Grade 1

Overview of Grade 1

  • elements of Baroque and early Classical style through binary and ternary forms are introduced
  • character pieces to encourage pianists to develop creativity and imagination
  • inventions to develop hand independence
  • technique continues to build with more scales and triads

Books you need to prepare for Grade 1 Piano Exam

Grade 1 Requirements
Repertoire 50
One selection from List A: Baroque and Classical Repertoire 18
One selection from List B: Romantic, 20th/21st century Repertoire 18
One selection from List C: Inventions 14
Memory (2 points awarded for memory, per selection)
Technical Requirements 24
1. Studies/Etudes: one study or etude from Syllabus list 12
2. Technical Tests 12
Major keys: C, G, F
Minor keys: A, E, DScales, staccato scales, contrary motion scale, chromatic scale and triads
Ear Tests Clapback/Playback 10
Sight Reading Playing/Clapping 10 
Total possible points (pass=60) 100


Depending on how you score in the piano exam, you will be awarded various achievements:

90-100 points First Class Honors with Distinction
80-89 points First Class Honors
70-79 points Honors
60-69 points Pass


Your Choice: At the exam, you may choose to begin with either the Repertoire or the Technical Requirements; the Ear Test and Sight Reading will be conducted at the end of the exam

Theory Co-requisite: none

A full list of examination pieces can be found in the 2008 Edition, Piano Syllabus which you can purchase by clicking this link. It’s a resource every piano teacher should have!

RCM Piano Exam Syllabus