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  1. #1

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    Hey Everyone

    One of the most popular questions I get, and see on forums, is from people looking to do higher ed study in jazz performance. For those that are interested, check out the London College of Music Jazz Guitar Performance Diplomas.

    RGT Jazz Guitar Performance Diplomas | Jazz Guitar Qualifications | Jazz Guitar Diploma Handbooks

    I had my first student do the DipLCM this spring, and have several more working their way through the exams, and my experience with them has been great so far. They're challenging, provide great material and most importantly provide accredited diplomas in jazz guitar for a very reasonable cost, especially compared to a traditional degree program.

    They might not be for everyone, as going through a University program might be a better option for you, but if you are looking for a jazz diploma and don't have a college or university nearby that offers that option, as was the case with my students, it's worth looking into.

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Matt, I've often wondered; how do these degree and diploma programs equate to US degrees? It seems like there are so many different forms and levels compared to the US. What does one do with a diploma in Jazz? Is it like an Associates degree in the US, a junior college degree to prep for further studies? In the past I've tried to figure it out using Wikipedia but not much luck. I was considering taking some music courses offered by the Open University that seemed quite interesting and fit into my schedule until I discovered the cost for an American student - kinda shocking. Not as bad as Berklee but still quite a lot of money.

  4. #3

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    why does the application ask for ethnic origin?

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by hodge12
    why does the application ask for ethnic origin?
    hey, that's common in the UK, every job I've ever applied for over here, or that my wife has applied for, has asked that. You don't have to answer, but I believe it's just for the government to keep track of who is applying for what jobs and to try and keep things fair over time. I think it's our version of Affirmative Action, in a mild way.

  6. #5

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    Hey

    Each of the exams/diplomas is equivalent to 1 year in University. So, the DipLCM is the same as finishing a first year course at University and so on. If you do the first 3 exams, over here that's the equivalent to an Undergrad Degree, and if you do the FLCM, that's the same as a Masters Degree in Performance.

    Costs are high everywhere these days for Universities and Colleges, which is why I like these exams. The students I have that are doing them have done other degrees and don't want to pay for a whole other undergrad in Jazz so that they can teach it at a High School or College over here, or just have certification in that field. So for about 900 pounds they can get all four exams done, whereas over here 1 year of jazz at University costs about 9500 pounds. So the cost difference is fairly substantial.

  7. #6

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    Thanks for the info, Matt. IIRC, the Open University tuition for a US citizen was around 5000 pounds. Life sure is interesting. As always, thanks for the informative posts.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by hodge12
    why does the application ask for ethnic origin?
    It's a legal requirement in the UK.
    It is for monitoring purposes only - how do you know you're being fair if you don't monitor?
    It would not be used as part of any selection process.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by hodge12
    why does the application ask for ethnic origin?
    Tell them, "gypsy".


  10. #9

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    I've decided to do this. I just bought the handbook and I'm gearing all my practice toward the requirements. For the last two weeks I've been getting daily at 4 or 5 AM (depending on how early I work) in order to have a solid 2 hours of practice. This is just the motivation I needed. My goal is to take the first exam in August of 2015. Does that seem like I'm over preparing?

  11. #10

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    Hey

    Well the exam is the equivilant to one year of music University study, so a year prep is normal. I have a student that got a distinction on the DipLCM exam this year and he studied for 12 months or so for this exam. For the next exam we'll do it in 9 months so it does get easier too as you learn about the preparation process.

    If you want to post a video or audio of yourself jamming on a tune let me know and I can give you my opinion as to how far off you are from the exam. The hardest part is the sight reading, it gets a lot of people so if you are working I would spend half my practice time on that side of the exam.

  12. #11

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    Thanks, Matt. I printed out your tips articles last week. Good to know.

    A question on the technical knowledge portion: To what extent do I need to know the modes of Harm. Minor and Major? Do I need to play them across the instrument one at a time? The reason I'm asking is I don't really use or think about them, and I don't want to put much time memorizing them unless it's critical.

  13. #12

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    Cool. You don't have to learn Harmonic Major at all, just the 1st and 5th modes of Harmonic Minor, here is the list of requirements from the syllabus in case you missed them. So not that bad, just those two modes.

