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Which Exam Board Do I Choose For My Child’s Guitar Exams? 

September 6th, 2020 by Cassie Steele

45% of CHILDREN WHO WANT TO LEARN AN INSTRUMENT choose the guitar. It is such a versatile instrument and lends itself well to any style of music from rock to classical. You can purchase an acoustic or basic electric guitar relatively cheaply, and it is of course, unlike the piano, a portable instrument, which is great for practising anywhere. Many guitar tutors encourage their students to take examinations or grades when they are learning. These grades give students something formal to work towards, as well as providing them with A GREAT SENSE OF ACHIEVEMENT. There are many different exam boards to choose from though, each covering different styles and techniques.

RSL Awards

RSL (Rockschool Ltd) are an exam board that have been running for over 25 years, offering grades in the performing arts. Their Rockschool syllabus has become increasingly popular, particularly for children, as it includes well-known pieces in rock and pop styles. You can even play a free choice piece when you take a grade. Many children learn to play the guitar on smaller instruments with shorter necks. These ½ or ¾ sized guitars have a SHORTER SCALE LENGTH and are better for little fingers. Even if your child is learning on a small-sized guitar, they can still play along with the Rockschool backing tracks, and the music can even be transposed if necessary. The Rockschool music grades are recognised by UCAS, and all exams above Grade 6 attract points.


ABRSM grades

The ABRSM (Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music) is a much-respected exam board with a long history. They offer guitar grades that are suitable for acoustic guitar. For each grade, you have to play three pieces and a selection of scales and arpeggios, as well as some sight-reading and aural tests. You get a choice of pieces from three lists, which cover baroque, classical, romantic, traditional and jazz styles of music.

Trinity College

The Trinity exam board offers several different TYPES OF GUITAR EXAM, giving you greater scope. There are grades for acoustic, plectrum guitar and classical guitar, and there's also a newer rock and pop syllabus, which allows you to play electric guitar. The rock and pop grades give you a choice of songs to play, such as "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana and "Morning Glory" by Oasis. Again, all of the Trinity grades, no matter what style, attract UCAS points for Grade 6 upwards. No matter what style of music your child chooses, they can find an exam board to suit their needs. Taking a grade can really help improve their playing technique and motivate them to keep practising.

Categories: Music, Guitar
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