Gold award

The RSCM Gold Award is open to singers of all ages, and is administered centrally by the RSCM. It has been designed in keeping with the principles of the Voice for Life scheme, that all singers should aspire to the very best standards possible, as their voices continue to develop throughout life. Voice for Life allows both adult and junior singers to progress from elementary stages through to the more advanced level.

Downloads

Syllabus (valid from 1 January 2016 until 31 December 2021)

Additional documents for entry from 2016 will be available from this page in due course.

For more information about the Awards scheme, please contact the Education Administrator on 01722 424843 or examsdesk@rscm.com.

Exam venues and dates

Each year there is a ‘summer’ and an ‘autumn’ session of Gold Award examinations in England and Wales, with entry deadline dates of 1 May and 1 October. You can see a list of venues for the most recent or current session below. Venues and dates for the next Gold Award examinations will be posted on this page no less than two weeks prior to the entry deadline. Applications for the autumn 2015 session have now closed – we will contact applicants direct to confirm your venue and time.

Write your choice of venue, if you wish, in Box 5 of your Gold Award application form. Venues and dates as listed here may be subject to change, depending on the number of candidates requesting each venue. So don’t neglect to mention any impossible dates in Box 6 too.

Gold Award candidates in Scotland and Ireland should contact their RSCM Co-ordinator.

Frequently asked questions about the Gold Award

What paperwork and/or forms are involved with taking the Gold award?

Syllabus – the content and structure of the examination is detailed here along with helpful guidelines for candidates on what the examiner will be looking for on the day.

Entry Form – to apply for the exam complete this form and send it in with your testimonials, examination fee and all your written submissions. The deadline for applications is 1 May for the June session and 1 October for the November session.

Submissions Form – sign and date this form to declare that your submissions are your own work. Enclose it with your application form. Make sure you read the information below about submissions before you complete the form.

Music List – fill in this form to indicate which pieces you will be singing in the exam. Enclose it with your application form.

Go to RSCM Music Direct online shop to purchase music

What submissions do I have to write for the Gold award?

  • Programme notes on all or any of the pieces you will perform in Section A of the exam (maximum 800 words). You can either write a detailed note on one of your pieces, or write more concise notes on any number of pieces from Section A.
  • A short evening service for one of these occasions: Advent, the Baptism of the Lord, a Sunday in Lent, the Day of Pentecost, or (if applicable) the Patronal Festival of your church. Included in the service should be the following five (liturgically suitable) items: one passage of scripture, a simple prayer written by the candidate, and three varied musical items.
  • Make sure you read page 9 of the Gold Award syllabus carefully for more information on how to prepare your submissions, and what the examiner will be looking for.

What do I do with my submissions when they are ready?

You will need three copies of all your submissions, and three completed copies of the submissions form.

  • Send TWO copies of your submissions and the signed submissions form, with your entry, to:
    Gold Award, RSCM, 19 The Close, Salisbury, SP1 2EB
  • Take ONE copy of your submissions and the signed submissions form to your examination. You will need this for your own reference during the viva voce.

What else do I need to take to the exam?

Why not download and print off the helpful Gold Award checklist? (This is also included in the last page of the Syllabus). This shows exactly what you need to send in to the RSCM prior to your exam and what you need to take to the examination itself. If you cannot download this form and would like a hard copy, please send an email to examsdesk@rscm.com

Can I use photocopied music in the exam?

The candidate may make one copy per examiner provided that the candidate has already purchased his/her own copy and that the copy made is destroyed immediately after the exam. Each copy must be marked with the following: ‘Examiner copy. Destroy after use.’ The candidate and the accompanist MUST perform from originals.

When can I apply for the Gold award examination?

You can apply immediately. See the syllabus and entry form for conditions of entry.

Each year there will be a ‘summer’ and an ‘autumn’ session of Gold award examinations, with entry deadline dates of 1 May and 1 October.

Is the new award limited to youngsters?

No, unlike the previous awards, the Gold Award is open to singers of all ages.

The RSCM Gold Award has been designed in keeping with the principles of the Voice for Life scheme, that all singers should aspire to the very best standards possible, as their voices continue to develop throughout life. Voice for Life allows adults, as well as junior singers, to progress from elementary stages through to the more advanced level to be tested by the RSCM Gold Award.

Are there any training opportunities?

Training evenings are offered from time to time: look in the latest edition of The Network. On RSCM residential courses, there are usually opportunities for questions, and maybe a workshop session, to help you prepare.

What happens if I have not yet attended an RSCM approved training course?

Sometimes Gold candidates are worried that they have not yet attended an RSCM approved residential course. The Gold Award syllabus requirement, clearly stated at Pre-requisite 4, is that candidates “have gained some general musical experience beyond the usual repertoire of their own choir. For instance, they may have attended an RSCM approved Residential Course, and have achieved a good report or attendance certificate, a photocopy of which will also be submitted with their application. Or they may have attended a different course, or sung with RSCM Voices or one of the RSCM Cathedral Singers groups, or taken part in a special project or cathedral visit, evidence of which will be submitted in an additional testimonial with their application.”

The first reference – written by the choir trainer and counter-signed by your incumbent, minister or chaplain – is mandatory. It will give a glowing report of the candidate’s work and demeanour in their local church (or school) choir setting.

The objective of a second testimonial is to demonstrate that candidates have gained successful experience, in ways comparable to an RSCM residential course, beyond the limits of their normal choir routine. It might be supplied, for example, by an instrumental teacher or tutor, commenting upon participation in an orchestral course. Or your choir may have made a successful cathedral visit, enlarging its repertoire, and a referee with a pastoral role might say something about their leadership/sense of responsibility in the ‘away’ environment. Or, has the candidate been involved in some recital or concert work, in your or a neighbouring church or with a choral society or other music group?

The important thing is for the second reference to show some extra-parochial event involving the candidate’s interest/commitment/responsibility, which indicates that their performance horizons have been ‘lifted’ before and while preparing for this prestigious award. In a case where no residential course has been attended and there is no satisfactory second reference, the Award entry (and cheque) are returned with an explanation that further preparation for the Award is considered essential before the entry can be accepted.

Can I still take the St Nicolas Award or St Cecilia Award?

No. The Gold Award replaced the St Nicolas and St Cecilia Awards in 2002, and is designed to encourage singers to reach the same high standards as the previous awards.

If you have other questions about the Gold Award please send an email to: examsdesk@rscm.com

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