    Component 1: Technical Knowledge
    Candidates are expected to perform from memory a selection of scales, arpeggios and chords as requested by the
    examiner – the range of which is listed below.
    The examiner may request the scales to be played either ‘straight’ or ‘swung’. Arpeggios should be played
    ‘straight’.

    Scales and arpeggios:
    a). Dorian modal scale, Phrygian modal scale, Lydian modal scale, Mixolydian modal scale, Locrian modal scale –
    in ALL keys over 2 octaves in two different fingerboard positions.
    b). Harmonic minor scale and Phrygian dominant modal scale in ALL keys over 2 octaves.
    c). Diminished scale (half-whole and whole-half versions) and whole-tone scale in ALL keys over 2 octaves.
    d). Jazz melodic minor scale, Lydian Augmented modal scale (aka MM mode 3, aka Lydian #5), Lydian dominant
    (aka MM mode 4, aka Lydian b7 modal scale), Locrian natural 2nd modal scale (aka MM mode 6, aka Aeolian
    b5), Super Locrian modal scale (aka MM mode7, aka altered scale) – in ALL keys over 2 octaves.
    e). Major scale, natural minor scale, blues scale and chromatic scale in ALL keys over 3 octaves.
    f). ANY major 9th, minor 9th or dominant 9th arpeggio over 2 octaves.
    g). ANY minor 7th or dominant 7th arpeggio with # or b 5ths and/or # or b 9ths over 2 octaves.

    Chords:
    a). Minor 7th, major 7th, dominant 7th and minor 7th b5 chords using ‘4-string’ shapes in 4 different
    fingerboard positions – at ANY pitch.
    b). Augmented 5th, major 6th, minor 6th, diminished 7th, dominant 7 sus 4, major 7th b5, major 7 #5,
    major 9th, minor 9th, dominant 9th and dominant 13th chords in 2 different fingerboard positions – at ANY
    pitch.
    c). ALL minor 7th and dominant 7th chords with altered 5ths and/or altered 9ths.
    d). All major, minor, minor 7th and dominant 7th chords with commonly-used ‘non-root’ or ‘altered’ bass notes.

  14. #13

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    Matt,

    Do they offer similar exams for different instruments, either jazz or classical?

    Thanks,
    Bako

  15. #14

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    Hey

    They sure do, you can find all the different instruments here.

    Subjects | University of West London

  16. #15

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    Excellent-- I must have overlooked that. In that case, I'm over half way ready for that section! I'll work up an audio track in the near future. I appreciate the opinion offer.

  17. #16

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    Cool good luck!

  18. #17

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    Just wanted to pass along a few more articles that outline the Jazz Guitar Performance Exams at LCM/RGT if anyone is interested.


    http://www.rgt.org/blog/rgt-jazz-gui...plomas-outline


    http://www.rgt.org/blog/category/jaz...ormance-diplcm


    Cheers!

  19. #18

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    Thanks Matt, these articles are gold. I currently have a student working towards the DipLCM, so these are great to clarify everything for both tutors and students. If it wasn't for these I'd calling up the RGT office all the time.

    Just two quick questions; for the technical knowledge in the DipLCM, section a - it says that scales should be learned in 2 octaves and in 2 different fingerboard positions. Does this mean 4 octaves all together or just two different octaves in different areas of the neck?

    For most of the other scales it asks for two octaves... do the examiners prefer the two octaves to be close together? E.g. Harmonic minor starting with a root on the 6th string and the secound octave starting with a root on the 4th string?

  20. #19

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    Hi Jamie

    Glad you dig the exams! For the scales, it's 2, 2-octave fingerings. So you can do A major from the A on the 6th string starting on your pinking finger, then do A major from the 6th string on your index finger and that is two positions for a two-octave A major scale.

    For the other two-octaves scales, they have to be in a row, so for A HM it would start on the 6th string A and then climb up to the A on the first string all in one position. That's all.

  21. #20

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    Thanks Matt, that cleared everything up perfectly!

  22. #21

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    Hi everyone, I saw a post about a year and a half back by Matt on his Facebook page about the RGT Jazz performance diplomas, certified by London College of Music.
    I was a little intimidated at first, seeing the long list of scales, chords, arpeggios and unseen passages on chords and improvisation.

