sax Grade 2 book contains everything you need to sit your Grade 2 exam – in one essential book.

Alto Sax Grade 2

The essential syllabus for the aspiring, contemporary Saxophonist. Rockschool Alto Saxophone Grad...
Graded Music Exam Grade 2

Graded Music Exam: Grade 2

All Instruments - General guidance: Graded Music Exams Overview - How to book an exam UK / Repub...

Performance Pieces

The pieces in the grade book can be used for both the Grade Exam and Performance Certificate. The expectation and length of pieces are designed so candidates can acquire a solid understanding and execution of notation accuracy, values, evenness of sound, tone quality/consistency, technical control, articulation, expression, style awareness and sync at an early intermediate level.

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Technical Exercises

At Grade 2 there are three groups of technical work: scales, arpeggios and a technical study.

The examiner will ask for a selection of scales (Group A) and arpeggios (Group B). All scales and arpeggios should be prepared with tongued and slurred articulation. The examiner will announce the key, scale or arpeggio type and articulation for each example.

 

GROUP A – Scales

Tempo: Crotchet=55 bpm

  • D major scale, 2 octaves
  • D dorian mode, 2 octaves
  • D minor pentatonic scale, 2 octaves

 

GROUP B – Arpeggios

Tempo: Crotchet=55 bpm

  • D major arpeggio, 2 octaves
  • D minor arpeggio, 2 octaves

 

GROUP C – Technical Study

Candidates are to perform their choice of one of the three technical studies given in the grade book. The examiner will ask which study the candidate has prepared.

Supporting Tests

Sight Reading or Improvisation & Interpretation

At Grade 2, candidates will be offered the choice between Sight Reading or Improvisation & Interpretation. Before seeing the test, the examiner will ask the candidate which they would like to perform. Before seeing the test, the examiner will ask you which you would like to perform. Once you have decided you cannot change your mind. An example is shown in the Grade 2 book.

Sight Reading

In the Sight Reading test, the examiner will give you a melody to be played to a metronome click.

The test will be:

  • 6 bars duration
  • In the key of D major or B minor
  • At a tempo of crotchet=100
  • In 4/4 time
  • Based on half notes (minims), quarter notes (crotchets) and associated rests.

The examiner will show you the notation, and you will have 90 seconds to prepare. You may ask for a metronome click at the start of, or throughout your practise time. After the 90 seconds practise time, the examiner will play you the click track again, and you will be required to perform the test.

Improvisation & Interpretation

Key: D major or D minor

Tempo: Crotchet=95 bpm

At Grade 2, the examiner will give the candidate a 5-bar chord progression in the key of D major or D minor. The candidate will have 90 seconds preparation time, after which the examiner will play the backing track twice. The examiner will offer the metronome as a guide throughout this time. Candidates will then have a complete practice run through with the backing track, and then on the repeat the test will be examined.

Ear Tests

There are two tests: Melodic Recall and Rhythmic Recall.

Melodic Recall

Tempo: Crotchet=95 bpm

The examiner will play you two consecutive notes. You will need to identify whether the last note is higher or lower than the first. You will hear the test twice, each time with a one bar count-in.

Rhythmic Recall

Tempo: Crotchet=95 bpm

The examiner will play you a two-bar rhythm on the note ‘D’. You will hear the test twice. You will then hear a one bar count-in, after which you will be required to play back the rhythm on your instrument on the same note, to a drum backing.

General Musicianship Questions

In this part of the exam candidates will be asked five questions drawn from the topics listed below. For the notation section, the examiner will ask you to choose a piece you’ve played in the exam.

Music Knowledge

In Grade 2, candidates will be asked to:

  • Explain the meaning of the time signature
  • Identify note pitch names including accidentals, or identify the key signature
  • Identify rhythm values found in the piece drawn from the following: half note (minim), dotted half-note (dotted minim), quarter note (crotchet) or eighth note (quaver) and associated rests
  • Identify the tempo marking or genre of the piece

Instrument Knowledge

In Grade 2, candidates will be asked to identify:

  • One of the following parts of their instrument: keys, ligature, reed

Music Theory

In Grade 2, candidates will be asked to describe:

  • You may be asked to describe the construction of a dominant seventh chord.

