A quick look at RCM 2022 Piano Syllabus

Royal Conservatory of Music has revealed its new 2022 piano syllabus, and many are wondering about the questions of: what’s changed, what’s new and will my books be useless?

Differences at a glance

There are no changes to the technical requirements between 2015 and 2022 syllabus. New musicianship option to permit candidates to create melody instead of full playback, and to play a new piece using lead sheet rather than a piano score.

GradeRubricRepertoireMusicianship
Preparatory ANo change3 choices must be from syllabus
(previously 2 from syllabus and 1 teacher’s choice)
From Celebration 2015 Series Books:
6 repertoire pieces no longer in 2022 Syllabus
No change
Preparatory BNo change3 choices must be from syllabus
(previously 2 from syllabus and 1 teacher’s choice)
From Celebration 2015 Series Books:
6 repertoire pieces no longer in 2022 Syllabus
No change
1No changeFrom Celebration 2015 Series Books:
3 repertoire pieces and 10 etudes no longer in 2022 Syllabus
Clapback: introduction of 2 eighth notes
2No changeFrom Celebration 2015 Series Books:
3 repertoire pieces and 10 etudes no longer in 2022 Syllabus
Clapback: introduction of 2 eighth notes
3No changeFrom Celebration 2015 Series Books:
1 repertoire piece and 12 etudes no longer in 2022 Syllabus
Clapback and Sight rhythm:
introduction of 2 eighth notes
4No changeFrom Celebration 2015 Series Books:
2 repertoire pieces and 10 etudes no longer in 2022 Syllabus
Clapback and Sight rhythm:
introduction of 2 eighth notes
5No changeFrom Celebration 2015 Series Books:
2 repertoire pieces and 13 etudes no longer in 2022 Syllabus
Playback: option of student creating a 4-bar melodic answer (in parallel period) from a 4-bar melody played in C, G or F major.
Sight rhythm: 4 bars (may not be from excerpt)
Sight playing: option of student realizing an accompaniment based on lead sheet. Chords will be based on Level 5 Theory.
6No changeFrom Celebration 2015 Series Books:
2 repertoire pieces and 10 etudes no longer in 2022 Syllabus
Playback: option of student creating a 4-bar melodic answer (in parallel period) from a 4-bar melody played in C, G or F major.
Sight rhythm: 4 bars (may not be from excerpt)
Sight playing: option of student realizing an accompaniment based on lead sheet. Chords will be based on Level 6 Theory.
7No changeFrom Celebration 2015 Series Books:
2 repertoire pieces and 13 etudes no longer in 2022 Syllabus
Playback: option of student creating a 4-bar melodic answer (in contrasting period) from a 4-bar melody played in C, G or F major.
Sight rhythm: 4 bars (may not be from excerpt)
Sight playing: option of student realizing an accompaniment based on lead sheet. Chords will be based on Level 7 Theory.
8Decreased list marks and added memory marks similiar to earlier grades (1.5 per piece)From Celebration 2015 Series Books: 8 etudes no longer in 2022 SyllabusPlayback: option of student creating a 4-bar melodic answer (in contrasting period) from a 4-bar melody played in C/G/F Major or A/E/D minor.
Sight rhythm: 4 bars (may not be from excerpt)
Sight playing: option of student realizing an accompaniment based on lead sheet. Chords will be based on Level 8 Theory.
9No changeFrom Celebration 2015 Series Books:
4 repertoire pieces and 11 etudes no longer in 2022 Syllabus
Playback: option of student play back a 2-measure opening, completing the question phrase and improvise an answer phrase (phrase upto 2 sharps/flats in major or minor)
Sight rhythmn: 4 to 6 bars (may not be from excerpt)
Sight playing: option of student realizing a creative accompaniment based on lead sheet. Chords will be based on Level 9 Harmony.
10No changeFrom Celebration 2015 Series Books:
3 repertoire pieces and 9 etudes no longer in 2022 Syllabus
Playback: option of student play back a 2-measure opening, completing the question phrase and improvise an answer phrase (phrase upto 2 sharps/flats in major or minor)
Sight rhythmn: 4 to 6 bars (may not be from excerpt)
Sight playing: option of student realizing a creative accompaniment based on lead sheet. Chords will be based on Level 10 Harmony.

Can I still follow the 2015 requirements?

Using past crossover requirements as precedents (and lacking a finalized crossover document from RCM), you can expect that:

  • Technical requirements will be cut over to by September 2022
  • Marking rubric will change over by September 2022
  • You may perform repertoire from 2015 or 2022 Syllabus for upto 1 year (end of August 2023)

Check our blog for any up-to-date information on RCM’s crossover plans.

