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Are Grades Worth Doing?

So the question this week is, Are Guitar Grades Worth Doing?

For a lot of students this can be a great thing to pursue as it gives you a goal and it will turn you into a very capable player.

What are grades?

Grades are like an exam where you would work through a curriculum in the form of a book and sit an exam. The exam is either face to face or recorded from home.

What do you get at the end?

Grades range from 1-8 and no matter what grade you are you can put this on your CV! Yes, it's a qualification. Even if you apply for a job in a different sector like Health and Fitness, the employer will still look at this person as being a disciplined individual and a hard worker.

What grade should I aim for?

Firstly you don't have to take grades in chronological order, you can jump around depending on your level.

Secondly, If you are taking or interested in GCSE music, you would be required to play a Grade 3/4 piece. When applying for universities if you reach grade 6-8 you get UCAS points which will really help get into the University of your choice. Think of a grade 6-8 a booster as the higher the grade the more points you get.

What do they cost?

You would need to buy the book (£10-£14) and then the exam cost. Exams go up as you go through the grades and vary between exam boards. £40-£100 would be a rough guide.

OK, I'm interested but what now?

Depending on your instrument and style I would do a lot of research into the songs. 60% of the exam is learning 3 songs then the rest is supporting tests (technical/theory/aural etc) so if you don't like the songs or the direction then it might not be the best or fun experience.

Research TASK

To do this, Go on to youtube to listen to the songs of each grade and write down 3 tracks you would want to learn so you can see the type of player you could become.

Start your search with either ...

Rockschool Electric Guitar Grade 1

Rockschool Acoustic Guitar Grade 1

Rockschool Bass Grade 1


Trinity Rock and Pop Electric Grade 1

Trinity Rock and Pop Bass Grade 1

Trinity Acoustic Grade 1

Then do the same from grade 2 then 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8. So it would be something like this...


Grade 1 Seven nation army Perfect Titanium Grade 2 We are never ever getting back together Shallow Let her go Grade 3 Landslide High horse Weather with you Grade 4 Nothing else matters Use me Road trippin Grade 5 Fire and rain Blackbird Put your records on Grade 6 Shape of my heart Kiss from a rose heartbeats


Then do this for any other exam board you are interested in then you can compare. Final tip, listen to the original tracks to compare between the exam boards and original as some differ. WRAP UP I know this seems like a lot of work, but you don't have to listen to the full track just to get a feel for each grade and exam board. Please ask any questions and look forward to the next newsletter on Practicing! See you soon Dean

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