#1
So music is my life. Guitar is my life. I can't see myself having a career that isn't guitar related. I'm going to do music for gcse, then A level (sorry if these don't apply to your country). I think I want to study music in some shape or form at university/college level. Would an A Level pass in music be enough for a place in uni, or would I need to do grades?
#4
i think so, as long as you are able to demonstrate musical proficiency up to a grade 8 level?

grades will probably help you focus your learning of various things though.
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#5
I'd do grades regardless to be honest...most music colleges require grades for their "better" courses along with of course an audition...

I was actually in the same boat as you a few years ago...

Look into the BIMM (Brigton institute of modern music) and ACM (Acadamy of Music).

Seems like the best move is to do your A-levels, end up with strong grades (and a grade 8 in chosen instrument on the side) then apply...audition...the rest writes itself...

Saying all that though...wait for someone to comment whos actually in a music college...or doing a music course at a university...
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#6
Quote by samuwel


grades will probably help you focus your learning of various things though.


Yes, exactly.

By doing the grades you know you can do what they want you to be able to do. I have my uni audition coming up within the month, and I have to play at an 8th grade level or higher. Since I've been studying at that level for the past several months, I know that if I play my pieces well, they will accept me.

Besides, it's a lot of fun!


EDIT: Re-reading your post a bit I just realized if you are as passionate as you say you are, you should just do it. I really encourage you to do so. If you are what you say you are, then you will not regret it even a bit.
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#8
Quote by duggyrocks
So, I don't have a teacher atm, how would I go about doing grades? I might be able to find the layout for a grade exam somewhere online, and maybe a few pieces, but who do I contact about organising an exam?


there is only certain people that can teach grades nto just any music teacher so if i was you i would ask your friends if they done grades for the person they used.
#9
I'm not sure what your system is, but in Canada, there are repetoire books that show you pieces you could learn. You learn one from each era (Romantic and Classical count as the same era) and two etudes. On top of this, there is a scale/technical studies book. This has all the scales you will need to know and how to play them.

Check for those books at your local music store. I do highly advise getting a teacher, if only for a couple months. During this time, he/she will be invaluable. Just make sure that your potential teacher has gone through the grades and isn't some bedroom shredder.
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#10
Im studying for to site the grade 8 exam in June 2007. I am on half way through grade four already (Started it on Monday) and only started grades in Mid January. The time scale is insanely small, my guitar teacher doubts that I would be able to do it, but I love theory so much I know I can do it.

The grades make theory more managable, and easier to understand. (I need an upper merit/Distinction in grade 8 to get on the course I want because I dont have the Music A level requirement. Damn their oily hides!).

Quote by duggyrocks
So, I don't have a teacher atm, how would I go about doing grades? I might be able to find the layout for a grade exam somewhere online, and maybe a few pieces, but who do I contact about organising an exam?



Call ABRSM on 0207 636 5400 to get exam submission form. You will need a teacher.

Buy the following: AB Guide to music theory parts 1 and two and order all the excerise books.
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Last edited by Guitardude19 at Mar 14, 2007,
#11
It depends what board you do the exams by, if you do Associated Board exams you can only do up to grade 5 practical exams before passing the grade 5 practical exam.
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#12
To threadstarter and guitardude

Are we talking classical guitar, or is there something else I don't know about? Because going from Grade 4 to 8 where I live is like, ridiculously difficult.
Don't tell me what can not be done

Don't tell me what can be done, either.



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#13
Quote by nightwind
To threadstarter and guitardude

Are we talking classical guitar, or is there something else I don't know about? Because going from Grade 4 to 8 where I live is like, ridiculously difficult.


Im talking about grade 8 theory... And Im assuming the thread starter is talking about theory unless I have completely mis-read the thread.

EDIT: To threadstarter you need a grade 5 theory to sit grade 6 7 8 practical exams btw... I missed that info out.
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#14
Ok, alot of stuff to take in here, and a few things I want to get straight: 1. I think I heard you can do different types of grades eg. classical, rock, jazz etc, or is it all the same? 2. Are theory and practical grades two different things? 3. So I definately need tuition huh? 4. What grade should I start on? 5. What is involved in the actual exam? Thats all for now.
#15
Quote by duggyrocks
Ok, alot of stuff to take in here, and a few things I want to get straight: 1. I think I heard you can do different types of grades eg. classical, rock, jazz etc, or is it all the same?


ABRSM do classical and Jazz. Rock school do rock school grades up to grade 8 aswell and you need to check with institutions to see if they accept that.

2. Are theory and practical grades two different things?


Yes theory is notes, scales, chords, harmony, intervals, cadences, and how it all works and inter relates. Practicals are playing exams where you are examed on how you play certain scales and appreggios and techniques.


3. So I definately need tuition huh?


In all honesty yes.

4. What grade should I start on?


Theory grade one, practical get a teacher and he will tell you

5. What is involved in the actual exam?


Depending on the grade they ask you questions based on that grade and from previous grades. The practical has prepared pieces as well as going through techniques.
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#17
Quote by duggyrocks
Also, I've read about the RGT electric guitar grades. What's the difference between these and all the other organisations' grades (I've heard of abrsm and TCM)?


