Acoustic Guitar Syllabus

Understand the requirements for your certificate

I am able to teach you the London College of Music official acoustic guitar syllabus to help you gain recognised qualification in acoustic guitar playing.
Founded in 1887 as an establishment devoted to musical education, the London College of Music was incorporated as a public educational institution in 1939, and became part of Thames Valley University in 1991. Today, London College of Music Examinations enjoys an esteemed reputation as a major international music examination board.

These examinations offer a formal recognition of the specific talents of acoustic guitar players. From Grade One onwards, these examinations are accredited by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA), and have been placed on the National Qualifications Framework, so establishing a formal and recognised standard by which the skills and abilities of acoustic guitarists can be assessed. From Grade Six onwards, the exams are awarded UCAS points towards university entrance.

Initial Stage

Open position chords: C, G, Am, Em
1 octave open position scales: C major and G major – ascending only

Preliminary Grade

Open position chords: G, C, D, Am, Dm, Em
1 octave open position scales: C major and G major – ascending and descending

Grade 1

As previous grade, plus:
Open position chords: A, E, A7, B7, D7, E7
1 octave open position scales: D major, A natural minor

Grade 2

As previous grades, plus:
Open/first position chords: F, C7, G7, Amaj7, Cmaj7, Dmaj7, Fmaj7, Gmaj7, Am7, Dm7, Em7
2 octave open position scales: A major, A Dorian

Grade 3

As previous grades, plus:
Open/first position chords: Asus2, Dsus2, Fsus2, Asus4, Csus4, Dsus4, Esus4, Fsus4, Gsus4
2 octave open position scales: G major, A natural minor, A Mixolydian

Grade 4

As previous grades, plus:
Open/first position chords: A6, D6, E6, G6, Aadd9, Cadd9, Eadd9, Fadd9, Gadd9
2 octave open position scales: E major, E natural minor, E blues
2 octave fretted major scales (played without the use of open strings): G, A, C, D

Grade 5

Barre chords with ANY root note: major, minor
2 octave fretted scales in ANY key: major, natural minor, blues
2 octave open position arpeggios: A, G and E major; A and E minor

Grade 6

Barre/fretted chords with ANY root note: major 7, minor 7, dominant 7
1 octave fretted major scales in 3 fingerboard positions in ANY key
2 octave fretted scales in ANY key: pentatonic major, pentatonic minor
2 octave major arpeggios with ANY rootR
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Grade 7

Major chords with ANY root note in 3 different fingerboard positions
Diminished 7 chords with ANY root
Major chords in 1st and 2nd inversion: C, D, E, G, A
2 octave scales in ANY key: Mixolydian modal scale, Dorian modal scale, harmonic minor
1 octave fretted scales in 3 fingerboard positions in ANY key: natural minor
2 octave arpeggios with ANY root: minor

Grade 8

Major chords with ANY root note in 4 different fingerboard positions
Minor chords with ANY root note in 3 different fingerboard positions
Minor chords in 1st and 2nd inversion: Am, Dm, Em
1 octave scales in 5 fingerboard positions in ANY key: major
1 octave C major scale harmonised in 3rds and 6ths
1 octave G major scale harmonised in 10ths
2 octave arpeggios with ANY root: dominant 7

The above areas are specifically for fingerboard knowledge only. You will also need to know various material from the following sections:

PERFORMANCE ASPECTS vary per grade

MUSICAL KNOWLEDGE vary per grade

ACCOMPANIMENT vary per grade

AURAL ASSESSMENT vary per grade

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