RSCM Church Music Skills

RSCM Church Music Skills is a distance-learning programme designed to help practising church musicians to develop the skills and understanding that they need for their role, and to equip those who want to be able to lead music in worship. The programme combines private study at home and practical experience in the student’s own church, with assignments assessed by one of our team of experienced tutors. It is open to students from the UK and abroad.

Further Information

Award Scheme
Flexible Study Scheme
Course Fees
Student Documents

Award Scheme

The Church Music Skills Award is designed to enable students to become effective leaders and enablers of music in their local church. Students on the Award Scheme undertake a programme of study that leads to assessment and an award, which they may take at any one of three levels – Foundation, Intermediate and Higher. To complete the award, students study six units – three relating to their Principal Skill (Organ, Choir Director, Cantor or Music Group leader) and three Supporting Studies units. Please see the downloads section for more information and a list of available units.

Flexible Study Scheme

Church Music Skills is also open to church musicians who would like to study in a more flexible way. Students who enrol on the Flexible Study Scheme may undertake any combination of units to suit their needs. They may work at any of the three levels. Please see the downloads section for more information and a list of available units.


The current fees are:

RSCM member Non-member
Registration £110 £135
Award Scheme
First Level £330 £390
Additional Levels £165 £200
Flexible Scheme
Practical Skills Unit £66 £80
Supporting Studies Unit £50 £60

Please see the downloads section for further information and terms and conditions.


Q.  Who might find the programme useful?

A. Church Music Skills students come from a range of starting points: young people exploring a career in church music; adult beginners looking to develop new skills; practising church musicians looking for further development. There isn’t an age limit.

Q.  When can I join?

A. Students can join at any point in the year. Just complete the registration form and return it with payment to get started!

Q.  The units I’m looking at require sending audio/video files – what are the technical requirements?

A. For some practical units, students are required to submit recordings for evaluation. We recommend using file-sharing software (eg Dropbox) to ‘send’ us the file, but we can accept CDs/DVDs through the post if necessary. Whichever method is used, the recording should be of sufficient quality to accurately represent the performance, but please remember we’re not marking the standard of the recording itself!

Q.  How will I be assessed?

A. There are two main forms of assignment: written work (essays, commentaries etc.) and practical work (audio/video recordings, scores etc.). Assignments are assessed by course tutors and awarded a mark, which contributes to the overall grade (if following the award scheme). In most cases, work submitted is sent to a tutor on the last Friday of each month, to be returned a month later. Please see the information booklet for further details.

Q.  How long will it take?

A. It depends on how much time you are able to set aside to complete it. As a rough guide, each unit of study takes about ten hours to complete (from first reading to assignment submission). Some students finish a level (six units) in a year, others take much longer. Initial registration lasts for two years (it can be extended for a small fee), so that might be a good target!

Q.  At which level should I begin?

A. It depends on your current level of musical skill and understanding. You will be given guidance on the level at which to begin after you have completed the introductory units. Level I is for students who are relatively new to their principal skill. Level II is for those who already have good basic technical and musical skills, but who may have relatively limited experience as a church musician. Level III is for students who are already fairly skilled.