Free Guitar Lesson: How to play chords in the guitar grade exams

Monday, 11 March 2013

This video lesson and free PDF offer tips on how to prepare for playing chords in the Technical Exercises of Rockschool grade exams, including strumming and arpeggiating.

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Playing open chords in the Technical Exercises section of the Debut to Grade 2 exams is simply a matter of strumming a series of chords once each when prompted by the examiner. However, in Grades 3–8 students are required to play each chord twice: first strummed then arpeggiated, which means candidates should pick each note individually. These notes have no rhythm in the notation; however, students should try to play evenly and avoid leaving large or uneven gaps between too many of the notes.

“This technique of mixing strumming and arpeggios will help students to play songs that they like and create their own guitar parts”

When candidates practise arpeggiating chords they should aim to always pick the notes at the same speed so that they get into a routine where they play the chords the same way every time. This will give them a sense of being prepared when they get to the big day and have to cope with the inevitable exam day nerves.

This technique of mixing strumming and arpeggios, which is expanded upon in Fig. 2, is far from just an exercise. Mastering it will help students to play lots of songs they like (see ‘On Record’, right) and prepare them for creating their own guitar parts.

Video Tutorial


Related Links

Guitar Grade 3
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