I havent heard of RGT so I cant advise you there sorry.
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#19
Quote by duggyrocks
The Registery of Guitar Tutors? They do grade exams. So why are there different organisations that do grades? I always thought there was just one.


Oh I have heard of them, just didnt know they did exams :S

Still I cant advise cause I havent had experience with them. Ask people you know of who has taken any exams with them and see what they say. Check their site if they have one and see if that is what you want to do.
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#20
how do you know what kind of grade you are
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#21
i dunno but i thought about doing something like this and i heard that the most important part of the admissions for music are the auditions and also reading sheet music can really put you up there
#22
Could somebody please recommend some books for learning grades?
#23
Are there "grades" in the USA, and if so would I need them to go to school for music? My sister majored in music for a year and she didn't have to be any grade or anything..
#24
I'm in the US and I've never heard of "grades" like they're referring to, so I don't think they have that system in the U.S.
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#25
im doin the rockschool grades..goin in for my grade 8 in summer...

with the rockschool ones you learn 3 out of five pieces that are in the book, and then there are scales and arpeggios you have to play in the exam aswell along with aural tests...melody and chord recognition etc...

and with the rockschool you dont need grade 5 theory to do the 6, 7, and 8 grades...
#26
Im doing music at uni at the moment. You dont have to have a practical graded qualification but in my opinion it is better to have one. If you dont you have to do an audition where they test you and determine what your practical grade is. Dont do the rockschool grades, i was looking at the repetoire and grade 7 rockschool is about as easy as doing grade 3 classical guitar. Do a grade in jazz or classical, which ever discipline you are intending to follow.
#27
Rockschool grades are insanely easy and dull compared to Classical. Also, when playing Electric guitar I like to forget everything I know and just play, I don't want to be thinking about 'am I picking fast enough', or 'should I be playing this cleaner'. I just want to play. Wheras Classical I know builds up technical expertise and control, and having to know the theory to take grade 6,7 and 8 exams is useful aswell. I enjoy playing Classical, but it's a different type of enjoyment. I'm playing Grade 8 stuff at the moment, taking my GCSE in music in June, starting A Level music and Music Tech in September, taking my Grade 5 Theory in November, and Grade 8 Practical as soon as I can after that.

So yes, do grades, but I'd advise Classical.
#28
Most higer grades will generally contribute a few UCAS points (the things that the university look at). So go for it.

Also, you can wave that "This is to certify ______ has reached Grade 8" slip of paper in their faces.
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#29
Most music university programs require auditions

if they don't, ask around and make sure they know what they're doing


I'm not sure if a highschool guitar grade will be worth much as far as admittance goes; universities I've looked at (in Canada) have stated that they expect in entrants a proficiency equal to a certain level but it seems they don't actually need you to have taken a test for it (that's what the audition is for). Theory and musicianship grades (AP theory, conservatory grades) can get you bypassed some boring first year theory courses though.
#30
Grades are pretty fun to do, because you get into the habit of thinking "hmm, im nearly grade 6 now, thatl mean that in a years time Ill be...". Its almost like in a RPG game where you get new levels and crap. Sounds a bit lame, but you get the idea
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#31
Quote by duggyrocks
So music is my life. Guitar is my life. I can't see myself having a career that isn't guitar related. I'm going to do music for gcse, then A level (sorry if these don't apply to your country). I think I want to study music in some shape or form at university/college level. Would an A Level pass in music be enough for a place in uni, or would I need to do grades?


Do them.

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#32
If your looking to do grades for the UK I would reccomend the Electric Guitar Playing grades by the Registry of Guitar Tutors (RGT).

http://www.registryofguitartutors.com/

They have there own books which guide you through each grade, with everything tabbed out. I am starting to take these grades soon as I know I need to have a qualified grade to get into University.
#33
^ tbh, those are pretty crap. The scales and stuff that are tabbed out you shouldn't need if you're planning on getting into Uni for something resembling music, and the technique advice is often just plain stupid, let alone wrong.

I got the top level book and it has a detailed (HA!) section on techniques for guitarists. Vibrato, a hugely important part of your playing, was discussed. Brownie points for RGT! Ah, but how do they explain how to get that huge vibrato that defines rock guitar?

"Fret the note and waggle your finger from side to side parallel to the neck.".

Omg.

To be fair, they're still better than rockschool, but the important stuff in RGT is terribly explained - the improv, the chart reading - giving you no idea of what you're looking for, and the academic stuff is either wrong or explained badly. Perhaps that's just the higher grades, but the only RGT i can touch with a bargepole is the Diploma. Which, for the record, still has very little in the way of clarification on what they want to hear in terms of playing and knowledge.
#34
Taking Grades depends on what you want to do .

Some people study the pieces and never take an exam .

Some people play purely by "Feel"

When you study for an R.G.T grade you will get an overall knowledge as a musician .
covering area's such as aural skill and sight reading of chord charts .
If you want to progress techniqucally as a musician you need to work on your weaker areas , if all you do is stay with what you do well then you are only taping into a part of your potential , a grade will help you develop many areas of guitar playing .

also when you study for a grade the right teacher for you will help making the learning come alive .
The RGT books on their own i believe are quite "DRY" but a teacher can use the criteria to make learning what you want to learn a fun and gradual process .