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Big Bad Bill
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I attempted my grade 4 RGT guitar exam last Sunday. I wanted to take grades to build my confidence in my abilities since I'm very nervous playing in front of people and sound like rubbish-I thought this grades would help! I practiced diligently and attained a level of competence that I was happy with and that I felt should get me through the exam comfortably. But when I walked in to the studio, I just went to pieces! Things that are second nature to me in my bedroom, scales, arpeggios, naming notes-the whole lot just fell by the wayside and my fingers behaved like frozen sausages (veggie of course) as they pounded indelicately over the fretboard. It was the worst 20 minutes of my life and I think I may have even failed. :cry:

The only thing that went well was the improvisation section where I was able to play with feel and throw in some flashy stuff and in the funky style of the backing the examiner was playing, and the rhythm chart playing, which I had practiced like mad because I was so rubbish at it before. These sections represented the bulk of the marks (30% for each section) but I'm not sure I got enough marks to get me a pass-I'll get the results in a few weeks. I've been very depressed about it and it's damaged my confidence even more-the exact opposite of what I hoped for. At first I wanted to crawl away into a hole, now I'm thinking I should just get right back into the saddle again and try once more. I have odd gaps in my abilities which I've discussed with my tutor and I hope we can address them together.

Anyone one have any opinions? Should I even bother with grades? Any advice is much appreciated.
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jemgirl
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hi b.b.b.
music supposed to be fun..not a pain in the brain.
let me tell you some...
when reatch the age of 32 i thought it would be a good idea to visit a guitar-teacher.....well...NOT!!!!!
the person trampeld on my head so hard,i felt knee-deep in shit.
i was no good in his eyes.....i had no rythm...no feeling of music.
i stopped playing guitar for about a year.
felt down and......depressed.
but..........i started to read steve vai`s lessons.....and soon i felt better and better.
now..many years later..i feel good on guitar..its my best friend.
and i`ll NEVER EVER give up.
with or without a teacher!!!!
slash89
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I feel sorry for you! Things like this really suck. You feel well prepared, but then everything just..

Just like my physics test today :lol:

But it sounded like you did well on some parts :) My fingers are crossed for you!

Personally I don't think much of grades. I don't like to be told how to play the guitar, but I can see that it is helpful to some people. You have to ask yourself if you're getting anything out of it. That's what matters. Sure having goals are good :) But remember that it should always be fun :)
Willie
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Hey B.B.B. sorry about the grades test dude, if it helps any, I completely suck at guitar, I'm self taught, can't read music or tab, never learned to play standard guitar chords, except for a few bar chords, which I learned myself, but I'm at a point that I'm a hamster on a wheel, getting nowehre fast, but what I will say is.... To hell with what the guitar teacher says or grades or whatever, when you play a guitar for a band, you don't need a CV that asks what guitar grades that you've got, they ask you to play, and that's what you should do.

Grades?.... fuck 'em, play and enjoy your instrument and let the grades go to hell because it's your musical ability that counts, not what grades you have, ok having a grade of somekind may help you get an idea of exactly what your ability level is, but you don't need it because the best thing to do is keep working on improving and improving, but in a way that you're enjoying it and not that it is like a job.

I hope this helps dude, let your guitar do the walkin and your fingers do the talkin', peace.

Willie
shredlord
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hi b.b.b.
music supposed to be fun..not a pain in the brain.
let me tell you some...
when reatch the age of 32 i thought it would be a good idea to visit a guitar-teacher.....well...NOT!!!!!
the person trampeld on my head so hard,i felt knee-deep in shit.
i was no good in his eyes.....i had no rythm...no feeling of music.
i stopped playing guitar for about a year.
felt down and......depressed.
but..........i started to read steve vai`s lessons.....and soon i felt better and better.
now..many years later..i feel good on guitar..its my best friend.
and i`ll NEVER EVER give up.
with or without a teacher!!!!
WORD!!

Absolutely right! BBB, don't worry about grades... Music is, in first place, fun, and in second, art.

For both, fun and art, there is no grading system. If you think you play fine, and you like you playing, then no teacher's opinion should bother you too much.

