Grade 8 Piano Exam

Play rock & pop songs on the piano the way that you want to.

Ofqual Accredited (Level 4 EQF) Award £85.00 GBP

Between 18 and 30 UCAS pointsAS/A Level Equivalent

Rockschool equivalent costs £121.00 GBP (£36.00 saving)

Grade 8 Popular Piano Exam

Grade 5 popular Piano syllabus

Grade 8
Popular Piano Pieces

For this piano exam you need to play five pieces

A minimum of 1 verse, 1 chorus, any middle 8s must be included & a creative final section.

The creative final section might include any of the following: 

melodic embellishments, licks, change of metre, re-harmonisation and restyling.

  • One Traditional Rock & Pop piece from the syllabus list,
  • Two pieces from after 2000 from the syllabus list,
  • Two pieces of your choice (Gaming and Movie Themes are acceptable).

Trad Rock & Pop Playlist

2000 Onwards Playlist

How to choose your Own Choice Piece

Grade 8 Pop Piano Syllabus

How Your Pieces are Marked

Grade 6-8 Piano Learning Objectives

learn grade 8 piano

Pop Piano Courses & Masterclasses

There’s a wide range of supporting resources on The Maestro Online platform to help you learn and polish your performances.

PIano grades Pop Songs


What to expect from the Grade 8 Popular Piano Exam

 There is no requirement to play from the notation, but links are provided as an indication of the level of difficulty required. 

There are many students who will find that notation is not for them. They may find it too difficult, be dyslexic or neurodivergent. That’s totally okay! The links to scores of pieces on the syllabus give you a good idea of the standard and technique required.


All Piano Students

Grades 7 & 8 will include more LH arpeggios, often covering a 2 octave range, RH and LH chords in octaves, complex rhythmic patterns and significant melodic or pattern decoration/embellishment.

Structure A significant section of the song, or a solo improvisation section, is strongly encouraged. Players will not to be clones of others, but have their own sense of individuality, character and flair. Both choruses and verses need to be performed in each song and any middle 8s/bridges must also be included; multiple verses/choruses may be necessary to ensure that pieces stay within the grade duration length specified.

Style & Improvisation Candidates are encouraged to create their own introductions and endings as well as embellishing the piece in order to gain extra marks. They might consider improvising a section with their own interpretation. Restyling a piece is welcome, and at this grade playing a traditional pop song influenced by a Latin style such as Bossa Nova would be highly welcomed. The candidate might consider rhythm and bass riff patterns. An emerging personal style will begin to be communicated more fully to the audience. Occasional Latin licks may be introduced by the candidate as part of their stylisation.  Restyling a piece is might also include changing a traditional pop song into a blues fir example. The significant improvisation/embellishment of an entire section (instrumental, middle 8/bridge, verse or chorus) to create a “solo” section is strongly encouraged. A section with significant contrast is encouraged.

Significant improvised melodic or pattern decoration/embellishment is encouraged, or via a purchased score. Licks learned from other artists might be added by the candidate to their repertoire.

Chords and Harmonies Candidates at this level might also explore some re-harmonisation as a feature within the final section. ii-V-I progressions in related keys and secondary dominants can be considered to add colour to the original song. Chords with higher level dissonances such as 9ths and 11ths will feature more often. Candidates are welcome to add them to existing pieces as part of developing their own stylisations. Chord changes every half-bar/2 beats will be much more common at this level. The performer may play a final section in a different key (modulate). Tritone substitutions and chromatic harmonies might also be included whereever the candidate would like to use them.

Dynamics Detailed dynamic detailing, including a good balance between RH and LH. A section with significant contrast is encouraged. 

Songs should be performed in their original keys.

Ready to Shine?

Time to Take Your
Pop Piano Exam

Relax, breathe and let it all flow!

Subscribe Today

All Courses

£ 19
99 Per Month
  • All Piano Courses
  • All Organ Courses
  • All Singing Courses
  • All Guitar Courses

All Courses + Masterclasses + Exam Practice Toolkits

£ 29
99 Per Month
  • All Piano Courses
  • All Organ Courses
  • All Singing Courses
  • All Guitar Courses
  • All Exam Practice Toolkits
  • All Masterclasses

All Courses + Masterclasses Exam Practice Toolkits

+ 1 hour 1-1 Lesson
£ 59
99 Per Month
  • All Piano Courses
  • All Organ Courses
  • All Singing Courses
  • All Guitar Courses
  • All Exam Practice Toolkits
  • All Masterclasses
  • Monthly 1hr Lesson

Additional Membership Benefits for All

  • Zoom support (there’s a human you can interactive with behind this platform!),
  • Request your own course,
  • 3 months free membership of the Arts & Cultural Network (worth £45).
  • 1 months free UK piano hire and free delivery from Musiq Group with a 12 month contract.
  • You are also supporting The Maestro Online charitable outreach – bringing music education to regions and countries where such resources are difficult to find.
  • Membership is cancellable any time.

Have a Chat!

Discuss your music needs and request support.

  • To discuss partnerships with musical institutions.

  • A Free Library of Music Courses Zoom Tour

    Universities, colleges, schools, music teachers and charities – discuss library partnerships, INSETs, workshops and music lessons.

  • A Consultation to discuss your music lesson challenges

  • Anything you like! A cup of coffee online if you wish!

  • Contact: phone or email to discuss music lessons details.

  • Time Zone: Hours of work are 6:00 am-11:00 pm UK time, providing music lessons for most time zones.