ALL NEW BOOKS 2006 - NO OLD.....Rockschool's drums grades are designed to showcase instrumental performances across a range of popular styles. The performances are the benchmark by which the grades are measured and the printed performance repertoire reflects the general standards which players should be able to attain if they are successfully to complete the exam requirements. All the repertoire pieces performed in the exam should be played to the CD backing track provided.
The performance characteristics of each grade are printed in the relevant grade books and are reproduced below. The grade descriptions assume competence in the areas described in grades lower down the sequence:
Grade 1: a player of Grade 1 standard should be able to play up to 20 bars of music. Players should be able to play with both hands and the kick drum foot independently and together, and use the hi hat foot to open and close the hi hat.
Grade 2: a player at this grade should be beginning to acquire a range of physical and expressive techniques, including effective left and right hand co-ordination, effective use of both feet to play any two drum voices together, as well as the use of double sticking. The performance pieces should incorporate dynamics. Players at this grade should be beginning to develop a sense of style in their performances. Players should be able to play up to 36 bars of music (including repeated sections) at tempi between 80 to 120 beats per minute.
Grade 3: players will be confident in the use of a range of physical and expressive techniques including the use of the toe and heel for hi hat and kick drum playing, and tasteful use of cymbals. Players will be broadening their dynamic range and demonstrating their sensitivity to a number of styles.
Grade 4: players will use a range of physical and expressive techniques with confidence, including accented notes within phrases, rimshots and crushed notes and the extension of basic rudiments into fills and patterns. The dynamic range should cover very quiet to very loud where appropriate and players are developing their stylistic awareness.
Grade 5: players should feel confident across a range of physical and expressive techniques, including hi hat foot techniques, the use of \'ghosting\' to shape rhythmic groups and the incorporation of more sophisticated rudiments into patterns and grooves. Players should be able to demonstrate their playing abilities across a range of styles.
Grade 6: players should demonstrate their abilities across the full range of physical and expressive techniques and should be experimenting with a mixture of them in each performance with extended fill and solo sections across a number of time signature and pattern changes, and within a range of styles. Players should have the confidence to apply different rhythmic ideas in ad libs, fills and solo playing.
Grade 8: players should be able to demonstrate confidence and mastery of the full range of physical and expressive techniques. Players should be able to demonstrate comfort in a wide range of stylistic contexts and should be able to demonstrate rhythmic security in a wide variety of time changes. Ad lib, fills and solo sections should be highly musical.