International Qualifications in Contemporary Music

rockschoolWhat is rockschool?

rockschool is the leading accredited provider of rock and pop exams worldwide. They offer Graded Exams, Performance Certificates and Diplomas in Teaching and Performance in Vocals, Electric Guitar, Bass Guitar, Drums and Piano/ Keyboards The company was founded in the UK in 1991 by Norton York and Simon Pitt who realised that rock and pop musicians were not being offered the same access to qualifications and training as classical musicians were and that this could and should be remedied.

How does rockschool work?

Rockschool produces and examines unique music qualifications that are taught by independent teachers in schools, colleges and music centres all over the world. Candidates can choose from a graded qualification (Grades 1-8) or a Performance Certificate. Suitable performance pieces are prescribed for each grade and there are a number of supplementary songs available for candidates to pick from. The Vocals Syllabus has been updated (March 2012). To view the latest syllabus, click on the link below.

Exam sessions take place twice a year in South Africa (in May and October). The Examiners are based in the UK and travel to Exam Centres all around the world so you can be sure that marking adheres to a consistent standard internationally.

All Grades are examined in 5 areas:

  1. Prepared technical exercises (15 marks)
  2. Aural (hearing) unseen tests (10 marks)
  3. General musicianship questions (5 marks)
  4. Three performance pieces (60 marks)
  5. Unaccompanied (Grades1-5) or quick study (Grades 6-8) pieces (10 marks)

The pass mark is 65%

A Performance Certificate in any Grade

Requires the candidate to perform a programme consisting of 5 songs.

The pass mark is 70%.

Level 1

Grade 1-3 represent basic-entry level of the rockschool vocals syllabus. Enrolment for these Grades starts from around the National School Grade 4 or 5. Candidates must be fairly proficient readers as the syllabus requires that they be able to read lyrics and rudimentary aspects of music notation. There is no upper age limit!

Level 2

Grades 4-5 represent the mid-range of the rockschool vocals syllabus. By Matric candidates should have passed Grade 5 and if they are doing subject music for Matric, 1 or 2 Grade 6 pieces included in their programme would be advantageous.

Level 3

Grades 6-8 represent the higher-end of the rockschool syllabus. There is no reason why a high school candidate should not achieve these grades if he or she has been in the programme from an early age and demonstrates commitment and ability.

rockschool grades are linked to the individual candidate’s particular stage of musical development so he or she can follow the programme at his or her own pace.

How much will rockschool cost?

  1. Each candidate must have their own rockschool pack which costs approximately R300.
  2. 2 copies of each additional piece of sheet music used for any free choice pieces in the exams must be purchased (no photocopies).

How much will rockschool exam fees 2012

Grade 1 R525
Grade 2 R610
Grade 3 R665
Grade 4 R720
Grade 5 R755
Grade 6 R920
Grade 7 R920
Grade 8 R1015

How to sign up to rockschool

All students at Songworks Music School will be working with aspects of the Rockschool syllabus.

If you think you might be interested in entering for a rockschool exam please talk to us about it. Songworks Music School is an Approved Examination Centre and exams are held in our Studio.

Songworks and rockschool

August 2010 was the first year that Rockschool exams were held in Kwazulu Natal.

Songworks entered 6 students and despite having only 4 months to prepare all 6 students passed comfortably with 4 of them achieving Merits.

In August 2011 we entered 21 students for the exams.

All passed. 3 passed with Distinction. 11 passed with Merit.

In 2012 due to popular demand Rockschool announced there would be 2 exam sessions held during the year.

In May 2012 we entered 10 students.

All passed. 3 achieved a Distinction. 5 achieved a Merit

In October 2012 we entered 19 candidates.

Over 800 candidates across the country enrolled for this exam session – by far the largest held by Rockschool in South Africa to date.

16 of our students passed with Distinction and the remaining 3 achieved excellent Merits.

Tanna Blumberg took both Grade 7 and Grade 8 on consecutive days. She was awarded 95% and 93% respectively and was presented with a Rockschool award for achieving the HIGHEST MARK NATIONALLY at both these Grades.

Julia Church entered for Grade 6 and was awarded 95%. She also received a Rockschool award since this was also the HIGHEST MARK NATIONALLY at this Grade.

We are extremely proud to announce that Tracy Stark and Songworks Music School also received a special award from Rockschool in recognition for achieving the HIGHEST OVERALL SET OF MARKS NATIONALLY for this exam session.

More information about rockschool

Please visit the Rockschool website –
Rockschool is represented in South Africa by Georg Voros and Lynn Voros (GLV Management).
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