Contemporary Piano

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Welcome to Contemporary Piano

Welcome to the MLC Contemporary Piano Course. This course and the accompanying audio/visuals contain everything you need to play at each level/grade. In the course, you will find the scores in standard notation, as well as Fact Files and Walkthroughs for each song.

The accompanying materials include:

  • interactive music player to assist in your learning
  • full stereo mixes of classic and contemporary hits
  • backing tracks (minus the piano part)
  • all necessary audio for the complete range of supporting materials

The course is divided into a number of sections across 9 Levels/Grades. These are:

  • Pieces: in each level, you will find 10 Hit Tunes. Each of these is preceded by a Fact File. Each Fact File contains a summary of the song, including the style, tempo, key and technical features, along with a list of the musicians who played on it. The song is provided electronically in standard notation, together with audio files. Immediately after each song is a Lesson Walkthrough. This covers the song from a performance perspective, focusing on the technical issues you will encounter along the way. Each song comes with a full mix version and a backing track. All versions have spoken count-ins at the beginning. Please note that any ad lib sections played on the full mix versions are indicative only.
  • Technical Exercises: you should prepare the exercises set in this level/grade in the keys indicated.
  • Supporting Tests and General Musicianship Questions: in Piano Level/Grade 1 there are three supporting tests – either a Sight Reading or an Improvisation and Interpretation test and two Ear Tests – and a set of General Musicianship Questions (GMQs). Examples of the types of tests likely to appear in the assessment are included in this course. Additional examples of both types of test and the GMQs can be found in the Rockschool Companion Guides.
  • Additional Information: finally, you will find information on assessment procedures, marking schemes, and notation.

Piano Assessments
If you wish to sit an exam, which is entirely optional, you have the option of taking one of two different types of assessment at each level/grade:

  • Level/Grade Assessment: a Level/Grade Assessment is a mixture of music performances, technical work and tests. You prepare three pieces (two of which may be Free Choice Pieces) and the contents of the Technical Exercise section. This accounts for 75% of the assessment marks. The other 25% consists of: either a Sight Reading or an Improvisation and Interpretation test (10%), a pair of instrument specific Ear Tests (10%), and finally you will be asked five General Musicianship Questions (5%). The pass mark is 60%.
  • Performance Certificate: in a Performance Certificate you play five pieces. Up to three of these can be Free Choice Pieces. Each song is marked out of 20 and the pass mark is 60%.

The MLC’s Contemporary Piano course can be studied independently. However, we firmly believe that it is the perfect companion to your weekly music lesson with an MLC Teacher. Throughout the course, you will be encouraged to:

  1. Remember: songs, recollection of facts and concepts. This requires practice.
  2. Understand: discuss your findings in an open forum with your teacher and peers. Identify fundamental concepts within pieces of music that you are studying, recognise patterns within music, translate and transpose those fundamentals to key elements of your studies.
  3. Apply: use this information in new pieces. Can it expedite the learning process?
  4. Analyse: relate your findings to an abundance of artists and pieces; identify differences; distinguish key factors.
  5. Evaluate: justify your choices. Evaluate your progression with your teacher and peers constantly referring to the published descriptors.
  6. Create: produce your own original work – compositions, development and improvisation.
  7. Sit an exam: successful candidates receive an accredited qualification from RSL Awards (fees apply).

Audio is provided in the form of backing tracks (minus piano) and examples (including piano) for the pieces and the supporting tests where applicable. Audio files are supplied in MP3 format to enable playback on a wide range of compatible devices.

Syllabus Guide
All candidates should read the accompanying syllabus guide when using this level/grade book. This can be downloaded from the RSL website:

Updates and changes to Rockschool books are documented online. Candidates should check for errata periodically while studying for any assessment. Further details can be found on the RSL website:

Who is this Course For?

There are no entry requirements to this course. However, it is taught in English so candidates should have sufficient knowledge of how to read and speak the language.

From £14.99 Per Month, Inc. VAT

Or sign up for 12 months @ £179 per year (less than £14.99 per month!)

Available start dates:

  • Immediately

Successful participants of Level/Grade 8 can progress onto our Professional Diplomas in Teaching, Performance or Creative Enterprise, which are commensurate to the first year of an undergraduate degree.

These qualifications are recognised in over 80 countries.

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