    I gave the DipLCM in Nov of 2015 after about 4 months preparation, and successfully cleared it ! Yippee !!

    I used to practice about 1 1/2 hours daily, and about 4-5 hours on the weekend for a duration of about 3 1/2 months. Of course there were days when I'd be travelling on work, or I would just be lazy about it and skip a day or two. But by and large I stuck to the schedule.

    Preparing for the exam and tips - my journey.

    1. Studying for the technical section takes the most amout of time, energy and discipline.
    The key here is planning. Plan out a schedule for your entire duration (for me it was 3and a 1/2 months).
    Plan which scales you will learn each week and spread them out. I selected about 3 new scales each week, and worked upwards, revising the old ones as I went along. Be smart about it - Technical knowledge is vast but is only about 20% weightage. I Learnt only 2 positions - For example for all my major and dominant modes/scales I stuck to 6th string 2nd finger, and 5th string 2nd finger. That way I got two octaves over 2 positions and standardized the scales (same basic starting position and finger layout) and had to learn less number of shapes, and I saved time, and energy.
    The only exception was maybe F where starting on the 2nd finger didn't work since I never used open strings.
    Remember - the more unique fingerings you use the more you need to work.
    Of course some scales like the diminished, chromatic, and Altered did have unique fingerings and I couldn't fit them well into a "box".
    For the minors scales and the arpeggios I used a similar technique. For example I learn the basic shape of the dominant 7 b5 arpeggios and the dominant 7 #5 arpeggio then modified a bit based on the other altered notes (9, b9, #9).
    Once you are done, do get someone to take up your stuff (in my case my wify) and test you on your scales, chords and Arps at random. You will know which ones you need to revise.
    Thanks Sunaina. :*

    2. Performance - I have been playing at local pubs in and around Pune, so performance was not a major challenge for me.
    I played Tenor Madness, which is part of my repertoire and for my choice of standard selected "All of Me", in an uptempo bebop style. I played All of Me in the unusual key of "F". Why ? Because the melody lent it self well on the guitar in that key, I got most of the melody on the middle portion, sweet spot of the neck on strings 3 and 4.. nice sounds.

    Do not think/assume you "know" the standard just because you have played it once or twice or in jam scenarios, and assume it will work out during the exam. You should know it really really well.
    It holds the maximum weightage in the exam and can make or break your chances of getting the dipoma.
    It is not easy to hold the examiners attention, and be confident and creative over 3-4 cycles of a jazz tune.
    Learn your performance pieces across the fretboard, know the chord tones and guide tones in all positions across the major portion of the neck. Do also check out popular recordings/ versions of the standard. For "All Of Me", I used some licks of the great sax player Lester Young on his version with Teddy Wilson.
    There is a great version of the late great Emily Remler playing Tenor Madness live. I "stole" some of her licks and ideas as well.
    I would suggest not learning by rote the recording on the prescribed book "Guitar play along Vol16", although use the backing track.

    3. Chord Improvisation -
    My weak area was the unseen chords improvisation. I used the Arnie Berle "Chords & Progressions" book, and the Jodie Fisher "Complete Jazz Guitar Method" Intermediate (Book 2) book. Both which I found good and helpful, especially the Berle book as a starting point.
    I worked out standard 2-5's, 2-5-1's, common/basic substitutions (movements of diminished chords, use of tritons on 2-5-1's, augmented chords movements, major and minor extensions) and 1-6-2-5's in all positions. I stopped thinking about keys, but rather as "positions" on the fret board, and internalized the feel/sounds.
    The importance of Theory in this section - You need to be comfortable in quickly "recognizing" a 2-5, 1-6-2-5 or a cycle of 4ths, on paper. For example for a F-D7-Gm-C7 you can use one of the countless 2-5-1 movements/substitutions from any of the popular books, once you recognize it's a 1-6-2-5. The key is to recognize them quickly when you get to study the unseen chord charts for the first 3 mins, (which the exam permits you to do). Make use of this time and map out Key Centres, common 2-5-1's etc. well.
    Another important aspect is to be able to quickly find the root notes on either the 6th, 5th or 4th string, so you don't lose time and tempo searching for chords and grips.

