Freebie: Technical Requirements Charts for RCM’s 2015 Piano Syllabus

I recently finished creating a new set of technique charts for the RCM’s new 2015 Piano Syllabus.

RCM 2015 Technical Requirements image web

RCM_08_logoHere is the backstory.

Over the past few years, I have entered a handful of piano students to take assessments through the Royal Conservatory of Music, an excellent program originating in Canada and becoming more popular in the United States. I appreciate the thoroughness of the assessments, which require students to perform a set of pieces ranging in musical styles and to demonstrate musicianship skills (sight-reading, ear training, rhythm exercises, etc.). The levels outlined in the syllabus (find the free PDF here) are soundly structured and have been refined over time by dedicated pedagogues in our field. RCM is also known for the quality and consistency of the adjudicating across the continent. RCM is not a competition; it is a standard that allows students and parents to better understand and track progress during music study.

Every seven years, the RCM piano syllabus is revised to incorporate new repertoire, eliminate repertoire that is no longer readily available, and refine the musicianship and technical requirements. 2015 marks a revision year, which means RCM teachers are seeking to learn about the updates and changes compared to the previous 2008 syllabus.

RCM technical requirements level 8RCM’s non-profit publishing company, Frederick Harris, publishes a variety of wonderful books to aid students in preparing for assessments (most notably, the piano literature books known as the Celebration Series).

Books are also available containing the notated technical requirements for each level; however, I personally prefer to teach scales/arpeggios/chords by rote rather than through having students read the notation. But it can be cumbersome to write out the RCM technical requirements on students’ assignment sheets each week–especially if you expect students to review all previous material.

So, a few years ago I released a free printable containing charts of the technical requirements for each level according to the 2008 piano syllabus. These charts have proved to be incredibly helpful to ensure that my students are learning and reviewing all of the required technical work. I’m happy to announce today that new charts are available below for the new 2015 piano syllabus. Even if you have no intention of sending students to RCM assessments, you might find these charts useful.

I keep this PDF uploaded on my iPad (use iBooks, GoodNotes, or any similar app of your choice) so I can print the appropriate charts wirelessly during lessons. Students take their chart to and from their lessons. As each item is mastered, we fill in each box with a checkmark or a sticker. The chart makes it easy to visually track progress.

RCM 2015 Level 5 preview - with checkmarks web

Special thanks goes to fellow piano teachers Donna Gross Javel and Nancy DeHaven Hall for helping to proofread the charts against the 2015 syllabus.


  2015 RCM Technical Requirements Charts for Piano (557.9 KiB, 10,827 hits)


Joy Morin is a piano teacher in northwest Ohio (United States) who enjoys keeping her teaching fresh with new ideas and resources. serves as a journal of her adventures in piano teaching as well as a place to exchange ideas and resources.

Joy has blogged 1142 posts here.

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  1. Posted 7 July 2015 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    What a great idea! I might do the same for violin, if that’s ok. Thanks for posting :)

  2. Posted 7 July 2015 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    Wow! Joy, have done a lot of work to make these charts! Thank you for sharing with us. They will be very helpful to my piano students and myself!

    Allen Long

  3. Posted 8 July 2015 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing your work! I teach in Germany but still this is very useful.
    Holger Dix

  4. Alice Finger
    Posted 8 July 2015 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much for doing this again! I used the ones you made for the 2008 requirements and they were very helpful. Very much appreciated.

  5. Sheila Vail
    Posted 9 July 2015 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

    Joy – thank you so much for this! What a great help for all of us :)

  6. Amber
    Posted 15 July 2015 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much.

  7. Tracey D
    Posted 20 July 2015 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Thank you SO much! I wasn’t sure if you would be updating your old ones to the new syllabus so I have been struggling through to try to create my own. Let me just say, your work is SO SO SO appreciated! You never know how difficult something is until you try to do it yourself — and end up doing it very badly! LOL

    Your charts have been invaluable to me! Thank you so much for all the time and effort you’ve put in. And thank you for sharing!

  8. Colleen Branson
    Posted 7 August 2015 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Joy. I always do these myself …. It’s nice to see them already done here! I usually end up doing several variations of each year, for as the students progress through their learning.
    Thank you again for sharing.

  9. Posted 6 September 2015 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    Thank you for these! Very helpful.

  10. Jenna
    Posted 8 September 2015 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Thank you so much for your work on this! I passed this along to a friend/colleague, and she was VERY relieved that someone had done this already. :)

  11. Kati
    Posted 11 September 2015 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    You just saved me SO MUCH WORK!!! I can’t thank you enough!

  12. Kelly
    Posted 12 September 2015 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    THANKS SO MUCH!! One question ~ how do I upload this to iBook?

  13. Lauren
    Posted 14 September 2015 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much for sharing your resources! How awesome! Any chance you are willing to share level 7?

    • Posted 15 September 2015 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      All the levels are present in the free PDF download, Lauren!

  14. Posted 20 September 2015 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    Hi Joy,

    These are very useful! Thank you for updating. I was wondering if you have made anything similar for the Ear Tests and Sight Reading portion of the exam? If not, perhaps this is a venture that I will take on and share with you over the next few months. Let me know!


  15. Dena
    Posted 12 October 2015 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    Lazy bones question: What do you use to remember the fingering for the arpeggios (tonic 4-note, as well as dominant 7ths) in each hand. I have used mostly Pace pedagogy in my teaching, so our arpeggios often used finger 3 instead of 4. I do not own the level 7 Celebration technique book to reference the required fingering and I’m getting ready to FaceTime a student while I’m gone for 6 weeks. I can head over to the music store to look it up, too! LOL

    • Posted 15 October 2015 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, Dena — I don’t have those books on hand right now either!

  16. Frances
    Posted 19 October 2015 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, as always, for the wealth of teaching materials!

  17. Posted 21 April 2016 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    Does anyone know if there is a new 2015 teacher guide available?

    Thanks! >^..^<

    • Posted 22 April 2016 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      Kitty, do you mean a 2015 teacher guide for the Celebration Series? I don’t think there is one — at least, currently.

    • Michelle Cook
      Posted 7 September 2016 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      They are no longer publishing this resource. Instead you can sign up to be a certified teacher with the Royal Conservatory. Then you have access to a number of online resources have information equivalent to the Teacher Guides. (Or so we were told at the Workshop for the new series, I haven’t tried it.)

  18. Melissa
    Posted 21 June 2016 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Joy. This is a very very useful pdf for my preparation for level 10. May I ask a stupid question about RCM technical requirements books? I can’t find such a book for level 10. And I do have some technical issues about how to accomplish some of them. Is there a book I can read about them? just like the one I used for my previous level tests, 6 and 8..?

  19. Lynette McMechan
    Posted 12 August 2016 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Thank-you so much for this! I have been searching for a way of keeping my non-exam students up to their level in tech requirements and here it is! You rock!

  20. Posted 19 August 2016 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    Joy, wish I had Googled this first. I went to the trouble of making charts for all students at the assessment last year.

    Also… didn’t realize that you did RCM. Maybe I just forgot!

  21. Posted 30 June 2017 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    I’m late finding it but what a God-send. I have been making these charts for years and know how time consuming it is. Thank you, thank you!!

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