RCM Guitar Exam - From Preparatory to ARCT

Started by burnabyguitar, November 04, 2022, 11:19:32 PM

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RCM Guitar Exam - From Preparatory to ARCT


The Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM), branded as The Royal Conservatory, is a non-profit music education institution and performance venue headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It was founded in 1886 by Edward Fisher as The Toronto Conservatory of Music. In 1947, King George VI incorporated the organization through royal charter. Its Toronto home was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1995, in recognition of the institution's influence on music education in Canada.

The Royal Conservatory Certificate Program is the division of The Royal Conservatory that sets and supports standards in music examinations across Canada, USA and internationally. The organization conducts 100,000 examinations annually in over 300 communities around the world.

RCM Examinations are conducted several times each year in more than 300 communities through a network of local centres. The Certificate Program encompasses all levels and spans 11 grades: from beginner (preparatory level) to certification as an Associate of The Royal Conservatory of Music (ARCT), to certification as a Licentiate of The Royal Conservatory of Music (LRCM)

Drawing upon its reputation of excellence, the Royal Conservatory's acclaimed guitar series (https://www.rcmusic.com/) presents a fresh and exciting selection of material to engage classical guitar students at all levels. Each progressive Repertoire and Etudes book explores a wide range of historical periods and styles, featuring pieces compiled from more than 500 years' worth of guitar and other plucked-string music. With this series, teachers and students will embark on an innovative learning path designed to foster well-rounded musical development and an enduring passion for their instrument.

Depends on levels, to get RCM certificates, students needs to pass both theory exams and practical exams. The practical exams contains several repertories from various music periods (concerto is required for high level), studies, technicals (scales, arpeggio and solid chords, tremolo, etc), ear testing, and sight-readings. Details can be found here: https://www.rcmusic.com/.

When I taught classical guitar and theories as a RCM certified teacher, my students passed got various level of certificates, and some of them won the gold medals. Since I recorded a number of pieces for the all level RCM exams, I compiled some excerpts from the pieces from preparatory level, level 1, 2 ... 10, and ARCT. Hopefully new students will have a basic feeling how the arrangement of the difficulty (both musicality and techniques) across the RCM grading system.

Here are the musical excerpt of repertoire and studies from all levels:

RCM Preparatory (Grade 0):
- Contentment (Shawn Bell)
- Exercise 13 (Elias Barriero)

RCM Grade 1
- Travelin' (Michael Coghlan)
- Branle englese (Emanuel Andriaesen)

RCM Grade 2
- Bourrée II, BWV 1010 (Johann Sebastian Bach)
- Arietta (Joseph Küffner (Kueffner))

RCM Grade 3
- Sonata no. 26, Minuet (Niccolò Paganini)
- Premiere Guagirana (Jacques Bosch)

RCM Grade 4
- Choros (Domingo Semenzato)
- Lesson 10 (Dionisio Aguado)

RCM Grade 5
- La Ligamos (Milonga) (Claudio Camisassa)
- Spanish Romance (Traditional)

RCM Grade 6
- Prelude 4 (Heitor Villa-Lobos)
- Bourrée, BWV 996 (Johann Sebastian Bach)

RCM Grade 7
- Mazurka-Chôro (Heitor Villa-Lobos)
- El Testament D'Amelia (Miguel Llobet)

RCM Grade 8
- Allemande, BWV 996 (Johann Sebastian Bach)
- Allegretto moderato, op. 6, no. 11 (Fernando Sor)

RCM Grade 9
- Danza española, op. 37 no. 5 (Andaluza) (Enrique Granados)
- Recuerdos de la Alhambra (Francisco Tárrega)

RCM Grade 10
- Una Limosna por el Amor de Dios (El Ultimo Trémolo) (Barrios Mangoré Agustin)
- Ten Etudes, No. 6 (Giulio Regondi)

RCM ARCT (Associate of The Royal Conservatory of Music)
- Fugue, BWV 1000 (Johann Sebastian Bach)
- Variaciones on "O Cara Armonia" by Mozart, op. 9, (Fernando Sor)


Very interesting - and I am surprised that Recuerdos de la Alhambra is "only" grade 9, since it sounds so incredibly difficult.  The only guitarist I know who makes those constant repeated notes sound effortless is Yepes - even John Williams sounds as though he's struggling.
"All the world is birthday cake" - George Harrison


Thanks for the response DaveF. yes but note the max technical level is roughly Grade 10:) (Grade 10 vs ARCT - I would say the major differences are more musically complex piece and larger scope, such as concerto, etc).