    Interestingly, in the LCM exam, the examiner is also "listening" to how musical or cohesive you can make the rhythm piece sound and how much rhythmic interest you can create using arpeggios, different picking styles etc. He is not just listening to if you are playing the correct chords.

    I really started enjoying working the chords, and became quite comfy once I was through.

    All in all, the exam was a great experience. It disciplined my practice for 4 months, improved my playing and confidence levels, boosted my weak areas and taught me a few scales which although I may not use too much in practical playing (like the Lydian augmented Dominant), it does challenge you and open out your ears.

    I know I have missed writing about the single note improvisation, but you can check out Matt's article which covers it very extensively. This is a challenging section, and needs practice and perseverance like all else.

    Some Practical Tips - Carry your own CD/mp3 of your backing tracks. If you have it on a USB/drive carry your own laptop for playback.
    Carry your own instrument, tuner, (batteries charged), your own processor if you need, and your own guitar cables !
    Confirm the examination centre has their amp in working condition, and if you stay close by do check out the venue and the amp condition before hand.

    Good Luck,
    Ashdin Bharucha, DipLCM

  23. #22

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    I've just become aware of this thread. Thanks, Matt, for bringing these exams to our awareness. I've ordered the Handbook.

    I have a Certificate in Jazz Studies from St Andrews University, but never went on to do the Diploma, as they insisted on quite a good level of piano playing, which I just have a blind spot for, and no piano!

    I'll look more into these LCM exams. I thought the Associated Board Jazz Piano grades were well-thought out, and keep waiting for a guitar version to appear.

  24. #23

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    Hmmm. Looks good, I'm glad they finally have this....

    I tried to do the RGT Teaching Diploma about 8 years ago and failed. They aren't easy exams, actually. Learned a lot though. I ended up doing a different qualification, so forgot about the LCM exams...

    I like doing exams, they are a good way of consolidating your knowledge...

    EDIT: they've had it for quite a while by the looks of it!

    I would love a lower graded jazz syllabus - as in grade 1-8. I guess the standard electric exams are meant to cover it to some extent. I remember my Rockschool Grade 8 having a couple of fusioney pieces...
    Last edited by christianm77; 01-08-2016 at 11:27 AM.

  25. #24

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    Congrats man, glad you nailed the exam! Sounds like a fun and educational experience. Now on to the next one.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by ashdin
    Hi everyone, I saw a post about a year and a half back by Matt on his Facebook page about the RGT Jazz performance diplomas, certified by London College of Music.
    I was a little intimidated at first, seeing the long list of scales, chords, arpeggios and unseen passages on chords and improvisation.

    I gave the DipLCM in Nov of 2015 after about 4 months preparation, and successfully cleared it ! Yippee !!

    I used to practice about 1 1/2 hours daily, and about 4-5 hours on the weekend for a duration of about 3 1/2 months. Of course there were days when I'd be travelling on work, or I would just be lazy about it and skip a day or two. But by and large I stuck to the schedule.

    Preparing for the exam and tips - my journey.

    1. Studying for the technical section takes the most amout of time, energy and discipline.
    The key here is planning. Plan out a schedule for your entire duration (for me it was 3and a 1/2 months).
    Plan which scales you will learn each week and spread them out. I selected about 3 new scales each week, and worked upwards, revising the old ones as I went along. Be smart about it - Technical knowledge is vast but is only about 20% weightage. I Learnt only 2 positions - For example for all my major and dominant modes/scales I stuck to 6th string 2nd finger, and 5th string 2nd finger. That way I got two octaves over 2 positions and standardized the scales (same basic starting position and finger layout) and had to learn less number of shapes, and I saved time, and energy.
    The only exception was maybe F where starting on the 2nd finger didn't work since I never used open strings.
    Remember - the more unique fingerings you use the more you need to work.
    Of course some scales like the diminished, chromatic, and Altered did have unique fingerings and I couldn't fit them well into a "box".
    For the minors scales and the arpeggios I used a similar technique. For example I learn the basic shape of the dominant 7 b5 arpeggios and the dominant 7 #5 arpeggio then modified a bit based on the other altered notes (9, b9, #9).
    Once you are done, do get someone to take up your stuff (in my case my wify) and test you on your scales, chords and Arps at random. You will know which ones you need to revise.
    Thanks Sunaina. :*

    2. Performance - I have been playing at local pubs in and around Pune, so performance was not a major challenge for me.
    I played Tenor Madness, which is part of my repertoire and for my choice of standard selected "All of Me", in an uptempo bebop style. I played All of Me in the unusual key of "F". Why ? Because the melody lent it self well on the guitar in that key, I got most of the melody on the middle portion, sweet spot of the neck on strings 3 and 4.. nice sounds.

