Let's say RockSchool for now to keep it simple.

I'm aware that it's a bit more flexable than the grading scheme on piano, and I'm applying to a music college this year and looking at my options for songs to play for the audition.

I want to perhaps play Over The Hills and Far Away by Led Zeppelin, and perhaps this question could use some rephrasing, but bonus points for giving a rough estimate of the over the hills grade(I reckon 8 for the solo)

What are the main factors influencing a graded piece

1 Answer 1


I'd put this at grade 6 at the most. It seems to be a lot of pentatonics, has a bit of form, but doesn't really 'hit you in the face'.

For this grade level, there needs to be a lot more 'inventiveness'.I.e. more structure to the solo, certainly using most of the fingerboard, slides, hammer-ons, pull-offs, bends (and not just simple ones), probably a signature vibrato,and use of more than 3 or 4 chords - not just maj. or min. either.

I have far more experience with R.G.T. than Rockschool, and am aware that one of the main differences is that for R.G.T.(electric) there are no set solos to learn and reproduce, so criteria will differ.However, the quality of playing of your example would put it, as said, around grade 6.

The double stop part at the end sounds to me like two players, but at grade 6 level, you would be expected to play both parts simultaneously. Hope this helps.

  • I didn't realise RGT had a grading system. I thought they were just for Teachers. Would you say RGT is more difficult/more technical than Rockschool? I've noticed that grade 8 Rockschool doesn't seem that difficult comparatively Commented Oct 16, 2013 at 13:42
  • Rockschool and RGT was all new to me. I did some googling... Rockschool: rockschool.co.uk RGT: rgt.org Commented Oct 16, 2013 at 14:58
  • RGT is unusual in that there are no set pieces to learn. 30% marks are awarded for reading a hitherto unseen chord chart, another 30% for playing lead over ,again, a hitherto unseen chart, while the examiner plays the chords. Both skills which a lot of gigging guitarists need. Rockschool is of the old school type, where pieces, or sections of them, are played for the exam.That way, to my mind, is making the player become a 'one trick pony'.
    – Tim
    Commented Oct 16, 2013 at 15:20
  • do you know which school(if any) is likely to be more respected by music schools? Commented Oct 23, 2013 at 16:04
  • I feel that RGT gives a player a more rounded palette to work with, where Rockschool is rather what it says, so I'm going with RGT. Some examiners have hinted similarly too.
    – Tim
    Commented Oct 23, 2013 at 16:09

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