Listen to see why I’m so enthusiastic about Rockschool’s Rock/Pop Piano grades for piano! Following on from my previous review, I also give more information for those considering the new Rockschool Classical grades.

Show Notes

  • Excellent for fixing common rhythmic weaknesses in classical students [3:05]
  • The difference between the graded exams and the performance certificates [4:30]
  • The improvisation section was poorly implemented in classical syllabus- makes much more sense in the Rock/Pop syllabus [8:40]
  • More on the unsuitability of Rockschool for face-to-face classical exams (in the UK) [10:25]
  • A bit of a digression- why I would personally encourage my students to go for face-to-face exams in general rather than prerecorded online exams [12:30]
  • Flaws in Rockschool’s prerecorded online graded exam option [18:10]
  • Benefits of Rockschool’s format of pieces with backing tracks [20:00]
  • Rockschool pieces are much more challenging than classical pieces at the same grade [23:10]
  • A good fit for students not that interested in classical or jazz [25:20]
  • About the excellent Online Learning Platform- free for teachers [29:30]
  • A look at the highlights and impressions of each individual grade- in order from Debut to Grade 8 [36:55]
  • The graded exams can provide a good foundation for jazz [49:40]
  • Could be useful for traditional classical teachers to make their own way through the books to become more familiar and comfortable with rock/pop/jazz genres and improvisation [51:20]


I uploaded a video of me playing one of the grade 7 pieces to YouTube (I added the guitar solo as well- obviously this isn’t part of the normal piano exam!):

The intro/outro music is my jazz arrangement of the Rachmaninov Adagio from Symphony #2, you can watch the whole thing here if you like: