Q1. What is the TF (Technical Focus) song?
One Technical Focus song, featuring specific technical elements, must be performed in the exam. These songs are included in the Rock & Pop books and are highlighted in the syllabus with the letters ‘TF’ . The alternative songs for Vocals also include some Technical Focus pieces.
Rock & Pop exams are part of a suite of music qualifications offered by Trinity College London across a range of styles, instruments and disciplines.
Q2. What are Session Skills?
Candidates must choose to complete one of two Session Skills tests in their exam – Improvising or Playback. These tests help develop important rock and pop musicianship skills.
Candidates play music they haven’t seen or heard before, presented as a song chart and an audio recording. They listen to the audio and play back what they hear, reading from the song chart if they wish.
Candidates improvise over a chord progression played on a backing track. They will be given a previously unseen song chart showing the chord symbols and song style.
Q3. How are the Rock & Pop exams quality assured?
Rock & Pop exams are regulated by the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulations (Ofqual) in England, and by the Welsh Government. UCAS points that can be put towards entry to UK higher education courses are available at Grade 6-8, and various arrangements are in place with governmental education authorities worldwide.
Q4. What is the difference between the Rock & Pop exams and Trinity College London exams (ie Drum Kit, Guitar, Singing and Electronic Keyboard)?
Trinity’s Rock & Pop exams offer an alternative approach, designed to reflect the way rock and pop musicians learn. The structure and content of the new Rock & Pop exams is different from Trinity’s classical and jazz exams to reflect this, but the levels and validity are the same.
Q5. Alternative keys available for songs in the Vocals syllabus?
Yes, some of the songs at Initial to Grade 5 are available in one alternative key. These are available as downloads. There is also an online transposition tool enabling vocalists to upload and transpose their backing tracks to a key that suits their vocal range. At Grades 6-‐8 there are two songbooks available for each grade, one for the male voice and one for the female voice, although candidates may choose to perform songs from either book in the exam.