Is the RCM Celebration Series 2015 Books still applicable today?

With the exception of the etudes book (which they typically only carry 3 etudes from one syllabus to the next), the remaining materials are applicable. If you intend to do an exam, please verify the pieces against the current syllabus to ensure they qualify for the level you are testing for.

Celebration Series 2015 (5th Ed) Pieces that are no longer in the 2022 Syllabus

If your song is listed here, you must complete the exam before the crossover period is over or select a new song that appears in 2022.

  • Preparatory A
    • Shadows (Alexander, Dennis, and Martha Mier)
    • A Skating Waltz (Berlin, Boris)
    • March for a Reluctant Soldier (Duke, David)
    • Rowing Round (Milligan, John)
    • Let’s Waltz (Pearce, Elvina)
    • The Teeter-totter (Reubart, Dale)
  • Preparatory B
    • Aeolian Lullaby (Hansen, Joan)
    • Jumping Jacks (Markow, Andrew)
    • On a Greek Island (Mrozinski, Mark)
    • Pop Goes the Weasel FHM (Markow, Andrew)
    • The Hen (Ljubaski, Nikolai)
    • The Marching Trumpets (Berlin, Boris)
  • Grade 1
    • List B: A Starry Night (Taranta, Italo)
    • List B: Early One Morning (Silvester, Frederick)
    • List C: Frère Jacques Stands on His Head (Poole, Clifford)
    • Etude: A Porcupine Dance (no. 8) (Children’s Adventures, op. 89 SCH) (Kabalevsky, Dmitri)
    • Etude: A Swinging Leprechaun (Fun with Jazz Piano, 1 OTT) (Schoenmehl, Mike)
    • Etude: Drifting Clouds (Collected Short Lyric Pieces for Solo Piano WIL) (Gillock, William)
    • Etude: Etude in A Minor (no. 9) (Fourteen Easy Pieces for Piano EMB) (Balázs, Árpád)
    • Etude: Etude in C Major (no. 1) (Twenty-four Easy Technical Etudes for Piano EMB) (Kadosa, Pál)
    • Etude: Etude in C Major (no. 3) (The First Twelve Lessons, op. 125) (Diabelli, Anton)
    • Etude: Hopscotch (in Legacy Collection, 1 FHM) (Berlin, Boris)
    • Etude: Jazz! Goes the Weasel (Old MacDonald Had the Blues NOT) (Maxner, Rebekah)
    • Etude: Raindrops (Regentropfen) (no. 11) (Für mich, op. 76 DOB) (Takács, Jenő)
    • Etude: Relay Race (Kaleidoscope Solos, 2 ALF) (George, Jon)
    • Etude: Skipping Rope (no. 17) (Children’s Adventures, op. 89 SCH) (Kabalevsky, Dmitri)
    • Etude: Waiting FHM (Christopher, Renée)
  • Grade 2
    • List A: Gavotte in A Major (Türk, Daniel Gottlob)
    • List B: Turkish Bazaar (Mrozinski, Mark)
    • List C: Invention in A Minor (Silvester, Frederick)
    • Etude: Colored Windows (Burnam, Edna-Mae)
    • Etude: Etude in C Major (101 Progressive Exercises, op. 261, no. 3) (Czerny, Carl)
    • Etude: Etude in C Major (Sixty Simple Piano Pieces for Beginners, op. 36, no. 22) SCH (Gedike, Alexander)
    • Etude: Melody (George, Jon)
    • Etude: Ladies in Waiting, from Little Suite in F Major (Gillock, William)
    • Etude: Hunting (Jagdstückchen) (Der erste Vortrag, op. 210, no. 7) (Gurlitt, Cornelius)
    • Etude: Scherzo (no. 12) (Kabalevsky, Dmitri)
    • Etude: Pinwheels (Niamath, Linda)
    • Etude: Feelin’ Good (Norton, Christopher)
    • Etude: The Highlands (Norton, Christopher)
    • Etude: Gliding (Segelflug) (no. 18) (Takács, Jenő)
    • Etude: E Dorian with Modulation (no. 9) (Vandall, Robert D.)
  • Grade 3
    • List C: Picnic 1920 (Schoenmehl, Mike)
    • Etude: Minuet (Bartók, Béla)
    • Etude: Etude in C Major (no. 81) (Czerny, Carl)
    • Etude: Etude in D Minor (no. 53) (Czerny, Carl)
    • Etude: Etude in F Major (no. 22) (Czerny, Carl)
    • Etude: Chinese Kites (Fitch, Gem)
    • Etude: Morning Prayer (Morgengebet) (no. 2) (Gurlitt, Cornelius)
    • Etude: Allegro in A Major (no. 34) (Hässler, Johann Wilhelm)
    • Etude: Etude (no. 6) (Kadosa, Pál)
    • Etude: The Butterfly (no. 12) (Maykapar, Samuel)
    • Etude: Chinese Lanterns (Lanterne, Lanterne!) (no. 3) (Niemann, Walter)
    • Etude: In the Spirit (Norton, Christopher)
    • Etude: Rush Hour (Paterson, Lorna)
  • Grade 4
    • List A: Minuet in D Minor (Buttstett, Johann Heinrich)
    • List C: Creole Lullaby (no. 15) (Taranta, Italo)
    • Etude: Little Etude (Bartók, Béla)
    • Etude: The Top (La toupie) (Bonis, Mel.)
    • Etude: Etude in E Major (no. 66) (Czerny, Carl)
    • Etude: Etude in G Major (no. 53) (Czerny, Carl)
    • Etude: Etude in C Major (no. 24) (Duvernoy, Jean-Baptiste)
    • Etude: Dragon Fly (Gillock, William)
    • Etude: Cradle Song (Schlummerlied) (no. 6) (Gurlitt, Cornelius)
    • Etude: Allegro in G Major (no. 19) (Hässler, Johann Wilhelm)
    • Etude: Folk Dance (no. 17) (Kabalevsky, Dmitri)
    • Etude: Prayer (Gebet) (no. 5) (Karganov, Génari)
  • Grade 5
