Royal School of Church Music

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The largest church music organisation in Britain, the Royal School of Church Music was founded in 1927 by Sir Sydney Nicholson and has 11,000 members worldwide; it was originally named the School of English Church Music. It seeks to enable church music in the present and invest in its future, largely through publications, courses and an award scheme. The organisation, originally only open to members of the Anglican Communion, is interdenominational, but is still overseen by the Church of England.

  • The Director is Andrew Reid (who took up the post in September 2012)
  • President of the Royal School of Church Music in America is Cindy DeDakis.
  • President of RSCM Australia is Dr Ralph Morton.
  • President of RSCM South Africa is Colonel Kevin Williams
  • President of RSCM New Zealand is Paul Ellis.
  • The patron is Her Majesty the Queen.

US choirs affiliated with the Royal School of Church Music often wear the RSCM medallion, which features a picture of Saint Nicolas, its patron saint.

Awards and medals[edit]

The RSCM provides a series of grades and awards to signify varying levels of musical achievement. There are four basic merit awards - the light blue ribbon, the dark blue ribbon, the red ribbon and the yellow ribbon. These awards share the same medal.

Beyond these are several medals awarded after successful coursework and examination:

  • The Bronze award
  • The Silver award
  • The Gold award

The prerequisites of the Silver award are to hold either the Bronze award (or its predecessor the Dean’s/Provost’s award), to have attended an RSCM event as a member of the choir and it is suggested that the candidate have a Grade 3 Theory (RSM) level of understanding.

The prerequisites of the Gold award are once again, to hold the level below, to have completed an RSCM course (preferably residential) and it is suggested that a Grade 5 Theory (RSM) level of understanding. The Royal School of Music Grade 8 Singing is of an approximate level but the Gold award has a larger syllabus and does not require the candidate to commit pieces to memory. Unlike the grade 8, a candidate must also create an order of service for any event he or she wishes, with an appropriate music list.

The new awards are now available to choristers of any age and have been brought in to standardize the awarding process. There are many area based rules for the old medals, which will all disappear as the old award candidates decide not to wear their medals due to age.

Examples include

  • in some areas a chorister may wear all medals at the same time while in others there is a limit of one.
  • a red ribbon (S. Cecilia/Nicolas) may only be worn by those over 18 years in some areas, while other areas the highest medal always has a red ribbon.

The former medals are as follows…

For choristers up to the age of 16

  • The Dean's/Provost's award
  • The Bishop's Award
  • The Junior S. Nicolas / S. Cecilia Awards

For Choristers up to the age of 21

  • The Senior S. Nicolas / S. Cecilia Awards

Head Chorister and Deputy Head Chorister medals are also used by some choirs.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]