It's important to let constructive critics through to you, if you can learn from them, it's fine, but don't worry to much. Try to assimilate anything helpful from your teacher, but don't see music as work, otherwise you'll end as Ritchie Blackmore, who once stated that in his eyes, "music ain't fun, I'm too serious about it".
Willie
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It's a shame about Ritchie Blackmore, fuckin hell, what a guitarist, but although he's a genuine funny guy, in in terms of his personality, but he does come across as being a serious guy, but I think that it's because he demands perfection from himself and won't settle for less, which is a shame because even his worst would be better than my best lol

But yeah, music is to be enjoyed, both by the musician and the audience and if the musician looks on music work, then your ability doesn't come out as good because you become to technical and plain, instead of playing what you feel and seeing where the music takes you, trust your ability.

Willie
djhollowman
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Big Bad Bill wrote:I attempted my grade 4 RGT guitar exam last Sunday. I wanted to take grades to build my confidence in my abilities since I'm very nervous playing in front of people and sound like rubbish-I thought this grades would help! I practiced diligently and attained a level of competence that I was happy with and that I felt should get me through the exam comfortably. But when I walked in to the studio, I just went to pieces! Things that are second nature to me in my bedroom, scales, arpeggios, naming notes-the whole lot just fell by the wayside and my fingers behaved like frozen sausages (veggie of course) as they pounded indelicately over the fretboard. It was the worst 20 minutes of my life and I think I may have even failed. :cry:

The only thing that went well was the improvisation section where I was able to play with feel and throw in some flashy stuff and in the funky style of the backing the examiner was playing, and the rhythm chart playing, which I had practiced like mad because I was so rubbish at it before. These sections represented the bulk of the marks (30% for each section) but I'm not sure I got enough marks to get me a pass-I'll get the results in a few weeks. I've been very depressed about it and it's damaged my confidence even more-the exact opposite of what I hoped for. At first I wanted to crawl away into a hole, now I'm thinking I should just get right back into the saddle again and try once more. I have odd gaps in my abilities which I've discussed with my tutor and I hope we can address them together.

Anyone one have any opinions? Should I even bother with grades? Any advice is much appreciated.
Holy shit! I'm studying for EXACTLY the same course, man! I bought all the RGT books, with the intention of going thru all the grades and then teaching guitar locally. There are loads of kids who want to play better here, and most of them don't want to learn theory or practice or do anything RIGHT y'know?? So, I'm hoping to be able to show them what you can do with some application. Of course, I mainly want to develop my own playing primarily! I haven't even sat Grade 1, I'm hoping to go straight in at (funnily enough!) Grade 4. I was really worried when I read that the exam experience was like that for you, cos I'm also very nervous about it!! I'll have to travel quite a bit to get to my exams and I simply cannot afford to fail! It's my worst fear, and you've just said it's exactly what happened to you, oh no!! Man, I really feel for you! :cry:
BUT....as the others have already posted: WE SHALL PREVAIL BROTHER!! This whole experience will make you stronger. Even the experience of having done the exam will help. Even the experience of having STUDIED for the exam will help! Have you seen Total Guitar magazine?? It has an on-going in-depth exploration of these very grades, but they're currently only on Grade 1, which is of no real help! However, there was a REALLY useful video on the cover disc a few issues back which went over Grade 5 in detail!!
Please don't give up! I know what everyone means about taking it all too seriously, but you have to balance it. I feel you must be serious enough to want to improve. I mean, how frustrating is it being stuck in a rut?? Being limited by your lack of theory or ability? I'm already finding I'm playing better just by knowing more theory! The "taking it seriously" bit is the studying, but the reward comes when you see and FEEL an improvement in your playing, surely? I think it's worth a bit of effort.
Best of luck, and please let us know your exam result! I have a vested interest in you now!! :D
spanishphrygian
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I am sure that you did better then you thought! I am glad that you are concerned with getting better though.
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Big Bad Bill
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Thanks for all your kind words and advice. I have learned an awful lot by studying for these grades-chords, arpeggios etc and learned skills like reading and playing rhythm charts. I've had time to think on things and I think I will try again (if I fail) or resit the test should i need to. My guitar teacher is excellent so i just need to spend time on the exam stuff instead of trying to shred with him and doing the theory on my own!

djholloman, i've PMed you with some tips after having gone through the ordeal. They might just help you along a little when you sit your grade 4.

