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Guitar help please.

Discussion in 'Music' started by Nojazz, Oct 25, 2011.

  1. I have a very talented guitar pupil. He has just completed his grade 8 rockschool and I am struggling to convince him that he must now push the boat out to develop and diversify his guitar skills and repertoire.He is only in year 10 and his parents feel he does not need anything else for him to get into FE as a guitarist in 3 years time. I have tried to explain that it is a big competitive world out there where he will meet up with others whose skills are far more diverse. He refuses to play with others and the guitar repertoire I have asked him to look at, he feels does not 'entertain' him. He wants to undertake a performing course on the guitar after A levels but thinks that he will give A level music 'a miss' as he already has the skills!
    The blinkers are on. Could anyone suggest the type of material that you would offer to a similar type of pupil and what standard of material would be of use to his further development.I am trying to remain positive.
    Any advice gratefully received.
  2. silverfern

    silverfern New commenter

    Would it be worth him going to some 'open day's at some of the performing courses he is thinking of, to jolt him into reality of the audition process and number of applicants.
    Could you take him (plus other students?) along to guitar concerts and/or concerts of guitar students at other schools, so that he understands that he's a small fish in a big pond?
    Could he take on some responisbility, eg. being an accompanist for vocal performers at school concerts/GCSE assessments?
  3. The 'Tech' schools (guitar tech, vocal tech, drum tech) have representatives who will come to schools and colleges and who, IMO, are pretty honest and clear with the kids about how difficult the session world can be. Don't know if it would be worth asking somewhere like that to come and do a talk about progression options to try and make him realise how much work he has to do..

    I'd also make him and his parents aware that grade 8 rock school is not actually deemed that difficult, it wouldn't mean much to me as someone who interviews potential FE students. I'd recognise that he had worked and focused to pass the exam but most people are aware of how easy it is in comparison to other boards. He would be better off studying the London College of Music Electric Guitar exams which are much more rigorous and run through the Registry of Guitar Tutors. You only have to compare the scales, arpeggios and chords set for each grade to see how much easier the Rock School grades are.


    In comparison with the LCM


    Even by grade 3 the expectations are pretty different.

    I'd show him the LCM grade 8 spec and see how he gets on with that, should give him something to chew on.
  4. Thanks everyone for your advice so far, I will definately look at the LCM spec and encourage him to understand the 'big world we live in'.
  5. cbmusic88

    cbmusic88 New commenter

    Can he sight read? If he's a good reader I'd nudge him in the direction of either a Big Band or show work - school musical/local am dram stuff etc.
    It is a nightmare trying to get anywhere in the music world but if he's a good reader then he's one up on several other guitarists. I used to do a lot of fixing for a couple of University/College Big Bands and the amount of guitarists (and bassists) we had coming in with no sight-reading skills at all was frankly ridiculous. Finding a guitarist who can read, groove and solo well is like finding a needle in a haystack. He could probably get into somewhere like ACM for sixth form and then do a degree there but he wouldn't exactly be pushing himself to get through it.
  6. I agree! I've had people learn the pieces very quickly just using the TAB. The RGT exams are much better though don't offer pieces for the exams.
    It's odd that the guitar and bass exams are quite easy when the piano exams are just as hard as the ABRSM, Trinity etc... But with more scales, technical exercises, composition task and harder ear tests.

  7. I'd also use your industry contacts. last time I encountered a student who had similar delusions of grandeur (a drummer in my case) I packed him off to go and sit in the pit on a west end show with my friend who was playing kit. That woke him up enough.

    I would also recommend getting him involved in shows if he's willing. I don't know what its like in your area but where I am most of the long-standing am dram companies use local peri's to play their shows who are s*** hot players. If you know anyone in that area get them to put him in one of their productions on guitar and then when he's surrounded by so called amateur musicians that can sight read fly s*** flawlessly it might make him realise he has a little bit of work to do.

    It sounds harsh but seems to me like he needs a wake up call rather than resting on his laurels for a year. He'll also struggle to have his choice of performance college at HE if he doesn't intend to study music at FE!
  8. Also a friend of mine who has A Level music, grade 8 distinction RGT guitar failed to get into the 1st year for a guitar diploma at the Tech School, and has to do a foundation year before it, and he's a good guitarist.
  9. ICMP seems to have pretty high standards as well, grade 8 Rockschool and a GCSE certainly won't be enough for them. It would be a shame for the student in the OP to learn the hard way but it sounds like the parents aren't helping much!
  10. Of itself a Rock School grade 8 is no big deal and is not a green light to a career in music.

    I would suggest he beefs up his CV playing for musicals, runs a semi-pro regularly gigging band at weekends, learns to read - perhaps an ABRSM classical grade 8, records an album of his own composition, learns an orchestral instrument such as double bass, Over and above the general musical skills, he should show musical initiative, have good people skills and an open mind to all musical genres.

    Those realistically considering a career in music will have all of this and will have been building experience from a surprisingly young age. To give an example: one of my pupils has just gained a place at Leeds College of Music; he had most of the above on his CV including three grade 8s bass & electric Rock School and classical guitar ABRSM plus four A levels including music, etc, etc. . Even with all that I was aware he was up against the country's brightest talent and that he would be very lucky to get in.

    The fact is there is probably someone like him in every school in the country and there really are only a handful of places for guitarists at the reputable colleges. Alternatively, he can go his own way and shape a 'career' for himself. Realistically, the sad truth is that there is a diminishing market for amazing guitarists.
  11. Why waste your time . . . the only way he will learn is by finding out for himself. Does he only read TAB or can he read standard notation? I suspect not. Stop giving this guy advice and let him get on with it. If he can't even bring himself to play with other musicians then it seems he is only interested in fantasy guitar paying along to CD accompaniments - this is not real music making.
    I've had boys (and a few girls) like this - they play for their own satisfaction, which is fine. Stop fussing round him and pay lots of attention to the team players and those that listen to your advice. You have told him and his parents what you think - that his musical development will be best served by expanding his range of musical experiences - they ahve not listened - your job is done.
    One thing I did do was ban CD backing tracks in concerts - it solved two problems, one was soloists who could not be bothered to rehearse with accompanists the other was singers choosing music that was not appropriate for them. It meant that if you wanted to perform you needed to be in an ensemble or, as a soloist, get to a music shop and buy the accompanimnet music.
    I need a lie down!
  12. This is a great reply - I wish you worked in my department.!
    Thanks to everyone for the great advice which I have fed back but is already wasted. The last reply just about summs up where I'm at.


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