Classical Guitar
Grade 2

The Grade 2 Classical Guitar exam is for candidates who have mastered the key skills up to Grade 1 and since acquired greater use of technique, rhythms, coordination and musical understanding. There is also the continuing opportunity to develop improvisation skills.
There are two main types of exams available at Grade 2, either a Grade Exam or Performance Certificate, which can be booked as a face-to-face or live-streamed exam or submitted as a recorded digital exam.

Estimated Examination Time:

  • Grade Exam: 20 minutes (approx.)
  • Performance Certificate: 15 minutes (approx.)
RSL Classical Guitar

Purchase Your Book & Exam Entry

Classical grades for the modern musician. RSL Classical Guitar Grade 2 will provide you with everything you need for your Grade 1 exam, including a diverse range of repertoire, a truly innovative range of supporting tests and a vast array of professionally arranged and recorded backing tracks.

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Classical Guitar Grade 2

The essential syllabus for the aspiring, contemporary Classical Guitarist. RSL Classical Guitar G...
Graded Music Exam Grade 2

Graded Music Exam: Grade 2

All Instruments - General guidance: Graded Music Exams Overview - How to book an exam UK / Repub...

Performance Pieces

The performance pieces in the grade book can be used for both the Grade Exam and Performance Certificate and are designed so candidates can demonstrate the required assessment criteria.

Featured Repertoire:

  • Edvard Grieg – In the Hall of the Mountain King
  • Laura Snowden – Song for a Friend
  • Taylor Swift – We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together
  • From ‘A Star is Born’ – Shallow
  • Ignatius Sancho – Le Douze Décembre
  • Lee Sollory – Magnetic South
  • Antonio Vivaldi – Spring
  • G.F. Handel – The Harmonious Blacksmith
  • Nathanael Diesel – Menuet
  • Nina Simone – Feeling Good

Technical Exercises

There are three groups of technical exercises at this grade: Scales, Arpeggios and Technical Studies. All are to be played unaccompanied. The tempos given for the scales and arpeggios are the recommended minimum tempos for this grade.

 

GROUP A – Scales

Candidates are to prepare all of the following. In the exam, the examiner will request a selection to be performed, stating how they are to be performed, from the requirements listed in the table. Candidates can choose to perform the scales in even notes (quavers) or with long tonic rhythms.

Major Scales

Scale: D Major
Range: Perfect 12th
Tempo: Crotchet = 80
Requirements: Tirando or apoyando (candidate choice), fingers only

Scale: C Major
Range: 1 Octave
Tempo: Crotchet = 80
Requirements: Tirando, thumb only

Minor Scales

Scale: D Harmonic Minor
Range: 1 Octave
Tempo: Crotchet = 80
Requirements: Tirando or apoyando (candidate choice), fingers only

Scale: B Minor (Natural or harmonic minor – candidate’s choice)
Range: 1 Octave
Tempo: Crotchet = 80
Requirements: Tirando, thumb only

Chromatic Scales

Scale: Chromatic, starting on A
Range: 1 Octave
Tempo: Crotchet = 80
Requirements: Tirando, thumb only

Double-Stopped Exercise

G Minor Double-Stopped Exercise
Tempo: Crotchet = 80

 

GROUP B – Arpeggios

Candidates are to prepare all of the following. In the exam, the examiner will request a selection to be performed. Over-ringing of notes in arpeggios is acceptable at Grade 2.

Arpeggio: D Major, D Minor, C Major
Range: 1 Octave
Tempo: Crotchet = 80
Requirements: Tirando, thumb and fingers

 

GROUP C – Technical Studies

Candidates are to perform one of the three technical studies given in the grade book. The examiner will ask which study the candidate has prepared.

Supporting Tests

Sight Reading or Improvisation & Interpretation

In the exam, candidates have a choice between either a Sight Reading test or a Contemporary Improvisation & Interpretation test. The examiner will ask the candidate which one they wish to choose before commencing. Once the candidate has decided they cannot change their mind.

Sight Reading

Requirements

The sight reading test will be up to eight bars long, in one of the following keys:

  • C major
  • A minor
  • G major

Process
The examiner will give the candidate a previously unseen test to be performed unaccompanied. You will have 90 seconds to prepare, after which the examiner will ask the candidate to commence the test.

While the test is not played to a metronome click, candidates may ask to hear the minimum tempo on a metronome at the start of, or throughout their practice time. Additionally, candidates may ask to hear a few seconds of the tempo on a metronome before the assessed part of the test begins.

Contemporary Improvisation & Interpretation

Requirements
Candidates will be given a five-bar chord progression in the key of D major or B minor. The tempo is crotchet = 85.