Good Luck!
MarkRobinson
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RGT exams are hard. Comparitively much harder than the rockschool counterparts. It depends what sort of thing you're going for but I tend to put my students towards rockschool as it's just more in line with what most of them want to do. The chart reading is good for learning jazz but to prevail you really need to live it a bit you know? The improvising part is ok but again, as the grades get higher and the chords get more exotic, they tend to be looking for something jazzy. Both exam boards suck when it comes to the arp/scale section as they just don't know what's practical/useful and have no intention on relating it anyway in my opinion. It's a shame but true.

Bother with grades if you want to bother with grades. If you don't don't. I've had students both ways, both have been succesful. Everything you learn will help you out.

And by the way, many years ago now but I failed Grade 7 RGT so you're not alone. A couple of years later I got a distinction and nearly full marks on Rockschool Grade 8. You might find it suits you better too. :D
djhollowman
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Big Bad Bill wrote:Thanks for all your kind words and advice. I have learned an awful lot by studying for these grades-chords, arpeggios etc and learned skills like reading and playing rhythm charts. I've had time to think on things and I think I will try again (if I fail) or resit the test should i need to. My guitar teacher is excellent so i just need to spend time on the exam stuff instead of trying to shred with him and doing the theory on my own!

djholloman, i've PMed you with some tips after having gone through the ordeal. They might just help you along a little when you sit your grade 4.

Good Luck!
Tremendous help actually, and much appreciated BBB! It's great to hear relevant stuff from you about these exams!
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Ricardo
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Well, even this was a lesson. And to be honest, it is more or less the same for everybody, but just relative. We ALL are better in our rooms. At least until we get experience playing out. But even then, we can still get distracted or whatever, and mess up the simple shit. Then we realize we are messing up and mess up more. Then it becomes comical and we can laugh about it later. But you have to get over it and move on.

I hate competitions and grades. But it is not an excuse for only playing good in my room. You have to get out there and keep playing in front of people. It can be tough, but now you know why so many musicicians get into drugs and acohol. It can be tough not being in the mood, or having doubts, then putting yourself out there to an audience who, like or not, is judging you and your performance.

Speaking of alcohol, you may want to think of this suggestion, I know it sounds bad. But if I have like ONE glass of wine, it relaxes my nerves a bit, and keeps me from rushing or my mind from wondering. Not to get a buzz really, just take the edge off the adrenaline rush, right before performing.

I perform professionally, A LOT, and I mess up all the time. Sometimes it is no big deal to anyone but me, other times it is embarassing and I get real depressed for a long time. But usually the next time you play and you kick ass, you forget all about it, or you laugh about it.

Ricardo
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Big Bad Bill
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All very interesting points. I think the reason I've chosen to take grades was because of the 'Pub Quiz Phenomenon'. Pub quiz teams often contain people with incredible knowledge about all sorts of things-knowledge that truly amazes me. And yet, they never seem to have applied this knowledge to anything practical or useful-just sitting in smokey pubs and answering irrelevant questions! It seems that learning and being shown how to apply that knowledge is what leads to true mastery of a discipline and it's only through systematic learning and assessment of that knowledge can one really say, "I know this stuff to this level and can apply it in this and that situation"! Arpeggios and chords can be esoteric, but knowing how they're derived makes it useful That's why I'm putting myself through this sh*t-I think!
MarkRobinson wrote:And by the way, many years ago now but I failed Grade 7 RGT so you're not alone. A couple of years later I got a distinction and nearly full marks on Rockschool Grade 8. You might find it suits you better too. :D
Ah well, now you've told me that Rock School is 'easier', I don't want their grades. I want to be able to sit next to a grade 4 classically trained pianist and hold me own in terms of ability and knowledge! :wink:
jam-man
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Fortunately, music is not about getting good grades!
slash89
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jam-man wrote:Fortunately, music is not about getting good grades!
Good point! People tend to forget that some times :?
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