Rockschool announces new acoustic guitar syllabus: re-tuned for 2019


MIA Member Rockschool announces their new Acoustic Guitar syllabus, releasing a brand-new batch of re-tuned grade-books for 2019…

Each grade features 6 new arrangements from some of music’s most iconic figures to perform in the last 8 decades; with each installment navigating an array of era-defining styles and techniques – from the 1930’s all the way up to present-day.

Rockschool have also added vocal parts to 4 songs of the 6 recordings found at each grade. These ‘Session-Style’ tracks are a fun and engaging addition that give each player the opportunity to replicate a recording session, or live performance, each time they sit down
to practise. This not only allows students to develop a better sense of time and rhythm; it also presents the perfect habitat for each session to encourage the evolution of each players’ interpretation of tone and stylistic choices.

Syllabus Manager, Jono Harrison, states: “We assess each Rockschool syllabus halfway through its six-year cycle, and when it came to our Acoustic grades we knew there were some key changes that would improve it for everyone. The most important change is the realignment of the technical requirements to more closely match Rockschool’s well-loved Electric Guitar syllabus. Enabling teachers and students to transfer freely between both guitar types, was something we were adamant about from the beginning.”

The remaining 2 tracks per grade take the spotlight and aim it front and centre, with a pair of instrument-specific, solo-guitar arrangements that more intensely navigate the acoustic guitars’ range of melodic expression. This is your opportunity to learn from generational genius such as Django Reinhardt, Tommy Emmanuel and Kaki King, expanding your instrumental techniques in the process (including how to use the guitar as a percussive instrument!)

Guitarist and arranger, Giorgio Serci says: “Rockschool has a very clearly defined syllabus here that helps guide the arrangers make important decisions on whether to simplify or elaborate for the benefit of the students. This is about providing a step-by-step pathway
so they [the students] can progress gradually, feeling satisfied and in-control at each grade. It’s a task I have taken very seriously and enjoyed immensely.”

Recorded at Livingston Studios, London, during the summer of 2019, the backing tracks feature:

  • Drummer: Pete Riley (Guthrie Govan, Republica, Billy Sheehan, Paul Glibert & Keith Emerson)
  • Bassist: Andy Robertson (Chaka Khan, Beverley Knight)
  • Vocalist: Katie Hector (Incognito, Chaka Khan, Emeli Sande, Lou Reed, Jocelyn Brown)
  • Mixed by: Patrick Philips (Rag’n’Bone Man, Marina and the Diamonds, Peter Gabriel & OneRepublic)
  • Mastered by: Francis Gorini at London Mastering Studios
  • Arrangers/Soloists: Giorgio Serci (Jools Holland, Julian Lloyd Webber, Martin Taylor), Tristan Seume (Jackie Oates), Nat Martin, Tommy Loose and Ashley Hards
  • Special Appearance from: Max Helyer (You Me at Six)

After learning of his Rockschool-to-Rockstar story, Rockschool was really keen for You Me AT Six’s Max Helyer to be involved. During the recording session this summer, Max spoke about his experience: “When Rockschool approached me with their ideas for a brand-new acoustic guitar syllabus, including their desire to use our [You Me at Six] song “Take on the World’, I instantly remembered being back in college learning my [Rockschool] Grade 4. Fast-forward 10-11 years later and I’m now recording with them after my own band has gone on to release 6, going on 7 albums, and played headline shows to over 20,000 people – it’s pretty amazing how things have turned out. Rockschool gave me a foundation, forced me out of my comfort zone early, and expanded my guitar playing in the process; and I hope the next generation of musicians can be inspired to achieve their own goals based on my own experience.”

Both physical and digital formats are available in-store and online now!

To learn more about Rockschool and the new Acoustic Syllabus you can visit the company website at: