What happens in the Rock School Drum Kit exam?

The examiner will present the candidate with a brand new piece of music set at the specific level for that examination. For Debut through to Grade 3 the sight-reading test will be played on the snare drum only. For Grades 4 and 5 the sight-reading test will be played on the whole kit and there is an element of improvisation which is in the form of a two bar development. The candidate is normally allowed 90 seconds to scan through the music and also try out any particular areas they choose with a metronome set by the examiner at the correct speed for the sight-reading. The examiner will then ask the candidate to play the music.


You will only get one attempt to play the music!


Marks will probably be awarded for:


  1. fluency of music reading
  2. playing the music at the correct speed indicated
  3. confidence in performance

This can be a very daunting situation for any young player, but if the candidate has practised their sight-reading skills on a regular basis then this section of the exam can be approached with confidence, and this will inevitably result in a higher mark being awarded for their exam.


Please refer to the Rock School Drums Syllabus Guide 2012-2018 (page 35) for more details. The Rock School Drum Kit syllabus books contain one example of sight-reading for each grade. Sight Reading Central provides the candidate with 3 more pages of specific sight-reading examples which can be purchased singularly for every grade.