Voice for Life & Singing Awards

The Voice for Life training scheme provides a framework for choral singers to develop their vocal skills, their musical understanding and their knowledge of repertoire. It comes with a range of teaching material and supporting resources, and gives plenty of advice on the practicalities of running a choir. Voice for Life is easy to use for both choir trainers and singers and deliberately sets the vocal work of the choir in its musical and wider context.

RSCM Singing Awards celebrate singers’ achievements and progress, through formal examinations at three levels; Bronze, Silver and Gold. Designed to run in parallel to Voice for Life, they affirm the work done by singers and choir trainers in choirs in a standardised way.

‘Singing lies at the heart of worship. Voice for Life has a valuable part to play in giving life and soul to us all as we worship and learn.’

Dr John Rutter, composer and conductor

NEW SYLLABUS

The new syllabus for RSCM Singing Awards (Bronze, Silver and Gold levels) is now available here.

Please note that the new syllabus is valid from 1 September 2021. All exams taken before 31 August 2021 will be examined according to the current syllabus, available below.

The regulations and application instructions for the new syllabus will be published in due course.

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An introduction to Voice for Life for Choir Trainers
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Welcome to Voice for Life – a singer’s guide
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Buy Voice for Life Singers' Workbooks
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Voice for Life Choir Trainers Books
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Young Voices Festivals
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Voice for Life Guide to Musicianship downloads

Singing Awards

Bronze/Silver Awards
Bronze/Silver Awards entry
Gold Award downloads
Gold Award entry
Gold Award upcoming session dates
RSCM Awards and COVID

Bronze/Silver Awards

The syllabus and music lists for the Bronze and Silver Awards can be downloaded here:

Syllabus (2014-August 2021)

Music lists (2016-August 2021)

Syllabus (including music lists) (September 2021 onwards)

Prerecorded accompaniments for 2016-August 2021 syllabus online exams (compressed files):

Bronze/Silver Awards entry

For information about entering for Bronze and Silver Award exams between January and March 2021, please email examsdesk@rscm.com.

Forms for online entry upload (download and save locally first):

Reference and Testimonial Form

Candidate and Parent or Guardian Agreement Form

These should be either printed and scanned, or can be filled in on-screen if opened with Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Gold Award downloads

Each year Gold Award exam sessions are held in June and November, with entry deadline dates of 1 May and 1 October respectively. Please read the message below, and then find the entry documents on the GOLD AWARD DOWNLOADS button, and the regional dates on the GOLD AWARD UPCOMING SESSION DATES button.


As usual, Representatives who expect to have 3 or more candidates from one RSCM Affiliation should contact examsdesk@rscm.com in March 2021 discuss an examiner visit during the June session.

  • We are extending the 2-year time range for Testimonial 2 to account for lockdown. For summer 2021 entry, Testimonial 2 can relate to activity between May 2018 and April 2021.
  • A service outline and prayer contained within the Submission form box is always acceptable. There are no extra marks for congregational service sheets.

Materials for entering the Gold Award (until August 2021) can be downloaded here:

Syllabus (from 2016 – August 2021)

Entry form

Music list form

Submissions form

Entries must be submitted complete with ALL documentation.

Marking criteria

The syllabus for September 2021 onwards is available here:

Syllabus (September 2021 onwards)

Regulations and application instructions for the new syllabus will be available in due course.

Gold Award entry

Each year Gold Award exam sessions are held in June and November, with entry deadline dates of 1 May and 1 October respectively. Please read the message below, and then find the entry documents on the GOLD AWARD DOWNLOADS button, and the regional dates on the GOLD AWARD UPCOMING SESSION DATES button.


As usual, Representatives who expect to have 3 or more candidates from one RSCM Affiliation should contact examsdesk@rscm.com in March 2021 discuss an examiner visit during the June session.

  • We are extending the 2-year time range for Testimonial 2 to account for lockdown. For summer 2021 entry, Testimonial 2 can relate to activity between May 2018 and April 2021.
  • A service outline and prayer contained within the Submission form box is always acceptable. There are no extra marks for congregational service sheets.

Gold Award upcoming session dates

Each year Gold Award exam sessions are held in June and November, with entry deadline dates of 1 May and 1 October respectively. Please read the message below, and then find the entry documents on the GOLD AWARD DOWNLOADS button, and the regional dates on the GOLD AWARD UPCOMING SESSION DATES button.


As usual, Representatives who expect to have 3 or more candidates from one RSCM Affiliation should contact examsdesk@rscm.com in March 2021 discuss an examiner visit during the June session.

  • We are extending the 2-year time range for Testimonial 2 to account for lockdown. For summer 2021 entry, Testimonial 2 can relate to activity between May 2018 and April 2021.
  • A service outline and prayer contained within the Submission form box is always acceptable. There are no extra marks for congregational service sheets.

Dates and regions for the next Gold Award session will be published here two weeks before the closing date for entries (1st May and 1st October each year). Dates cannot be guaranteed, and are dependent upon at least 3 Gold Award candidates indicating they are available on the date shown and in that region.

Entries must be submitted complete with ALL documentation.