Exam Structure

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

Grade Exam

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 Tests Candidates respond to 2 aural tests. These account for 10% of the exam marks
5 General Musicianship Questions Candidates answer 5 questions based on one of the pieces performed These account for 5% of the exam marks

Performance Certificate

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

Assessment Criteria

Performance Pieces

Attainment Band Distinction Merit Pass Below Pass Below Pass 2
Mark Range 18-20 15-17 12-14 6-11 0-5
Command of Instrument Consistently clear production of sound and even tone quality throughout Mostly clear production of sound and even tone quality overall Some clear production of sound and generally even tone quality Sound produced is unclear with uneven quality of tone produced No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Sync or Pulse Performance consistently synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance mostly synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance sometimes synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance not synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse not maintained No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Accuracy & Understanding all 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 & Expression Consistently 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 Band Distinction Merit Pass Below Pass Below Pass 2
Mark Range 13–15 11–12 9–10 4–8 0–3
Command of Instrument Consistently clear production of sound and even tone quality throughout Mostly clear production of sound and even tone quality overall Some clear production of sound and generally even tone quality Sound produced is unclear with uneven quality of tone produced No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Sync or Pulse Performance consistently synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance mostly synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance sometimes synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance not synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse not maintained No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Accuracy & Understanding all 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 Band Distinction Merit Pass Below Pass Below Pass 2
Mark Range 9-10 7-8 6 3-5 0-2
Accuracy & Understanding All 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 Band Distinction Merit Pass Below Pass Below Pass 2
Mark Range 9-10 7-8 6 3-5 0-2
Command of Instrument Consistently clear production of sound and even tone quality throughout Mostly clear production of sound and even tone quality overall Some clear production of sound and generally even tone quality Sound produced is unclear with uneven quality of tone produced No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Sync or Pulse Performance consistently synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance mostly synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance sometimes synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance not synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse not maintained No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Accuracy & Understanding All 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 Band Distinction Merit Pass Below Pass Below Pass 2
Mark Range 5 correct responses 4 correct responses 3 correct responses 2 correct responses 0-1 correct responses

Performance Certificate

Attainment Band Distinction Merit Pass Below Pass Below Pass 2
Mark Range 18-20 15-17 12-14 6-11 0-5
Command of Instrument Consistently clear production of sound and even tone quality throughout Mostly clear production of sound and even tone quality overall Some clear production of sound and generally even tone quality Sound produced is unclear with uneven quality of tone produced No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Sync or Pulse Performance consistently synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance mostly synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance sometimes synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance not synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse not maintained No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Accuracy & Understanding All 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 & Expression Consistently 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

Digital Files

For the RSL shop we’ve chosen the most widely used media for ease of use and flexibility when transferring across different devices.

Every complete digital book (e.g. Electric Guitar Grade 1) includes:

  • PDF sheet music
  • MP3 audio
  • Supporting tests

Download Limits

We know downloading digital content can be frustrating at times which is why we’ve given you multiple chances to download your audio and sheet music.

Each complete digital book purchased includes:

  • 5 audio downloads
  • 3 sheet music downloadsThis means if you misplace your content, or if your download times-out, you’ll still have plenty of attempts to download your content.

Purchase Options

1. Hard Copy

The hard copy or paperback version can be purchased from our shop for shipping to the UK. Orders for shipping to other countries can be placed via www.musicroom.com. The paperback version includes everything you need for your exam in one essential book, including sheet music, a code for access to MP3 audio and complete supporting tests.

2. Digital Download (where applicable)

Digital downloads is the most popular way of purchasing and downloading a Rockschool book, track or supporting test. Rockschool digital book downloads come complete with PDF sheet music, MP3 audio and supporting tests for instant accessibility on all your favourite devices.

Note: Digital sheet music is stamped with your email address and order number.

3. Digital Download + E-Book Access

The RSL e-books, utilising Learning Platform technology powered by MatchMySound, are the ultimate practise tool, giving you the ability to master your instrument like never before.

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