At Grade 1, candidates only need to improvise single-note melodies in the key of D major or B minor. The chord symbols show the chord progression of the backing track only.

  • The D major test will contain the chords I, IV, V7, VIm
  • The B minor test will contain the chords Im, III, IVm, VIm and VII7

Process
Candidates will first be given 90 seconds to practise, before which candidates will be given the choice of a metronome click throughout or a one-bar count-in at the beginning. Following the initial practice time, the examiner will play the backing track twice. The first time is for the candidate to practise and the second time is for the candidate to perform the final version for the exam. For each playthrough, the backing track will begin with a one-bar count-in. The backing track is continuous, so once the first playthrough has finished, the count-in of the second playing will start immediately.

Ear Tests

There are two Ear Tests in this grade. The examiner will play each test twice.

Melodic Recall

The examiner will play a two-bar melody using the C major scale. The first note of the melody will be the root note and the first interval will be ascending. Candidates will need to play the melody back on their instrument. Candidates will hear the test twice. Each time the test is played it is preceded by a one bar count-in. There will be a short gap to practise. Next, candidates will hear a vocal count-in and then play the melody to the metronome click.

The tempo is crotchet = 85.

Rhythmic Recall

The examiner will play a two-bar rhythm played to a metronome click on the lowest-sounding E string. Candidates will hear the test twice and will be asked to play the rhythm back. Candidates will then be asked to identify the rhythm from two printed examples shown. Each time the test is played it is preceded by a one bar count-in. There will be a short gap to practise. Next, candidates will hear a vocal count-in and will then play the rhythm to the metronome click.

The tempo is crotchet = 90.

General Musicianship Questions

In this part of the exam, the candidate will be asked five questions, divided between two topics as detailed below.

Music Knowledge

At Grade 2 the candidate will be asked three questions based on their choice of a piece of music that the candidate has played in the exam.

The questions will be drawn from the following:

  • identify the pitch name of notes
  • explain the meaning of the time signature marking
  • identify rhythm values from the following: semibreve (whole), minim (half), crotchet (quarter), quaver (eighth) and semiquaver (16th note) values, and their associated rests

Candidates will also be asked one question on chord construction:

  • explain the difference between a major or minor chord

Instrument Knowledge

The examiner will also ask the candidate one question regarding their instrument, drawn from the following:

  • three of the following parts of their guitar: neck, fretboard, body, tuning-pegs, nut, soundhole, or bridge
  • identify the pitches of all open strings (in standard tuning)

Exam Structure

There are two types of exam available, a Grade Exam or Performance Certificate.

Grade Exam

3 Performance Pieces (two of which may be Free Choice Pieces) Candidates choose to play either Performance Pieces or Technical Exercises first These account for 60% of the exam mark
Technical Exercises (Section A, B, C and D for Level 3 qualifications) Candidates choose to play either Performance Pieces or Technical Exercises first These account for 15% of the exam mark
Sight Reading or Improvisation & Interpretation (Debut to Grade 5); Quick Study Pieces (Grade 6 to Grade 8) Candidates are given an unseen test to prepare and perform This accounts for 10% of the exam marks
2 Ear Tests Candidates respond to 2 aural tests. These account for 10% of the exam marks
5 General Musicianship Questions Candidates answer 5 questions based on one of the pieces performed These account for 5% of the exam marks

Performance Certificate

5 Performance Pieces only (three of these can be Free Choice Pieces) These account for 20% of the exam mark each.

Assessment Criteria

Performance Pieces

Attainment Band Distinction Merit Pass Below Pass Below Pass 2
Mark Range 18-20 15-17 12-14 6-11 0-5
Command of Instrument Consistently clear production of sound and even tone quality throughout Mostly clear production of sound and even tone quality overall Some clear production of sound and generally even tone quality Sound produced is unclear with uneven quality of tone produced No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Sync or Pulse Performance consistently synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance mostly synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance sometimes synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance not synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse not maintained No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Accuracy & Understanding all of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated throughout. Understanding of musical structure shown all of the time. Most of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated overall. Understanding of musical structure shown most of the time. Some of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills generally demonstrated. Understanding of musical structure shown some of the time. Written music not accurately performed or equivalent skills not demonstrated. Understanding of musical structure not evidenced. No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Style & Expression Consistently convincing projection of the music. Mostly convincing projection of the music. Some convincing projection of the music. Music not convincingly projected. No attempt and/or incomplete performance

