Royal School of Church Music

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The Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) is a Christian music education organisation dedicated to the promotion of music in Christian worship, in particular the repertoire and traditions of Anglican church music, largely through publications, training courses and an award scheme. The organisation was founded in England in 1927 by Sir Sydney Nicholson; today it operates internationally, with 8,500 members in over 40 countries worldwide, and is the largest church music organisation in Britain.[1]

Royal School of Church Music
RSCM official logo
RSCM official logo
Sarum College surrounded by daffodils
The RSCM in Salisbury
PredecessorSchool of English Church Music
FounderSir Sydney Nicholson
Founded atSt Sepulchre-without-Newgate, London, UK
Legal statusCharity
PurposeMusic education; promotion of Anglican church music
HeadquartersSalisbury, Wiltshire, UK
Coordinates51°03′59″N 1°47′49″W / 51.0662697°N 1.7970334°W / 51.0662697; -1.7970334Coordinates: 51°03′59″N 1°47′49″W / 51.0662697°N 1.7970334°W / 51.0662697; -1.7970334
ProductsSheet music; RSCM Press educational books
ServicesTraining programmes, music printing press
Official language
Hugh Morris (2018-)

The RSCM was originally named the School of English Church Music and was only open to members of the Anglican Communion; today it is an interdenominational organisation, although it is still overseen by the Church of England.[2]

  • The Director is Hugh Morris (who began in 2018)
  • President of the Royal School of Church Music in America is Bert Landman.
  • President of RSCM Australia is Ross Cobb.
  • President of RSCM South Africa is Malcolm Chalmers
  • President of RSCM New Zealand is Paul Ellis.
  • The patron is the Queen.

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 medalsEdit

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 (ABRSM) 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 (ABRSM) level of understanding. The ABRSM 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 alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Press Pack" (PDF). The Royal School of Church Music. 2015. Archived (PDF) from the original on 13 September 2017. Retrieved 13 September 2017.
  2. ^ "History of the RSCM". RSCM: the Royal School of Church Music. Archived from the original on 13 September 2017. Retrieved 13 September 2017.

External linksEdit