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Question Mark? and the Mysterians

There have been a lot of questions coming in through the Rock & Pop blog, so here are some thoughts in response from me, Trinity’s Rock & Pop Czar.

These are valid questions that I will try to make less mysterious in this blog post.

I haven’t cried ‘96 Tears’ like Question Mark? and the Mysterians searching for answers. ‘96 Tears’ is a great keyboard piece played on a Farfisa organ – give it a listen. They were the first Latino band to hit number 1 on the US charts, in 1966.

Here are some questions that have come from the Blog.

I have a slight concern over my students’ ability and confidence in coming to terms with new amplifier settings to make the most of their performance. For example, if the first song is clean, followed by grunge, followed by metal. Amps can be bewildering, even for a pro, these days. How does an examiner address this?

Czar suggestion: Candidates can bring their own amp that they are using at home or the amp you teach with. They do not have to play the amp that is supplied at the exam centre. Next, make sure you have your foot switch set and adjusted for clean to dirty sounds. You are not just teaching students to play the guitar, but mentoring the development of a musician, so teach them and physically show them each week how to set up their amp.

Lastly, up to Grade 5, you can come into the exam room, set the amp and help with initial set up (cable, proximity of amp, back-up pick, etc). Remember, this is the candidate’s stage performance; your candidate should understand his/her instrument which includes the amp. The examiner manages the backing tracks only and a sound check is offered at the beginning of the performance for balance. Backline drums, amps, instruments etc. are the responsibility of the candidate.

If a guitar student chooses to do a non-syllabus song for Song 2 (self-chosen or own composition), what is the maximum length of song they can do, and if they need to edit the sheet music and backing (from 8 minutes to 4 minutes, for example) is this legally permissible?

Czar Suggestion: Yes, you may edit the piece for the exam room performance only.

You can check out the information on guidance for choosing your own song on the Rock & Pop website. The parameters for each guitar grade, as well as the other instruments (length of music in timing and measures, and examples of the techniques required) are available the website.

Plus, if you are performing a self-chosen song for Song 2, you must bring the original score and one copy for the examiner (which can be edited if needed) and the backing track in a digital format, if appropriate.

Can I create my own backing tracks to use in Rock & Pop exams?

Czar Suggestion: Candidates may create their own backing track for Song 2 (self-chosen or own composition) only. They must use the backing tracks in the Trinity books and downloads for Song 1 and Song 3. If candidates are using their own backing track for Song 2, they must bring this along on the day of the exam in a digital format (USB) along with the original score and one copy for the examiner (which can be edited if needed).

I hope things don’t seem so mysterious now. ‘96 Tears’ could be a self-chosen piece – any song can!

Later, Czar

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