Technical Exercises

Attainment Band Distinction Merit Pass Below Pass Below Pass 2
Mark Range 13–15 11–12 9–10 4–8 0–3
Command of Instrument Consistently clear production of sound and even tone quality throughout Mostly clear production of sound and even tone quality overall Some clear production of sound and generally even tone quality Sound produced is unclear with uneven quality of tone produced No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Sync or Pulse Performance consistently synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance mostly synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance sometimes synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance not synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse not maintained No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Accuracy & Understanding all of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated throughout. Understanding of musical structure shown all of the time. Most of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated overall. Understanding of musical structure shown most of the time. Some of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills generally demonstrated. Understanding of musical structure shown some of the time. Written music not accurately performed or equivalent skills not demonstrated. Understanding of musical structure not evidenced. No attempt and/or incomplete performance

Ear Tests

Attainment Band Distinction Merit Pass Below Pass Below Pass 2
Mark Range 9-10 7-8 6 3-5 0-2
Accuracy & Understanding All of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated throughout. Understanding of musical structure shown all of the time. Most of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated overall. Understanding of musical structure shown most of the time. Some of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills generally demonstrated. Understanding of musical structure shown some of the time. Written music not accurately performed or equivalent skills not demonstrated. Understanding of musical structure not evidenced. No attempt and/or incomplete performance

Supporting Tests

Attainment Band Distinction Merit Pass Below Pass Below Pass 2
Mark Range 9-10 7-8 6 3-5 0-2
Command of Instrument Consistently clear production of sound and even tone quality throughout Mostly clear production of sound and even tone quality overall Some clear production of sound and generally even tone quality Sound produced is unclear with uneven quality of tone produced No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Sync or Pulse Performance consistently synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance mostly synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance sometimes synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance not synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse not maintained No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Accuracy & Understanding All of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated throughout. Understanding of musical structure shown all of the time. Most of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated overall. Understanding of musical structure shown most of the time. Some of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills generally demonstrated. Understanding of musical structure shown some of the time. Written music not accurately performed or equivalent skills not demonstrated. Understanding of musical structure not evidenced. No attempt and/or incomplete performance

General Musicianship Questions

Attainment Band Distinction Merit Pass Below Pass Below Pass 2
Mark Range 5 correct responses 4 correct responses 3 correct responses 2 correct responses 0-1 correct responses

Performance Certificate

Attainment Band Distinction Merit Pass Below Pass Below Pass 2
Mark Range 18-20 15-17 12-14 6-11 0-5
Command of Instrument Consistently clear production of sound and even tone quality throughout Mostly clear production of sound and even tone quality overall Some clear production of sound and generally even tone quality Sound produced is unclear with uneven quality of tone produced No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Sync or Pulse Performance consistently synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance mostly synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance sometimes synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse maintained Performance not synchronised to the music, or an internal pulse not maintained No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Accuracy & Understanding All of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated throughout. Understanding of musical structure shown all of the time. Most of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills demonstrated overall. Understanding of musical structure shown most of the time. Some of the written music accurately performed or equivalent skills generally demonstrated. Understanding of musical structure shown some of the time. Written music not accurately performed or equivalent skills not demonstrated. Understanding of musical structure not evidenced. No attempt and/or incomplete performance
Style & Expression Consistently convincing projection of the music. Mostly convincing projection of the music. Some convincing projection of the music. Music not convincingly projected. No attempt and/or incomplete performance

Digital Files

For the RSL shop we’ve chosen the most widely used media for ease of use and flexibility when transferring across different devices.

Every complete digital book (e.g. Electric Guitar Grade 1) includes:

  • PDF sheet music
  • MP3 audio
  • Supporting tests

Download Limits

We know downloading digital content can be frustrating at times which is why we’ve given you multiple chances to download your audio and sheet music.

Each complete digital book purchased includes:

  • 5 audio downloads
  • 3 sheet music downloadsThis means if you misplace your content, or if your download times-out, you’ll still have plenty of attempts to download your content.

Purchase Options

1. Hard Copy

The hard copy or paperback version can be purchased from our shop for shipping to the UK. Orders for shipping to other countries can be placed via www.musicroom.com. The paperback version includes everything you need for your exam in one essential book, including sheet music, a code for access to MP3 audio and complete supporting tests.

2. Digital Download (where applicable)

Digital downloads is the most popular way of purchasing and downloading a Rockschool book, track or supporting test. Rockschool digital book downloads come complete with PDF sheet music, MP3 audio and supporting tests for instant accessibility on all your favourite devices.

Note: Digital sheet music is stamped with your email address and order number.

3. Digital Download + E-Book Access

The RSL e-books, utilising Learning Platform technology powered by MatchMySound, are the ultimate practise tool, giving you the ability to master your instrument like never before.

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