RCM Preparatory A & B: Piano Technique

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In the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM), there are levels I affectionately refer to as musical kindergarten. They’re the levels RCM Preparatory A and B.

If you’re a child learning piano for the first time, RCM Preparatory A would be your first year of lessons, and Prep B would be your second. Finally, by your third year of piano, when you’re about 8 years old, it’s time for Grade 1.

(Remember that this is a generalization – not everyone is going to follow the same age template).

If you’re an adult learning piano for the first time, Prep A & B can be conquered in a year.

Play-through: All RCM Preparatory technique

In this video, I’m going to play through all of the technique requirements for these levels. The metronome will be clicking away in the background to keep everything steady, and it’ll be set to the exam suggestion tempos.

Even if you’re not planning on doing any exams, it’s good to know the scales and finger patterns required for these levels. Oftentimes we bypass technique in favor of learning pieces, but scales and chord patterns are the building blocks of those pieces, and are super useful to know.

RCM Preparatory A

Scene 04 keys Legato pentascales (5-finger scales)

C, D and G major, hands separate, tonic to dominant, ascending and descending, ending with a blocked triad, with a quarter-note beat of 100

A minor, hands separate, tonic to dominant, ascending and descending, ending with a blocked triad, with a quarter-note beat of 100

Staccato pentascales (5 finger scales)

(same as above, only played detached instead of smooth)

Chords: Solid and broken triads

C major broken triad, hands separate, 1 octave ascending, 60 BPM in triplet 8th notes

C major solid triad, hands separate, 1 octave ascending, 60 BPM in quarter note/rest pattern

RCM Preparatory B

Legato pentascales (5-finger scales)

D, A and F major, hands separate, tonic to dominant, ascending and descending, ending with a blocked triad, with a BPM of 60 (played in 8th notes)

E and D minor, hands separate, tonic to dominant, ascending and descending, ending with a blocked triad, with a BPM of 60 (played in 8th notes)

Staccato pentascales

(same as above, only played detached instead of smooth)

Contrary motion scale

C major, hands together, one octave, with a BPM of 60 (played in 8th notes)

Chords: Broken tonic triads

C and G major, hands separate, 1 octave, 50 BPM played in 8th note triplets

A minor, hands separate, 1 octave, 50 BPM played in 8th note triplets

Conclusion

If you’d like to flip through the RCM syllabus, just follow the link. It’s got all the information we talked about in today’s video, and much, much more.

xo,
Allysia

Allysia has been teaching piano in Canada for nearly a decade, and has her Grade 10 RCM certificate. She especially enjoys nerding out to music history and theory. When she’s not making videos or teaching, she’s reading, writing, and jamming in a rock band.