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Grade 4 Piano: Tutorials, Music Theory and Technique

This page is an ongoing collection of Grade 4 piano tutorials and theory concepts. When I refer to grades, I’m talking about the RCM (Royal Conservatory of Music), not the ABRSM (though there is some overlap).

Whether or not you follow a particular system or school, and whether or not you take exams, I find a Grade level approach to music is a good way to learn step-by-step, instead of randomly. This is how I teach in my studio, regardless of whether my students do exams or not.

Grade 4 Piano Information and Resources

 

 

 

All about grade 4 piano (RCM and ABRSM)

This video is a tour of what to expect at a grade 4 level, both through the RCM and the ABRSM (two major music schools). Whether or not you actually use these schools, this is helpful information for anyone self-studying piano, as it gives you an understanding of benchmarks for this level.

My favorite grade 4 piano books (RCM and ABRSM)

These are my favorite books for this level which I tend to recommend to my students. As with every level, it’s prudent to get 2-3 books that span a variety of genres – this is my minimum expectation. If you’re a music collector or just an enthusiastic learner, feel free to explore more books than these!

My favorite grade 4 piano pieces

In this wordless piano video, I play short clips of some of my favorite pieces at this level. The pieces I play in this video can be found in the books mentioned in the previous video (and all the information is detailed in this blog post).

 

Grade 4 Technique

 

 

 

This video includes a play-through of all the technique required for this level, through the Royal Conservatory of Music. Even if you aren’t doing exams or taking formal lessons, it’s still a good idea to get a sense of the technical skills required for this level.

An alternative to the video above if you have more of a working relationship with the ABRSM.

Grade 4 is the first year of the RCM where arpeggios are introduced. This video is a primer on how to play arpeggios, a common technical exercise (like scales).

In this video, we explore all of the scales-related questions I’m asked on a regular basis. Questions like “what order should I learn scales in?” and “how much time should I spend practicing scales”?

This curated collection of 5 exercises will help your fingers move more independently of each other, instead of just mashing down all at the same time.

Other playing and practice tips

 

 

 

 

If tempo markings (the note + number, or Italian terms) have you confused, definitely check out this short and simple video to set you straight.

Most of my adult students get stuck on what pieces to learn and what direction to go in – which is why I’m there to help. Though you’re not my studio students, hopefully this video will give you some guidance!

Grade 4 piano tutorials

 

 

 

 

Grechaninov is a little-known composer who wrote some great early-intermediate level piano music. This is a lovely Romantic piece which is a good opportunity to practice long note stretches and patterns.

This simplified version of a very difficult Rachmaninoff classic is around a grade 4 level. Though simplified, it’s far from simple!