‘Under the Spotlight’ with RSL Awards Ltd

Who are you and what do you do?

We are RSL Awards, an awarding body for qualifications in the creative arts. We are best known as ‘Rockschool grade exams’, but we also deliver assessment in over 600 schools and colleges which are equivalent to A-Levels and GCSEs. Outside of music, we offer qualifications in Dance, Drama, Musical Theatre, and even digital media such as vlogging and podcasting.

We publish over 200 supporting books with our partners Hal Leonard Europe.

If you had to share one unique selling point of your business, what would it be?

Our business is about community. We play a vital part in the musical journey of so many people, but ours is just a single part that is symbiotically linked to teachers, retailers, influencers, and many others.

We help build that community through our teacher registry and exams, and the community gets bigger every day.

What do you feel is the biggest challenge for your business in 2022?

2022 should be a year of bouncing back from the pandemic, however, we found our innovation during the pandemic actually changed the way we thought about our business. Our challenge for 2022 is to remember all the good things that came out of a challenging couple of years. For example, our digital assessment actually encouraged a large number of people who have never taken a graded exam to try their best and loved receiving the recognition and feedback they got from our professional examiners.

Tell us about something you are going to do for the first time this year?

In 2020 we published our first ever Classical Piano syllabus, which was a great way to address the lack of diversity in traditional piano graded examinations. This is really making a difference to people, and we followed up in 2021 with a Violin syllabus that did the same thing. In 2022, our first will be to release a truly inclusive Classical Guitar syllabus (as well as a new Band Assessment syllabus and maybe even an exciting new set of Drum publications).

If everyone from RSL went out for a night in the West End, what show would you go and see?

To start with there are a lot of us (over 200 assessors) so we may need most of the theatre. We are also not that quiet so it would be important that it was loud and interactive. Let’s go for Hamilton as we’ve seen quite a lot of brilliant musical theatre students who have been inspired by this for their exams.


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