RGT Tutor Interview – Guitarist Julian Brady

In this edition of the RGT Guitar Tutor Interview, we are heading to New Zealand to talk to RGT tutor and guitarist Julian Brady.

A teacher of the RGT Syllabus in Keri-Keri, Julian was recently awarded his RGT Guitar Teaching DipLCM as he continues to expand his own performance and teaching abilities with the RGT exam Syllabi.

While the RGT is well known around the UK as the exam syllabi of choice for guitar tutors, RGT has also expanded greatly in recent years in New Zealand, among other countries, with exams now being held annually in Keri-Keri, Taupo, Raumati, Auckland and Whangarei.

We recently caught up with guitarist Julian Brady to get his thoughts on preparing students for RGT Guitar Exams, his own study of the RGT material, as well as how the RGT has grown in New Zealand over the years.

If you would like more information about becoming a registered RGT guitar tutor, please visit our RGT Guitar Tutor Registration Page to learn more.


RGT: As someone who lives and works in New Zealand, how did you become aware of RGT, and why do you chose to encourage your students to take RGT guitar exams?

Julian Brady: I was an RGT Tutor in the UK before I emigrated to New Zealand. When I arrived, I was very happy to find RGT exams already in place here.

Primarily, I encourage students to take RGT Guitar Exams for the longevity of student retention.

I find that students taking exams have the backing of parents in their study, and once they’ve passed their first exam, they will be on the ladder to future accomplishments on the instrument, potentially for years rather than months.

Secondly, having gone through the grades myself as a student, and performed professionally in various contexts, I realise the importance of music theory as well as the peripheral skills to general musicianship.

Additionally, RGT exams provide a structured and clear path upwards and onwards, which lets the student know exactly where they are musically, and provides them goals for future development. It also enables students to take themselves as a musicians, and their musical study, seriously.

RGT: What do you find is the biggest challenge when preparing a student for an upcoming RGT exam?

Julian Brady: Enthusing the student to study the music theory portion of the exam, which can be more difficult than motivating them to practice the performance aspects of each grade.

RGT: Most students, if not all, deal with nervousness on some level either before or during their exams. How do you address this issue with your students in their lessons?

Julian Brady: Using my own experience in performing, I feel that nerves can only be faced head on.

Like most things in life, the more you do it the easier it becomes.

Therefore, I usually try to run my students through mock exams, and close to the exam date, trade places with another teacher that they don’t know in order to simulate exam conditions.

That way they become used to performing under pressure, which simulates how they might feel on exam day.

As well, I find that this type of nervousness diminishes after the first exam, as the student becomes more capable of handling the nervousness, and move beyond it on their own.


Guitarist Julian Brady RGT Tutor

RGT Tutor and Guitarist Julian Brady


RGT: As someone that holds a Guitar Teaching Diploma, do you see yourself continuing your own study and exam taking, or are you focusing more on the teaching side of things these days?

Julian Brady: These days I am focussing on teaching, although the attraction of a higher qualification is always there, and I will be turning to further exams next year.

RGT: How have you found the reception has been so far to the RGT exams with your students and schools in Keri-Keri and New Zealand overall?

Julian Brady: The reception for RGT exams here in New Zealand has been very good so far, and it seems that people like the idea of achieving an internationally recognized qualification on the instrument.

One observation I have made is that New Zealand has a different curriculum framework than the UK.

So, whilst University entry is not dependent upon graded exams, it has never failed yet – meaning that all of my students applying to enter University have been successful, and it would appear that the RGT exams are well respected when included in an application.

RGT: If you had one piece of advice for other guitar teachers that are preparing students for RGT exams, what would it be?

Julian Brady: I would suggest running many mock exams under different circumstances.

Try and create a simulated exam environment, and then test your students as if they were new and you were the examiner.

I have found that approach to always be helpful when preparing students for RGT exams.

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