    • List B: Sonatina in A Minor (Four Sonatinas, op. 214 no. 4), 1st movement (Gurlitt, Cornelius)
    • List B: Sonatina in A Minor (Four Sonatinas, op. 214 no. 4), 2nd and 3rd movements (Gurlitt, Cornelius)
    • Etude: Sweet Sorrow (no. 16) (Burgmüller, Johann Friedrich)
    • Etude: Etude in G major (no. 38) (Czerny, Carl)
    • Etude: Allegro agitato (George, Jon)
    • Etude: A Faded Letter (Gillock, William)
    • Etude: Longing (Les désirs ardents) (no. 11) (Gurlitt, Cornelius)
    • Etude: Allegro in D Major (no. 28) (Hässler, Johann Wilhelm)
    • Etude: Prelude in C Major (no. 1) (Heller, Stephen)
    • Etude: Allegretto in C Major (no. 10) (Kirchner, Theodor)
    • Etude: Staccato Prelude, op. 31, no. 6 (Maykapar, Samuel)
    • Etude: Prelude in D flat Major (no. 7) (Rollin, Catherine)
    • Etude: Dulcimer Tune (no. 7) (Rowley, Alec)
    • Etude: Chicken Talk (Schoenmehl, Mike)
    • Etude: In Church (no. 24) (Tchaikovsky, Pyotr Il’yich)
  • Grade 6
    • List B: Rondo in C Major, from Sonatina in C Major, op. 208, no. 1 (Schmitt, Jacob)
    • List C: Mignon (no. 35) (Schumann, Robert)
    • Etude: Etude in D Major (no. 3) (Bertini, Henri)
    • Etude: Etude in C Major (no. 10) (Concone, Giuseppe)
    • Etude: Fluttering Leaves (no. 11) (Heller, Stephen)
    • Etude: Rogue (Schelm) (no. 1) (Hofmann, Heinrich)
    • Etude: Allegro in F Major (no. 56) (Hummel, Johann Nepomuk)
    • Etude: Toccatina (no. 12) (Kabalevsky, Dmitri)
    • Etude: Etude in C Major (no. 11) (Lemoine, Henry)
    • Etude: Romance (no. 25) (Maykapar, Samuel)
    • Etude: The Gear Wheels of a Watch (Nakada, Yoshinao)
    • Etude: Pebbles in the Water (Papp, Lajos)
  • Grade 7
    • List A: Sonata in C Major (no. 2), 2nd movement (Platti, Giovanni Benedetto)
    • List C: Nocturne (Poole, Clifford)
    • Etude: Lesson in A Major (no. 7) (Bennett, William Sterndale)
    • Etude: Etude in C Minor (no. 7) (Bertini, Henri)
    • Etude: Mixed-up Rag (Caramia, Tony)
    • Etude: Etude in C Major (no. 22) (Concone, Giuseppe)
    • Etude: Etude in G Major (no. 63) (Czerny, Carl)
    • Etude: Lament (Klage) (no. 8) (Gurlitt, Cornelius)
    • Etude: Scherzo (no. 7) (Hofmann, Heinrich)
    • Etude: Etude (no. 3) (Kabalevsky, Dmitri)
    • Etude: Etude in G Minor (no. 31) (Lemoine, Henry)
    • Etude: Ringing Changes (Norton, Christopher)
    • Etude: Etude in D Minor (no. 9) (Schytte, Ludvig)
    • Etude: Jumping Competition (no. 10) (Schytte, Ludvig)
    • Etude: Etude of Alternating Double Notes (no. 19) (Waxman, Donald)
  • Grade 8
    • Etude: Little Bird (no. 4) (Grieg, Edvard)
    • Etude: Etude in D Minor (no. 15) (Heller, Stephen)
    • Etude: In the Evening (Am Abend) (no. 2) (Hofmann, Heinrich)
    • Etude: Etude (no. 24) (Kabalevsky, Dmitri)
    • Etude: At the Skating Rink (no. 23) (Maykapar, Samuel)
    • Etude: Agitato (no. 18) (Rowley, Alec)
    • Etude: Lied (no. 13) (Rowley, Alec)
    • Etude: Disco-Visit (Schoenmehl, Mike)
  • Grade 9
    • List A: Allemande (Handel, George Frideric)
    • List D: Golliwogg’s Cake-Walk (no. 6) (Debussy, Claude)
    • List D: Deserted Plantation (Gillock, William)
    • List D: Decadent Sentimental Song (Manzano, Miguel)
    • Etude: Etude in A Minor (no. 13) (Berens, Hermann)
    • Etude: Improvisation (no. 5) (Fauré, Gabriel)
    • Etude: May Morning (Matinée de mai) (Gounod, Charles)
    • Etude: Etude in G Major (no. 7) (Gurlitt, Cornelius)
    • Etude: Etude in D Major (no. 3) (Heller, Stephen)
    • Etude: To the Lute (Zur Laute) (no. 1) (Hofmann, Heinrich)
    • Etude: The Sleigh Ride (La promenade en traîneau) (no. 7) (Ibert, Jacques)
    • Etude: Who’ll Win the Argument? (no. 2) (Kabalevsky, Dmitri)
    • Etude: Raging Torrent (no. 18) (Maykapar, Samuel)
    • Etude: Restless (Inquiétude) (no. 4) (Moszkowski, Moritz)
    • Etude: Etude in F Minor (no. 11) (Schytte, Ludwig)
  • Grade 10
    • List B: Sonata in G Minor, Hob. XVI:44, 1st and 2nd movements (Haydn, Franz Joseph)
    • List B: Rondo in D Major, K 485 (Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus)
    • List E: Six Variations on “Land of the Silver Birch” (Gallant, Pierre)
    • Etude: Bagatelle No. 11 (Bartók, Béla)
    • Etude: Etude in E Major (no. 9) (Burgmüller, Johann Friedrich)
    • Etude: Etude in F Minor (no. 2) (Chopin, Frédéric)
    • Etude: Etude in A flat Major (no. 19) (Concone, Giuseppe)
    • Etude: Etude in E Major (no. 29) (Czerny, Carl)
    • Etude: Sérénade (no. 5) (Haberier, Ernst)
    • Etude: Etude in F Major (no. 14) (Heller, Stephen)
    • Etude: The Brook (no. 2) (MacDowell, Edward)
    • Etude: Étude-tableau (no. 8) (Rachmaninoff, Sergei)

