Welcome to MLC’s Acoustic Guitar course. This syllabus is designed to support acoustic guitarists in their progression from Debut to Level/Grade 8, through an engaging and rigorous pathway covering all the genres, stylistic elements, techniques and musical skills required for success as a contemporary acoustic guitarist. This course and the accompanying audio/visuals contain everything you need to play acoustic guitar at each Level/Grade. In the course, you will find the scores in both standard guitar notation and TAB, as well as Fact Files and Walkthroughs for each song.
The accompanying materials includes:
multiple videos showing various angles to help with your understanding (from Debut through to Level/Grade 5)
full stereo mixes of six arrangements of classic and contemporary hits
backing tracks (minus the assessed guitar part)
all necessary audio for the complete range of supporting tests
The course is divided into a number of sections across 9 Levels/Grades. These are:
Assessment Pieces: in each level, you will find six specially commissioned pieces. Each of these is preceded by a Fact File. Each Fact File contains a summary of the song, including the style, tempo, key and technical features, along with a list of the musicians who played on it. The song is provided electronically in standard notation and TAB, together with multiple videos. Immediately after each song is a Walkthrough. This covers the song from a performance perspective, focusing on the technical issues you will encounter along the way. Each song comes with a full mix version and a backing track. Both versions have spoken count-ins at the beginning. Please note that any solos played on the full mix versions are indicative only.
Technical Exercises: you should prepare the exercises set in this level/grade in the keys indicated. There is also a Riff test which should be practised and played to the backing track.
Supporting Tests and General Musicianship Questions: in Guitar Level/Grade 1 there are three supporting tests – either a Sight Reading or an Improvisation & Interpretation test and two Ear Tests – and a set of General Musicianship Questions (GMQs) asked at the end of each assessment. Examples of the types of tests likely to appear in the assessment are included in this course. Additional examples of both types of test and the GMQs can be found in the Rockschool Guitar Companion Guide.
Additional Information: finally, you will find information on assessment procedures, marking schemes, guitar tone, guitar notation, and the full notation and backing track of a piece from the next level/grade as a taster.
At each level/grade, you have the option of taking one of two different types of assessment:
Level/Grade Assessment: a Level/Grade Assessment is a mixture of music performances, technical work and tests. You prepare three pieces (two of which may be Free Choice Pieces) and the contents of the Technical Exercise section. This accounts for 75% of the assessment marks. The other 25% consists of: either a Sight Reading or an Improvisation & Interpretation test (10%), a pair of instrument specific Ear Tests (10%), and finally you will be asked five General Musicianship Questions (5%). The pass mark is 60%.
Performance Certificate: in a Performance Certificate you play five pieces. Up to three of these can be Free Choice Pieces. Each song is marked out of 20 and the pass mark is 60%.
The MLC’s Acoustic Guitar course can be studied independently. However, we firmly believe that it is the perfect companion to your weekly music lesson with an MLC Teacher. Throughout the course, you will be encouraged to:
Remember: songs, recollection of facts and concepts. This requires practice.
Understand: discuss your findings in an open forum with your teacher and peers. Identify fundamental concepts within pieces of music that you are studying, recognise patterns within music, translate and transpose those fundamentals to key elements of your studies.
Apply: use this information in new pieces. Can it expedite the learning process?
Analyse: relate your findings to an abundance of artists and pieces; identify differences; distinguish key factors.
Evaluate: justify your choices. Evaluate your progression with your teacher and peers constantly referring to the published descriptors.
Create: produce your own original work – compositions, development and improvisation.
Sit an exam: successful candidates receive an accredited qualification from RSL Awards (fees apply).
Audio is provided in the form of backing tracks (minus guitar) and examples (including guitar) for the pieces and the supporting tests where applicable. Audio files are supplied in MP3 format to enable playback on a wide range of compatible devices.
All candidates should read the accompanying syllabus guide when using this level/grade book. This can be downloaded from the RSL website: www.rslawards.com
Updates and changes to Rockschool books are documented online. Candidates should check for errata periodically while studying for any assessment. Further details can be found on the RSL website: www.rslawards.com/errata
Successful participants of Level/Grade 8 can progress onto our Professional Diplomas in Teaching, Performance or Creative Enterprise, which are commensurate to the first year of an undergraduate degree.
These qualifications are recognised in over 80 countries.
60-320 total qualification hours per Level/Grade
12-64 guided learning hours per level/grade (recommended)