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.

Meet the New RSCM Awards Syllabus – With the Chief Examiner

Webinar – 7th August

Click here for more info

Singing Awards

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

Bronze/Silver Awards Syllabus

** UPDATED 14 May 2021 ** We are pleased to announce that in-person RSCM Awards Exams at Bronze/Silver level can recommence in England and Wales from Monday 17 May 2021. Please press RSCM AWARDS AND COVID (above, right) for the full update.

Syllabus and Music Lists (to August 2021)

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

Syllabus (2014-August 2021)

Music lists (2016-August 2021)

Online exams

Modifications to Syllabus for online Bronze and Silver (2014-August 2021)

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

Syllabus (September 2021 onwards)

Syllabus (including music lists) (September 2021 onwards)

Bronze/Silver Awards entry

** UPDATED 14 May 2021 ** We are pleased to announce that in-person RSCM Awards Exams at Bronze/Silver level can recommence in England and Wales from Monday 17 May 2021. Please press RSCM AWARDS AND COVID (above, right) for the full update.

Paper entry for all VfL Awards has now ended.

How to enter for Bronze or Silver VfL awards


Forms needed during online entry process (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

** UPDATED 14 May 2021 ** We are pleased to announce that we are holding in-person Gold award exam sessions in July 2021 with an entry deadline date of 1 June 2021. Please press RSCM AWARDS AND COVID (above, right) for the full update.


Syllabus and Marking Criteria (to August 2021)

Syllabus (2016 – August 2021)

Marking criteria

Syllabus (September 2021 onwards)

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

** UPDATED 14 May 2021 ** We are pleased to announce that we are holding in-person Gold award exam sessions in July 2021 with an entry deadline date of 1 June 2021. Please press RSCM AWARDS AND COVID (above, right) for the full update.

Paper entry for all VfL Awards has now ended.

How to enter for Gold VfL awards (July 2021 sessions)

Form needed during online entry process (download and save locally first):

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.


  • 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 May 2021.

Gold Award upcoming session dates

** UPDATED 14 May 2021 ** We are pleased to announce that we are holding in-person Gold award exam sessions in July 2021 with an entry deadline date of 1 June 2021. Please press RSCM AWARDS AND COVID (above, right) for the full update.


Dates and regions for the next Gold Award session are listed below for the July 2021 session. 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. Due to examiner shortage or Covid restrictions we can only offer an online option in some regions.

Please press GOLD AWARD ENTRY above for details of how to enter.

July 2021 dates and regions:

Region Date (2021)
West Midlands 02/07
East Midlands 03/07
London 19/07
South East (Berks.,Bucks.,Oxon.) 09/07
Central South 14/07
South West 17/07
South Wales 21/07
South East 22/07
East of England 28/07
North West Online
North East Online
Scotland Online

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 your entry. 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

** UPDATED 14 May 2021 **

We are pleased to announce that in-person RSCM Awards Exams at Bronze/Silver level can recommence in England and Wales from Monday 17 May 2021. Please click the BRONZE/SILVER AWARDS ENTRY button above for details of how to enter for a session.

In-person Gold exam sessions in England and Wales are being planned for July 2021 with an entry deadline date of 11:59pm on 1 June 2021. Regional dates will be released no later than Wednesday 19 May 2021 under the GOLD AWARD UPCOMING SESSION DATES button above. Please click the GOLD AWARD ENTRY button for details of how to enter for a session.

Paper entry for all levels has now ended. Please consult the appropriate pages above for details of first-time registration for online entry and allow administration time for this to take place.

Present legislation in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland does not permit in-person exams to take place and we will continue to review developments in the coming weeks.

Coronavirus legislation in England, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Wales is in a constant state of flux. Roadmaps, by their nature, may change, causing anticipated sessions to be cancelled. The legislation of nations that permit exams is being monitored and the RSCM reserves the right to postpone or cancel exams sessions as appropriate.

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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

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.

Summer Singing Courses for Young People

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