June 2021 dates are as follows:

Date (2021) Region
TBA by 17 April 2021 TBA by 17 April 2021

Write your choice of region in Box 5 of your Gold Award application form. Regions 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 Ireland should contact their regional coordinator, Elena Henriquez (ehenriquez@rscm.com).

RSCM Awards and COVID

Determining whether an RSCM Voice for Life exam may proceed depends upon the coronavirus restrictions in place in the area where the exam venue is situated and the home location of exam staff, on the proposed day of the exam.

  • Candidates and Accompanists who live in an area under different coronavirus restrictions to the area in which the exam is taking place are responsible for checking and obeying their local travel rules and should contact their Awards Administrator if travel-restricted.
  • Exam session Supervisors who live in an area under different coronavirus restrictions to the area in which the exam is taking place are responsible for checking and obeying their local travel rules and should contact their Awards Administrator if travel-restricted.
  • In the event that an Examiner becomes travel-restricted, RSCM centre will attempt to find a substitute, but this may be impossible in the time available. In this event exams will be deferred or a refund offered.

Restrictions that apply under current national terminologies have been interpreted as follows:

England

If a venue is in Local COVID Alert Level Very High (known as ‘Tier 3’), or above, on the proposed day of the exam, the exam must be postponed. If the assigned Examiner lives in a Tier 3 area they are deemed travel-restricted and the above bullet point applies.

Northern Ireland

No exams can take place until further notice.

Republic of Ireland

No exams can take place at the Framework for Restrictive Measures Level 3 or above.

Scotland

No exams can take place until further notice.

Wales

Exams cannot take place whilst Wales is at Alert Level 4. Local restrictions will be assessed for viability by RSCM Centre once this period has ended.

All Areas

If a Gold exam session cannot take place it can be deferred in the first instance to a proposed session in Spring 2021. This session will be for entries accepted to the November 2020 session only. Candidates and their Applicants/Representatives should refer to the additional regulations for Covid-safe exams held by their Awards Administrators.

FAQs

Q.  How does Voice for Life work?

A. There are five Voice for Life levels; white, light blue, dark blue, red and yellow. Each level has graded targets which the choir trainer or teacher assesses. Once a singer has completed the necessary training for that level, reached the targets and finished their workbook, they can be awarded their RSCM Voice for Life medal and the appropriately coloured ribbon (for robed choirs) or coloured lapel badge (for non-robed choirs). They then move on to the next level.

Medals, ribbons and badges can be bought from RSCM Music Direct.

Q.  How do Singing Awards fit in with Voice for Life?

A. White, Light Blue and Dark Blue help a candidate prepare for their Bronze award, Red for the Silver award, and Yellow for the Gold award.

Q.  What is taught in Voice for Life?

A. Module A: Using the voice well
This module teaches singers how to develop good vocal technique. It begins by helping singers get used to the physical sensations of healthy vocal technique, and in the later levels develops their understanding of the physiology of the voice.

Module B: Musical skills and understanding
This module develops knowledge of music theory and notation, and then encourages singers to demonstrate this understanding through sight-singing and aural skills.

Module C: Repertoire
This module develops a good understanding of the musical and historical contexts of the music performed by the choir or individual singer. It also gives singers the opportunity to demonstrate the musical understanding they gain in Module B through simple musical analysis.

Module D: Belonging to the choir
This module considers the wider issues related to being part of a choir, including commitment, punctuality and responsibility and how singers can be encouraged to make a good contribution.

Module E: Choir in context
This module encourages singers to explore the wider context of its choir’s existence: Why do they sing in that particular choir? Why does the choir exist? For whom does it sing? How does the choir benefit its members and those outside the choir?

Q.  Is Voice for Life suitable for adult singers?

A. Absolutely! Voice for Life is designed to be suitable for singers of all ages. The language used is clear and straightforward, but is not directed at a particular age group.

Q.  Does every singer have to start with White level?

A. Definitely not! Some singers will enter the programme with previous vocal or instrumental experience, so it is important that they start at the level which best suits them.

Q.  There’s too much to fit into my choir’s schedule already – how can I fit Voice for Life in too?

A. Much of the training will become part of your usual rehearsal time; for example, the vocal exercises can be incorporated at the beginning of your rehearsal as warm-ups or to break up the rehearsal, and you can provide training on posture, breathing, diction, etc. Module C can be explored simply through the music you sing each week. And bear in mind that choir trainers don’t necessarily have to do the training themselves – why not involve a senior member of your choir in aspects of the teaching?

Q.  What if a singer doesn’t want to take the awards?

A. That’s fine! Voice for Life can be used on its own to provide training and motivation to singers within a choir. There is no need to take the awards if your singer is unhappy about undertaking such formal assessments.

Q.  What resources and supporting materials are available?

A. Five singer workbooks and three books for choir trainers are the core programme materials. You can also buy medals, badges, certificates and wall-charts to mark your singers’ progress. All Voice for Life products are available at a discounted rate to RSCM affiliates and individual/student members from RSCM Music Direct.

We have recently introduced a raft of digital Voice for Life materials hosted on the Showbie platform. These materials are designed to help candidates understand the breadth of information they need, and to help them learn on their own. Further information on these materials and how to access them will be found on the following page: Showbie Training Materials.