One of the most popular exam choices currently offered by RGT is the Acoustic Guitar Syllabus. With a wide span of levels offered, from Initial Stage exams all the way to Acoustic Guitar Teaching Diploma exams, the RGT Acoustic Guitar syllabus has something for everyone looking to improve their Flattop guitar performance and knowledge.
In today’s article, we’ll be taking a look at the requirements for the Initial Stage Acoustic Guitar Exam. Feel free to bookmark this page and come back to it as you begin to learn and explore the various sections of this exam with your teacher and in your personal study.
Acoustic Guitar Exam Initial Stage Intro
The Initial Stage RGT Acoustic Guitar Exam is aimed towards candidates that are 7 years of age and older, and the exam itself lasts approximately 10 minutes.
Though it is recommended that candidates study for and perform this exam on an Acoustic (Flattop) guitar, the use of a nylon string is absolutely fine, and the use of an electric guitar for these exams is allowed, but is not recommended.
There are two main sections to this exam, Fingerboard Knowledge and Performance, which are outlined below, and which are geared towards introducing you to scales and chord shapes on the guitar, as well as building your performance ability through the study of chord progressions and melody lines.
Acoustic Guitar Exam Initial Stage Breakdown
To help you have a better understanding of what is required from this exam, here is a brief outline of the two main sections of the Acoustic Guitar Initial Stage Exam.
Each of these items can be found in the RGT Acoustic Guitar Initial Stage Book, and it is recommended that anyone taking this exam purchase and work through this book in their preparations. The exam entry form is also contained in the book, which is necessary to fill out and submit before registering for this or any RGT exam.
In this section of the exam, which is worth 25/100 marks, candidates will study and be prepared to perform four different chords, C-G-Am-Em, as well as two one-octave scales, ascending only, C major and G major. When performing the chords in this section of the exam, 3-note shapes are acceptable as well as larger shapes in open position.
During the exam, the examiner will ask to hear some or all of these requirements, and one strum of each chord, and one playing of each scale, will be sufficient to demonstrate your knowledge of these technical items in the exam.
The Performance section of the exam is divided into two sections, the Rhythm Study which is worth up to 25/100 marks, and the melody section, which is worth up to 50/100 marks. Pieces in this section, Rhythm Study and Melodies, can be read during the exam as they aren’t required to be memorized at this grade level.
For the rhythm study, candidates prepare one of the rhythm studies from the Acoustic Guitar Initial Stage Book, and they will be asked to perform this piece on their own during the exam.
The melody section has two parts to it, consisting of the performance of two melodies chosen from the Acoustic Guitar Initial Stage Book, which are again played unaccompanied during the exam.
Since there are two pieces to be performed in this section, each melody is worth 25/100 marks, for a total of 50/100 for the melody section of the exam.
As you can see, each part of the exam, Fingerboard Knowledge, Rhythm Study, and 2 Melodies, are worth 25/100 marks towards the final grade.
Because of this, it is advisable to make sure you are prepared to play all four sections of this exam, and to spend time practising all four sections during the lead up to your eventual exam date.
Acoustic Guitar Exam Initial Stage Tips
To help you get started on your study of the RGT Acoustic Guitar Exam Initial Stage material, here are a few tips to keep in mind when practising the technical, and performance sections of the exam.
1. Go slow when practising and playing your scales. It is better to play slow and clean, than fast and unclear, when it comes to the technical requirements of the exam.
2. Be sure to sound all of the notes when playing any of the chords in the Fingerboard Knowledge section of the exam. Sometimes the middle notes of any chord can be harder to fret than the outer notes, causing them to be muted. Try plucking each note in the chord to make sure you can hear every note cleanly when practising this material at home.
3. When practising your rhythm study, be sure to focus on not only playing each chord correctly, but on having a steady tempo and a smooth and even flow to the progression. If your chords sound clean, but there are pauses between chord changes, this will not be as effective as compared to smooth transitions between each chord in the progression.
4. When performing the two melodies on the exam, try not to play them too quickly. We all get nervous during exams, but take a deep breath before you play each melody and try not to rush through it if possible.
To find out more about the Acoustic Guitar Initial Stage Exam, please visit the RGT Acoustic Guitar Exam page, or feel free to read and download the RGT Acoustic Guitar Exam Handbook and the RGT Acoustic Guitar Exam Syllabus from the RGT website as well.
Not a Registered RGT Teacher yet? Visit the Join the RGT Page to find out the great benefits that membership has to offer.
Have you taken or taught an Initial Stage Acoustic Guitar Exam? Share your thoughts or questions about this exam in the COMMENTS section below.