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The Thompson's books are divided by grade (first grade, second grade, etc.) Aside from that I have encountered a pianist who says that he is considered to be an X grade pianist. what is this grading system exactly?

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Are you asking for a list of grading systems or are you asking what system grade X is a part of? Your title and body ask different questions. – Rebecca Chernoff May 2 '11 at 15:37
up vote 5 down vote accepted

There are various grading systems used throughout the world. Grades are set by various music organizations and are designed to reflect the difficulty of playing a song, or the skill depth and breadth of a musician.

In Canada, I took lessons from teachers certified by the Royal Conservatory of Music and followed the RCM's grading system, complete with songbooks of graded songs and examinations. (I got my grade 8 piano before stopping lessons).

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This sounds vaguely similar to the British system (no surprise) which is dictated by several bodies. The larger of which I believe is the Associated Board of The Royal Schools of Music followed by Guildhall/Trinity (which have merged) which offer board set exams in theory and musicianship (performance) from level 1-8. 1-3 is beginner, 4-6 is intermediate and 7-8 is advanced (iirc there is nothing beyond 8). – andy Apr 27 '11 at 15:03

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