    Do not think/assume you "know" the standard just because you have played it once or twice or in jam scenarios, and assume it will work out during the exam. You should know it really really well.
    It holds the maximum weightage in the exam and can make or break your chances of getting the dipoma.
    It is not easy to hold the examiners attention, and be confident and creative over 3-4 cycles of a jazz tune.
    Learn your performance pieces across the fretboard, know the chord tones and guide tones in all positions across the major portion of the neck. Do also check out popular recordings/ versions of the standard. For "All Of Me", I used some licks of the great sax player Lester Young on his version with Teddy Wilson.
    There is a great version of the late great Emily Remler playing Tenor Madness live. I "stole" some of her licks and ideas as well.
    I would suggest not learning by rote the recording on the prescribed book "Guitar play along Vol16", although use the backing track.

    3. Chord Improvisation -
    My weak area was the unseen chords improvisation. I used the Arnie Berle "Chords & Progressions" book, and the Jodie Fisher "Complete Jazz Guitar Method" Intermediate (Book 2) book. Both which I found good and helpful, especially the Berle book as a starting point.
    I worked out standard 2-5's, 2-5-1's, common/basic substitutions (movements of diminished chords, use of tritons on 2-5-1's, augmented chords movements, major and minor extensions) and 1-6-2-5's in all positions. I stopped thinking about keys, but rather as "positions" on the fret board, and internalized the feel/sounds.
    The importance of Theory in this section - You need to be comfortable in quickly "recognizing" a 2-5, 1-6-2-5 or a cycle of 4ths, on paper. For example for a F-D7-Gm-C7 you can use one of the countless 2-5-1 movements/substitutions from any of the popular books, once you recognize it's a 1-6-2-5. The key is to recognize them quickly when you get to study the unseen chord charts for the first 3 mins, (which the exam permits you to do). Make use of this time and map out Key Centres, common 2-5-1's etc. well.
    Another important aspect is to be able to quickly find the root notes on either the 6th, 5th or 4th string, so you don't lose time and tempo searching for chords and grips.

    Interestingly, in the LCM exam, the examiner is also "listening" to how musical or cohesive you can make the rhythm piece sound and how much rhythmic interest you can create using arpeggios, different picking styles etc. He is not just listening to if you are playing the correct chords.

    I really started enjoying working the chords, and became quite comfy once I was through.

    All in all, the exam was a great experience. It disciplined my practice for 4 months, improved my playing and confidence levels, boosted my weak areas and taught me a few scales which although I may not use too much in practical playing (like the Lydian augmented Dominant), it does challenge you and open out your ears.

    I know I have missed writing about the single note improvisation, but you can check out Matt's article which covers it very extensively. This is a challenging section, and needs practice and perseverance like all else.

    Some Practical Tips - Carry your own CD/mp3 of your backing tracks. If you have it on a USB/drive carry your own laptop for playback.
    Carry your own instrument, tuner, (batteries charged), your own processor if you need, and your own guitar cables !
    Confirm the examination centre has their amp in working condition, and if you stay close by do check out the venue and the amp condition before hand.

    Good Luck,
    Ashdin Bharucha, DipLCM
    Sounds like you learned a tremendous amount from it...

  27. #26

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    Great info Matt. During the exams, does the examiner set the tempo for each test? If so, what are the approximate BPM or Metronome markings?

    That said, what maximum tempos should the student be working for the exams?

  28. #27

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    Cheers, for scales etc it's up to you. Clear and clean trumps speed. So moderate tempo is fine. For the sight reading chords it's up to you, but there are usually markers to help out like "medium swing" or "bossa feel" on the music. For sight reading soloing I would say aim for medium up as a max tempo.