See our new blog post for a comprehensive list of pieces that appeared in the RCM 2015 Piano Syllabus that are no longer in the 2022 Syllabus.

What are the notable changed pieces in the 2022 Syllabus?

Some very popular pieces have changed grade levels in the past 3 years (whether it was from the popular selections or the new syllabus). Here are the ones that we spotted from the syllabus (they moved

  • River Flows in You by Yiruma (moved from Grade 9 to 8)
  • Strangeness of Heart by Harry Somers (moved from Grade 10 to 9)
  • Intermezzo in B Minor, op. 119, no. 1 by Brahms (moved from Grade 10 to 9)
  • Blue Angel by Stephen Chatman (moved from Grade 7 to 8)
  • Serenade for the Doll (no. 3) by Debussy (moved from Grade 10 to 9)
  • A Kitten’s Agenda by Christine Donkin (moved from Grade 6 to 7)
  • Romance (no. 8) by Jacques Ibert (moved from Grade 6 to 7)
  • Soft Rain (Azisai) by Naoko Ikeda (moved from Grade 3 to 4)
  • Breeze by Christopher Norton (moved from Grade 3 to 2)
  • Sonata in C Minor, 3rd movement by Giovanni Battista Pescetti (moved from Grade 8 to 7)
  • Sonata in C Minor, K 40 by Scarlatti (moved from Grade 5 to 4)
  • Three in Blue No. 2 by Ann Southam (moved from Grade 8 to 7)
  • Three in Blue No. 3 by Ann Southam (moved from Grade 8 to 9)