How to use Royal Conservatory of Music Guitar Repertoire Series

Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.
minorkey
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How to use Royal Conservatory of Music Guitar Repertoire Series

Postby minorkey » Fri Feb 03, 2017 5:38 pm

I came across a 1980 set of the first four (Grade 1-4) RCM books published by Frederick Harris Music in a used bookstore and picked them up. I've just started learning again after nearly 10 years away. I'm started from the beginning to make sure I'm developing good technique and I've just started using them as a supplement to the Noad book. It's nice to have a piece to work on in addition to the exercises in the Noad book.

Is anyone out there also using the RCM books at the beginning levels (self-taught)? Could you tell me how you're using the "studies" at the back of the book? They don't seem to be keyed to the repertoire pieces in the front, and look to be just more repertoire pieces.

I'd love to hear how other people are using these at the lower levels. Thanks!

razz
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Re: How to use Royal Conservatory of Music Guitar Repertoire Series

Postby razz » Sat Feb 04, 2017 4:09 pm

This series works better if you study with a teacher. The editors compiled the pieces so that each selection addresses a particular issue or a few related issues. Teachers are trained to spot the areas that students need to work. They know what pieces to assign that provide the additional work.

On your own, here is what I think that you should do.
-Pick two sections of the first book.
-Read through all of the pieces in the sections
-Determine which pieces will be the most difficult for you and focus on them. Be sure that you are capable of playing all of the pieces.
-Test yourself by playing those "focus on" pieces for an audience or by recording them.
-When you are happy with your performance of at least 2 pieces from each section, move on to 2 different sections
Work the entire book this way.

Move to the next book when you are happy with your performance of at least 2 pieces from each section. Remember the content of the easier book because it will provide pieces, for practice, that will help you, when you encounter more difficult pieces.
I have a series of eight. I believe there are more now. Theses books almost always supply me with some practice material that aid me in learning a new piece when I encounter difficulty. Usually the "studies" sections of the books provide the most help.

Also, consider listening to recordings of the composers (you may not find good recordings of the pieces in the book). Listening to the composers work will help give you a sense of the style.

You will probably develop your own scheme for using these books over time, but I think this is a good way to start if you do not have a teacher.
Have fun with it.

Aaron Shearer's books provide more detail than Fredrick Noad's should you find that you need more specific information.

minorkey
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Re: How to use Royal Conservatory of Music Guitar Repertoire Series

Postby minorkey » Sat Feb 04, 2017 4:54 pm

Thanks, razz. The old edition of the RCM books I have must be quite different because I only have two sections: the main section (first 2/3) with repertoire pieces in increasing order of difficulty and then a slim section with "studies" at the back, which look like more repertoire pieces. Each book (Grade 1, 2, etc.) is really slim, but I really like the pieces I've worked on so far (in order).

Lovemyguitar
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Re: How to use Royal Conservatory of Music Guitar Repertoire Series

Postby Lovemyguitar » Sat Feb 04, 2017 5:23 pm

Hi,

I used these RCM books when I took lessons (and I still play pieces from many of them all the time), and I have some of both the old and the new editions (they changed them in the middle of my studies). The "Studies" at the back are, indeed, repertoire pieces, bearing in mind that many pieces are called "studies" or "lessons" which are still very musical and enjoyable to play (or listen to). These pieces are usually composed in such as way that they focus on a particular technique (or two), and yet are much more than just rather boring exercises. For example, one can go to classical guitar concerts and hear professionals play pieces that are called "Studies" (or "Etudes", "Lessons," etc), but which are fantastic pieces of music in their own right. We are fortunate that composers wrote such pieces!

Having a teacher is useful because they could tell you precisely what playing aspects these "studies" are meant to develop, but even without a teacher, you will be building up essential skills by playing them.

razz
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Re: How to use Royal Conservatory of Music Guitar Repertoire Series

Postby razz » Sat Feb 04, 2017 5:51 pm

minorkey wrote:Thanks, razz. The old edition of the RCM books I have must be quite different because I only have two sections: the main section (first 2/3) with repertoire pieces in increasing order of difficulty and then a slim section with "studies" at the back, which look like more repertoire pieces. Each book (Grade 1, 2, etc.) is really slim, but I really like the pieces I've worked on so far (in order).


Hey, you're right. My Book 1 has just 2 sections. The repertoire section does appear to be in chronological order though.
Are Books 2,3 & 4 divided by time period (Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Contemporary)?

minorkey
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Re: How to use Royal Conservatory of Music Guitar Repertoire Series

Postby minorkey » Sat Feb 04, 2017 5:56 pm

Thanks for sharing your experience. When you were taking lessons using the RCM, did your teacher assign the studies alongside the pieces in front (e.g. this week, practice piece #2 and study #X), or just as another repertoire piece? I'm trying to figure out how and in what order to work on them. Thanks for any advice.

razz
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Re: How to use Royal Conservatory of Music Guitar Repertoire Series

Postby razz » Sat Feb 04, 2017 6:27 pm

minorkey wrote:Thanks for sharing your experience. When you were taking lessons using the RCM, did your teacher assign the studies alongside the pieces in front (e.g. this week, practice piece #2 and study #X), or just as another repertoire piece? I'm trying to figure out how and in what order to work on them. Thanks for any advice.


