Band Based Keys

Grade 1

This section provides a summary of information about the Band Based Keys Grade 1. For full details of the requirements of the Grade 1 exam, please see the Band Based Keys Syllabus Guide, and the Rockschool Band Based Keys Grade 1 Grade Book.

Band Based Keys Grade 1 sections:

Grade 1 Sample
Grade Exam or Performance Certificate
Exam Structure
Assessment Information
Instrument Specification

Additional information you may find useful:

Exam Duration
Related Products
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Grade 1 Sample

A sample has been provided which illustrates the level of performing ability expected at this grade.

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Grade Exam or Performance Certificate

It should be noted that at each grade, there are two types of exam offered by Rockschool; Grade Exams and Performance Certificates. What's the difference? Grade Exams consist of 3 performance pieces, technical exercises and musicianship tests. Performance Certificates consist of 5 performance pieces and no other tests or exercises.


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Exam Structure

Rockschool graded examinations follow a holistic approach, due to the way that the underpinning knowledge integrates each section of the exam. This enables a better flow, and a more meaningful experience for candidates. A summary of the running order for each type of exam - Grade Exam and Performance Certificate - is given below, followed by a more detailed description of each section.

Rockschool Grade Exams follow a set running order, which is as follows:

Whereas, Rockschool Performance Certificates include the following:

Grade Exams

3 Performance Pieces

Grade 1 candidates will play three out of the six pieces printed in the Rockschool Band Based Keyboards Grade 1 Grade Book. Pieces will be no longer than one and a half minutes to enable candidates to maintain concentration and fluency. They will use simple note values and rhythms as well as very simple syncopations. Hand co-ordination will be basic and phrases will generally fall within simple hand shapes occasionally requiring small movements. Articulation will be limited to understanding values and pieces will be written for one instrument patch only. Any simple instrumental techniques are written out in the music.

Technical Exercises

Candidates will be given three technical exercises, including scales, chords and a riff.

Sight Reading

Candidates attempting Grades 1-5 inclusive have a choice of taking either the sight reading or the improvisation & interpretation test. In Sight Reading candidates will be asked to play a four bar piece of unfamiliar music using either the piano or electric piano patch on the keyboard and will be given 90 seconds to prepare. In Improvisation & Interpretation candidates will be asked to play an improvised line of four bars to a backing track. They will use either the electric piano or organ patch and will be given 30 seconds to prepare, then one practice run with the backing track before playing it for the exam.

Ear Tests

Candidates will be given two ear tests -Melodic Recall & Chord and Rhythm Recall - which are played to them twice by the examiner on a CD. In Melodic Recall candidates hear a simple two bar melody and are then asked to play the melody back having been given the tonic note and the starting note. In Chord and Rhythm Recall candidates hear a two bar rhythmic chord progression and are then asked to play it back on their keyboard.

General Musicianship Questions

Candidates will be asked five questions, which will refer to musical notation and theory from a piece of music that the candidate has played in the exam, and their knowledge of the instrument.

Performance Certificate

5 Performance Pieces

Candidates may choose to play five out of the six pieces printed in the Rockschool Band Based Keyboards Grade 1 Grade Book or they may choose to have up to two pieces as free choice pieces. A free choice piece can either be self-composed or a piece of established popular repertoire. For guidance about writing a piece, for performance in an exam, or choosing a piece of established repertoire please contact us. At Grade 1, pieces will be no longer than one and a half minutes to enable candidates to maintain concentration and fluency. They will use simple note values and rhythms as well as very simple syncopations. Hand co-ordination will be basic and phrases will generally fall within simple hand shapes occasionally requiring small movements. Articulation will be limited to understanding values and pieces will be written for one instrument patch only. Any simple instrumental techniques are written out in the music.


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Assessment Information

Graded exams are assessed by examiners according to a set of grading criteria. Depending on how well the candidate performs in each section of the exam, they will be awarded a Pass, Merit, Distinction or Unclassified.

Follow this link if you would like to read more detailed information about the assessment of graded examinations, including mode of study, unit specifications, grading criteria, grading formula and results & certification.


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Instrument Specification

Keyboards must have at least 61 keys with the following patches: acoustic piano, electric piano, organ, strings and synth.


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Exam Duration

The Grade 1 exam is 20 minutes long and we advise the candidates arrive 15 minutes before the exam starts.


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Related Products

You may find the following books useful for preparing for the band based keys grade 1 exam:

Rockschool Band Based Keys - Grade 1

Rockschool Band Based Keys - Grade 1

Price: £13.99
Media: Sheet Music and CD
Language: English
Learn more...
Rockschool Band Based Keys - Companion Guide

Rockschool Band Based Keys - Companion Guide

Price: £22.00
Media: Sheet Music
Language: English
Learn more...
Download Syllabus

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