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Old 02-12-2010, 12:54 PM   #1
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I have applied to take my Grade 8 in summer, I based this decision pretty much solely on the fact that I need more things to write on my CV and personal statement for uni applications and that I got 100% in my music GCSE so I thought it'd be easy enough to do.

One thing I can't seem to find, what the hell do I actually need to do for it?! Everything on their website confuses me, and I can't find the tab books and cd's anywhere. I also don't know whether or not I need to be able to sweep pick for it because I can't sweep pick at the moment, well, I can, but nothing more than 3/4 strings. Do I need sweep picking for the rockschool grade 8? I thought the exam just involved playing 3 out of 6 pieces, that's all I understood from their website, so I was just going to pick songs without sweep picking.

Could anyone that has taken rockschool grades above 5/6 help me out please?! I'm really really worried, because I have a-level exams coming up soon too, and I need to perfect my guitar-playing for this around the same time. Being self-taught seems to be a major disadvantage to me at the moment. Thank you pit!
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Old 02-12-2010, 01:01 PM   #2
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I'm taking my grade 5 this summer

basically, you need to learn
3 of the 5pieces
all the scales and technical exercises
the answers to all the musicianship questions

and you need to be able to do the ear tests and shit

for 6-8, you also need a quick study piece - you turn up a while early (says how long in the book) and they give you a piece to learn in time for the exam.

Sweeping is extremely easy - I learned to at grade 4 - just spend a few hours and you'll get it.

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Old 02-12-2010, 01:05 PM   #3
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yeah well i'm 10th prestige.

in my dreams
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Old 02-12-2010, 01:12 PM   #4
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What SAS said, I'm doing grade 7 sometime this year, and 8 next year. I did 6 last year and it was my first one.

You learn 3 of the songs, and make the solos for them.

Learn the scales/arppegios at 16th notes at 60bpm

Then the chord groups and technical exersise, learn one of the groups of chords and you will be asked to play them to a backing track. Learn the sweeping as well at the set tempo, it will take a few hours to learn.

You then have the quick study test, which is almost sight-reading, except you have 20-30 minutes to learn the piece before the exam, this is why you turn up about half an hour before the exam.

Then you have what I find the hardest bit, the melody and choral recall. They play a melody twice and tell you the root note, then you have to play it back almost immediately. It's the same with the chords, i'm not sure what chords they use, but for grade 6 it was just maj/min 7th chords.

Then you just have musician ship scales, just different modes, what the signs mean on music and general guitar gear questions.

It will all be in your book, but that's how it goes. And make sure you know the periods for exam entry and the actual exams. So if you enter now, you will have an exam in May to July.

Hope that helped, you are able to use your book through the exam, but they won't like you staring at it through all the pieces and scales. And I noticed you're self-taught, it might be wise to get a few lessons to clean up technique.

edit: Also, well done on your GCSE at 100% I'm doing GCSEs this year.
Originally Posted by Spoonman69
Rap is music,far better than metal for example. id much rather hear about hoes and anal sex than dragons and supressed homosexuality.

Last edited by hugh20 : 02-12-2010 at 01:15 PM.
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Old 02-12-2010, 02:55 PM   #5
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The rockschool grade system is terrible. Do RGT instead.
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Old 02-12-2010, 03:47 PM   #6
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Yes, you have to be able to sweep pick.

Two types of exam you either do as hugh20 says, or you can just choose to play all of the peices (called performance).

All info is in the book.
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Old 12-15-2012, 11:54 AM   #7
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Hello people,

I've literally just taken my grade 8 (15/12/12 - 2006 syllabus)

Prior to this I looked online for as much info as i could to help me know exactly what to expect, and the results were slim...

SO, here's what I experienced...

Upon arrival i was given the quick study piece and a laptop to play the backing track. Please note it is ONLY a backing track as you are expected to be able to read the music / tab to decipher what and when to play. This came as a complete surprise to me as i was expecting a full track to hear (Perhaps my own naivety)

I was then led into the actual exam room and given a moment to set volume and tone levels. Please remember to tune up before entering the exam room as this is not allowed during the exam (another surprise!!)

So then the examiner asked which part of the exam I would prefer to start with and I selected the Quick Study Piece to get it over with. At this point he also asked me to name the tracks I wished to play in order of preference (Fusion, 667, Bonzo)

I then proceeded to play my Q.S.P and believe i pulled it off quite well considering my music reading skills are amateur at best. It was a funky number at 90 bpm if you wanted to know details.

Then i played my pieces in the order I had previously selected.

Then for the technical exercises...

I was asked to play the first three modes of the major scale (shapes Ionian, Dorian and Phrygian) in Ab all at 80 bpm. I asked to clarify if all the positions had to start at Ab and the reply was I could, or I could play the scales consecutively in the key of Ab.
I decided to play all three from Ab and was even given a second chance on Dorian as there was one bum note. (However in the warm up before the scales I blasted through every position in Em, perhaps demonstrating my ability and gaining that second chance?)

Next were the arpeggios... Surprisingly he only asked me to play 2 of the three. The first was G7#5 as written in the book (first example) and the second was Bbm7#5 (the third arpeggio positioned a fret lower that written)

Then the chords... Again i was surprised to only have to play one sequence.
I was asked to play sequence 2 in Eb and after no warning the metronome started causing me to panic but it just kept going until I found my feet again. Some slight hesitation but nailed the chords eventually.

As a fan of metal and rock I love sweep picking but this exercise sucks!! (possibly the taps after each sweep) I played it clean as opposed to distorted and feel it went well overall. 80 bpm FYI.

Ear tests... these were perhaps my biggest worry.
I was played a melodic line in A Mixolydian and think i came close to replicating it but defo not an exact copy. And the chord recall was in D but again went horribly.

Next were the questions: I was asked to turn to fusion in the book and explain the time signature, then some demi-semiquavers and a group of sextuplets.

He also asked the difference between Major and Lydian (#4) and Aeolian (b3, b6, b7)

That was it...

Obviously i'm awaiting my result but you don't have to pass every part of the exam to gain an overall pass result so fingers crossed!!

Any questions i'll gladly answer if i can!


Rob W-B
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