I used these books on a 2nd round of lessons that I took as an adult (Took my first lessons at ages 11-15.) We went through the first 4 books rather quickly. My teacher selected the pieces to address different areas where I needed work. She did not follow any preset order (as far as I could tell). I believe she meant for most of these pieces to be remedial work addressing techniques and tactics that I had not learned very well the first time.

I would approach the pieces in the study section as studies. If you like the way one sounds add it to your repertoire.

Lovemyguitar
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Re: How to use Royal Conservatory of Music Guitar Repertoire Series

Postby Lovemyguitar » Sun Feb 05, 2017 3:30 am

minorkey wrote:Thanks for sharing your experience. When you were taking lessons using the RCM, did your teacher assign the studies alongside the pieces in front (e.g. this week, practice piece #2 and study #X), or just as another repertoire piece? I'm trying to figure out how and in what order to work on them. Thanks for any advice.

When I had lessons with the RCM books (and teacher), they were not overly organised -- mostly I played what I liked (that is, what sounded nice to me!), and so I did not go through every piece in all the RCM books, just those that pleased me musically (I was an adult -- I could do what I liked! :D ). I can't recall the precise details now as to which pieces I worked on and when. In retrospect, I think I should have been less stubborn about playing repertoire pieces and done a bit more studies pieces! I actually did that later, with a different teacher, but I used a book of Sor studies and other repertoire that my new teacher gave me to address specific issues, so I am afraid that I can't help you much with regards to any order to the RCM stuff. As razz suggests, maybe just play through a few and see if you like them and see if they actually do get you doing things that are helpful, and if so, keep practicing them.

I would also add that, it would really be of benefit to get a teacher -- like razz says, they will be able to spot areas for which you need more work, and provide useful direction and suggestions of pieces to practice, rather than trying to figure it out on your own (of course, some people prefer to work on their own, or can't take lessons for whatever reasons, but it is extremely worthwhile if you can do so). Best wishes, and have fun!

minorkey
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Re: How to use Royal Conservatory of Music Guitar Repertoire Series

Postby minorkey » Sun Feb 05, 2017 4:36 am

Thanks to you both for taking time to tell me about your experience with the RCM books and your thoughts about them. It's very much appreciated!

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michaeledward64
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Re: How to use Royal Conservatory of Music Guitar Repertoire Series

Postby michaeledward64 » Thu Mar 09, 2017 7:41 pm

I don't know how much the editions may have changed in the interim, but I bought the complete series when I picked up a guitar again, after 30 years or so of not playing. Currently, there are 10 books in total in the series; A 'preparatory' book, volumes 1 - 8, and a 'guitar technique' which focuses on scales & arpeggios.

I've been focusing on these books, quite a bit, myself. And I am quite enjoying it. I don't like the modern pieces as much as the Renaissance - Romantic. The 'studies' are, usually, completely playable and musical.

I recommend you find pieces you like and play them.
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Custard
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Re: How to use Royal Conservatory of Music Guitar Repertoire Series

Postby Custard » Mon Mar 13, 2017 5:51 pm

In addition to the RCM répertoire books, I recommend the RCM's Guitar Syllabus, available free on their website in PDF format. It lists all their exam repertoire, graded by level of difficulty and divided into the major musical eras. Studies and technical requirements are listed as well. Very useful resource, whether or not you're contemplating taking an exam.

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Moje
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Re: How to use Royal Conservatory of Music Guitar Repertoire Series

Postby Moje » Thu Mar 16, 2017 1:01 am

Hi Minorkey, You've found a nice hard-copy of typical graded pieces, but honestly I think you'd be better off simply downloading repertoire from this site and following along with the lessons here on Delcamp. Even if you don't want to participate in the online classes you'll find tons of input and support from others who have learned the same pieces here in the past. Frankly I find the RCM to be something of a cash-grab, every so often they'll make some nominal change and require all the teachers out there to buy new copies of (mostly) the same music they already have, with no objective purpose. If they didn't provide the best selection of (mostly) public-domain material in the first place, why should the teachers have to pay for their mistakes? Cheers.
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Swin
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Re: How to use Royal Conservatory of Music Guitar Repertoire Series

Postby Swin » Sat Mar 18, 2017 1:18 pm

The audition requirements at the local university where I live include Segovia scales and solo pieces from RC's level four or higher. I am not a student there, but I figure these are things I should resolve to do. Yesterday I received the Segovia scales booklet and also RC's first level book. The pieces look simple, but they will help me with my sight reading and my technique. I'll work my way through the books as I go and I look forward to improving my skills.

MaritimeGuitarist
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Re: How to use Royal Conservatory of Music Guitar Repertoire Series

Postby MaritimeGuitarist » Sun Mar 19, 2017 1:21 am

"I find the RCM to be something of a cash-grab, every so often they'll make some nominal change and require all the teachers out there to buy new copies..."

I didn't realize that teachers were forced by the Royal Conservatory to purchase new editions of their publications. Does the RCM revoke your teacher certification (which costs nearly $250 to renew every 2 years) if you refuse to purchase these books?

hoppy
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Re: How to use Royal Conservatory of Music Guitar Repertoire Series

Postby hoppy » Mon Mar 20, 2017 7:18 pm

Swin wrote:The audition requirements at the local university where I live include Segovia scales


Why would a university ask prospective students to waste their time with his outdated approach to scales?


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