Gold award

The RSCM Gold Award is the highest of our singing awards, and marks the top of the Voice for Life scheme. It’s open to singers of all ages.

It has been designed in keeping with the principles of Voice for Life , that all singers should aspire to the very best standards possible, as their voices continue to develop.


For more information about the Awards scheme, please contact the Education Administrator on 01722 424843 or

Exam venues and dates

Each year there is a ‘summer’ and an ‘autumn’ exam session 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. Regions and dates for the next session will be posted here no less than two weeks before the entry deadline.

Write your choice of venue, if you wish, in Box 5 of your Gold Award application form. Venues and dates as listed here are subject to change, depending on the number of candidates requesting each venue, so don’t forget to mention any impossible dates in Box 6 too. Exact locations and final timetables for each session are confirmed after the entry deadline, once all the candidates’ details are known. Gold Award candidates in Scotland and Ireland should contact their RSCM Co-ordinator.

Autumn 2018 dates can be found at under Start Learning > Voice for Life and Singing Awards > Gold Award Upcoming Session Dates


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.

Buy your music from RSCM Music Direct

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. Please make sure that your name is clearly marked on every document that forms part of your application.

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


  • Send TWO copies of your submissions and the signed submissions form, with your entry form and cheque, to:
    Gold Award, RSCM, 19 The Close, Salisbury, SP1 2EB


  • Send your submissions and signed submissions form, with your entry form as attachments to Once you have received confirmation that your documents have been received, click here to pay online through World Pay.

Please take ONE copy of your submissions and the signed submissions form to your exam. 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 when you enter and what you need to take to the exam itself. If you cannot download this form and would like a hard copy, please email

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 – will give a glowing report of the candidate’s work and demeanour in their local church (or school) choir setting. The second testimonial demonstrates that the candidate has gained 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 on 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: